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U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks to the press after leaving the Senate Chamber after a marathon attack on
Don't worry, I'm not about to defend Texas Sen. Ted Cruz on substantive grounds: He couldn't possibly be more wrong on matters of fiscal policy, especially when it comes to opposing an increase in the debt limit. If he got his way, the country would be forced into default, and that would be an economic catastrophe.

But when the conservative Wall Street Journal editorial page whines about Cruz's decision yesterday to force Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to choose between voting with Democrats and voting with tea partiers on the debt limit, it's a little rich. Here's what they wrote:

Democrats had enough votes to pass the increase with a simple majority, which means they would have owned the debt increase. But then Senator Ted Cruz —the same fellow who planned the GOP's shutdown fiasco in October—objected on the floor and insisted on a 60-vote majority. This is exactly what Democratic leader Harry Reid wanted because if the bill failed he would have sent the Senate home on recess and returned later this month to join President Obama in flogging the GOP as the debt-ceiling deadline neared.

The 60-vote threshold was reached only after GOP leaders Mitch McConnell, John Cornyn and 10 others voted to let the final debt-ceiling vote proceed. All 12 then opposed the increase on final passage, but thanks to Mr. Cruz they had to walk the plank with Democrats on a procedural vote.

Please read below the fold for more on this story.

And now, complains the WSJ, tea party groups are savaging McConnell, Cornyn, and the rest of the 12 for being hypocrites. All that is true, but the thing the article ignores is that Ted Cruz isn't the hypocrite here: McConnell and his pals are.

Time and time again, McConnell told Republicans that he opposed raising the debt limit without attaching strings. He vowed to never support a clean debt limit increase. But every single time he made a promise, he was lying through his teeth, making the political calculation that he could get away with saying one thing to his right-wing lunatic base without ever having to take a vote that would reveal his true position.

But while McConnell has been a two-faced political hack on the debt limit, Ted Cruz at least has had the honesty to maintain a voting record consistent with his insane ideas. And while McConnell clearly understands that much of what Cruz wants is crazy, his refusal to make a case against Cruz's extremism is now biting him in the behind. The same goes for the Wall Street Journal.

If Republicans lose next November's election, Ted Cruz will certainly share part of the blame. There's no question about the fact that he's the best Democratic sleeper agent we could have asked for. But when people vote against the GOP, they won't just be voting against Ted Cruz: They'll be voting against the far more numerous Mitch McConnells of the party—political hacks who know Cruz is wrong, but can't figure out how to stand up to him.

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