Sen. Ted Cruz caused an uproar this week after calling some of his Senate Republican colleagues “squishes” for their votes in favor of stricter gun control measures. Ronald Reagan’s 11th commandment notwithstanding, it’s hard to see why this created so much controversy.
The media has typically toasted any Republican who is willing to criticize fellow Republicans. This has been true, at various times, of John McCain, Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, Richard Lugar, Jon Huntsman, Charlie Crist and Bob Bennett, among others. Of course, in such cases, it’s okay, because those politicians have criticized the Republican Party for being too extreme. They were attacking conservatives and fighting conservative ideas. So, when they were criticizing members of their party, they were truth tellers and reasonable Republicans.
So, Cruz’s sin wasn’t criticizing fellow Republicans. It was the fact that he was a conservative daring to criticize more moderate Republicans.
Over at the Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin wrote of Cruz that, “There is being principled, and then there is being a jerk. Putting down your colleagues to boost your own street cred with the base falls into the latter category.” Yet today, she has a post touting New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s 2016 presidential prospects. In January, Christie blasted the House GOP majority on Hurricane Sandy aid in an attempt to boost his street cred in a blue state.
I don’t necessarily always agree with Cruz. For instance, he said he would have voted against the “fiscal cliff” deal, though I thought it was the least bad option under the circumstances. But I do think it’s healthy to have Senators such as Cruz who are willing to buck the party.
During the Bush era, Republicans controlled both chambers of Congress yet spending soared. Because there weren’t enough conservatives in the House or Senate to stand up to the Bush administration and Congressional leadership, Republicans rammed through the Medicare prescription drug plan and No Child Left behind, among other big government abominations. If more Republicans had Ted Cruz’s attitude back then, taxpayers and local school districts could have been spared from these programs.