On Capitol Hill, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) isn’t necessarily held in high regard. Many of his colleagues, including Republicans, see him as someone who enjoys grandstanding rather than the unglamorous work of governing. If senators are divided into two broad groups – work-horses and show-horses – the Kentucky lawmaker is usually put in the latter category.
Put it this way: Rand Paul is the one the other senators roll their eyes at while he speaks.
And yet, even Paul looks at Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) as a guy who just isn’t good at being a senator. Roll Call reported overnight:
Sen. Rand Paul on Tuesday said fellow Republican presidential candidate Ted. Cruz is “done for” in the Senate.“Ted has chosen to make this really personal and chosen to call people dishonest in leadership and call them names, which really goes against the decorum and also against the rules of the Senate, and as a consequence, he can’t get anything done legislatively,” Paul told Fox News Radio. “He is pretty much done for and stifled and it’s really because of personal relationships, or lack of personal relationships, and it is a problem.”
Just to be clear, in context, the Kentucky Republican wasn’t talking about their rival presidential campaigns. When Paul said Cruz is “pretty much done for,” he was referring to the Texan’s ability to be an effective legislator on Capitol Hill, not his shot at their party’s 2016 nomination.
The charge is not without irony – after nearly a half-decade in Congress, Rand Paul has passed nearly zero bills – but he nevertheless has a point.
The traditional model, which no doubt seems antiquated to today’s far-right renegades, is for lawmakers to forge relationships – even with members of the other party. Lawmakers with ideas for legislation work with allies through the committee process and on the floor, usually in tandem with co-sponsors.
Cruz seems to bring a very different perspective to the Hill. Indeed, passing legislation doesn’t appear to be his principal goal at all. The far-right Texan seems to enjoy having a powerful profile, but in practical terms, he’s a Senator In Name Only.
It’s not that he’s incompetent when it comes to advancing legislative priorities, so much as Cruz appears to have little interest in trying to legislate at all.
The fact that Rand Paul, of all people, is effectively saying, “Yeah, that guy isn’t getting anything done around here,” says something important about Cruz’s standing in the body to which he was elected.