Ted Cruz ‘s long game

Texas senator Ted Cruz has infuriated his Republican party leadership by boxing them in into a situation where they could not avoid looking as if they were surrendering on the Tea Party push to defund Obamacare. And sure enough, this afternoon, the Senate voted to restore funding for Obamacare in the continuing resolution bill and sent it back to the House of Representatives.


I don’t think Cruz really cares that so many are laughing at him. He clearly has set his sights on a presidential run and posturing on Obamacare is his way of persuading the rubes in his party that he alone is their stalwart champion.

And it seems to be working. A new poll of Republican primary voters finds that Cruz is now the front runner for the 2016 Republican nominations and is perceived as the leader of the party. He has even pushed ahead of Rand Paul, who got a boost from his own long speechifying earlier this year. Is this the beginning of a trend where anyone with serious ambitions for the White House starts giving interminable speeches?

Our numbers also suggest that Cruz is now viewed more broadly as the leader of the Republican Party. When asked whether they trust Cruz or GOP leader Mitch McConnell more, Cruz wins out 49/13. When it comes to who’s more trusted between Cruz and Speaker John Boehner, Cruz has a 51/20 advantage. And when it comes to Cruz and 2008 GOP nominee and Senate colleague John McCain, Cruz wins out 52/31. He now has more credibility with the GOP base than the folks who have been leading the party for years.

Of course, The Daily Show had a field day with Cruz’s 21-hours of speechifying on the floor of the US senate about the need to deny funding for Obamacare, when it was perfectly clear to everyone, including his Republican colleagues, that this would not change the outcome.

(This clip aired on September 25, 2013. To get suggestions on how to view clips of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report outside the US, please see this earlier post.)


  1. colnago80 says

    I have stated in several comments on Ed Brayton’s blog that, IMHO, Senator Cruz is the most dangerous man in the Rethuglican Party. He combines a high intelligence with the ability to demagogue that would would make Adolf Frankenberger and Huey Long envious. He has an almost unique ability to make totally ridiculous statements seem reasonable. Anyone who doubts this assessment should read the article in a recent edition of Gentleman’s Quarterly which I link to below. We underestimate this man at our peril. I completely agree with Prof. Singham here (a rather rare occurrence). There can be no doubt that Cruz is gearing up for 2016 and his actions are focused on appealing to the teabaggers and preventing any rivals for their affection from entering the race.

    One thing should be kept in mind, he challenged the establishment candidate for the Senate seat in Texas in the primary, was considered very much an underdog and was able to prevail. Those who think he will be an easy out in the upcoming Rethuglican primaries are whistling Dixie.


  2. tuibguy says

    If he makes it through the primaries and is the candidate for President he may do well with the shrinking Tea Party base, but he would have to answer to a much larger general voting public that is getting seriously pissed at the Republican Party for making such an effort at destroying government.

    I don’t think that the Electoral College and the Supreme Court could pull the Republicans’ ass out of the fire like they did in 2000. The Republicans are making themselves unelectable, sure to appeal to the single issue “No Moar Taxes” crowd, but who else?

  3. leni says

    I can’t get past the Green Eggs and Ham analogy.

    Did Cruz seriously never read the whole story? As soon as I heard he used it I thought maybe it was a jab (and an apt one, strangely) at his fellow Tea Partiers. But that just doesn’t seem possible.

  4. Frank says

    “Rethuglican” Why not “Republican”?

    “Adolf Frankenberger” Why not “Adolf Hitler”?

    Why not call people by their actual names? Some people on the right refer to the president as “Obozo.” How does this name changing aid an argument? I’d like to understand your thinking on this, because I really don’t get it, and a lot of people seem to be doing it.

  5. colnago80 says

    I refer to the GOP as the Rethuglican Party as they seem to consist of a bunch of thugs, like Senator Cruz. I refer to Adolf as Frankenberger because there appears to be some evidence that his biological paternal grandfather was a 19 year old man named Leopold Frankenberger.

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