Texas Senator Ted Cruz knows exactly what he is doing and he thinks he is achieving all of his goals. His disruptive tactics are winning him acclaim from conservative Americans who disdain all things Washington, while the Republican establishment is fuming with anger.
Rafael Edward "Ted" Cruz was born in Canada but has been a Texan pretty much all his life. From his earliest days he has been ambitious and driven. He was valedictorian of his high school class. He graduated cum laude from Princeton University in 1992 and magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1995. Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz once said, "Cruz was off the charts brilliant."
Cruz clerked for Chief Justice William Rehnquist, the first Latino to clerk for a chief justice. He went into private practice before joining the Bush-Cheney campaign in 1999. He worked in the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission before being appointed Texas Solicitor General in 2003. As a lawyer, Cruz has authored more than 80 U.S. Supreme Court briefs, and has presented nine oral arguments before the court. Cruz is a gun-rights supporter, he has defended the rights of students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in classrooms, and he opposes same-sex marriage.
But President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, has given Cruz the opportunity to quickly increase his national profile and collect deep-pocketed supporters. Like the Calgary Stampeder he is by birth, he has shaken up the political arena by insisting that Congress defund Obamacare as a condition for keeping the government open. But his twist in logic is that it will be President Obama's fault if the government shuts down. And, in another amazing twist, Cruz has promised to filibuster in the Senate the very budget bill that defunds Obamacare he asked the House of Representatives to pass.
Cruz defended his tactics to Fox News, "I mean folks can do whatever they want to resist change, and there are a lot of people that have been in Washington a long time that are fearful of change," he said. "They're fearful of risk, they're fearful of anything that changes the clubby way Washington does business." Brilliant! And this sentiment reflects the feelings of many tea-party Americans. Furthermore, it has won the strong endorsement of former Alaska Governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Palin is an opportunist as well.
Cruz believes that if his efforts to defund Obamacare fail, his supporters will respect him for standing up for principle. So the more criticism he receives, the better for his future. As he said to Fox News, "No matter what insults others choose to hurl at me, and in the past few weeks they have picked quite a few, some of them have been pretty amusing actually, but no matter what they do I'm not going to respond in kind." Ah, the high road.
Cruz believes he is the smartest man in Washington, and his sights are set on the White House in 2016. In his senior thesis at Princeton, entitled "Clipping the Wings of Angels," he argued against an all-powerful state. So it should be no surprise he is opposed to implementation of Obamacare. But how smart can Cruz be to want to risk a government shut down, or a debt ceiling breach, either of which will result in disastrous consequences for Americans.
There is an old saying that applies perfectly to Ted Cruz: "Never in doubt, seldom right."