According to Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, it’s his colleagues, more than anyone, who should be blamed for the failure of the defund-Obamacare campaign — and he expects conservatives to remember come primary season.
“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 says, in an interview with National Review. “Once Senate Republicans did that, it crippled the chances of this effort, and it caused the lousy deal.”
When pressed to cite specific Republican senators who may face primary trouble, Cruz refuses — “I’m not interested in a battle of personalities.” But he strongly urges conservatives to hold those lawmakers “accountable.”
“As with every decision elected officials make, the consequences of those decisions are up to the American people,” Cruz says. “But I will say this: From Day One in office, 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.
“Now, I have publicly said it is likely that I will stay out of all incumbent primaries,” he continues. “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.” When asked whether using the word “likely” means he’s leaving room to back a challenger, Cruz repeats the line, saying it’s “likely” he’ll stay out.
2014 is going to be brutal on the GOP side. Already Mississippi GOP Sen. Thad Cochran has drawn a Tea Party primary challenger since the shutdown ended last week and I'm betting a lot more are on the way. The results are going to be pretty brutal as they continue to eat their own.