A number of commentators, this one included, have hit Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) for his shutdown squad debacle and his general incivility. But let’s consider what occurred in the wake of the shutdown:
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) got a jolt in the polls and recreated himself as a policy wonk and a constructive player in conservative ranks. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) took on Cruz and thereby elevated her stature. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) embarrassed himself and had to turn back to more serious pursuits, including foreign policy.
Gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli lost valuable time and momentum, losing his race but teaching the party a thing or two about self-defeating closed conventions as nominating vehicles.
The mainstream Republicans and business community woke up and is now engaged in electorate politics — with a vengeance.
Speaker of the House John Boehner (Ohio) emerged stronger than ever and better able to lead the House. Republicans learned well in advance of the 2014 election that zealous obstruction was not the route to electorate success. House gadfly Justin Amash (Mich.), whose record on national security is to the left of President Obama, is now being primaried. The House is now seriously considering immigration reform, which could get traction while the hardliners are back on their heels.
So in a way Cruz is responsible in large party for a needed course correction by the GOP. Sure, it wasn’t what he had in mind but Republicans should accept graciously the gift of a renewed practical and constructive brand of conservatism.