Sen. Ted Cruz's public accusation that Mitch McConnell lied to fellow Senators has not gone over well among the GOP leadership. Establishment Republicans are predictably going after the Texas Senator and rebuking him for violating Senate etiquette.
Cruz made waves last week when he accused the Majority Leader on the Senate floor of telling a bald-faced lie to Republicans -- a lie that Cruz says opened the way to a vote on the Export-Import Bank, which conservative Republicans would have blocked if they had known the Majority Leader's plans. The Senate ended up voting to renew the Ex-Im Bank on Sunday evening. Cruz and other conservative Republicans have persistently fought the Ex-Im Bank, calling it a classic example of corporate welfare and congressional corruption.
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) was among the first to attack Sen. Cruz's comments.
"I think it was outside the realm of Senate behavior," said Sen. John McCain, who has clashed with Cruz in the past. "I would never contemplate going to the floor of the Senate and impugning the integrity of another senator. Just not something we do here. I really think it was a very wrong thing to do."
Wrong, perhaps -- unless Cruz's claim is actually true. Wouldn't a straight-up lie warrant a slight breach of genteel manners? Would not a breach of trust warrant a breach of cordiality?
Perhaps it is this stubborn politeness, after all, that has for so long kept noble reformers from upending the money-changers who rule Congress and lie in bed with lobbyists. Perhaps it is McCain's profound and unrivaled concern for niceness that keeps the Senate awash in cronyism. Perhaps it is this unwavering devotion to the status quo, which rules the hearts of so many GOP leaders, that millions of Americans voted to oust last fall. Sadly, their votes have affected little change.
McCain is not alone in his overt concern for niceness over truth. Sen. Orrin Hatch threw in his own two cents on the matter.
"Squabbling and sanctimony may be tolerated in other venues -- or perhaps on the campaign trail -- but they have no place among colleagues in the United States Senate.
I see. So Cruz was simply grandstanding, perhaps trying to catch up to Donald Trump in the presidential polls. Whatever his motives, he couldn't have been expressing righteous indignation at a misguided Senate leader who goes to bat for K Street every day.
At least Cruz remained unfazed. His response to these criticisms was short and sweet.
"I do not believe speaking the truth is anything other than in the very best tradition of the United States Senate," Cruz said to reporters.