Across the Capitol, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), a Tea Party darling known for his toxic rhetoric against the “Washington cabal,” has been completely marginalized by his GOP colleagues.
Earlier this week, the 2016 presidential contender was blocked in an attempt to add amendments on the Iran nuclear deal and Planned Parenthood to the must-pass funding bill that keeps the government open until December 11. Both Republicans and Democrats also denied his efforts to speak on the Senate floor beyond the hour he was allotted.
The episode was symptomatic of the relationship Cruz now has with his fellow senators, especially Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who the Texas lawmaker called a “liar” in a fiery floor speech back in July.
Cruz’s inability to get support on the floor wasn’t lost on one of his presidential rivals.
“Ted has chosen to make this really personal and called people dishonest in leadership and call them names, which really goes against the decorum and also against the rules of the Senate, and as a consequence he can’t get anything done legislatively,” Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) told Fox News Radio.
“He is pretty much done for and stifled, and it’s really because of personal relationships, or lack of personal relationships, and it is a problem.”
But don’t count Cruz out yet. The main protagonist behind the 2013 government shutdown has already signaled he will try to complicate the December deadline. He also could try to scuttle budget negotiations between McConnell, Boehner and President Obama, possibly by calling attention to the talks while on the campaign trail.
If Cruz turns up the heat enough, the talks might become politically untenable for McConnell or Boehner’s replacement, who likely will be busy trying to wrangle an unruly GOP conference.
Here’s why Cruz is so universally despised among his peers,
1. Here’s what Cruz said in September 2013, about Republicans who gave up the idea of defunding Obamacare: “Look, we saw in Britain, Neville Chamberlain, who told the British people, ‘Accept the Nazis. Yes, they’ll dominate the continent of Europe, but that’s not our problem. Let’s appease them. Why? Because it can’t be done. We can’t possibly stand against them.’”
2. Cruz fired a missile at then Defense Secretary Nominee Chuck Hagel, implying he may have received $200,000 from North Korea.
“He could not even say that the $200,000 he received did not come directly from a foreign government…It is at a minimum relevant to know if that $200,000 deposited in his bank account came directly from Saudi Arabia, came directly from North Korea.”
3. Cruz accuses McConnell of The Big Lie.
“I sat in my office, I told my staff, the majority leader looked me in the eye and looked 54 Republicans in the eye,” Cruz said. “I cannot believe he would tell a flat-out lie, and I voted on those assurances that he made to each and every one of us. What we just saw today was an absolute demonstration that not only what he told every Republican senator, but what he told the press over and over and over again, was a simple lie.”
4. He took another swipe at the Republican leadership by accusing them of being Democrats because they wanted to keep the government running and not shut it down.
"The position of Republican leadership boils down to this: They will support 100% of the priorities of Democrats," said Cruz, a Republican who is running for president. "Today, the leader in the Senate is Harry Reid because Republican leadership has said nothing will pass without Harry Reid's support. Today, the leader in the House is Nancy Pelosi."
5. After Boehner resigned, Cruz did a victory lap, speaking to an audience of evangelical conservatives.
“You want to know how much each of you terrify Washington?” Cruz asked the audience. “Yesterday, John Boehner was Speaker of the House. Y'all come to town and somehow that changes. My only request is--can you come more often?”