in a column titled High cost of an ego trip, written after watching what Cruz put Republican senators through on raising the debt ceiling.
A couple of relevant snips:
Cruz’s ego trip had come at a high cost. He had forced McConnell, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas and other Republicans to cast votes that could cause them to lose primaries to weaker general-election candidates, and he had risked getting his party blamed for a default.and
His actions suggest Cruz has put himself before his party and even the nation’s solvency. And in this sense his actions are typical of the 2016 GOP presidential field. Cruz, Sen. Marco Rubio and Sen. Rand Paul are mucking up the gears of government in ways that will earn them favorable attention in the primaries.He similarly dissects Rubio on Obamacare and Rand Paul on his lawsuit against NSA (to which the Kentuckian has added Obama as a defendant - Milbank also notes how Paul hijacked this case from Bruce Fein who originally was bringing a suit).
He then notes :
To nobody’s surprise, Paul and Rubio sided with Cruz in Wednesday’s debt-ceiling filibuster. Had they prevailed, and had 12 of their GOP colleagues not been more responsible, the likely default would have added far more to the national debt than the legislation did. It also would have caused markets to crash, the economy to swoon and American standing to decline.A few observations to follow below
First, I don't have much sympathy for McConnell. If raising the debt ceiling is the right thing to do, do it, don't play games. Insofar as McConnell made his top priority preventing Obama from getting reelected he gave license to the crazies in his party, even before the election of 2010. In fact, he contributed to it.
That he and other "sensible" Republicans are forced to take a hard vote when facing primary challengers to their extreme right is no different than Republican attempting to force Democrats to take hard votes to use against them in the general election. It is ironic that this karmic balancing comes from within his own party rather than from Harry Reid and the Democrats.
Second, this piece by Milbank is almost totally devoid of his trademark snark. That to my mind is significant. I will want to see if we are seeing similar patterns among other pundits as we are to some degree seeing already in editorial pages, where Republicans are being nailed on a number of issues, from immigration to extended unemployment insurance to minimum wage as well as on having a clean bill raising the debt ceiling.
In the last paragraph quoted above the fold, Milbank wrote
... the likely default would have added far more to the national debt than the legislation did. It also would have caused markets to crash, the economy to swoon and American standing to decline.He ends his column with one more single sentence:
But for Messrs. Paul, Rubio and Cruz, those aren’t the top considerations.Nor was the health and well-being of the nation the top consideration for McConnell and other top Senate Republicans, was it?
I would smirk, except the risk to the nation has been far too great, the damage done perhaps permanently rending the polity necessary for our democratic republic to function.
Still, insofar as it exposes the hypocrisy of the likes of Mitch McConnell, I cannot be totally unhappy, can I?