In his first two months as a senator, Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has established himself as a conservative to watch. From standing as one of only three senators to vote against confirming Secretary of State John Kerry, to being a vocal critic of President Barack Obama's health care and gun control measures, the freshman tea party favorite has drawn attention for his staunch right-wing views.
In a new profile of Cruz out this week, McClatchy highlights how the freshman senator is ruffling Democratic feathers on Capitol Hill, and thrilling Republicans.
“He’s not going to be ignored,” Bill Miller, a Texas political consultant told the news service. “He’s resonating with the conservatives. He’s grabbing the conservative mantle and he’s running with it."
Cruz has also drawn the ire of some of his Senate colleagues, however, after his aggressive questioning of Chuck Hagel, President Barack Obama’s nominee for Defense Secretary. As the New Yorker pointed out earlier this month, some Democrats even compared Cruz to former Sen. Joseph McCarthy:
Senator Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat, stopped short of invoking McCarthy’s name, but there was no mistaking her allusion when she talked about being reminded of “a different time and place, when you said, ‘I have here in my pocket a speech you made on such-and-such a date,’ and of course there was nothing in the pocket.”
The magazine's Jane Mayer reported that Cruz had made McCarthy-esque statements in the past as well:
Boxer’s analogy may have been more apt than she realized. Two and a half years ago, Cruz gave a stem-winder of a speech at a Fourth of July weekend political rally in Austin, Texas, in which he accused the Harvard Law School of harboring a dozen Communists on its faculty when he studied there.
Cruz's spokeswoman, Catherine Frazier, told TheBlaze that the lawmaker's point about Harvard Law School being home to Communists “was absolutely correct.”
“It’s curious that the New Yorker would dredge up a three-year-old speech and call it ‘news,’” Frazier told TheBlaze.
For his part, Cruz doesn't seem to mind the attention or the backlash to his assertive presence so far.
"Washington is a rough-and-tumble place, and I certainly don't mind if some will take shots at me," Cruz said at a February gun event.