Ted Cruz’s stinging indictment of the Republican Party

September 25, 2013

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has a very clear target in his don't-call-it-a-filibuster speech: The Republican Party.


This image from Senate video show Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaking on the Senate floor at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013. Cruz says he will speak until he's no longer able to stand in opposition to President Barack Obama's health care law. Cruz began a lengthy speech urging his colleagues to oppose moving ahead on a bill he supports. The measure would prevent a government shutdown and defund Obamacare. (AP Photo/Senate TV)

Yes, Cruz has bashed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) for not allowing any amendments to the legislation that will, eventually, keep the government funded beyond Sept. 30 while stripping the GOP-backed provision to defund Obamacare from the bill.

But he has devoted the bulk of his time -- in a speech that is still going -- to calling out his own side. He lambasted supporters of "fake" and "symbolic" votes -- a not-so-subtle reference to the original plan pushed by House GOP leaders on defunding Obamacare. He repeatedly insisted that anyone who doesn't oppose cloture for the bill -- and that includes the likes of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) -- are, in essence, backing the full funding of the Affordable Care Act. He wondered why more senators weren't in the chamber to take part in the debate.

"Where is the outrage?" Cruz asked at one point.

The message is crystal clear: I get why Democrats are acting the way they are, but I don't understand why Republicans aren't doing more to stand by me.

Cruz's speech then is rightly understood as an indictment of his own party, a party unwilling -- in the Texas senator's mind -- to stand on principle when the moment requires it. As we wrote Monday, from the moment Cruz started talking Tuesday, it was clear that this speech had lots (and lots) of 2016 overtones -- and his focus on how he was the one true standard-bearer for the cause is obviously a (potentially) potent message in a GOP presidential primary.

Cruz's rhetoric won't win him any goodwill among the GOP establishment in Washington. And that's just how he wants it.

Fixbits: 

Republicans Bradley Byrne and Dean Young will face one another in a runoff in Alabama's 1st district special election.

State Rep. Martin Walsh and City Councilor John Connolly advanced in the Boston mayor's race.

Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton said electing a woman president "would be a very strong statement." She also said that “It wouldn’t be the worst thing for Democrats" if Republicans try to shut down the government.

A super PAC promoting Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) says the name "Rand" in its title is a reference to to Ayn Rand.

Mitt Romney will raise money Wednesday for the gubernatorial campaign of Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II (R).

Republican E.W. Jackson was no flamethrower at a Virginia lieutenant governor's debate Tuesday.

The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Justice Department attorney Todd M. Hughes as the highest ranking openly gay judge in the United States.

Bono does a very good impression of Bill Clinton.

Must-reads: 

"Obama, Iranian president open door to better relations" -- Scott Wilson, Washington Post

"Democrats see GOP shutdown threat as opening for 2014 election gains" -- Zachary A. Goldfarb, Washington Post

"House GOP may attach Obamacare delay to CR" -- Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan, Politico

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Zachary A. Goldfarb · September 25, 2013