Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has swarms of fans in the conservative news media. But he lost two prominent Republican columnists this week, citing his slash-and-burn brand of politics. The latest: Kimberly Strassel of the Wall Street Journal.
Last week Cruz spoke at a tea party rally in his home state, referring to some of his GOP colleagues in the Senate as “squishes.”
Strassel, also a member of WSJ’s editorial board, writes in a Friday op-ed that Cruz’s strategy is more often about scoring than solving problems:
Take the gun fight. A month ago, the president’s gun package was in tatters. The GOP had sat back and let Democratic infighting claim the spotlight. The headlines were about how Mr. Obama’s proposals for an “assault weapons” ban, and magazine-capacity limits, and universal background checks were all about to die—at the hands of his own Senate Democrats.
Into this perfect Democratic storm flew Mr. Cruz, Kentucky’s Rand Paul and Utah’s Mike Lee, vowing to filibuster any bill that undermined Second Amendment rights. …
This was never about the principled versus the squishes. The Cruz faction wanted to make a point—to prove (as if anyone doubted it) that the GOP believes in the “Constitution.” …
Yet disagree with Mr. Cruz on his filibuster strategy, and you are a “squish.”
The Washington Post‘s Republican blogger Jennifer Rubin wrote a similar column Tuesday, calling Cruz “a jerk” for, she said, failing to govern within the Senate.