Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is clinging doggedly to the notion that the shutdown of the federal government would have worked if only his fellow Senate Republicans hadn’t colluded with the Democrats and agreed to end the impasse. In an interview with Robert Costa of the National Review Online, Cruz warned that his insufficiently conservative colleagues will face primary challengers in the next round of elections, although he declined to name names.
“Unfortunately, rather than supporting House Republicans, a significant number of Senate Republicans actively, aggressively, and vocally led the effort to defeat House Republicans, to defeat the effort to defund Obamacare,” Cruz told Costa. “Once Senate Republicans did that, it crippled the chances of this effort, and it caused the lousy deal.”
When Costa asked if Cruz would care to call out any of his fellow Senators by name, he said, “I’m not interested in a battle of personalities.”
“But I will say this: from day one in office,” he continued, “I’ve urged the American people to hold every elected official accountable, and far too many elected officials are not listening to the American people…when you’ve got 10 to 20 Senate Republicans going on television, day after day after day, saying, ‘we cannot win, this is a fool’s errand, we will lose, nothing will happen, we will surrender,’ and blaming Republicans every step of the way, it eliminates the ability to get a positive outcome.”
The freshman Senator said that the moderates who ended the shutdown should expect to face primary opponents, warning, “Now, I have publicly said it is likely that I will stay out of all incumbent primaries, but every elected official has to make the case to the grassroots in his or her state on why he or she is effectively fighting for them.”
Cruz has come under heavy fire from fellow Republicans as well as Democrats who have lambasted him for essentially leading the party into a ditch and driving its popularity with the public to historic lows. It was evident from the start, say Republicans like New York Rep. Peter King, that the shutdown was a strategic dead end, but Cruz pursued it anyway, presumably out of an urge to shore up his credentials ahead of a 2016 presidential run.
When Costa asked if Cruz is uncomfortable being disliked by so many in Washington, he said, “Every day, I jump out of bed with a smile on my face, because it is a joy to have the opportunity to stand with the American people and work to help restore people’s faith and optimism in our nation. It’s an incredible honor to play a small role in expanding the American dream.”