Texas Senator Ted Cruz is drawing a lot of ire and fire from the Beltway GOP.
The eloquent and passionate Texas freshman has raised the hair on necks of the Republicans who sought a deal to avoid the unpleasantness of brinksmanship with the most incompetent president of modern times.
It is absolutely the case that the GOP will, in the end, have to vote for a Continuing Resolution that funds Obamacare. It will require winning the Senate for the GOP in 2014 and the presidency in 2016 to repeal Obamacare.
Cruz's strategy right now is to mobilize the public in 2013 so that those goals are possible in 2014 and 2016. Principled conservatives can disagree on tactics, and even on strategy, but they cannot disagree on the fact that Obamacare is killing jobs and the American health system.
Cruz and his fellow gifted rhetoricians Mike Lee, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio have all inveighed against Obamacare consistently and for months. They have a plan to keep the fiasco that is Obamacare front and center of the American people, and they are working the plan. They are building a movement, not a dance card, in D.C.
The House Republican leadership would have mostly preferred to fade the issue, hoping that events would break their way or at least resolve in some sort of bipartisan consensus.
Events broke their way only in the fact that this disaster of a president was revealed to the world by Vladimir Putin as a bumbling, stumbling incompetent that only the Beltway GOP could not flank.
This president won't stand up to Assad or Putin, but he will bully Beltway Republicans. That's what he does. It is the only thing he has done well in the past five years.
But the four aces of the GOP in the Senate won't be intimidated and won't be bullied, even when their colleague John McCain calls them "whacko birds."
Cruz and his colleagues rallied hundreds of thousands of voters to sign on to the effort to defund Obamacare. That's called building a network that can be mobilized in future elections. That's called playing to win, now and in 2014 and 2016.
Even as I was talking with Senator Cruz about the end game, though, a long line of Republican time-servers lined up to criticize the Texas senator for daring to rally the troops and charge the hill.