Many Republicans despise Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz for his government shutdown tactics, not his tea party ideology, New York Times columnist David Brooks said on NPR’s Friday edition of “All Things Considered.”
Brooks reacted to an interview Cruz gave to ABC News, in which he justified the tactical maneuvers he supported to take on Obamacare that led to the federal government shutdown.
Cruz had told ABC’s Jon Karl he didn’t come to Washington, D.C. to make friends, but instead be appreciated by his constituents in Texas. Brooks said Cruz certainly accomplished that — but not for the reasons he might think.
“If Cruz wanted to be reviled in Washington, mission accomplished,” Brooks said. “I was in the Senate dining room the other morning having breakfast with somebody and he walked into the room and the temperature dropped about 50 degrees. I had like an omelet sorbet sitting there. So he is disliked and mostly because of incompetence, not for ideology. He led people in the wrong direction.”
Brooks predicted that the so-called Republican establishment will make a comeback against the tea party in the wake of the fallout from the shutdown.
“I think the big story here is that the Republicans really have begun to shift,” he continued. “Someone said recently that the worst were full of furious intensity and the best lacked all conviction. The best, meaning, I would say, the Republican reality caucus have a little furious intensity to speak back at the tea party and so the establishment has got a little muscle for the first time in a little while, or at least some resolve.”
Brooks also said the shutdown fallout gives President Barack Obama an opening to pursue immigration reform and the chance to score a political points regardless if he is successful in that pursuit.
“And frankly, if I were the president, I would go right into immigration reform,” he added. “If the moderate Republicans or the realistic Republicans are in charge, then they get a big substantive win. We actually get this immigration reform done. If the Tea Party is still in charge, then the president gets a big political win because the Republicans will vote it down.”