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The ongoing feud between the tea party and establishment factions within the GOP can be likened to spot fires which threaten to fuse into one unconfined, uncontrollable wild fire. Fanning the flames at every opportunity is Senator Ted Cruz.

He first came to public prominence when identified as being at the core of the maelstrom that was the government shutdown of 2013. His part in that disastrous PR stunt made him a tea party hero but put him at odds with the Republican establishment, particularly Mitch McConnell and John Boehner.

Without any understanding of Cruz's extreme psychopathy, they thought to tame him by appointing him vice chair of the NRSC (National Republican Senatorial Committee). That was short-lived. Cruz objected to the NRSC's involvement in primaries (ie, they backed establishment candidates against tea party opponents) and effectively boycotted his own committee. They’d like to get rid of him but he refuses to resign. When setting up the NRSC no-one considered this eventuality, so there's some confusion as to how they would get rid of him and if they can afford the noise this would cause if they did.

That's Cruz in a nutshell; he's not just an irritant, he's a menace. It shouldn't be a problem – after all, he's a freshman senator and just one person but the establishment's reaction to this menace is to be menaced by him.

His strongest ally is Heritage Action which acts like a dictatorial headmaster in scoring all Congressional Republican members. Like an opportunistic charter school, Heritage Action is in it for profit, not for the good of education or, in this case, for profit, not for the good of we the people. Their star pupil is Ted Cruz.

While Cruz's antagonistic attitude is well-known, his actions are unpredictable and often take the establishment by surprise. Therein lies the power of this menace, this singular freshman senator, over the long-term establishment. They've never seen anyone quite like him. In their experience, freshman fall into line fairly quickly and are easily controlled by the leadership (‘leadership’ here meaning anyone who has two terms or more under their political beltway). But not Cruz. Nor does he confine himself to the Senate chambers – in fact his greatest power is in the House.

From Business Insider:

Within the Senate, Cruz is essentially irrelevant. Any... deal that comes out of there will be struck between majority Democrats and a number of more practically-minded Republicans

The only way he can exercise power is as an interloper in House Republican business — and his presence there is not wholeheartedly welcomed.

It certainly isn't welcomed by Speaker John Boehner nor by Majority Leader Eric Cantor (it remains to be seen how Kevin McCarthy responds) whose carefully-laid, crucial plans have been scuttled by Cruz on more than one occasion.

As Salon reports:

“Cruzification” is what happens when the House Republican leadership is prepared to make a relatively realistic opening offer to counter a Senate Democratic proposal, but then Sen. Ted Cruz (you guessed it!) perambulates over to the House side and demands that conservatives there rise up in defiance. Conference support for the opening offer collapses, the leadership is forced to introduce a more right-wing version, and stalemate endures.

The most famous example of Cruzification came during the shutdown debate last September. John Boehner and Eric Cantor were prepared to introduce a continuing resolution to fund the government through December. It included a provision to defund the Affordable Care Act, but was structured in a way that would have allowed Senate Democrats to strip that provision, pass the rest of the bill, and send it to the White House. Ted Cruz and his emissaries warned House conservatives of the ploy, support collapsed, and the bill was pulled. After that, Boehner was forced to go along with conservatives' plan to hold a firm defund-Obamacare line, and a government shutdown ensued.

This is how one freshman senator has been able to sabotage key legislation – and he's just getting started. What are failures for Congress are personal victories for Cruz and his already bloated sense of self-importance and power just increases with each success. His latest efforts have focussed on immigration reform and the border crisis.

From SFGate, Feb 12, 2014:

House Republicans who supported the “principles” of immigration reform floated by Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, late last month grumbled Tuesday that the plan was dead on arrival because Cruz blasted it as “amnesty”, spurring a blizzard of negative phone calls to House Republicans.

Privately, some Republicans decried Cruz's indirect intervention in House deliberations with what they viewed as ill-timed remarks that provoked the telephone calling barrage.

But it was enough to scatter the House Republican vote. Faced with considerably depleted numbers on their side, Cantor and Boehner reluctantly folded.

This was the public face to a very serious, down and dirty fight going on behind the scenes. The whole immigration issue wasn't just pitting the tea party caucus against the establishment faction, it was also setting the Chamber of Commerce against Heritage Action. As HA's champion, Cruz's ploy to divide and conquer not only effectively buried immigration reform for the foreseeable future but also dealt a huge blow to the Chamber of Commerce which supports Boehner and McConnell.

On the border crisis, The Washington Post reported:

In the House, Rep. Kay Granger (R-Tex.), who led the House GOP's working group tasked with tackling the issue, shared her team's recommendations during the weekly closed-door meeting of House Republicans. On her way into that meeting, Granger said a vote on her proposals "should happen right now".

An hour before Granger addressed her colleagues,...Cruz spoke at a meeting of the Conservative Opportunity Society at the invitation of the group's chairman, Rep. Steve King -(R-Iowa), a prominent critic of bipartisan efforts to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

"He’s a perfect catalyst and he has a real rapport with conservatives in the House," King said in an interview. "He really wanted to hear from people in the room. He also let us know that anything we send to the Senate, if it comes back, it’s going to be terrible, so we should make sure we’re ready to respond to that."

The Hill takes up the story:
Republicans who huddled with Cruz agree with him.

"He can’t see any way we can initiate legislation in the House that won’t come back to bite us, that will actually end up with worse results," said Rep. John Fleming (R-La.).

"He basically said he couldn’t see how us passing something is going to do anything but create a Trojan horse," said Fleming. "He doesn’t trust [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid [D-Nev.]".

Ted Cruz is a grade A1 scam artist and he's selling his snake-oil to House Republicans who can't get enough of it. Cruz knows this and takes advantage of them. King, Fleming and some thirty other House Republicans have now signaled that they won't support the House bill on emergency funding for the refugee crisis and their dissent is directly attributable to Cruz. He conned them yet again.

How he does this is no mystery. His is a forceful personality, far stronger and more devious than those of his House followers. It’s distinctly ironic too that the fear-mongering, distortion and disinformation they sell wholesale to their base also work so effectively on them when wielded by Cruz. They've swallowed their own propaganda whole and are now victims of the same. Pure speculation but I have wondered too how many of them have had private meetings with Cruz in which he’s promised them the VP position when – that would be Cruz's word – he wins the Republican presidential primary. It's not beyond possibility and would be a potent aphrodisiac to the ambitious.

How far will he go? As far as he wants to it seems since no-one has been able to rein him in. That alone should terrify the establishment GOP because Cruz has never forgiven them for surrendering the government shutdown position before the default deadline. He wants that showdown.

At the weekend, pollwatcher posted Impeachment, Suing Obama, Budget Fights, Snatching Defeat From The Jaws Of Victory. The diary considers two contentious issues as possible shutdown triggers: the re-authorization of the Export-Import Bank and the President's proposed rules on coal-fired power plants. While either issue has the potential to lead to a government shutdown, don't be surprised if a third emerges (probably immigration, especially in light of the President's anticipated Executive Order, or the ACA for a repeat performance) bulldozed to the fore by Ted Cruz.

He isn't talking up impeachment because that's not his objective. He's aiming for economic meltdown and though he hasn't the power of numbers to force that cataclysmic outcome, it won't stop him from trying.

He's not up for re-election this year so he has nothing to lose in forcing another government shutdown. He has the powerful Heritage Action at his back and he's not a team player when it comes to political colleagues. To think that he might be concerned how his actions could affect both factions of the Republican Party in the midterms is to underestimate his egomania. Cruz is in it for Cruz.

If he succeeds in precipitating another government shutdown this October (and he's proved he has the requisite guile for getting his own way), then it will likely result in devastation for the GOP in November. With that, the Cruzifiction of Republicans in Congress will be complete.


Originally posted to Mopshell on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 06:10 AM PDT.

Also republished by PostHuffPost: Connection-Conversation-Community .

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Comment Preferences

  •  Teddy Poops can out-crazy all comers. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mopshell, Remediator
  •  It's the Puppeteer Not the Puppet. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mopshell, oddmike, unfangus, dotdash2u

    This is about factional war among ownership. And it reinforces a point Thom Hartmann has made periodically: the rich don't need parties, they can buy politics directly. That's why they invest in "no labels" and "3rd way" and "bipartisan" themes. The people need parties as they need unions, solidarity is their only hope against money.

    Cruz as you say doesn't even membership in the body where he's exercising veto power.

    Thanks to donor money.

    The rightwing makes its big gains when everybody else stays home, so the acrimony resulting from government shutdown, impeachment and lawsuit talk, and other RW extremism combined with non-presidential election just clears the floor so the most aggressive wrecking crew can move in.

    It's always possible for the extremists to over-reach, but it's most likely in Presidential years when there are more moderates coming out. Just because they're crazy, extreme, and unliked by "Americans" doesn't mean they may not have a good or even wave win in the Fall. We need to watch turnout prospects very closely, and GOTV as though our lives depend on it.

    Which they do.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 06:37:52 AM PDT

    •  Lives do depend on GOTV this year. (0+ / 0-)

      I couldn't agree more strongly with that assertion. I also agree that everything depends on what happens this Fall. I have my fingers and toes crossed that the extremists will overreach. They're certainly champing at the bit to do so in one way or another.

      Whether they, and/or the damage they cause, can be contained by senior establishment figures remains to be seen. The latter have been thwarted by Cruz on at least four occasions now. Tea party opposition to McConnell in KY isn't helping any either. I have all fingers and toes crossed that they will take a swan dive off that cliff and drag many establishment candidates with them.

      Please note that lamps in the Magic Lamp Emporium are on a genie time-share program so there may be a slight delay in wish fulfillment. (◕‿◕)

      by Mopshell on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 01:59:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This "rift" in the gop has been an electoral (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kingsmeg, Mopshell

    winner for them. The tea partiers who can win in kool-aid districts throw their people some red meat, and the establishment goppers go around saying "it's the tax and spend liberal dems that are driving the tea partiers cruzy" and in the meantime they clog up the news cycle with stories by big media about "impeachment" (for instance) and they drive the narrative with "the action is all on the gop side and the dems are just passively being slapped around by events, and the President, well, (sad trombones)".

    This is all being absorbed viscerally by the electorate as they sip their coffee and have their honeynut cheerios.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 06:55:30 AM PDT

    •  I beg to differ (0+ / 0-)

      Any electoral edge the tea partiers gave them in 2010 began to fade in 2012 (think Sharron Angle, Todd Akin et al) and has turned to outright opposition in 2014. In two states so far, the tea party have publicly opposed the establishment candidate (Cochran in MS and McConnell in KY), asserting that they'd rather see them defeated than re-elected.

      I know Democrats have a hard time wrapping their heads around the concept that a factional group would deliberately sabotage their own party but there's every indication that that's exactly the plan here. They want as many establishment "RINOs" as possible denied seats, even if that means sacrificing their majority in the House and potential majority in the Senate.

      Fox News has seen this and they're starting to panic.

      Please note that lamps in the Magic Lamp Emporium are on a genie time-share program so there may be a slight delay in wish fulfillment. (◕‿◕)

      by Mopshell on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 01:48:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I hope you're right. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I think the "rift" is potentially a real crack in the gop, but so far they've gotten away with it.

        2012, of course. was a Presidential year, and our side turned out, plus there was a backlash against voter suppression.

        If we're sitting pretty, why do the CW people expect a gop victory, esp. after all their clown act and obstruction?

        Because it's the midterm, and they're expecting low turnout on our side. Plus the media is assisting them with their narrative.

        I agree that the hard core base of the gop (religious right, I call them Christian Nationalists), that vote tea party have lost patience with their "establishment" leaders, and they are being funded by a more radically regressive Koch empire, but they manage to survive the damage done and turn their squabbles into lemonade with the help of the media, (gerrymandering didn't hurt, either).
        Honest reporting would put the blame for most of our problems with the gop and they shouldn't be able to win a spot as dogcatcher, anywhere.

        If we did get record turnout this midterm, and we did pick up points with the women's electorate (which I think we should) we could shatter them going into 2016 and then we really would see real blood (politically speaking) in the next cycle.

        You can't make this stuff up.

        by David54 on Wed Jul 30, 2014 at 07:33:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Keep in mind that Obama has an ace up his sleeve (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          As soon as Congress breaks for the Summer and they all hit the campaign trail, Obama can play his ace - an immigration EO. Can you imagine the Republican, especially tea party, reaction?

          A limp lawsuit isn't going to be enough red meat to satisfy them! They'll be out for blood and Congressional Republican incumbents in 'Town Hall Season' are going to be right in the firing line. I expect their calls to "impeach now!" will ring throughout the red states. It ain't gonna be pretty. The establishment GOP, who know this would be suicide, are going to be outnumbered and out-shouted. What will they do?!

          Please note that lamps in the Magic Lamp Emporium are on a genie time-share program so there may be a slight delay in wish fulfillment. (◕‿◕)

          by Mopshell on Wed Jul 30, 2014 at 07:46:54 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I don't know how much power he has (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    unfangus, Mopshell

    right this instant to drive his agenda, but I think you have correctly summarized his strategy and end game.  Whether he can pull off another shutdown remains to be seen, I think the establishment GOP have caught on and they're doing their best to neuter him.

    190 milliseconds....

    by Kingsmeg on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 07:38:32 AM PDT

    •  I don't know how much power he has either (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kingsmeg, 47songs

      I am certain that another shutdown is on his agenda; that he and Heritage Action at this point want to get rid of as many establishment GOP as they can, even if that means sacrificing the vote this election, because they are convinced that they can win back majorities and the presidency in 2016 on their terms.

      We know how crazy that is but I honestly don't think they do.

      Given his success to date and his egomania, I think Cruz believes he can pull off another shutdown. He was the spoiler in February this year when the GOP wanted to let a clean debt ceiling vote be passed by Democrats on a simple majority so the Dems 'owned' that vote. Cruz insisted on a 60-vote threshold for cloture and that tactic forced several Republicans, including McConnell and Cornyn, to vote in favor of letting the bill advance. They were furious!

      The WSJ at the time said Cruz had no other strategy but to "shut down the government again, take public attention away from ObamaCare, and make Republicans even more unpopular."

      He knows a shutdown would cost them in the midterms but that's part of his strategy. None of the tea party senators elected in 2010 are at risk; he's just targeting the establishment.

      Please note that lamps in the Magic Lamp Emporium are on a genie time-share program so there may be a slight delay in wish fulfillment. (◕‿◕)

      by Mopshell on Mon Jul 28, 2014 at 01:15:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Great Diary (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        fumie, Mopshell

        And just remember this, Cruz sits and the feet of his father, a snake oil preacher and learned it all from him.  To be honest, I fear Cruz getting the Republicon nod for President in 2016 more than Paul.

        Never be afraid to voice your opinion and fight for it . Corporations aren't people, they're Republicans (Rev Al Sharpton 10/7/2011) Voting is a louder voice than a bullhorn but sometimes you need that bullhorn to retain your vote.

        by Rosalie907 on Thu Jul 31, 2014 at 09:14:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thank you (◕‿◕) (0+ / 0-)

          Yes, I know something of Preacher Cruz who is convinced his son is one of the anointed kings of the Bible, that he's going to inherit all wealth. I think Cruz believes it too which explains his damn cheek in muscling in on House business. His superiority complex is overlaid with his destiny obsession.

          I'm thinking of updating and reposting this.

          Please note that lamps in the Magic Lamp Emporium are on a genie time-share program so there may be a slight delay in wish fulfillment. (◕‿◕)

          by Mopshell on Thu Jul 31, 2014 at 10:27:09 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You're welcome (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            And please do an update and reposting.  I remember when Cruz was elected there was video in which before he even acknowedged his wife, he hugged and kissed his father.

            Never be afraid to voice your opinion and fight for it . Corporations aren't people, they're Republicans (Rev Al Sharpton 10/7/2011) Voting is a louder voice than a bullhorn but sometimes you need that bullhorn to retain your vote.

            by Rosalie907 on Fri Aug 01, 2014 at 10:45:00 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  But he was BORN in Canada (0+ / 0-)

          Wouldn't his dual citizenship and the fact he was born in Canada exclude him from the American Presidency even if he was sane?

  •  Exactly! (0+ / 0-)
    To think that he might be concerned how his actions could affect both factions of the Republican Party in the midterms is to underestimate his egomania. Cruz is in it for Cruz.
    That understanding by democrats is just as critical. They cannot allow him to become even worse than Joe McCarthy, which is at least a borderline comparison.

    Nothing matters but the song.

    by 47songs on Tue Jul 29, 2014 at 06:58:54 AM PDT

  •  Cruz a really pain in the neck. (0+ / 0-)

    great article, Is their anything else to cover? you covered them all.
    Cruz is safe now but to get elected in 2016 he will have a whole lot of trouble.

    Sayings from ( The Child Of nature )

    When a child awakes he sees a new day bright and full of things to do in play. Then the adults awake and he has to shorten the list of all the fun things.

    A synthesizer can create any instrument made and others that have not be created yet.

    by RSGmusic on Wed Jul 30, 2014 at 04:57:20 AM PDT

  •  well done Mopshell (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
    Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

    by TrueBlueMajority on Thu Jul 31, 2014 at 09:29:04 PM PDT

    •  Thanks TBM! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I'm thinking of updating and re-posting it.

      Please note that lamps in the Magic Lamp Emporium are on a genie time-share program so there may be a slight delay in wish fulfillment. (◕‿◕)

      by Mopshell on Fri Aug 01, 2014 at 05:30:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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