Monday, June 09, 2014

GOP plots revenge against Cruz

After his sweet two weeks of high exposure and straw-poll dominance in Fort Worth, it certainly is nice to see that not every conservative in the land is swallowing Poop Cruz's BS.

Ted Cruz has not made himself a popular man in Washington. The Texas Republican would argue that’s the point. But even for a Senator — an elected office with the backing of an entire state — ticking off powerful people can have consequences.

In his first two years in Washington, Cruz has managed to help force a government shutdown, undermine the GOP’s chances of taking over the Senate and force uncomfortable votes for his fellow Republicans — not to mention the verbal bombs he lobs on a regular basis, many aimed at his own party. His colleagues, aware of the threats they face from primary challengers, have mostly held their tongues and their fire so far. But Cruz has already done some damage without much trying. A week after his election to the Senate in 2012, Cruz was named vice chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), which works to elect Republicans to the Senate. But he subsequently refused to endorse incumbent Senators, or help them in their races, a fact that many Tea Party insurgents have seized upon. He hasn’t set foot in the NRSC in more than a year, sources say.

“They tried to channel him to be somewhat productive. They tried that with NRSC,” says John Feehery, a former longtime GOP Hill aide. “Lyndon Johnson once said he’d rather have people inside the tent pissing out. But (Cruz) seems to be inside the tent pissing in. (my emphasis)”

That towel-pop from a high-ranking GOP consultant is so revealing.

Cruz hasn’t campaigned or raised money for GOP challengers, but he has forced a series of uncomfortable votes — the most prominent one being a debt-ceiling bill in February — that put imperiled incumbents on the spot. “After already forcing a strategic blunder on the conference, he stood up, looked his Republican colleagues in their eyes and said he wouldn’t work against them in the primaries.” says Kyle Downey, a former GOP Senate leadership aide. “Then he broke his word. Breaking your word, or lying, has consequences in the Senate, both seen and unseen. When it comes to the currency of relationships, he’s running up big debts.”

Not that Cruz needs much help. He remains enormously popular with a small but vocal part of the base. That has given him a powerful grassroots-fundraising platform. Even though he’s not up for re-election for another four years, Cruz has raised $1.8 million so far this cycle, $1.5 million of it coming from individual donations. He’ll need this kind of support and much more if he decides to run for President in 2016. By all accounts, Cruz’s push to shut down the government did not play well with business and corporate donors. “He’s the last person Wall Street would give money to,” says a big Republican donor. “They’re more interested in a Chris Christie or Jeb Bush. Even Rand Paul would be a preferable alternative to Cruz. How [Cruz] is going to run for President without big donors is beyond me.”

Ted will just 'trust the grassroots' to sign over their life savings, AND take out a reverse mortgage and donate it all to him.  He's a populist, you see.

At home in Texas, Cruz has little to worry about, given the Tea Party’s dominance of Texas primaries. He’s much more secure than fellow Senate Tea Party Caucus member Mike Lee, a Utah Republican Senator who’s up for re-election in 2016 and is likely to be facing a tough primary at home. That said, Texas is a state with changing demographics. “If he’s not careful the changing demographics in Texas is going to make it harder for him to get re-elected,” Feehery says.

Yeah, sooner or later the Latinos -- and women and young voters of all creeds and the 50%+ of Texans in general who would rather watch the Emmys or soccer or the NBA Finals or whatever else was on TV this weekend, and every weekend -- will show up at the polls and turn the tide from rabid red to some nice shade of purple.  Hope it happens in my lifetime.

While we wait, there'll be another TexTrib poll released any day now.  They were polling at the end of May (as a YouGov panelist, I was polled nine days ago), all statewide executive races and all four ballot-accessible parties (D, R, G, L) on the November slate.  Maybe those results will give everyone who's not drinking the tea-flavored Kool Aid a whiff of encouragement.

1 comment:

The Turkey Vulture said...

Forget about Cruz. He'll run in 2016 and lose.

The real fight will be in the next session of the Texas Legislature.

The Texas Patriots PAC, a Tea Party superPAC just helped nominate a slate of arch conservative candidates for the November election.

No doubt they'll be back in November to finish the job.

Blood red Texas. It's coming. Unless the Democrats wise up and get out the vote.