Reporters gather around U.S. Senator Ted Cruz as he talks to reporters after a Republican Senate caucus meeting at the U.S. Capitol in Washington October 16, 2013.
Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Cruz, unembarrassed, stays on offensive

Updated
In theory, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) should be in an awkward spot right now. His shutdown scheme was a spectacular failure, and he’s ended up receiving the bulk of the blame, which the right-wing Texan almost certainly deserves.
 
But if Cruz is feeling the least bit chastened, he has a funny way of showing it.
Sen. Ted Cruz isn’t trying to win a popularity contest in the Senate Republican Conference.
 
After the GOP failed to win any concessions from President Barack Obama during a government shutdown many blamed on Cruz, the Texas Republican blamed his fellow senators for the Republican loss.
 
“The reason this deal, the lousy deal was reached, is because unfortunately Senate Republicans made the choice not to support House Republicans,” he said in an interview aired Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” adding later: “I think that was unfortunate. I think it was unfortunate that you saw multiple members of the Senate Republicans going on television attacking House conservatives, attacking the effort to defund Obamacare, saying it cannot win, it’s a fool’s errand, we will lose, this must fail. That is a recipe for losing the fight, and it’s a shame.”
Complicating matters, while congressional GOP leaders have ruled out the possibility of another government shutdown next year, Cruz left open the possibility of instigating the same crisis all over again.
 
For Texas’ junior senator, whose congressional career now spans nine months, the recent crises didn’t go well for his party because they failed to commit 100% to his right-wing strategy. If they’d only kept the government shut down even longer, and forced the nation into defaulting on its debts, then Democrats would meet GOP demands and all would be well.
 
In other words, when Cruz reflects on the recent Capitol Hill debacle, he comes away more convinced than ever of how brilliant his plan was, and how his strategy would have worked if only Republicans had been willing to follow his orders. For Cruz, the moral of the story is that he has no lessons to learn whatsoever.
 
Indeed, what’s especially striking about the Texas senator’s post-shutdown offensive is that he’s not trying to mend fences with his GOP allies; he’s pouring salt in the ground where the fences once stood. Cruz has spent the last several days blasting Republicans, repeatedly blaming them for abandoning his plan, just because it was failing miserably.
 
Senate Republicans weren’t exactly thrilled with Cruz before, but this will only isolate him into a caucus of one. It should make his ability to pass legislation all but impossible, but since the senator has no legislative agenda, and continues to profit from his antics, that doesn’t seem to matter to him in the slightest.
 

Ted Cruz

Cruz, unembarrassed, stays on offensive

Updated