The aftermath of what may or may not happen during the government shutdown is still to be determined, but one thing is becoming more and more clear just two days in:
Ted Cruz screwed up. BIG.
I wasn’t a fan of Ted Cruz’s showboating, look at me, no I REALLY hate ObamaCare filibuster
this past weekendlast week. It served literally no purpose but to highlight Ted Cruz and making matters significantly worse, it delayed the inevitable Senate vote, giving House members hours rather than days to try and put together something with the Senate. Everything about his filibuster was designed to be, look, I can do what Rand Paul did, and nothing to achieve a goal, a strategy, a purpose… besides screw over House Republicans.
So with the filibuster lasting until noon on Sunday, the House was unable to deliberate on the Senate bill until Monday, giving them hours, where, shockingly, nothing was accomplished. Tuesday, Washington fell into an adjustment period, where, rightfully, one of the biggest stories of the day was the groups of World War II veterans who pushed past the gates to see their memorials. Wednesday, similar incidents occurred at the Vietnam Memorial as well.
Politically, however, things are settling, and not settling well for Ted Cruz. While the ‘grassroots’ lauded Cruz’s showboating on Saturday and Sunday, pols on the Republican Party shook their heads in recognition of how poorly executed Cruz’s strategy was, and how much it would handcuff House Republicans.
The only confusion that comes out is that Cruz stood on the side and confused people about the fact that every Republican agrees. He said if you don’t agree with my tactic and with the specific structure of my idea, you’re bad. He said if the House would simply pass the bill with defunding he would force the Senate to act. He would lead this grass-roots movement that would get Democrats to change their mind. So the House passed it, it went to the Senate, and Ted Cruz said, oh, we don’t have the votes over here. And I can’t find the e-mails or ads targeting Democrats to support it. Cruz said he would deliver the votes and he didn’t deliver any Democratic votes. He pushed House Republicans into traffic and wandered away.
So then the House said, breaking completely with Cruz because Cruz thinks if you’re not defunding the whole thing it’s treason, that there’s delay. There’s getting rid of medical device taxes. They’ve done a series of things to hold together Republicans and break with Cruz. But because we started with the Cruz approach this got to the shutdown.
On the heels of this, likely 2016 presidential candidate Rand Paul is working backrooms in Washington to get some sort of dialogue underway. Paul first proposed a clean, two week CR to get negotiations restarted. Stymied by Senate Democrats, Paul sent a letter around today inviting every Senator for coffee, if only to get some dialogue flowing. Paul’s ties to Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will only help accentuate his position, forming a bridge between the far right and more moderate wings of the party.
While we have a government shutdown that should have been avoided, Ted Cruz backed Republicans into a corner with a pointless, grandstanding display, with no strategy or endgame. Rand Paul is doing his best to salvage what he can for Republicans in the Senate (which is where this is going to end). So while Ted Cruz rakes in thousands in fundraising from short-sighted grassroots activists, Rand Paul positions himself in much better positioning for a 2016 run, with Ted Cruz significantly weaker and displaying little if any political ingenuity, foresight or strategy.
Rand Paul FTW.
[UPDATE 7:50 PM]
Wow, things got ugly today in Republican conference (rightfully so)
Ted Cruz faced a barrage of hostile questions Wednesday from angry GOP senators, who lashed the Texas tea party freshman for helping prompt a government shutdown crisis without a strategy to end it.
At a closed-door lunch meeting in the Senate’s Mansfield Room, Republican after Republican pressed Cruz to explain how he would propose to end the bitter budget impasse with Democrats, according to senators who attended the meeting. A defensive Cruz had no clear plan to force an end to the shutdown — or explain how he would defund Obamacare, as he has demanded all along, sources said.
“It was very evident to everyone in the room that Cruz doesn’t have a strategy – he never had a strategy, and could never answer a question about what the end-game was,” said one senator who attended the meeting. “I just wish the 35 House members that have bought the snake oil that was sold could witness what was witnessed today at lunch.”