Ted Cruz Refuses To Rule Out Making The Same Dumb Mistake Again

Ted Cruz isn't ruling out a reprise of his foolish, quixotic, crusade.

Ted Cruz

Notwithstanding the fact that the government shutdown he helped to orchestrate was clearly a massive failure in that it failed to achieve any of the goal he had in mind, and may have actually damaged the GOP politically, Texas Senator Ted Cruz is not ruling out doing it all over again:

It’s the question on everyone’s minds: could the country be pushed to the brink of another shutdown when government funding runs out in January?

Sen. Ted Cruz, the Texas Republican who pushed the strategy to tie government funding to defunding President Obama’s health care law, wouldn’t rule out revisiting it in the coming months.

“I would do anything, and I will continue to do anything I can, to stop the train wreck that is Obamacare,” Cruz said when asked by ABC News’ Jon Karl whether he would rule out another shutdown. “The test that matters Jon, is are we doing anything for all the people that are getting hurt from Obamacare?”

(…)

Cruz added that he wouldn’t “nail down all sorts of future tactical decisions,” but he made it clear that Obamacare would be at the center of his strategy.

“What I intend to do is continue to stand with the American people working to stop Obamacare,” Cruz said.  “Washington focuses on the politics all day long. That’s what this town does, but what we saw in the deal last night, is that the U.S. Senate is not concerned about all the people out of a job, all the people in part-time work, all the people whose health insurance premiums are skyrocketing, all the people who are losing their health insurance, and that’s happening because of Obamacare.”

Cruz’s intention here are clear. Indeed, they’ve been clear ever since he made himself the leading voice of the “Defund Obamacare” movement at the beginning of the summer. Cruz intends to make himself the leading voice on the right when it comes to opposition to the Affordable Care Act, possibly with the intention of riding that wave all the way to a Presidential campaign in 2016. In the process, he’ll be able to continue building up his mailing list, pulling in donations for his campaign and for his Political Action Committee and, of course, getting his name in the news as much as humanely possible. Indeed, after the past three weeks, I think we can expect Cruz to be a much more frequent guest on cable news and the Sunday shows than he has been in the past. In other words, it will all be about Ted Cruz. But, wasn’t what it was really all about to begin with?

As for Cruz’s threat of future government shutdowns, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has other opinions on the matter:

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell says he will not allow another government shutdown as part of a strategy to repeal ObamaCare.

McConnell (Ky.) told The Hill in an interview Thursday afternoon that his party learned a painful political lesson over the past 16 days, as its approval rating dropped while the government was shuttered.

He said there’s no reason to go through the political wringer again in January, when the stopgap measure Congress passed late Wednesday is set to expire.

“One of my favorite old Kentucky sayings is there’s no education in the second kick of a mule. The first kick of a mule was when we shut the government down in the mid-1990s and the second kick was over the last 16 days,” he said. “There is no education in the second kick of a mule. There will not be a government shutdown.

“I think we have fully now acquainted our new members with what a losing strategy that is,” he added.

McConnell said pretty much the same thing in an interview with National Review’s Robert Costa, and it’s clear from the Minority’s Leaders response to Costa’s last question in that piece that he really doesn’t think very much of the road that Cruz led him and the rest of the Republican Party down over the past several weeks. Indeed, in his response to the first question he emphasizes that he had been speaking out against Cruz’s defund strategy since July. Even more so than many of his other colleagues in the Senate so far, McConnell is clearly not pleased with Cruz and not afraid to make that known publicly, even in the face of a primary challenge from a Tea Party candidate that is already getting positive mentions from the likes of Sarah Palin. Until now, the only people willing to take Cruz on directly like this have been people like Congressman Peter King who, because of the nature of his district, is unlikely to face a challenge from the right in 2014.  It’s also worth noting that McConnell did not support Cruz’s initial efforts in any way and was among that group of Republican Senators who defied his exhortation to refuse to invoke cloture on the initial Continuing Resolution.

The question is whether Ted Cruz cares about any of this, and whether anything could really be done to stop him from causing another shutdown in three months in order to make another political point about Obamacare. That’s not really something that McConnell has any control over. It would depend on what the House GOP Caucus wants to do and whether the House GOP lets them get away with it. If they follow the same game they did over the past three weeks, then we’d almost certainly see another shutdown and the results, both in terms of a final deal and the damage to the Republican Party, would likely be the same. If, however, the leadership and what James Joyner referred yesterday as the Sane Republican Minority stands up to the Cruzites and the Tea Party, then their tactics would fail and perhaps Congress would actually be able to accomplish something.

Whatever the outcome, it appears that we’ll have Ted Cruz to kick around for a bit longer.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Deficit and Debt, Health Care, US Politics, , , ,
Doug Mataconis
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. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. C. Clavin says:

    Grifters gotta grift

  2. Ron Beasley says:

    This is not a dumb mistake for Cruz – he’s getting exactly what he wants. Face time as a Tea Party bomb thrower and a mailing list.

  3. john personna says:

    I am almost ready to downgrade my political “attention,” aspiring again to “rational inattention.”

    Before I do though, I will say that this ride ended up being a good one, politically. Yes, apologies to James and everyone else who suffered a disruption in pay. I hope they went to the (state or city) park though, and relaxed on their soon-to-be paid holiday.

    But the really nice thing is that Wile E. Coyote, I mean Ted Cruz, has been found to be not such a super genius after all. And the Teas have been taught that madness does not bring success.

    If they ever forget that, we can remind them.

  4. john personna says:

    Meep, meep.

  5. michael reynolds says:

    I don’t generally subscribe to the Obama-as-chess-playing-genius, but if I did, and if I were to mix metaphors, I’d wonder if we didn’t just see a hell of a rope-a-dope. Negotiate, compromise, negotiate, compromise until that perfect opportunity presents itself and, Bam!

  6. anjin-san says:

    Most rational people agree that Cruz is a dangerous demagogue. But, you know what they say – the only thing worse than having people talk about you is when no one is talking about you.

  7. C. Clavin says:

    @ MR…
    I think it was less rope-a-dope and more just being fed up.
    Had enough of this $hit…as it were.
    He tried to bring them along on the Stimulus…and on Obamacare…he tried Simpson-Bowles…and then he tried a Grand Bargain that was even to the right of Simpson-Bowles….and then he even paid a ransom on the last Debt Ceiling hostage-taking.
    Enough already.
    At least that’s how I imagine it.

  8. beth says:

    Stolen from someone’s twitter (sorry I can’t remember who) – Q. what do they call the government shutdown at Ted Cruz’s house?

    A. Pledge week.

  9. legion says:

    This is the problem with letting a Senator give ideas to Representatives… Cruz doesn’t have to face the consequences of his stupidity – or its effects on his constituents – for another 4 or 5 years.

  10. al-Ameda says:

    I think Bob Dylan sums up how I feel about the prospect of Ted’s plan to do this again:

    And here I sit so patiently
    Waiting to find out what price
    You have to pay to get out of
    Going through all these things twice

    Oh, Mama, is this really the end
    To be stuck inside of Mobile
    With the Memphis blues again.

  11. reid says:

    The next time this dope mentions all of the people being “hurt” by Obamacare, I wish they’d ask him about the millions of people being helped by it.

  12. john personna says:

    @Ron Beasley:

    This is not a dumb mistake for Cruz – he’s getting exactly what he wants. Face time as a Tea Party bomb thrower and a mailing list.

    I think one of the worst things you can do, after a victory, is to claim that the vanquished has won. It stinks from a game theory perspective. You want to project strength, that you own it.

    Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell says he will not allow another government shutdown as part of a strategy to repeal ObamaCare.

    and

    Donors’ frustration with GOP mounts

    The amazing thing is that Democrats got all this … but they can’t quite enjoy themselves.

    No no, Cruz has destroyed his cred among the money men, and taken the Tea Party down with him, but since he can still pretend he is happy you say he has won.

  13. Mikey says:

    Here’s a lengthy and insightful analysis (that just happens to echo my own opinion):

    Why Only Republicans Can Save Us From the Tea Party

    The essential underpinnings of conservatism from Burke to Buckley have been a respect for the institutions of both governance and society, moderation in manner, skepticism about major and abrupt change and a concomitant rejection of extremes….

    The Republican right-wing is the antithesis of historical conservatism. It is radical in approach, extremist and reactionary in viewpoint, uncompromising in mode of operation, lacking in respect for the institutions that undergird the American republic and contemptuous of any opposition to their viewpoint.

  14. Until now, the only people willing to take Cruz on directly like this have been people like Congressman Peter King who, because of the nature of his district, is unlikely to face a challenge from the right in 2014.

    Kinda shows the sad state of the GOP when the guy who started his career financing the IRA is the voice of sanity.

  15. David M says:

    Is there any evidence that Cruz or his supporters see the shut down and fight over the debt ceiling as a dumb mistake? Rational observers might, but that’s not who we’re talking about here. To Cruz and his supporters, Obamacare (moderate health care reform) will ruin America, while defaulting after not raising the debt ceiling is nothing to worry about.

    I see no evidence they are any more rational or less dangerous now than they were before.

  16. Buffalo Rude says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I don’t generally subscribe to the Obama-as-chess-playing-genius, but if I did, and if I were to mix metaphors, I’d wonder if we didn’t just see a hell of a rope-a-dope.

    Bammerz, IMO, has used the rope-a-dope many a time and with great success, relatively speaking. Almost every concession or political victory he has earned involved giving certain segments of the right wing time to swing themselves tired, promptly followed by a combination of punches that usually ends the whole match quickly afterwards. Though I’ve always referred to it as the “give ’em enough rope” or “keep handing them anvils” strategy.

  17. john personna says:

    @David M:

    The only constituency Cruz has now is the slender minority who thought it was “the good fight,” and even now blame Boehner or call for an Obama impeachment.

    It does not really matter what they think, or claim to think.

    What matters is the purchase they have on their broader party, and the broader country.

    That is much reduced.

  18. Kit Smith says:

    If he had to rule out making the same dumb mistake again, it would imply that he’d made a mistake in the first place and that would make him look weak. This is Political Posturing 101 here, not exactly rocket surgery. McConnell and Boehner at least have the understanding that they have to deal with the loons so there’s a certain amount of kabuki that goes along with placating them before tossing in the towel, but Cruz doesn’t have that backstop as the agitator in chief for this fiasco.

  19. john personna says:

    “The president gets up every day and reads the newspaper and thanks God that Ted Cruz is in the United States Senate,” a Republican senator pointedly told Cruz at a closed-door meeting.

    That’s gotta sting, if not then, when it becomes a meme …

  20. Jr says:

    Yeah, I am starting to question that whole narrative of Cruz being a really bright guy. Because the more he talks the more it seems that he just another right wing imbecile.

  21. Anonne says:

    He’s not an imbecile; he’s crazy like a fox, unlike the base, which is just loony tunes after decades of right wing fearmongering by Fox and its friends, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, etc. He is Sarah Palin in drag – playing the base to keep the wingnut welfare going. There is no better gig than grandstanding for these people, who will give their savings and Social Security Money to stop the dreaded Socialism.

    He is putting himself in the pole position for 2016, making Rand Paul look like a moderate. Rand Paul! And Marco Rubio, too. He just sonned these two in the fundraising race by showing himself to be the One True Believer. And even if he doesn’t win the nomination in 2016, he wins because dude will keep getting paid.

  22. Jr says:

    @Anonne: Yeah, but what good is that if everyone outside of the Tea Party think you are a loser. If Ted Cruz’s goal it to just be a grifter then going this route isn’t a bad way to go…….but if he actually wants to be president, then yeah this isn’t smart at all.

  23. grumpy realist says:

    @Jr: So I guess the question is whether Ted Cruz has any acquaintance with reality or does he actually think this will get him anywhere.

    I’d have more admiration if it were the grifter route. At least I could understand the logic. I’m afraid, however, that Ted Cruz sincerely believes what he’s saying. He’s seen himself as Extry Speshul for so long that he honestly thinks this is a route to the White House.

    Goldwater, round II. And Goldwater was rational by comparison to this nitwit.

  24. rudderpedals says:

    Shorthand for joint appearances of Cruz and pere: Double Cross

  25. john personna says:

    @Anonne:

    No, he overplayed that.

    When he is told by a Republican Senator that “The president gets up every day and reads the newspaper and thanks God that Ted Cruz is in the United States Senate” he’s gone at least one bridge too far.

    He may run, and he may enjoy a moment in the sun, in 2016, but every moment in the sun for him pays double for the Democrats.

  26. john personna says:

    (What, do Democrats think Cruz is some respected adversary at this point? That’s the way some of you are acting.)

  27. David M says:

    @john personna:

    The issue isn’t how this was seen by rational people, but by the Tea Party and GOP Primary voters.

  28. Anonne says:

    I will reiterate the point in this way, that it’s entirely too easy to dismiss him as some dim bulb. The man is a talented lawyer with a gift for oratory, when he isn’t reading Dr. Seuss. He’s a trained actor, really, because he doesn’t have to believe what he says in order to win a debate, he just has to sound convincing. And that can be easily done when you speak about grandiose themes and tropes like ‘freedom’ and ‘socialism’ and the like.

    The wingnut gravy train is probably good for another 30-40 years (when my generation, as I am approaching 40 now) dies. Sure, there will always be a nasty vestige of the TeaBirchers in our polity but until that critical mass dissipates, it’s a good gig to grift. He’s just showing them all how it’s done on a massive scale.

    I do not believe that he believes that he has a snowball’s chance in hell of winning. If Mitt Romney couldn’t win, why should a “more conservative” candidate win, knowing that demography is destiny? Unless he’s supremely overconfident in Republican voter-suppression tactics, it just isn’t going to work and he knows it.

    No, he’s enriching himself beyond his wildest dreams by telling this cohort what they want to hear. I actually hope that he does win the nomination, because then the excuse that they didn’t nominate someone conservative enough will be put to rest.

  29. john personna says:

    @David M:

    Why? Before this happened (July 2013) the Tea Party was 22% of the Republican party.

    22% of 27%?

    What is that, 6% of the US population?

    I see that back in January:

    Just 8% Now Say They Are Tea Party Members

    You don’t need to change the last 6-8% on the fringe. You just need to stop listening to them.

  30. anjin-san says:

    And Goldwater was rational by comparison to this nitwit.

    It’s worth remembering that Goldwater outgrew his one-dimensional political personal of the mid-60s, and that he enjoyed the respect of a lot of Democrats in the latter part of his career.

  31. john personna says:

    @Anonne:

    Republican primaries tend to run “nut of the month” until someone “least nutty” is chosen. Or at least “most palatable non-nut.”

    You don’t have to worry about Cruz making the cut, but if you are left of the Tea Party, you should probably look forward to the damage he will continue to do among moderate voters.

  32. David M says:

    @john personna:

    And yet the GOP still shut down the government, and most of the GOP in the House voted against raising the debt ceiling. Heritage Action and Freedomworks also opposed the compromise reached with the Senate as well. I wish we could ignore them, I just don’t think the GOP will.

  33. john personna says:

    @David M:

    Seriously?

    Why are you letting the Republicans take a great lesson from this, and then not (a) learning, and (b) reinforcing this lesson yourself?

    You know, I was trying to think what could possibly have been a bigger win for the Democrats coming out of the shutdown .. and I had nothing.

    This is as big as a win as it could possibly have been.

    Enjoy.

  34. Anonne says:

    @john personna:

    John, let us not forget that least nutty to date has included the likes of Sharron Angle, Christine O’Donnell, Joe Miller and Todd Akin. And others with slightly less foot-in-mouth disease have actually gotten elected. The only part of this that I enjoy is that the moderates will likely stay home, but unfortunately too many of them – like Doug and James – may still pull the lever for the one with an R behind their names because they can’t see how far to the right that the Democrats have skewed, taking over the policy center. Of course, that’s not guaranteed. 2012 shouldn’t have been close, not with the kind of crazy talk that Romney produced. And yet, there it was.

    A lot of people may not identify as Tea Party but there are a lot of sympathizers.

  35. David M says:

    @john personna:

    I think you’re confusing what I want to happen with what I think will happen.

    I want the GOP to be a little more rational, so they reach compromises on the budget rather than shutting down the government. I want the GOP to allow Obamacare to be improved rather than opposing changes that would help their own constituents.

    The GOP vote totals in the House don’t give me a lot of hope though. We’ll find out one way or the other when the CR runs out in January and the debt ceiling is hit sometime after February.

  36. john personna says:

    @Anonne:

    I was speaking of Presidential campaigns. As were you a little while ago.

    Herman Cain, Michelle Bachmann, even Rick Perry, they qualify.

    It is a different dynamic at the state and local level, but I expect the shakeout to go there too.

    I believe we are thinking that shutdown helped the Democrat in Virginia?

  37. john personna says:

    @David M:

    Well, read some Ross Douthat and some American Conservative this week, and you might feel better.

    They certainly are not counting any wins.

  38. Anonne says:

    @john personna:

    John, you know very well that these people don’t learn the right lessons, they just double down on crazy.

  39. Anonne says:

    @john personna:
    That is true, sorry I changed the target.

    We can only hope for the return of sane Republicans to the fore, but I won’t hold my breath. And for the record, NO, I don’t include Jon Huntsman in that bunch. That joker endorsed the Ryan Plan. Instant fail. He is only more moderate and sane in tone, but not necessarily in policy.

  40. john personna says:

    @Anonne:

    By “these people” you mean 6% (if that) of the US population? As I’ve said, I don’t care if they can figure it out. I just want people like you and David to stop worrying about them, and to start blowing them off. They do not deserve your attention, anyone’s attention.

    Think about how perverse it is that you empower them this way.

  41. Anonne says:

    @john personna:

    They are, I think, more than 6% of the population because more people are sympathetic to their causes if turned off by the stigma of association.

    But that 6ish percent have some very powerful and influential backers and they effectively control the way this entire debate is framed. Until those people go away, ignoring them is folly – we will still have to deal with them.

  42. john personna says:
  43. stonetools says:

    All this talk of Tea Party retreat means nothing, really, if the Teatards don’t get booted out next November. Luckily, or maybe unluckily for the country, Ted Cruz and the Krazy Klown Kavalcade in the House are going to try this nonsense on again next year, because they are convinced that the problem was that they didn’t try hard enough, or use the right tactic. They are probably telling themselves, “What we need to do is not shut down the government. That was wrong. Let’s just focus on not raising the debt ceiling. We can demagogue successfully on that. WOLVERINES!”

  44. Tony W says:

    Cruz is a Manchurian Democrat.

  45. AemJeff says:

    In the process, he’ll be able to continue building up his mailing list, pulling in donations for his campaign and for his Political Action Committee and, of course, getting his name in the news as much as humanely possible.

    Doug, please… there’s nothing “humane” about it!

  46. David M says:
  47. jukeboxgrad says:

    Anonne:

    The wingnut gravy train is probably good for another 30-40 years … I do not believe that he believes that he has a snowball’s chance in hell of winning. … No, he’s enriching himself beyond his wildest dreams by telling this cohort what they want to hear. … these people don’t learn the right lessons, they just double down on crazy.

    I think you are 100% right. A lot of people misunderstand his intentions. Cruz is not planning to become president of the United States. He just wants to be president of the tea party. A much easier job, much better pay, and no term limits. And he is well-qualified for the position because he knows how to fleece the rubes.

    Once you understand his real goal, you can see that his plan is working as intended, and you can also easily predict that he’s going to continue on his current path. He knows exactly what he’s doing.

    The crowning irony in the whole drama is that his power is just enhanced now that the dreaded Establishment is conspiring to destroy him. This is precisely what he wants. He would not want this if he was shooting for POTUS.

    Tony:

    Cruz is a Manchurian Democrat.

    Stolen from a commenter at NRO:

    At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if Ted Cruz pulled off his mask and turned out to actually be Barack Obama.

  48. Carol Connor says:

    He is such an evil hateful man. He is about power not helping the country.

  49. Grewgills says:

    @john personna:
    Politically he lost big. He made a lot for his PAC and is going to be getting a lot of face time. He won because what he wants is venal.

  50. cleverboots says:

    What do all the Congressmen who want to stop Obamacare offer in it’s place?
    Clearly we have a huge problem with 48 million uninsured and Governors like Christie
    who do not want State exchanges but NO ONE, including Cruz, offers a viable solution to the
    uninsured. Why do you think that is?

  51. Grewgills says:

    @john personna:
    He could pull the primary debate hard right and force the eventual candidate to stake some positions that will be hard to take back, but if he doesn’t someone else(s) will.

  52. cleverboots says:

    He is a clear example of what is wrong with our political system. His views are all minority views that do NOT represent the thinking of most Americans. The biggest reason for his popularity is a rabid hatred of Obama in some quarters. The rest of his “support” comes from Boehner who is afraid of losing the Speakership. Hell of a way to run a country and about as undemocratic as it gets.

  53. jukeboxgrad says:

    What do all the Congressmen who want to stop Obamacare offer in it’s place?

    The GOP already gave us the best idea they could come up with, and Obama implemented it.

    In 2007 DeMint described Romneycare as “something that I think we should do for the whole country.”

  54. john personna says:

    Tyrone Cowen gives us the best face which can be put on this, short term, but it only really works in the short term.

    Remember, the Republican panic is that they must change America before demographics overwhelm them. Remember their own cries of “last chance.”

  55. Steve V says:

    I’m starting to wonder if they’re doing all this just to wreck Obama’s legacy. If they hadn’t repeatedly brought the country to the brink of economic panic, GDP would’ve grown by at least a point or two more over these last couple of years and people would be starting to think Obama was a pretty great president. The way things actually turned out, the record will be mixed and the right will (and does) write him off as another Jimmy Carter.

  56. Rob in CT says:

    http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2013/10/tax-rates-inequality-and-us-deficits/

    Food for thought, given that we’ll be debating deficit-reduction plans soon…

  57. cleverboots says:

    Reply to Jukeboxgrad: If so, why are they fighting Obamacare? Just because Obama is the sponsor and they hate Obama?

  58. jukeboxgrad says:

    Yes. They are hypocrites who decided to reject Heritagecare/Romneycare when it looked liked a non-Republican was going to be the one to get credit for implementing it nationally.

    There would be a certain political logic to this even if they didn’t hate Obama.

  59. cleverboots says:

    Reply to jukeboxgrad: I don’t equate logic with anything the far right does.