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Sen. Ted Cruz showed up at a tea party rally last Friday and offered an ... interesting take on the Senate push for new gun regulations, in the process taking some shots at fellow Republican senators as "squishes." To hear Cruz tell it, an improved background check law was a sure thing to pass, driven by Washington politicians against the will of the people until, because of a last-minute grassroots uprising sparked by him, Utah Sen. Mike Lee, and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, "Every single proposal in President Obama's gun control agenda that would have undermined the second amendment, every single one of them was voted down on the floor of the Senate," a statement he punctuated with a triumphant snap.

Cruz made no mention of the 86 percent support among voters for background checks or the barrage of polls since the vote showing senators who voted against the proposals having lost significant public support. He talked a lot about his role in organizing a filibuster, then suddenly shifted to simply saying that gun legislation was "voted down on the floor of the Senate," as if a majority of senators had opposed it. Reality and Calgary Cruz, they have their differences. And about those squishes. According to Cruz, at Republican lunches, other senators were "standing up and looking at Rand and Mike and me and yelling at us at the top of their lungs, I mean really upset," because they were upset that their constituents were holding them accountable.

But here was their argument. They said, 'Listen, before you did this, the politics of it were great. The Dems were the bad guys, the Republicans were the good guys. Now we all look like a bunch of squishes.'

It's like, 'Well, there is an alternative. You could just not be a bunch of squishes.'

Having seen the difference between the reality of the public battle over background checks and Cruz's telling of it, it may not shock you to learn that other accounts of those closed-door meetings differ from his.
The New York Times reported on one blow-up when Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, angrily confronted the three senators about advertisements running in her home state accusing her of supporting a gun grab. Those ads were financed by an obscure gun rights group with close ties to Mr. Paul. According to several aides familiar with the confrontation, Mr. Cruz defensively jumped in to say he had nothing to do with the ads. Mr. Paul, in contrast, stormed out, saying he felt subject to an inquisition.
Yelling about a filibuster threat leading to spontaneous grassroots support and yelling about being targeted by misleading ads: They're two different things. Not to mention the difference between Cruz's bravado about his response and the report that his actual response was to deny involvement. But hey, this was Cruz taking his ego out for a performance in front of a tea party audience. Can we really expect anything more?

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 01:40 PM PDT.

Also republished by Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA), Shut Down the NRA, Houston Area Kossacks, and Daily Kos.

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