Cruz Missile Misfires

by Dish Staff

Ted Cruz did Harry Reid a big favor on Saturday, demanding a vote on Obama’s immigration EO that backfired in a big way. Allen McDuffee explains how his shenanigans gave the Dems everything they wanted for Christmas and then some:

Reid and his Republican counterpart, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, had worked out an agreement Friday to hold a vote on the spending package on Monday. But Cruz’s last-minute procedural maneuver to demand a vote on immigration scuttled that deal and forced senators to stay in Washington for the weekend. Not only did the immigration vote fail by a wide margin, 74-22, but the maneuver allowed Democrats to advance a slate of two dozen Obama nominees to executive branch positions faster than they otherwise would have proceeded. The nominations include Tony Blinken as deputy secretary of state, Dr. Vivek Murthy as surgeon general, Sarah Saldana as head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Carolyn Colvin to lead the Social Security Administration.

The “cromnibus” spending bill, meanwhile, passed 56 to 42, with 24 Republicans supporting it. Cruz’s buddies on the right are less than thrilled. Jennifer Rubin, for one, rips the junior Senator a new one:

Consistently rejecting useful and conservative legislation because of small infirmities is not the behavior of a leader dedicated to accomplishing important things, and it suggests Cruz is grossly unsuited for the Senate, let alone higher office. Imagine if he ran a state — or the country — without super-majorities of Republicans. Things would be worse than they are now. Rigidity of mind and contempt for opponents in a president have resulted in paralysis and nastiness for six years, so why repeat the experience? And really, if Cruz could find some other way to get attention, get his face on TV and get money out of gullible hard-right voters, don’t we think he’d take it?

Matt Lewis urges conservatives not to hold back from criticizing radicals like Lee and Cruz:

[T]he larger problem is that if conservatives are afraid to say “the emperor has no clothes,” then we will continue rewarding the wrong things, which means conservatives will continue losing. Is it wise to look the other way? It doesn’t do much good to pretend that the touchdown counts for your team when it was scored in the wrong end zone, but what if even after watching the game film, we still decline to tell our star player he cost us the game? This raises a question: Who cares more about something, the guy who ignores its faults or the guy who wants to address them?

Drum, meanwhile, neeners:

I’m sure the NRA is thrilled. Ditto for all the Republicans who were apoplectic over the nomination of Tony Blinken as deputy secretary of state. And megadittoes—with a megadose of irony—for Cruz, Lee, and all their tea party buddies who objected to confirming Sarah Saldaña to head Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Their objection, of course, was meant as a protest against Obama’s executive order on immigration. Now, thanks to a dumb little stunt that was pathetic even as an empty protest against Obama’s immigration plan, they’re going to lose an actual, substantive protest against an Obama immigration nominee. Nice work, guys. But I guess it’s a nice big platter of red meat that plays well with the rubes. With Cruz, that’s all that counts.

Jonathan Bernstein compares the cromnibus fight to last year’s shutdown battle, in which Cruz also played a key role:

Of course, part of normal bargaining involves a certain amount of brinkmanship and part of deliberate shutdown politics can involve claims that the other side is “really” responsible for the breakdown. The process goes off the rails when it includes excessive demands, backed up by ultimatums, that are far outside what appears to be the normal range of bargaining. Demanding a repeal of Obamacare (or “defunding”) despite a solid Democratic majority in the Senate and a Democrat in the White House is of a different order than a fight about a relatively small provision of Dodd-Frank, or the other policy riders added to the current funding bill.

In any case, it was clear from the beginning of last year that the radicals were more interested in the principle of blackmail than they were in the fate of any particular hostage. Indeed, most of the drama of the government shutdown involved Republicans flailing around looking for a good demand they could make for the shutdown they had already engineered.