Politics

David Brooks: GOP leadership will have to show Ted Cruz ‘who’s boss’

Photo of Jeff Poor
Jeff Poor
Media Reporter

New York Times columnist David Brooks took on Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz for the second week in a row, saying he was “really unpopular” with a Republican leadership who will have to show him “who’s boss.”

But as for the reason Cruz has made so many headlines over the past week — the threat of shutting down the government to defund Obamacare — Brooks said he didn’t see that as a possibility.

“I’m Mr. Pollyanna on this,” Brooks said on Friday’s “NewsHour” on PBS. “I think we’re — it will be fine. I think what happened, there was a minority of House Republicans who upset the majority, upset the leadership. They wanted to have this big thing, we’re going to defund Obamacare, or else shut we’re going to down the government. The leaders didn’t really want to do this. They thought it was a dead end or, as they’re now calling it, a box canyon, which is the metaphor of the week. And — so, but they have got these people. They are going to give them what they want, from pressure from the right. So they give them what they want. They pass this thing, no funding for Obamacare. It’s going to die in the Senate. And then I think they are going to come back or either fudge or cave in. And I suspect we will not be shutting down the government.”

Brooks explained that Cruz had the so-called far right led by Cruz have the momentum behind, which is a problem the Republican leadership would have to deal with eventually.

“Apparently, Sen. Ted Cruz is in charge of the House and with these 43 or some-odd-couple-dozen more tea party Republicans,” Brooks said. “Mostly, there are a couple things going on. First, the people on the far right — well, we will call it the far right — have just the media behind them. They have got a lot of momentum behind them. And nobody really wants to anger them. And it’s just easier to placate if you are leadership than it is to really take them on. I think that’s probably a wrong strategy long-term. At some point, you have got to a showdown probably with the Ted Cruzes of the world if you are in leadership. At some point, if are you in leadership — and, believe me, the Republican leaders detest him. He’s really unpopular. And at some point, they think he will burn out. Maybe that’s true.”

He pointed out the problem for Republican leaders, which is Cruz like former South Carolina Republican Sen. Jim DeMint before him, are able to raise a lot of money and create “national stature.”

“[T]hey want the leaders of the party to lead a party,” Brooks said. “They believe politics is a team sport. A lot of these Republicans like Cruz and like some in the House and like Jim DeMint, who is a former senator now at the Heritage Foundation, they are doing very well for themselves by running against the Republican Party. They can raise a lot of money. They can build their national stature, potential presidential options. But it’s very bad for the leadership. And so, eventually, I think they are going to have to have a confrontation and they’re going to have show who’s boss somehow.”

(h/t Real Clear Politics Video)

Follow Jeff on Twitter