By MIKE LAMM
A recent poll by NBC news and the Wall Street Journal confirmed what most of us already know; that despite a concerted effort by the GOP to cloud the facts, most Americans blame Republicans for the most recent government shut. In addition, the poll shows that only 24 percent of the population has a favorable view of Republicans in general (the lowest number in the poll’s history), and fewer than 21 percent hold a favorable view of the Tea Party.
This is damning news for the Tea Party and favorite Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who had led the charge on Capital Hill to hold the government fiscally hostage in a failed attempt to force the Obama administration to make concessions on the Affordable Care Act, the national health care initiative that was passed into law by Congress in 2010 and was upheld by the U.S. Supreme in 2012.
Cruz has been in the headlines recently, but for all the wrong reasons.
Senator John McCain, a former Republican presidential candidate and a strident conservative, recently referred to Cruz, Rand Paul and other members of the Tea Party who proposed defaulting on our national debt as “wacko birds.” He derided the efforts to defund Obamacare as “not rational” and “a fool’s errand.” Although he has since apologized for the “wacko bird” comment, McCain is just one of many in the GOP to question Cruz’s tactics.
Other conservative voices as well as members of the Republican party have joined the chorus against Cruz. Former Florida Republican congressman and current talk-show host Joe Scarburough has called Cruz a “total train wreck” and “completely and willfully ignorant. ... He is just desperate not to look like the biggest fool in Washington, D.C.,” Scarburough recently stated.
Wall Street Journal columnist and former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan, commenting on the pending government shutdown Cruz has supported, said last week that “Republicans made a mistake, they picked a fight, they had no strategy, they had no endgame, they had no plan.” Senator Bob Corker, R-Tennessee, simply called Cruz “confused.”
Another Republican, representative Peter King of New York, has called Cruz a “fraud” and living in his own “echo chamber. I hope people will get the message this guy is bad for the party,” King said, adding “We can’t be going off on these false missions that Ted Cruz wants us to go on. The issues are too important. They require real conservative solutions, not cheap headline-hunting schemes.”
Pulitzer prize-winning conservative columnist and FOX News panelist Charles Krauthammer warned Cruz was “leading Republicans on a suicide mission” in his efforts to defund Obamacare. “I admire the sincerity and the passion of those who don’t want to pass the budget unless you get rid of Obamacare, but its utterly impossible in the real world,” he said.
Referring to Cruz and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, Krauthammer added, “These are the generals who lead people into the Battle of the Little Big Horn and then go home and have lunch, leaving the troops out there.” He labeled those attempting to defund Obamacare by holding the government hostage as members of a “kamikaze brigade” and a “suicide caucus.”
Echoing similar sentiments was Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform and an ardent Tea Party supporter. “I think it was very possible for us to delay the implementation of Obamacare for a year until Cruz came along and crashed and burned,” Norquist told the Washington Post. Cruz needlessly dragged Republicans “across broken glass” in his quest to defund the Affordable Care Act and “should apologize for pushing an impossible task,” Norquist said. “No one is questioning his conservative credentials,. It’s his wisdom and his judgement and the name calling that he has thrown at every Republican in the House and Senate,” that makes no sense, Norquist stated. Cruz “pushed House Republicans into traffic and then wandered away,” Norquist quipped. Then, he simply “stood on the side and confused people,” he added.
And even Carl Rove, former White House Deputy Chief of Staff, Republican political consultant and principle advisor to the American Crossroads Super PAC, has stated Cruz’s “fellow senators don’t know where he is coming from.”
Rove said the attempt to defund Obamacare by holding the government hostage over debt ceiling negotiations “was a strategy laid out by Mike Lee and Ted Cruz without any consultation with their colleagues.” He added, “You can not build a congressional majority in either party ... unless you are treating your colleagues with a certain amount of respect.”
That respect is sorely missing in Cruz’s approach to governance. For someone who holds impeccable academic credentials, his actions seriously bring his highly- touted intellect into question.
Mike Lamm is a Daily Democrat reporter.