Most days I’m not sure what to make of GOP Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Because he’s already held, or holding, the two jobs someone with his pedigree usually aspire to – politics and/or a corporate shill. From the Texas Observer, There’s a Prospect on the Right.
Cruz’s parents met at the University of Texas, and after graduating they started a small oil industry-related business. Ted Cruz—whose full name is Rafael Edward Cruz—was born in 1971 in Calgary, Canada, where his parents were working at the time. Cruz’s family later returned to Texas. In 1988, Cruz entered Princeton University, where he competed as a debater, winning numerous awards. Then it was on to Harvard Law, where he graduated magna cum laude in 1995, having served as primary editor of the Harvard Law Review and executive editor of the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy.
It’s likely Cruz wants people to think of him as this radical, right wing, shoot from the hip, guy that goes with his gut. The Bush style politicians the Texas GOP voter has become so enamored with. He’s also working on playing the victim pretty well.
But the author of the Observer piece recently sent this Cruz update to Josh Marshall, Interesting Info on Mr. Cruz.
I just read your post regarding Ted Cruz, wondering what sort of reputation he had over his career. I wrote a profile of him for The Texas Observer last year, and from my interviews I definitely heard from folks that, while they respected his intellect and his lawyering ability, he’s pretty much an arrogant ass.
Also of note is that winning Kay Bailey’s Senate seat came as a bit of a shock to him. He really wasn’t all that interested in heading back to Washington and his real goal during the Senate campaign was to build up name recognition for a shot at attorney general when the current atty gen, Greg Abbott eventually runs for governor (everything in Texas has been in a holding pattern because Perry has stuck around for so long in the governor’s mansion). In fact, Cruz had put together a PAC to run for attorney general a few years back when it looked like Abbott was moving up and out, but then he had to put his plans on hold (Cruz is tight with Abbott, as he worked directly for him as solicitor general).
Anyway, it’s good to keep in mind that Cruz’s actions here in D.C. are geared toward an eventual return to Texas state politics. So the more he can make waves and play up his outsider/tea party status for the home audience, the better for him. He doesn’t really care about making friends with his Senate colleagues or working his way up in the corridors of Washington power.
In other words the more he screws up Washington, the better off he thinks he will be politically, once he returns to Texas. He’s doing what’s best for Ted Cruz, not what’s best for Texas. And this former Harvard Law grad is turning fellow GOP Texas Sen. John Cornyn into the butt of jokes, Is Cornyn now ‘on Cruz control’ or is he just plain conservative?
In Washington, John Cornyn has long been considered one of the most conservative members of the U.S. Senate.
Then came Ted Cruz.
In his first month in office, Texas’ junior senator has entered the national stage with the subtlety of an elephant at a ballet. A few liberal commentators have compared Cruz, with his prosecutorial style and his relentless attacks on President Obama and Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel, to Joe McCarthy, Huey Long, Father Coughlin and other right-wing demagogues of the 20th century.
Where does this leave Cornyn, whose voting record is almost identical to Cruz but whose demeanor is far more mellow?
“Democrats snicker that he’s now stuck on ‘Cruz Control,’ following the lead of his junior partner on issues ranging from the confirmation of Secretary of State John Kerry (they comprised two of the three ‘no’ votes) to the re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act (which garnered 78 ‘yes’ votes),” Politico’s Jonathan Martin wrote on Friday.
Martin reports, without any sourcing, the buzz at the Texas Capitol: “The wise-guy joke going around Austin: Cruz is the only freshman in Congress with two votes.”
To cap off the Politico riff, Rep. Joaquin Castro, a freshman Democrat from San Antonio who, like Cruz, has started with a bang, told Politico: “Cruz is essentially now able to determine Cornyn’s dance steps.”
Cruz’s power derives from what he did to Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in the GOP Primary runoff in 2012. And now most GOP elected officials are worried about some upstart doing the same thing to them. The GOP in Texas is now captive of the most extreme elements of the party and Ted Cruz is their leader.