Today is October 1 and the federal government is still running, meaning that Congress was able to get its act together and pass a bill to keep the lights on–at least for now. Most Americans are happy about this, especially those who rely on the federal government for things like food stamps and salaries. But of course, one person who is unhappy that the government is continuing to run is Texas Senator Ted Cruz.
Cruz was a vocal proponent of holding the federal government hostage unless Congress passed a bill to defund Planned Parenthood. Throwing tantrums like this is one of his favorite things to do, from the government shutdown he orchestrated in 2013, to calling for Republicans to hold IRS funding hostage to force President Obama’s executive action on immigration to be defunded. Ted Cruz’s Senate strategy has always been, “If I can’t have what I want, then nobody else can have anything either.” It’s not a particularly mature way to operate, and Republicans, sick and tired of his antics, are finally beginning to tell him to shut up and sit down.
Senate Republicans have always disliked Cruz, but this time, they barely gave his attempts time of day. Senators John Cornyn and Kelly Ayotte called him out before debate began, with Cornyn calling a potential shutdown a “futile gesture.”
It was even worse for Cruz in the Senate, where his colleagues wouldn’t even grant him a simple symbolic vote on his ridiculous plan earlier this week. From the Dallas Morning News (emphasis added):
After the Senate voted to end debate on a resolution to fund the government, Cruz tried to procedural move to bring up one that wouldn’t fund Planned Parenthood. His colleagues blocked him, even though senators are routinely granted votes on such measures even if they’re destined to fail. In other words, it’s a swift parliamentary smack in the face.
After losing that vote, Ted Cruz spoke for an hour, to a mostly empty room, about how much he hates President Obama, other Republicans, Planned Parenthood, and pretty much anyone who isn’t Ted Cruz (aka, the usual Ted Cruz stump speech). He got cut off by Senate Democrats, who refused to grant him more time on the floor. As he made his way out, C-SPAN microphone caught him saying that he didn’t know there was a time limit.
So, to recap how Ted Cruz is doing in the Senate: His colleagues hate his tantrums so much they won’t even grant him symbolic votes, which led him to tantrum harder and rant for an hour to a mostly-empty room, until he got cut off by a time limit he didn’t know existed because he doesn’t know Senate rules. Yep, that sounds about right.
It’s not just Cruz’s immature, losing tactics that have caused fellow Republicans to hate him, it’s the hostile rhetoric that accompanies them. Cruz’s Republican Senate and presidential candidate colleague Rand Paul explained in an interview this week (emphasis added):
“Ted has chosen to make this really personal and call people dishonest in leadership and call them names, which really goes against the decorum and also against the rules of the Senate, and as a consequence, he can’t get anything done legislatively. …He’s pretty much done for and stifled, and it’s really because of personal relationships, or lack of personal relationships, and it is a problem.“
Turns out, when your methods include hissy fits and name-calling like a 3-year old, your colleagues will really start to hate you.
Obviously, alienating everyone you work with is not an effective way to govern, and it would make Cruz a pretty terrible president. But even if he doesn’t become president (and he won’t), his tactics still matter to Texans. Though he doesn’t act like it, Ted Cruz is still technically supposed to be representing Texas’ interests in the Senate. He’s been running for president since the day he took office, so it’s easy to forget it, but it’s true. When Ted Cruz loses the presidency, he’s going to be stuck back in the Senate with nowhere to go. And that means that Texans are stuck with a Senator who is essentially useless because everyone hates him so much. He won’t be able to achieve anything, even if by some miracle he decides to think about his constituents for a change.
So while Texas progressives roll our eyes at Ted Cruz’s rhetoric and Tea Partiers drool over those same words, let’s remember that Ted Cruz’s tomfoolery has real consequences for Texans. We’re not getting the representation we deserve from our U.S. Senator. We deserve a mature adult who is willing to put our interests first, and as we’ve seen yet again, that person is not Ted Cruz.