• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Subscribe
  • RSS

Ted Cruz: Has No Regrets Over Shutdown, Continues To Say It Was All The Democrats Fault

Ted Cruz

Senator Ted Cruz, along with Senator Mike Lee and a hodge podge of Tea Party related groups such as FreedomWorks and Senate Conservatives Fund, spent the summer of 2013 travelling the country rallying Tea Party groups for the idea that the GOP  should refuse to pass a Fiscal Year 2014 Budget, or agree to keep the government funded past September 30th, unless the Affordable Care Act was defunded. It was an idea that seemed as if it could not possibly succeed from the very beginning. Indeed, that’s exactly what fiscally conservative stalwarts like Tom Coburn, along with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner, said could not said exactly that right up until the Sept. 30th budget deadline. Despite those warnings, Cruz and his allies continued to push their “defund” strategy, and the leadership in the House found itself backed into a corner by members of its own party. So, despite everyone knowing that it couldn’t work, the House insisted on sending to the Senate a Continuing Resolution that attempted to defund, and later to delay the implementation of, the President’s primary legislative achievement of his first term.

After September 30th, of course, things went about as you’d expect. The government shutdown, the GOP controlled House continued to send legislation it knew could never pass to the Senate, and the polls began to show that it was Republicans who were getting most of the blame for the shutdown. Finally, after 16 days, and as the shutdown started to bump up against the need to raise the debt ceiling, House and Senate Leadership managed to hammer out a deal that was quickly approved by both Chambers and signed into law by the President. The political damage, though, was done. Polling showed that the GOP suffered significant damage during the 16 day shutdown. Were it not for the fact that the President and Democrats have suffered similar damage thanks to the disastrous Obamacare roll out, that damage would likely still be ongoing.

Despite all of what happened, though, and what we’ve learned since then, the man behind it all has no regrets, and claims that it’s really the Democrats who were at fault:

In an exclusive interview with ABC’s Jonathan Karl for “This Week,” firebrand conservative Sen. Ted Cruz, R – Tx., expressed no regrets over his role in this fall’s government shutdown, placing the blame for the 16-day closure squarely on the shoulders of Democratic leaders.

“I think it was absolutely a mistake for President Obama and Harry Reid to force a government shutdown,” the freshman senator said when asked if pushing the strategy linking funding the government to the funding of Obamacare was a mistake,

When reminded by Karl that even Republican House Speaker John Boehner took conservative groups to task for pushing a faulty strategy, Cruz said “I can’t help what other people say.”

Cruz did find a receptive audience for his shutdown strategy among House conservatives, whom he secretly strategized with during the shutdown at the Capitol Hill Mexican restaurant Tortilla Coast. He joined Karl there to discuss his first year in Congress after being named a 2013 “This Week” game changer.

“The conservatives who met here at Tortilla Coast, who met repeatedly and continue to have conversations, what we’re trying to do is listen to the American people, listen to those over two million people who were saying, this thing ain’t working,” Cruz told ABC News.

Cruz has been the recipient of ire from both Democrats and Republicans — he was famously called a “wacko bird” by Sen. John McCain of Arizona — during his first year, but he insisted that his focus was not on being liked in Washington.

“What I want to do is to serve 26 million Texans, I want to do my job. That’s really my focus,” Cruz said. “Nobody should be surprised, if you’re trying to change Washington that the Washington establishment pushes back.”

I suppose it’s no surprise that Cruz is sticking to the spin he was creating back over the summer, in September, and over the 16 days of the government shutdown. It’s what his constituency, both in Texas and nationally, wants to hear and indeed probably actually believes. Unfortunately for them, it is entirely at odds with the facts and indeed somewhat delusional in the manner in which it ignores political reality. As I noted in the run up to the shutdown, it was simply nonsensical to believe that a Democratically controlled Senate would ever pass, or that President Obama would ever agree to, a budget that defunded or delayed the PPACA. It wasn’t going to happen then and, despite the problems that have arisen connection with the roll out , it isn’t going to happen now. Additionally, given the polling showing that the GOP was taking a bigger political hit from shutdown, Democrats had absolutely no incentive to negotiate with the GOP over a Continuing Resolution over the debt ceiling. People like Coburn knew this, Boehner knew it, McConnel knew it. Indeed, anyone with even the remotest understand of how Washington works knew it.  Had the GOP played their cards right, they could have possibly gotten a better budget deal than what ended up passing earlier this month had they not engaged in an entire month of Tea Party nonsense. As it was, they’re lucky they walked away with what they got. The fact that some people either refuse to recognize this, or simply don’t want to, is an excellent example of how ideology not linked with pragmatism can blind people to simple political reality.

To be honest, I tend to think Cruz recognizes this political reality. He is, after all, not an unintelligent person regardless of what one might think about his political strategy. That leaves only the possibility that, like some of the other leading Tea Party groups, he’s knowingly leading these people around with rhetoric they can rally around rather than telling them the truth about what it’s going to take to achieve anything in Washington. First, there’s the simple fact stated on the House Floor by Congressman Paul Ryan that “in divided government you don’t get everything you want,” meaning that compromise of some kind is necessary as long as other parts of the government are controlled by the opposition party, or even just by people who disagree with you. Second, the only way the GOP is ever going to defund, delay, or repeal the Affordable Care Act is if it wins enough elections to force the change through. That won’t be easy, and it may never happen, but it’s how things wok in our system and either you accept that or you admit that you are going to fail in whatever you want to do. Finally, it’s significant that Cruz made no effort to block the Ryan/Murphy Budget Deal, and does not seem inclined to make any effort to tie Obamacare to either the anticipated January votes on the various Appropriations bills to fund the government or the anticipated February votes on raising the debt ceiling seems to make it apparent that his current rhetoric is more about pleasing the Tea Party wing of the GOP and pursuing his own future agenda than anything else. Some, of course, would call that deliberate deception but I’ll leave to it the reader to make that determination for themselves.

Related Posts:

About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. DrDaveT says:

    In other breaking news, water is wet.

    Come on — he’s a politician with a fringe base of support. He can admit reality (and be finished as a politician), or he can double down on the wingedness of his nut. Which do you think is going to happen?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 2

  2. al-Ameda says:

    “I think it was absolutely a mistake for President Obama and Harry Reid to force a government shutdown,” the freshman senator said when asked if pushing the strategy linking funding the government to the funding of Obamacare was a mistake,

    Well, I suppose there are 2 general possibilities in play here: (1) and I’m being being generous, Ted assumes that if he says this often enough people will believe it; and (2) and I’m leaning in this direction, he’s a somewhat malevolent person with a personality disorder.

    We do know one thing, 27% of the people (the Crazification Factor) or over half the Republican Party, believe Ted’s lies.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 3

  3. CSK says:

    Perhaps I’m mistaken, but didn’t Cruz admit that the whole thing had been pointless grandstanding on his part? Not that he used those exact words.

    He did, however, note that his pac took in nearly $800,000 during the shutdown. So someone profited.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 2

  4. rudderpedals says:

    Reactions to blatant mistakes and reversals in fortune are about integrity. In office, the workplace, and of course here on the internets, it’s obvious when these things happen. Whether and how the individual responds is worth noting.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  5. C. Clavin says:


    Grifters gonna grift…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 4

  6. Tillman says:

    Politicians don’t have regrets until they’re out of office. Then they all just kinda pile on at once…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  7. michael reynolds says:

    Obamacare is here to stay. I’ve been making the same point for a long time, but boiled down it’s this: Debate the wisdom of the ACA all you want, but it moved healthcare firmly into the government’s in-basket, and out of the weird half-in, half-out mess we had before. Health insurance is now a government responsibility.

    Don’t think so? Then go tell all the 24 and 25 and 26 year-olds now on their parent’s policy. Go tell the hundreds of thousands who now have health insurance they couldn’t get before due to pre-existing condition. Go tell all the new Medicaid enrollees. Go out and explain to the voters that you think their sick children should have a lifetime cap on benefits.

    There are two things about Obamacare that are unpopular: the web site, and the mandate. The mandate is how we pay for it all. Shockingly people like benefits and don’t want to pay. Well, they’ll get over it, just like they did with Social Security and Medicare.

    As a few of the less imbecilic Republicans have now begun to acknowledge, we are out of the “Defund” stage and into the “Reform” stage. Reform means it remains a government responsibility. Which is the win, which is what I wanted, which is what will fix Obamacare, which is what will keep it alive until we can reform our way to single payer.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 46 Thumb down 6

  8. john personna says:

    Hey, all the Republicans need is better messaging, and then young people and minorities would understand.

    (Pardon my chortle)

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 3

  9. CSK says:

    This just in: Cruz told the Dallas Morning News last night that he’s taking steps to renounce his Canadian citizenship.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  10. Stonetools says:

    Hope Cruz continues in his delusions. Go ahead Eduardo, see if you can force a showdown over the debt ceiling. You know you want to.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  11. JKB says:

    The greatest trick Ted Cruz ever pulled was in making it impossible for Obama to delay the opening of his failed website and reveal the failure that is government. Turns out no one in Iowa who thought they’d complied with the threat of government violence actually got insurance and when told they had to re-apply yesterday, the site was down.

    For his next trick the next few months will be when everyone finds out how they had to pay more for less and can’t go see their preferred doctor or go to the good hospitals. Plus, big co-pays and the ever looming massive deductible.

    By summer, Democrats won’t be able to g out in public without facing questions about the Obamacare debacle.

    Hey, even African-Americans in Chicago are going all Tea Party at the Town Halls.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 41

  12. Kylopod says:

    The funny thing about the messaging of the “base” is that it’s not just totally divorced from reality, it isn’t even internally consistent. They’ve gone from “Let’s shut down the government to defund Obamacare!” to “The Dems shut the government down! This is an outrage!”

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 3

  13. Rafer Janders says:

    @al-Ameda:

    Well, I suppose there are 2 general possibilities in play here: (1) and I’m being being generous, Ted assumes that if he says this often enough people will believe it; and (2) and I’m leaning in this direction, he’s a somewhat malevolent person with a personality disorder.

    I know Ted. It’s both (1) and (2).

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 3

  14. anjin-san says:

    his failed website and reveal the failure that is government

    Good lord, WTF are you doing in this country? You really should have been a low level Soviet party hack. “We can’t make concrete comrads, it is too difficult. Let’s give up”.

    We all know the website rollout was hosed. So we fix it, and more on. That’s the American way. Don’t you ever get tired of being a whiny little bitch?

    BTW, Target just lost sensitive data belonging to 40 millon of its customer. It is a first class fiasco. Does this mean capitalism is a failure?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 39 Thumb down 4

  15. anjin-san says:

    Hey JKB, do you remember when Apollo 1 burned up during testing, killing its crew?

    I’m glad you were not in charge, a Chinese guy walking on the moon in 2020 would be the first one in history to do it.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 2

  16. al-Ameda says:

    @JKB:

    Hey, even African-Americans in Chicago are going all Tea Party at the Town Halls.

    Yeah, and I saw Michele Bachmann and Steve King down at Safeway getting fitted for new Tim Foil head wraps.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3

  17. C. Clavin says:

    @JKB:
    Nonsense.
    If your opinion is based on nonsense…then your opinion is nonsense.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  18. Ron Beasley says:

    Ted Cruz didn’t run for Senate because he wanted to be a Senator he wanted a stage to showboat and get face time looking forward to a high paid gig at a “think” tank or Fox News.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 4

  19. Just 'nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    I suppose it’s no surprise that Cruz is sticking to the spin he was creating back over the summer, in September, and over the 16 days of the government shutdown. It’s what his constituency, both in Texas and nationally, wants to hear and indeed probably actually believes. Unfortunately for them, it is entirely at odds with the facts and indeed somewhat delusional in the manner in which it ignores political reality

    Alas, Cruz is not elected by facts or political reality, but by Texans, as others have noted above. Which act is more senseless–denying political reality and facts that “[your] constituency, both in Texas and nationally [doesn't want] to hear and indeed probably actually [disbelieves]” or denying your constituency? What lesson hasn’t Ted Cruz learned, Doug?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  20. LibertarianMyAss says:

    What planet do you live on in which people with your beliefs claim to be libertarian? I live on a plant called Earth. We have luscious green grass. Deep blue skies. Tall mountains. Vast oceans. It’s awesome. You should visit some time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  21. MikeSJ says:

    Most likely Ted is just another right wing grifter looking to separate the rubes from their money.

    Unfortunately I always get a strong sense whenever I hear of his antics that this is a full on Sociopath…I hope I’m wrong about that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 4

  22. JKB says:

    @anjin-san: Does this mean capitalism is a failure?

    Only if the Democrats and Obama pass a law requiring Americans to shop at Target using their credit card.

    Government is coercion. The People have no choice but to use Obamacare at risk of government violence for non-compliance. And it is violence to forcibly take a persons property, even for the government to do the taking.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 19

  23. An Interested Party says:

    By summer, Democrats won’t be able to g out in public without facing questions about the Obamacare debacle.

    Hey, even African-Americans in Chicago are going all Tea Party at the Town Halls.

    The final piece to the puzzle–JKB is either bat$hit insane delusional or an incredibly cynical total liar…perhaps both…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2

  24. labman57 says:

    The feeble spin-doctoring by Teddy “don’t hate me because I’m nuts” Cruz — who is once again suggesting that Obama and/or Senate Democrats were responsible for the federal government shutdown — is a completely nonsensical assertion, akin to a kidnapper who holds a gun to the abductee’s head while making pie-in-the-sky random demands, defiantly proclaiming that any harm done to the victim will be the fault of the family members who don’t comply with his ultimatums.

    The American people know who was responsible for this foolish, self-serving tactic and the resulting damage to the national economy, the risk to the nation’s credit rating, and the unnecessary hardships created for millions of Americans who were unable to attain vitally needed federal services.

    Reality check : Tea-chugging Republicans had been planning for this shutdown opportunity ever since Obama was reelected, giddily anticipating bringing the federal government to a complete halt.

    Moral of the story — be careful what you wish for.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 4

  25. An Interested Party says:

    Government is coercion. The People have no choice but to use Obamacare at risk of government violence for non-compliance. And it is violence to forcibly take a persons property, even for the government to do the taking.

    Oh my…aren’t you supposed to be dead?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  26. michael reynolds says:

    @JKB:

    Which would make the entire American defense budget the fruits of government violence against the people. Right?

    Ditto the money we use to pay for medical care for wounded veterans?

    All of it the results of government “violence” against the American people.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 2

  27. Woody says:

    @al-Ameda:

    Of course they believe Senator Cruz. They have an immensely successful media corporation that will promote his viewpoint wholly positively, whilst vilifying anyone who challenges said viewpoint.

    News Corp criticizing a Republican going “too far” : : Baptist ministers criticizing Jesus going “too far”. In either case the congregation wouldn’t stand for it.

    PS Jonathan Karl is an utter tool.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  28. anjin-san says:

    @ JKB

    Let me ask you something. If a free citizen who has no auto insurance because he believes that it is wrong to be forced to carry insurance by threat of government violence t-bones your car tomorrow, and your car is totaled, and you are seriously injured, with no chance of getting compensated, are you OK with that?

    Your ride is gone, you are racking up hospital bills a mile a minute, and you are going to miss at least 6 months of work while you rehab. You have principals.

    No problem right? You will not event be annoyed, because it’s wrong for the government to force anyone to buy insurance.

    It’s a yes/no question. My guess is you wimp out on answering it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 3

  29. Crusty Dem says:

    @JKB:

    And it is violence to forcibly take a persons property, even for the government to do the taking. (sic sic sic)

    So true, and a clear motivation for the Tea Party, not just the magnificent patriots of today, but even those original Tea Party Patriots in Boston who stood up and proudly demanded “NO TAXATION!!!” Yep, that’s exactly what they demanded, nothing more, nothing less.

    Just because it makes sense in your head doesn’t make it so. In fact, in your case there’s a near perfect lack or correlation…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2

  30. cleverboots says:

    If Cruz had anything worthwhile to say he would represent more than just the far right. Remember, he was the one claiming that birth control pills cause abortions-a patently untrue
    statement he used merely to inflame the zealots. Texas deserves him for supporting him. The Country does not.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  31. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @JKB:

    Government is coercion.

    You are nothing but a caricature and your statements deserve nothing but ridicule as they have no tether to reality. You obviously need to leave this country as your continued presence here borders on treason. (and I am being only slightly sarcastic in that last sentence).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 3

  32. KM says:

    @JKB:

    Government is coercion.

    Why you anti-democratic non-patriotic America-hating Founding Father mocker!!!

    Sarcasm aside – Government comes from the consent of the Governed, that is a principle straight from the Declaration of Independence and has been a cornerstone of American political philosophy since Day 1. This is the kind of rhetoric that exposes the traitorous nutbags that dare to call themselves patriots. How can you claim to be a True American (TM) while denying an underlying principle of its nature? How can you claim Government is Violence when screaming out We The People (are the Government! is the end of that sentence, btw)?

    And it is violence to forcibly take a persons property, even for the government to do the taking.

    Question – is it violence to seize illegal drugs from a cartel or a gang? Is it violence to disarm and take the gun from a murderer for evidence? Is it violence to take the car of a repeat drunk driver with a conviction and a fatality under his belt? is it violence to seize chemical or biological weapons from a terrorist about to start an attack? Technically it is their personal property.

    Or is it just violence when you don’t like it happening to you….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2

  33. Tyrell says:

    What shutdown? I didn’t see any thing around here that was affected.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 9

  34. Rafer Janders says:

    @JKB:

    The People have no choice but to use Obamacare at risk of government violence for non-compliance.

    Just as I have no choice but to stop my car when the light turns red at risk of government violence.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2

  35. john personna says:

    @JKB:

    “The People have no choice but to use Obamacare at risk of government violence for non-compliance.”

    @Tyrell:

    “What shutdown? I didn’t see any thing around here that was affected.”

    You guys know that a bad answer is worse than no answer at all, right?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  36. KM says:

    To quote john personna: Dear Downvoter-

    claim Government is Violence when screaming out We The People (are the Government! is the end of that sentence, btw)?

    What part of this is not to your liking? The part where people on this thread (and in the real world) are claiming “Government is Violence” and that those people are most likely to also espouse the “We The People” meme? Thus by the transitive property Government is Violence=We The People as the principle Government=The General Populace via consent is in play. Its true – if the people are America, then we are the ones visiting this “violence” upon ourselves

    Soooo…… what the complaint? Is all government bad completely and utterly no exceptions? Do you not like when a negative but logically accurate comparison is made? Or is this a case of “Why are you hitting yourself” on a massive scale?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  37. john personna says:

    @KM:

    That was my restrained version, of course.

    If I were to guess though, I think libertarians think they have this figured out. If they can vote a small government, then most action takes place in the market, and free from evil government interference.

    But … I’m sure you see what happened there. They formed the government [which protects the market] from the evil government.

    Kind of self-denying.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  38. michael reynolds says:

    @john personna:

    Libertarianism is mostly people striking what they think of as bold poses. Which is why it’s understandable in the young who mistake drama for substance, and just kind of sad in adults.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  39. C. Clavin says:

    @Rafer Janders:
    It’s really only government violence when you want to whine about something.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  40. anjin-San says:

    @ JKB

    So target has nothing to answer for, because people shop there by choice.

    I see.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  41. grumpy realist says:

    @JKB: Government is coercion the same ways that laws are coercion.

    If you want to live in a society where anyone can do exactly as they please without any check on them by government, there are places for you. Like Somalia. And other failed African countries.

    The fact that they have no GNP worth anything is, of course, irrelevant because FREEDOM.

    (Honestly, don’t you idiots get tired of spewing out the same old tripe?)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  42. michael reynolds says:

    @grumpy realist:

    They can’t learn from the constant intellectual failure of their ideology because it’s not about ideas, really, it’s about self-image. They see themselves as bold individualists in much the same way that liberals see themselves as compassionate and conservatives see themselves as tough.

    Objectively, of course, liberalism wins the reality game since every, single successful nation that provides its people with a good quality of life is liberal. They all have “Big” government. They all have social safety nets. They all practice progressive taxation. They all limit both government and the marketplace.

    Zero successful countries are libertarian or conservative (by the American definition.) Not one.

    But that doesn’t matter, because that’s mere reality. They don’t care about reality, they care about myth and heroic fantasies and distorted nostalgia, and above all, about their self-image. Their identity. That’s why even when they’re bright they can’t really accept reality. It would mean becoming different people.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  43. dmhlt says:

    @Woody:

    No surprise there – Karl trained at a right-wing media center:
    http://fair.org/extra-online-articles/a-right-wing-mole-at-abc-news/

    You can see list of his fellow alumni like Ann Coulter, Dinesh D’Souza, Maggie Gallagher, Laura Ingraham …
    http://www.collegiatenetwork.org/alum

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  44. Pinky says:

    @An Interested Party: Disgusting.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  45. Blue Galangal says:

    @john personna: As one of my professors was fond of pointing out, you can’t have property rights without government.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  46. An Interested Party says:

    Disgusting.

    Yes, I agree that those who try to paint the IRS as some kind of fascist organization and the federal government as some kind of totalitarian force are disgusting as well as delusional…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0