In an interview with Chris Matthews on Thursday, Ronald Reagan Jr. — son of the 38th president — said that an ideological extremist like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) will not be content until he has turned the Republican Party into a “smoking ruin” in the name of his own personal gain.
On Thursday, Cruz threatened to force a filibuster on raising the debt ceiling, a vote that could have passed with a simple majority, meaning that only Democrats would have to vote for it. Instead, the measure would need 60 votes to pass.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and 11 other Republican Senators then had to vote with Democrats to raise the debt ceiling, a move which can now serve as a cudgel to far-right candidates running against establishment Republicans in their own districts.
“What exactly was on Ted Cruz’s mind?” asked a baffled Reagan.
“What was he thinking of in terms of his Senate colleagues?” he asked. “They could have all voted against the debt limit increase, they could have all gone home to their constituents in Tennessee or Kentucky or wherever, and they could have said, ‘We didn’t vote for this thing!’ But no. Ted Cruz put his people in this impossible, untenable situation.”
“What is on his mind? He seems to want to run for President,” he went on, “but has it occurred to him that he might enjoy the help of his Senate colleagues? Could he at least play ball with them?”
Host Chris Matthews pointed out that right-wing blogs and other far-right conservatives rose straight to Cruz’s bait and began to lambast McConnell and the other Republicans who voted with the Democrats as traitors and enemy collaborators.
Salon.com editor Joan Walsh said that it appears that Cruz is trying to force his party into a civil war.
“Ted Cruz apparently thinks that somebody has got to rise out of the smoking ruins that is the Republican Party,” said Reagan, “and apparently he feels that somebody can be him. He first has to create the smoking ruins, of course, and he’s doing a pretty good job of that.”
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