First, a stark reality check: a new University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll out this week shows Cruz with 37% approval, 28% disapproval, and 16% without an opinion of him here in Texas. “He's still popular among the Republican base. He has high favorables among Republicans,” pollster Jim Henson said. “And the people that like him are still willing to vote for him.”
Those numbers aren't as disastrous as Ted Cruz's rollout in Washington has been. But they're definitely not good numbers for Cruz. Only 37% of voters approve of Ted Cruz, a candidate who was elected with 56.46% of the vote in November. These numbers indicate dipping support for this crazy, do-nothing-except-obstruct-and-embarrass senator, but they also show something else. If only 37% of voters approve of Cruz, and he was elected so recently with 56% of the vote…think of how different Texas elections would be if Texas Democrats turned out their voters. Next time around, they'll be in a much better position to do that, with Battleground Texas now building the winning coalition in our state.
The crazier Cruz acts, the less compelling his case for re-election in 2018 becomes. But that's five years away. We here in 2013 have come to accept that the next five years will be a constant slew of news about Ted Cruz's craziness. The flip side of that story is how much the “movement” conservatives who dictate the direction of the Republican Party love him.
Harvard Law School
Days after Cruz the country laughed and criticized Cruz for accusing now-Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel of accepting money from terrorist groups, journalist Jane Meyer reported that Cruz told a Tea Party rally two years ago that at his alma mater Harvard Law, “There were fewer declared Republicans in the faculty when we were there than Communists! There was one Republican. But there were twelve who would say they were Marxists who believed in the Communists overthrowing the United States government.”
Responding to the article, Cruz's office stood by this claim. Republican Harvard Law professor Charles Fried, once President Reagan's Solicitor General, told The New Yorker, “I have not taken a poll, but I would be surprised if there were any members of the faculty who 'believed in the Communists overthrowing the U.S. government.'”
M–c–C–a–r–t–h–y. That's right. I just linked to eight publications comparing Ted Cruz to Joseph McCarthy, the national shame of a senator who went on a specious witch hunt of communists in the government in the 1940's and 1950's. Cruz cries wolf only when there is no wolf, and it's disgusting and counterproductive. ThinkProgress has a great explanation of what the people Cruz accused of being communists actually believe.
Cruz is the Keynote Speaker at CPAC
Every year, the media makes a frenzy over the Conservative Political Action Conference, a grassroots-feeling event where Republicans audition for support from “movement” conservatives. Not that it actually has an impact; Ron Paul won twice and failed to win any bigwigs in the Republican Party over.
This year, CPAC has selected Cruz as their keynote speaker for the conference next week. This is who movement conservatives are excited about for the future of American conservatism. Pretty great news for progressives.