Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, may be the brightest light to adorn the Republican Party in many years. He knows how to make the case for conservative ideas, pointing, for example, to the contrasting fates of Detroit and Houston to illustrate the superiority of conservative policies. So it's particularly galling to see that rather than train his fire at President Barack Obama and the liberal machine that cocoons him, Cruz has become a one-man wrecking ball against Republicans. His most recent foray into sabotaging his colleagues concerned the debt limit increase.
Because Speaker John Boehner sent over a "clean" debt limit bill, Republican senators had decided to let it pass with only Democratic votes. Republicans would not be endorsing the Democrats' spending priorities, but neither would they be opening themselves to the accusation of flirting with national default. With Obama's political fortunes sinking and several "red state" Democratic senators in jeopardy, Republicans have a good chance to retake the Senate in November -- unless they fall into civil war.
Retaking the Senate won't mean the repeal of Obamacare, but it will thwart the president in significant ways. A united Republican congress can pass legislation forcing vetoes. Bills like those alleviating the effects of drought in California, endorsing fracking on federally owned land, permitting Americans to keep their doctors, opposing lifting sanctions on Iran, cutting the bloated budget, and other matters would land on Obama's desk instead of moldering in Harry Reid's bottom drawer. Presidential vetoes would underscore the extremism of the president and his party. A Republican Senate would also inhibit the president from appointing ultra-leftists (like Debo Adegbile) to administration posts requiring confirmation. Finally, should any member of the Supreme Court die or resign in the final two years of an Obama presidency, a Republican Senate would force the president to choose a somewhat less objectionable nominee.
The job of the Republican Party until 2016 is to limit the damage that Obama can inflict on the nation and the world.
Cruz objected to permitting the debt ceiling vote with only Democratic votes. He demanded that the bill meet a 60-vote threshold (his right according to the rules). And so the Senate leadership, including Mitch McConnell, who is facing a primary challenger and a well-placed Democratic opponent, was forced to vote for the bill. Cruz then swanned over to the cameras to proclaim that some in Washington were "not listening to the people."
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