Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), for reasons that are still unclear, made this week’s vote on raising the debt ceiling unnecessarily difficult – for Republicans. At a distance, it almost seemed as if he wanted to punish his ostensible GOP allies, orchestrating an awkward political confrontation that could have easily been avoided.
The editorial board of the Wall Street Journal, which routinely offers a peek into the minds of the Republican establishment, said Cruz’s antics help “explain why Republicans remain a minority…. If Republicans fail again this November, a big reason will be their rump kamikaze caucus.”
Soon after, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) promoted the WSJ editorial on Twitter, calling it a “must read.”
McCain, who has previously referred to Cruz as a “wacko bird,” is hardly the only one in his party with concerns. Byron York reported last night:
It would be an understatement to say that many of Cruz’s GOP colleagues were righteously ticked off at him [after the debt-ceiling vote]. Nobody wanted to vote to raise the debt limit, but many believed strongly that a losing fight over spending would damage the party. Besides, Cruz didn’t even have a plan for what to do had his Republican colleagues improbably decided to go along with him. […]In the end, the gambit accomplished nothing for Senate Republicans. Some GOP lawmakers who already disliked Cruz now dislike him even more.
The irony is, Cruz had made an effort to do the opposite.
Just last week, Politico reported that Cruz had turned over a new leaf. The Texan has apparently made a point of being friendlier, and the result has been “thawing tensions between Cruz and his fellow GOP senators.” The piece added, “After battling with Senate Republicans for much of 2013, prompting tense confrontations and occasional shouting matches, Cruz is starting to achieve what once seemed unthinkable: He’s getting along reasonably well with most of his GOP colleagues.”
That was last week; this is this week.
As for his next trick, the far-right senator, who’s never expressed an interest in actually passing legislation, has a new anti-gay initiative lined up.
Fresh off his failure to successfully filibuster a yearlong increase in the country’s debt limit this week, Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz launched the beginning of another precarious battle – an attempt to reverse the Supreme Court’s landmark decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act.Cruz and Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee introduced a bill on Wednesday “to amend chapter 1 of title 1, United States Code, with regard to the definition of ‘marriage’ and ‘spouse’ for Federal purposes.”
The bill is not yet available, but it sounds like a new effort to bring back the Defense of Marriage Act, or something like it, along the lines of the “State Marriage Defense Act” introduced by some House Republicans last month.
Cruz’s bill won’t become law anytime soon, and it does his party no favors to launch another anti-gay fight in an election year. But by all appearances, the Texas Republican doesn’t much care – Cruz tried getting along with his colleagues for a little while, but apparently feels more comfortable in a confrontational posture.