Political Pistachio

Blog Home of the Writer and AM and FM Radio Host, Douglas V. Gibbs.
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Friday, February 08, 2013

Ted Cruz Holds Firm on Conservatism in U.S. Senate

The Unconventional Ted Cruz

He's doing precisely what he promised on the campaign trail.

Ted Cruz (R., Texas) has been a United States senator for only 34 days, but already he is making his mark on national politics. His conspicuous presence and aggressive tone have thrilled his conservative cheerleaders, while inducing fits of rage in liberal detractors and Joe Scarborough.

In the past week alone, Cruz has tangled with veteran Democratic spin-master Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) on Meet the Press, sent a tongue-in-cheek letter to Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago, introduced legislation to fully repeal Obamacare, and recorded “no” votes on major items, including Hurricane Sandy relief, raising the debt ceiling, filibuster reform, and the confirmation of John Kerry for secretary of state. He also made headlines with his aggressive interrogation of prospective defense secretary Chuck Hagel.

Additionally, Cruz’s quick rise to prominence appears to have offended the sensibilities of the political press. During Hagel’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee last week, I overheard multiple groans from other journalists covering the event whenever Cruz began a pointed line of questioning. On Twitter, they noted their exasperation in more colorful ways.

If anything, the 41-year-old Texan has made clear he does not intend to abide by the conventional playbook for new members: Keep your head down, keep your mouth shut, and learn the ropes before inserting yourself into the national conversation.

That’s not Cruz’s style. More important, it’s not what he campaigned on. “If I go to Washington and just have a good voting record, I will consider myself a failure,” then-candidate Cruz said on the campaign trail in 2012. Last week, in an interview with conservative radio host Mark Levin, Cruz expressed disbelief at “how shocked people are when you actually do what you said you would do.” “In most of America that’s to be expected, and yet oddly enough in Washington, D.C., that seems to be unusual,” he said.

Republicans are delighted that Cruz, whom many regard as a skilled advocate for conservatism, has decided to play such an active role right off the bat. “Any member who has a point of view on a topic should not feel shy about expressing that,” says one Republican Senate aide. “For someone as talented as Ted Cruz, it’s vital that we have eloquent conservatives out there arguing for our side.”


-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

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