Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) certainly has made a name for himself on Capitol Hill. He’s been there barely three months, but he has proved to be a first-class pain the butt. The dim view of the Lone Star senator is a bipartisan affair. We watched him get his knuckles rapped by Sens. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) for questioning the patriotism of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel during his confirmation hearings. And we have read about the discomfort he is causing within the Republican caucus. Ruth Marcus wrote, “One Republican senator described Cruz to me as ‘Jim DeMint without the charm.’”
But nothing beats the dressing-down Cruz suffered at the hands of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) at yesterday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on assault weapons. Calling into question the constitutionality of a ban on such weapons by asking whether the First Amendment applied only to certain books, Cruz elicited the righteous ire of the longtime legislator.
Let me just make a couple of points in response—one, I’m not a sixth grader, Senator, I’ve been on this committee for twenty years. I was a mayor for nine years. I walked in, I saw people shot. I’ve looked at bodies that have been shot with these weapons. I’ve seen the bullets that implode… Look, there are other weapons. I’m not a lawyer, but after twenty years, I’ve been up close and personal to the Constitution. I have great respect for it. This doesn’t mean that weapons of war…and the Heller decision clearly points out three exceptions, two of which are pertinent here. And so you know, it’s fine you want to lecture me on the Constitution. I appreciate it. Just know I’ve been here for a long time….I’m reasonably well-educated. I thank you for the lecture. Incidentally, this does not prohibit — you used the word ‘prohibit’ – it exempts 2,271 weapons. Isn’t that enough for the people of the United States? Do they need a bazooka?
How much you want to bet that other members on the Senate Judiciary Committee were saying, “You go, girl!” under their breaths? That might be pushing it. Still, I have no doubt there were smirks of satisfaction all over the Capitol over someone finally giving the bloviating senator a public beat-down.
Not that it deterred him. Cruz observed that Feinstein “chose not to answer the question that I asked.” For the love of God.
One day soon, the freshman senator from Texas will learn that he can’t be a successful lawmaker in a body as exclusive as the U.S. Senate with endless displays of arrogance and condescension that alienate Democrats and Republicans alike. Such an act might play well with his tea party loyalists. Who knows, Texans may even keep reelecting him as a way of flashing the middle finger to Washington. But with Texas trending purple, Cruz might not be there for long.
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