Though he eventually voted against the bipartisan compromise his Senate colleagues had hammered out, it was one of those CYA ballots similar to the “no” votes cast by all the Alabama Republicans except Spencer Bachus, who was free to vote what was good for America rather than what was good for his political future because he is not running for re-election.
However, Cruz, the Tea Party firebrand, let the faithful know where he stood on the agreement in the sure expectation that they will reward him with re-election. (And maybe, just maybe, this courageous fight will vault him into the White House.)
Of course, future glory depends on his constituents not looking closely at what Cruz actually accomplished with the shutdown.
According to Ezra Klein, of The Washington Post, “if Ted Cruz didn’t exist, Democrats would have to invent him.”
What led Klein to this conclusion?
Cruz led the charge to shut down the government rather than wait and use the debt ceiling as the club with which to beat Obamacare to death. Public opinion was not with him on this, and GOP’s popularity sank to an all-time low.
The position Cruz put his party in was so weak that when negotiations were done and a deal was struck, the Democrats got more than they had hoped to get when the Tea Party-inspired, Cruz-led assault on Obamacare began.
Moreover, Klein speculates, in February when the debt-ceiling extension runs out, few Republicans outside the Tea Party wing, will have the stomach for going through all this again.
By then campaigning for the 2014 election will be about to begin and no candidate wants to be seen as so reckless as to endanger the economy.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., confirmed as much Thursday.
He told The Hill, “One of my favorite old Kentucky sayings is there’s no education in the second kick of a mule. The first kick of a mule was when we shut the government down in the mid 1990s and the second kick was over the last 16 days.”
So it would seem that at the end of the day, after the president had signed the bill, the government was reopened, and the debt-ceiling was raised, it would have been appropriate for congressional Democrats to gather in their offices, fill their glasses, and drink a toast to Sen. Ted Cruz, their man in the Republican Party.