Senator Marco Rubio began this year amid buzz that he was the logical choice to win the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. He is likely to finish it on a decidedly lower note, partly removed from the national spotlight, eclipsed by the rising star from Texas, Ted Cruz

Cruz’s rapid assent has been compared to that of Barack Obama, who as a freshman senator went out of his way to endear himself to his party’s base and position himself to run for higher office in the future. “It’s obvious that he came here with a very different approach, to elevate himself and propel himself to national aspirations,” a GOP strategist tells National Review Online. But Cruz has also become a powerful force within Congress, wielding considerable influence with conservatives in the House. His efforts have almost singlehandedly foiled House speaker John Boehner’s plans on multiple occasions…

“The base is not looking for a conciliator,” says Al Cardenas, the chairman of the American Conservative Union and a friend of Rubio’s. “They’re not looking for someone who is good at compromising, who can make peace with the other side. They’re looking for someone who will stand up to a very aggressive, disrespectful liberal opposition that’s standing out there with bare knuckles winding up at us every chance they get.”


There is also a misunderstanding in the mainstream media about what really motivated these boat-rockers. It wasn’t about actually stopping Democrats from taking the Affordable Care Act across the goal line, nor was it about raising the debt ceiling before Mr. Obama and the Democrats offered any significant spending cuts.

Rather, it was about showing that there were Republicans in Congress who understood that standing and fighting was itself the goal — the endgame that disparaging critics on the left, right and center said was glaringly absent from Mr. Cruz’s crusade…

Liberal and most center-right commentators labeled the Cruz crusaders as hopelessly naive and destructive of their own party. But conservatives beyond the Beltway (and a few inside) saw the Cruz obstinacy as a necessary public rejection of bipartisanship as practiced since the days of President George H.W. Bush’s 1990 budget compromise with Congress‘ Democratic leaders, when he broke his “no new taxes” pledge and accepted the Democrats’ demand to cut spending by $2 for every $1 in tax increases…

“Those Republican rebels in Congress may have demonstrated, at least until the shutdown ended, that there are some GOP leaders still standing for principles and understanding spending and Obamacare are moral issues of the day,” said Solomon Yue, a founder of the RNC’s Conservative Caucus.


Drivers speeding down a busy highway about 70 miles outside Houston have been greeted with two blunt messages that Bruce Labay put up at his oil field services business. One declared that Mr. Labay was tired of softhearted Republicans, though he used a more colorful adjective. The other read, “We Need More Republicans Like Ted Cruz.”

“I was proud of him,” Mr. Labay said of the state’s junior senator. “I was proud he was a Texan. I wish they would have held firm, and we’d still be shut down.”…

Mr. Cruz, for one, said his Texas support has been uplifting. “The many supportive letters, e-mails, calls and social media comments we’ve received from Texans since Labor Day have been inspirational,” he said in a statement. “Hearing from constituents keeps me focused on the concerns of the people I work for and the issues I ran on. That’s what matters.”…

“Texas likes a fighter,” Mr. Patrick said. “He’s only been there 10 months, but he’s proven to be a fighter. If our party doesn’t lead as a bold conservative party, then we will disappear as a party.”


Cruz’s donors say they’re pleased with their investment in the senator who made killing the health-care law an integral piece of his 2012 campaign and who on Oct. 16 panned the budget and debt-ceiling deal because it didn’t gut the law. “He’s doing what he said he would do, and he’s not trying to make friends with Democrats or Republicans,” says donor Dougal Cameron, who owns Cameron Management, a real estate development firm in Houston. “He’s trying to represent the people who sent him up there.”…

Cruz doesn’t owe his seat to the business community. It was the financial muscle of the Tea Party that propelled the 42-year-old lawyer to victory last year over the Republican Party’s establishment candidate, Texas Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst. Cruz’s top donors were two Washington-based activist groups, Club for Growth and the Senate Conservatives Fund, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

While Cornyn, the Senate Minority Whip, has railed against the health-care law like others in his party, he wasn’t as insistent as Cruz about defunding it as a condition for keeping the government open. “Ted Cruz doesn’t have to bow down to anybody,” says Anthony Holm, a Texas GOP strategist who advised Houston homebuilder Bob Perry, the state’s most generous Republican donor before he died this year. “The big Texas donors sat out. As a result, they and establishment powers are in a very weak position to influence his efforts now.”


The Republican establishment despises Ted Cruz. And that’s great news for the senator from Texas: It’s the most prominent sign that he’s the front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination

“There’s a sense that we played it their way two straight campaign seasons for president, and we’re not going to do that again,” said John Brabender, who served as the chief strategist for Rick Santorum’s second-place presidential campaign last year. “There is an angry, take-no-prisoner conservative out there saying, ‘Look, we’re tired of negotiating, we’re tired of compromising.’”…

Carney added: “His scorn by the media and the establishment and Capitol Hill staff is just making him stronger. He comes across as a breath of fresh air.”…

“What’s happened, the opposition, the Left, and the establishment of the Republican Party has elevated Ted Cruz to an unprecedented level if he chooses to run in 2016,” said Vander Plaats. “I really believe if the Iowa caucuses were held today, I don’t even think it’d be close. Ted Cruz would walk away with it.”


I appeared on NPR on Wednesday and was surprised to hear a caller say that Sen. Ted Cruz should be charged with sedition. “I’m really baffled by the fact that the discussion has not ever reached the point where charges of sedition should be brought up against him for conspiring and bullying others to work with him to undermine the American economy … full faith and credit,” the caller said. “He’s done so much damage to the standing of the United States in the world. And if you read the Sedition Act, it seems like it really applies.”…

After Cruz and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin appeared together last weekend on the National Mall, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow reported the event in front of a screen with pictures of Cruz and Palin and the title LATEST SEDITION. Maddow did not utter the word itself, but viewers certainly got the message.

On the activist website, there are multiple petitions calling for Cruz and others to be charged with sedition. In one, the petition writer adopted a very broad and somewhat fuzzy standard under which Cruz should be sent to jail: “Sedition is overt conduct, such as speech and organization, that is deemed by the legal authority to tend toward insurrection against the established order,” the petition says. “Sedition may include any commotion, though not aimed at direct and open violence against the laws. Sedition is the stirring up of rebellion against the government in power.” Another petition adds “insurrection” to Cruz’s indictment.


Reid said that in his 30 years in Congress, he could not recall a senator meddling so much in House affairs.

“Ted Cruz, well, he proved he has a great fundraising operation,” Reid said. “But you don’t have to have Harry Reid criticizing him. Republicans criticized him. What do you think that vote was last night from Republicans? That was a message to Ted Cruz: ‘What the hell are you doing?’… He is a laughing stock to everybody but him. What has he accomplished other than raising some money for president? And if this man can get the nomination to be the Republican nominee for president, I pity the Republican Party.

“Ted Cruz is smart,” Reid added. “He has always been able to talk down to people. He is now in the Senate. People are as smart as he is. He can’t talk down to anyone anymore. But he has still not accepted that in his own head. He still thinks he’s smarter than everybody else. He might be able to work a calculus problem better than I can. But he can’t legislate better than I can.”


Cruz comes off as smarter than all of the above combined. There’s a reason so many outside the Beltway admire him. To those who feel jilted by the system and insulted by critics, he is a vision of palm trees, dates and fountains. He articulates what they think and feel and, as a bonus, he’s got that Latino thing.

But Cruz is a mirage, an idea conjured in a fantasy that can’t be realized in reality. Like many successful politicians (and narcissists), he reflects back to others their own projected needs and desires. But then reality sets in — the debt-crisis deadline looms, or the defunding ruse is exposed as theater — and only dust and dung remain among the shards of mirrored glass.

To the most important point, the crux of Cruz: The only person who loves Ted Cruz more than Ted Cruz is Barack Obama. It is the White House and Democrats, not Republicans, who have advanced the idea that Cruz is the face of the GOP. Remember when the White House insisted that Rush Limbaugh was the leader of the GOP? These narratives are useful to Democrats because they loonify the GOP, driving voters away from their fiery rhetoric just as intense heat repels any sensible mammal…

The only hope for Republicans going forward is that Cruz resists the allure of his own voice.


It’s striking how much the Tea Party wing of the G.O.P. has adopted the tactics of the P.O.G. — “Party of God” — better known as Hezbollah…

The Tea Party is not a terrorist group. It has legitimate concerns about debt, jobs and Obamacare. But what was not legitimate was the line it crossed. Rather than persuading a majority of Americans that its policies were right, and winning elections to enact the changes it sought — the essence of our democratic system — the Tea Party threatened to undermine our nation’s credit rating if the Democrats would not agree to defund Obamacare. Had such strong-arm tactics worked, it would have meant that constitutionally enacted laws could be nullified if determined minorities opposed them. It would have meant Lebanon on the Potomac.

Which brings up one last parallel: Hezbollah started a war against Israel in 2006, without knowing how to end it. It didn’t matter whether it won or lost. All that mattered was that it “resisted the Zionists.” Hezbollah’s tacit motto was: “I resist, therefore I am.” Early in that 2006 war, Nasrallah boasted of Hezbollah’s “strategic and historical victory,” by holding Israel to a draw. But, in the end, the Israeli Army dealt a devastating blow to Hezbollah’s neighborhoods and Lebanon’s infrastructure. After the smoke cleared, Nasrallah admitted that it was a mistake.

The Tea Party started this war on Obamacare with no chance of success and no idea how to end it — similarly intoxicated by a self-image of heroic “resistance.” And just like Nasrallah, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas engaged in magical thinking, declaring that the House vote to defund Obamacare — although rejected by the Senate — was “a remarkable victory.” But most of his Republican colleagues aren’t buying it. They see only ruin.


But the tea party has a lot to learn, and quickly. “It’s not enough to feel, you need strategy. They need better leadership, not people interested in money, power and fame. Public service requires sacrifice. I see too many self-seekers there…

Most important? “I don’t like saying this but be less gullible. Many of your instincts are right but politics is drowning in money. A lot of it is spent trying to manipulate you, by people who claim to be sincere, who say they’re the only honest guy in the room. Don’t be the fool of radio stars who rev you up for a living. They’re doing it for ratings. Stop being taken in by senators who fund-raise off your anger. It’s good you’re indignant, but they use consultants to keep picking at the scab, not to move the ball forward, sorry to mix metaphors. And know your neighbors: Are they going to elect a woman who has to explain she isn’t a witch, or a guy who talks about ‘legitimate rape’? You’ll forgive politicians who are right in other areas, but your neighbors and the media will not. Get smart about this. Don’t let the media keep killing your guys in the field. Make it hard for them. Enter primaries soberly. When you have to take out an establishment man, do. But if you don’t, stick with him but stiffen his spine.”…

Ted Cruz? Here Taft paused. “That fellow is a little self-propelled.” Another pause. “We had a saying, ‘Give him time and space to fall on his face.'” Others with him on the Hill, however, are “good, smart, intend to make America better, and will be a big part of the future.”


“Unfortunately, rather than supporting House Republicans, a significant number of Senate Republicans actively, aggressively, and vocally led the effort to defeat House Republicans, to defeat the effort to defund Obamacare,” Cruz says, in an interview with National Review. “Once Senate Republicans did that, it crippled the chances of this effort, and it caused the lousy deal.”

When pressed to cite specific Republican senators who may face primary trouble, Cruz refuses — “I’m not interested in a battle of personalities.” But he strongly urges conservatives to hold those lawmakers “accountable.”

Cruz knows many Senate Republicans are unlikely to appreciate his advice to conservatives, or his appetite for another showdown early next year. He doesn’t care, though, since he believes his push to stop Obamcare and connect the party to disenchanted voters beyond the Beltway is critical to the GOP’s future success. “That transformation, shifting the power from the closed rooms in Washington, from the lobbyists and monied interests on K Street, and back to the American people, is the most important fight,” he says.




Via the Daily Rushbo.