Given how much Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is in the news, it's easy to forget that we're still counting his Senate tenure in weeks, not months or years. The right-wing Texan was sworn into office just last month, and as a rule, first-year Senate rookies traditionally keep their heads down, learning how to do their job.
But Cruz is a unique character. The Republican senator has earned a reputation for embracing McCarthyism, smearing decorated combat veterans, and making ignorant policy arguments. Frank Bruni noted that Cruz is "an ornery, swaggering piece of work," preoccupied with "grandstanding and browbeating." The Atlantic added, "Less than six weeks into his term, a remarkable number of both Republicans and Democrats have come forward to say that they think Cruz is kind of a jerk."
Sen. Ted Cruz says some of the attacks on fellow Republican Sen. Marco Rubio by Democrats are motivated by race. Cruz said today the fact that Rubio is a Republican Latino poses a threat to political adversaries. "I think Democrats and the media are afraid of Marco Rubio because he is a smart, intelligent, conservative Hispanic. And they are looking for any excuse they can to attack him, because that threatens them," Cruz told reporters during a tour of a Texas gun manufacturing plant north of Austin.
First, much of "the media" seems to have gone out of its way to bolster Rubio -- Time labeled him the Republican "savior," for crying out loud -- not "attack" him. His SOTU response was widely panned, but deservedly so -- it was genuinely awful. His ethnicity had nothing to do with it.
Second, for Cruz, a member of the Republican "Self-Deportation" Party, to play the race card in such a ham-fisted way is pathetic, even for him. Are Democrats critical of Rubio and his far-right agenda and voting record? Yes. Is this because Rubio is a "conservative Hispanic"? No.