Take one look at Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) so far and it is hard to come to any conclusion other than that he, much like former Senator Jim DeMint, is merely another grandstanding Senator whose ultimate ambition is not to create the sort of coalitions that gets legislation accomplished but rather, to use the Senate as a vehicle for his own personal brand to permanently capture an irrational audience like Glenn Beck or Alex Jones. Cruz's hypocritical detachment from reality combined with a right-wing, megalomaniac worldview makes him too narcissistic to make even the most reasonable compromises necessary to forward legislation. This implies a public career that will be short and unproductive, but will lead to a decades-long private sector career at the Heritage Foundation, as a lobbyist for the gun industry or whatever other job he is really cynically setting himself up for. His latest victim along the way: the immigration debate.
Regulators regularly shift from their positions in government to much higher-paying jobs running circles around the new regulators as heads of the industries they were only weeks ago regulating. This is seen at most levels of government. This is why the only thing surprising about Jim DeMint abruptly sleezing his way from his Senate seat to a well-paying position as head of the Heritage Foundation was how high his position in government and abrupt his move was: being a Senator typically instills some sense of dignity that requires a few weeks between gigs.
Jim DeMint, like Ted Cruz, was known for being a bit of a charming jerk in the Senate. DeMint campaigned well, supported other far right-wing conservatives and had a Southern charm, but grandstanded against the reasonability of others making compromises to actually get things done. While this was happening, DeMint was getting none of his own legislation through Congress: he is the example of the obstruction and ineffective legislation that has driven Congress to historical lows in popularity, led to our country's credit being downgraded and led Olympia Snow to retire in frustration despite having no serious challenger for her Senate seat. He is the very embodiment of Congress's 16 percent approval rating.
While the parties in Washington remain divided on most issues, they are strongly united on at least one: nobody like Ted Cruz. In a very short time he has alienated Republicans by taking offensive positions on immigration, Hurricane Sandy relief and other issues that hurt the GOP. This has included denouncing fellow Republicans for compromise and doing his best to drag the debate on any issue as far to the right as possible in a sometimes laughably ironic/hypocritical way.
Case in point on hypocrisy: Ted Cruz, Canadian son of a Cuban immigrant, is one of the staunchest opponents of reforming an immigration system which nobody refers to as anything other than "broken;" he denies the very benefit of legal status to those who have been in the country longer and worked for it harder. While other Senators like Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Jeff Sessions (R-AL) chipped away at the bill with over a hundred amendments between them, these were somewhat indirect, such as Grassley trying to expand border security requirements before citizenship would be triggered. Ted Cruz, however, tried to undermine a central point of the Gang of Eight bill by adding an amendment that would block citizenship for undocumented immigrants in the country now.
Ted Cruz is just terrible. As a human being he is a horrible hypocrite who denies those who are more deserving than he the very benefits of the immigration system that he was able to take for himself and his Canadian family; as a legislator, he is too unpopular and extreme to be particularly effective, and will not be able to pass any laws of any real consequence. Rather, he will only be able to drive other people's efforts into a ditch; as a guy with a bank account, he will make it out of government with fat contracts waiting for him as long as he stays his uncompromising self who can appeal to a demographic of Americans who live in a fantasy world occupied by the Glenn Becks of politics. In this world, immigrants are climbing fences to only to steal their job, and the one thing standing between this world and complete anarchy is their gold coins and .22 Caliber they keep loaded under their pillow.
To be sure, Ted Cruz knows how to work a crowd: in Lubbock, Texas, I saw him get a crowd to reply to things like "What was the shortest line in the bible" with "Jesus wept" in unison. He came out with "Give a Texan a horse, a gun and a range, and we'll conquer the world" at that same event, which was just a small event for cotton farmers, and he worked that crowd like Sarah Palin at a big convention. He knows how to appeal to his base, but those people are the only people on the planet he appeals to.
Rep. Peter King (R-NY) embodied much of the frustration with Ted Cruz by boycotting a Republican dinner in New York which he is attending. His reasoning is because Ted Cruz stood against relief for Hurricane Sandy. This is not an isolated incident, however, Cruz will just keep Cruzing on against any personal criticism. After you have explained to the Sandy Hook families why you are against any gun regulations with no hesitation like he did, can shame even register anymore?
The only question remaining is, until he abruptly leaves government for a more profitable position, how much damage will he do on the way out?
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