This Ted Cruz character is making it easy for senators who don't like him to work together

He’s definitely the person responsible for bringing back the maverick version of John McCain. You will remember McCain the campaign finance reformer who kept co-sponsoring bills about global warming with Joe Lieberman. The one John Kerry thought about making his running mate before Kerry stumbled on the truly exceptional alternative of John Edwards.

The maverick McCain evolved into John McCain, terrible presidential candidate, and then John McCain, terrified right-wing Senate re-election candidate. The sullen, superpartisan version was bitter about losing the presidency to a cocky young whippersnapper like Barack Obama. But now McCain sees an Obama who has become winningly gray-haired and beleaguered. While in his place there is Ted Cruz, who is younger and cockier and a trillion times more irritating.

“When I travel across the state of Texas, men and women stop me all the time, and say: ‘Enough of the games. Go up there, roll up your sleeves, work with each other and fix the problem,’ ” Cruz lectured his colleagues this week, while he was engaged in stopping the budget process dead in its tracks for the ninth straight time.

So, people, who do you think has been more helpful in edging the Senate toward a pinch of progress? The women or Ted Cruz? One strives for collegiality by holding regular bipartisan dinners. One called his colleagues “squishes” for opposing a gun control filibuster.