Ted Cruz has made the lives of congressional Republicans miserable. If he’s the Republican nominee in November, and he blows it against someone Republicans consider easy pickings, the spell will be broken. No more mindless filibusters, pointless government shutdowns, and headlong charges over the “Cliffs of Insanity,” a.k.a. show votes to defund Obamacare.
Republican regulars, you see, actually hate Ted. They have much more personal antipathy for him than for Hillary. They don’t want to hear Cruz’s voice again when this campaign over, let alone see him in the White House. “Lucifer in the flesh” is how former House speaker John Boehner described him recently. “I have Democrat friends and Republican friends,” Boehner added. “I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life.”
And maybe, such Republicans hope, after he loses the presidency, Washington politics will lose its allure for The Ted. That brings up the final, and most interesting, reason that a cadre of the GOP establishment would prefer Cruz. His defeat might drive a silver-tipped stake through a pernicious theory that just won’t die among movement conservatives. This dubious idea is that Republicans have been losing national elections because they’ve been nominating closet liberals, squishy moderates, and fellow travelers instead of “true” conservative champions like Ted Cruz.