He wants the Senate showdown, but what about the price the Republican Party will pay if he wins it? What price will he pay? His play is NOT to win this showdown, but to win big in the future. The Presidency!
In his article in CQ, Ted Cruz: The Distinguished Wacko Bird from Texas, Jason Zengerle describes how Cruz won his Senate seat in Texas:
… He’d been out of government for two years and was looking for a way back in, this time via election. The only real opening in Texas, though, was a U.S. Senate seat—an impossible reach for Cruz, who’d never even held elected office.
… he met someone who had pulled off that exact feat: Utah senator-elect Mike Lee… he rode the Tea Party wave of 2010 into the Senate, ousting an incumbent Republican by running to his right…
Cruz launched his insurgent Senate campaign the following January, zeroing in on the GOP front-runner, David Dewhurst, who as Texas lieutenant governor had the party and business establishments lined up behind him… In classic Tea Party fashion, Cruz went after him from the right… With an influx of cash from national conservative groups and rousing speeches to whip up the grass-roots, Cruz came out of nowhere to force a primary runoff with Dewhurst. He then trounced Dewhurst by fourteen points and cruised past his token Democratic opponent in the general election.
And that is Cruz’s plan for squishy GOP Senators who have no credible competition from Democrats, and allow the House spending bill to get through the Senate without defunding Obamacare. Generate more ammo for Tea Party right flanks to challenge these incumbents in their primary races and win some seats for themselves. A not lose – big win proposition. The worst that could happen would be to reelect some squishy Republicans. The best would be to elect more of his own ilk. Mitch McConnell is terrified!
But what of Senate seats to be lost in general elections to competitive Democrats by Tea Party Republicans who unseated squishy incumbents in their primaries? This is not a novel result! Why allow it? This seems to be a question that pundits and commentators keep on asking even after the answer has long been obvious. Sometimes it even seems that they know the answer but have trouble connecting it to the question. It should certainly be clear now, even if not so clear on November 6, 2009, long after “Bill” Owens became the first Democrat to represent New York’s 23rd Congressional District since 1873. No one could fathom why the Tea Party would forfeit the Republican Party a seat. And so the practice of intimidation by threatening primary challenges began in Congress!
The key is that losing these seats is not collateral loss, but intentional gain! The threat of losing their seats by attacks from the right is the chain the Tea Party holds around the necks of squishy Republicans. It is the engine of the Tea Party’s program to take over the Party. Cruz and his Tea Party backers intend this, and caring about the present health of the Republican Party would only delay or shut down the program. They are not interested in empowering the Republican Party now, but in taking it over in the future, wholly and with their own people.
The Tea Party now controls their Party and the Congress, that is, keeps them from getting anything done, not by the force of their numbers, but by intimidating more responsible and sensible Republicans and vulnerable Democrats. The long-term plan is to increase those numbers until, hopefully, they control the Republican Party by their numbers alone, and then get done what they want done! Their hope, Cruz’s and their backers’, is that their Republican Party will eventually be viable and competitive on the national stage.
Cruz, who is 42, has lots of time for this to happen and to get past all the bad baggage he is collecting.