Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg) Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

Sen. Ted Cruz, the irksome freshman senator from Texas, never fails to offend. As Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced the deal that ended the Cruz-caused government shutdown and saved the full faith and credit of the United States, Cruz took to the microphones to kick his non-tea party colleagues in the keister. No wonder Dana Milbank branded him “one sore loser” in one of his glorious trademark takedowns.

“It is unfortunate that Washington is not listening to the people,” Cruz said at his press conference notable for its up-is-down quality. I found this odd since, according to the latest Gallup poll,  “the people” made it pretty clear that only 28 percent of them held the Republican Party in high regard. That’s the lowest since Gallup started asking the question in 1992. And, Greg Sargent discovered, this is lower than when the GOP impeached President Clinton. Nice going, fellas.


But when Cruz talked about listening to the people, I think he was talking about a different set of people. By that, I mean donors. To the tea party faithful, Cruz can do no wrong. They love the guy, and they put their money where their hearts are. According to an update of an original post by Philip Bump of Atlantic Wire, Cruz’s political action committee pulled in $1.19 million from 12,000 individual donors in the third quarter of 2013. That was an update because Bump originally reported that the Cruz PAC netted $797,000. That’s nothing to sneeze at either. Now, just imagine how much Cruz has raked in during his 16-day shutdown of the U.S. government.

So, when you hear Cruz mewling about how Washington isn’t “listening to the people,” know that he’s not talking about folks in the reality-based community. He’s talking about the sliver of the electorate that still believes it can defund or repeal Obamacare and who will try again to force the nation into default to get what it wants. Now that we all know what these people are capable of, it is imperative that the grown-ups in the GOP take their party back from the zealots who control it.

Follow Jonathan on Twitter: @Capehartj