On PBS’s “NewsHour” on Friday night, New York Times columnist David Brooks warned that Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and similar legislators’ rise to prominence threatens the traditional Republican Party.
Brooks insists the motives of Cruz are less about legislation and policy and more about the politics of undermining the Republican establishment.
“What’s going on in the House, and a bit in the Senate, too, is what you might call the rise of Ted Cruz-ism,” Brooks said. “And Ted Cruz, the senator from Canada through Texas, is basically not a legislator in the normal sense, doesn’t have an idea that he’s going to Congress to create coalitions, make alliances, and he is going to pass a lot of legislation. He’s going in more as a media-protest person. And a lot of the House Republicans are in the same mode. They’re not normal members of Congress. They’re not legislators. They want to stop things. And so they’re just being — they just want to obstruct.”
“And the second thing they’re doing, which is alarming a lot of Republicans, is they’re running against their own party,” he continued. “Ted Cruz is running against Republicans in the Senate. The House Republican Tea Party types are running against the Republican establishment. That’s how they’re raising money. That’s where they’re spending their money on ads. And so they’re having a very obstructive role which is going on this week, and I think it’s going to make John Boehner’s life even more difficult.”
Brooks hypothesized the reason the leadership in the House and Senate is unable to control the so-called Ted Cruz-ism movement is that members of it have become uninterested in any of the perks that the leadership has to offer.
“Two things that are interesting that are happening, especially being talked about this week,” Brooks said. “One, leadership in both bodies, the leadership’s inability to force any discipline. That’s partly because a lot of these people just are not interested in the committee assignments, the normal leverage the leadership has, in part because the earmarks are gone, some of the spending favors.”
Brooks continued that the policy goals of Cruz and others weren’t actual policy goals, but a means to take over the Republican Party.
“[S]o the leadership can’t impose any discipline on a Ted Cruz,” Brooks said. “There’s nothing they can punish him with. And, remember, what these people, Ted Cruz and some of the tea party people, their object is not to win Obamacare. Their object is to take over the Republican Party. So, they really are running against the Republicans. And for Ted Cruz, it’s potentially to get the nomination. And taking this down, if it can mobilize enough Republicans so he can take over the party and become — really transform the party, then that becomes the object. And one little straw in the wind, the Heritage Foundation, a very prominent conservative think tank, is running against Republicans. And that’s part of the change that is going on here.”