Bill Murchison
If political success equates with how often you drive The New York Times nuts, the freshly minted junior senator from Texas could be bound for some conservative Rushmore.

"The GOP's Nasty Newcomer" is how a Times headline characterizes Sen. Ted Cruz on the basis of his performance since January: voting against John Kerry's confirmation as secretary of state, questioning Chuck Hagel's to head the defense department, voting against raising the debt ceiling, opposing renewal of the Violence Against Women Act, saying no to the barrel of congressional pork wherein aid for the victims of Hurricane Sandy was encased.

Wow! You just don't do stuff like that. Or anyway that's Times columnist Frank Bruni's contention. "(A)n ornery, swaggering piece of work," Bruni calls Sen. Cruz, throwing in for effect the verdict that "Courtesy isn't Cruz's m?tier. Grandstanding and browbeating are."

It's only going to get worse, I earnestly hope.

The outrage our senator (I am a constituent) generates throughout liberal/left wing America he may wear if he likes as a political Good Housekeeping seal. "I made promises to the people of Texas," Cruz told the Times by email, "that I would come to Washington to shake up the status quo." The status quo appears at least moderately shaken. California Senator Barbara Boxer likens Cruz to Joe McCarthy himself. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Cruz's predecessor, never came in for such a verbal pounding. Alas.

There are two points to make concerning Cruz's gift for outraging the left.

First, the Harvard and Princeton educated ex-solicitor general of Texas lives in a place -- Washington, D.C. -- not distinguished for, shall we say, reserve in expression. Or in veracity. The incumbent president, who shall be nameless, specializes in the rhetorical game of setting up straw men as targets of his manufactured indignation.

He likes to attack conservatives for seeking to tear down Medicare and Social Security, institutions sure to fail without some urgent attention from the party in control of Washington, the Democrats, as well as from the party not in control, the Republicans. In the inaugural last month, the president attacked the looming budgetary sequestration - the "sudden, harsh, arbitrary cuts" sure to "jeopardize our military readiness" and "devastate priorities like education and energy and medical research."

Huh? Wouldn't that be the same sequestration this same president signed into law less than two years ago? Sure is. Somebody must have put one of those famous AK-15s to the presidential temple, forcing him to do the thing he's horrified now to think about.

Bill Murchison

Bill Murchison is the former senior columns writer for The Dallas Morning News and author of There's More to Life Than Politics.
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