Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, pauses while speaking at a business round table at Draft Sports Bar & Grill in Concord, N.H., Monday, Aug. 31, 2015. 
Photo by Cheryl Senter/AP

Cruz sees GOP leaders as ‘effective Democrat leaders’

Over the summer, Senate Republican leaders put together a package of materials for their colleagues, filled with evidence that the GOP majority is succeeding. On NBC’s “Meet the Press” yesterday, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) highlighted his habit of telling voters the exact opposite.
“I asked folks, ‘Okay. We have Republican majorities in both houses for ten months now. What on Earth have they accomplished?’ Every town hall you do that, the answer is always, ‘Absolutely nothing,’” Cruz argued yesterday.
But the GOP presidential candidate quickly explained that from his perspective, his party’s majority is actually even worse than his party’s base fears.
“In fact, what the Republican majorities have done, we came back right after the last election, passed a trillion dollars cromnibus bill, filled with corporate welfare report. Then Republican leadership and – and leadership joined with Harry Reid and the Democrats to do that.
“Then leadership voted to fund Obamacare. Then they voted to fund amnesty. Then they voted to fund Planned Parenthood. And then Republican leadership took the lead confirming Loretta Lynch as Attorney General. Now Chuck, which one of those decisions is one iota different than what would happened under Harry Reid and the Democrats? The truth of the matter is Republican leadership are the most effective Democrat leaders we’ve ever seen. They’ve passed more Democratic priorities than Harry Reid ever could.”
The grammar is a bit of a mess – the poor guy just can’t bring himself to use the word “Democratic” – but the sentiment couldn’t be clearer. As far as Ted Cruz is concerned, the Republican leaders in the House and Senate are, as a practical matter, effectively Democrats.
Of course, that’s bonkers. Cruz’s indictment against his party’s congressional leadership could easily be re-packaged to say, “Republican leaders avoided a government shutdown and allowed Eric Holder to retire.”
But that wouldn’t be nearly as provocative.
Chuck Todd added, “I’m trying to figure out though how you’re going to unite your party.” Cruz responded with one of his most well rehearsed responses: “Listen, if you’re looking for a candidate who the career politicians in Washington will embrace, I’m not your guy.”
And while the senator clearly likes that answer, it doesn’t explain how, as Todd put it, Cruz intends to “unite” the Republican Party. Indeed, the NBC host reminded the Texan that in practically all of the fights he’s picked, his GOP colleagues have generally decided not to follow Cruz’s lead.
For the Republican presidential candidate, this is a badge of honor: vote for the far-right candidate who’s disgusted with his own party’s leadership and its tactics.
And this may very well work out well for Cruz, though it’s worth remembering that in the modern primary era, there’s never been a Republican nominee who was actively hated by his own party’s establishment.
Will 2016 rewrite the campaign rule book?