Liberals, the mainstream media, and establishment Republicans often reveal which conservatives they fear by their level of disdain and vitriol.
This week, they put their crosshairs on freshman Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), a Tea Party conservative of Hispanic descent who undermines the mainstream media's ability to advance their false notion that being a minority and Tea Partier are mutually exclusive. He is a conservative who showed no desire to defer to the Senate's "courtly" ways, the preferences of the institution's old bulls.
The sinking ship that is the New York Times, the so-called paper of record, provided evidence of what it fears most in its Saturday edition: strong, distinct full-throated conservative voices from folks who ain't "country club," geriatric, and white.
The Washington Post and Politico joined the times in assailing Cruz this week for similar reasons.
The Times did a thorough review of the freshman senator's stunning seven-week run:
- leading the charge on the destruction of Chuck Hagel's bona fides as Secretary of Defense;
- one of only three Republicans to vote against John Kerry because of his longstanding less-than-vigorous defense of U.S. national security issues;
- one of only 34 that voted against raising the debt ceiling;
- one of only 22 who voted against the Violence Against Women Act;
- one of only 36 who voted against the pork-ladened Hurricane Sandy financial aid package;
- one of only 19 who voted against arming the Muslim Brotherhood regime in Cairo;
- called out Rahm Emanuel;
- confronted Chuck Schumer on national TV;
- enraged Senators Boxer and McCaskill enough for them to label him as a "McCarthyite"
That, ladies and gentleman, is how you fight.
Jonathan Weisman, the author of the piece, brings out all the old adages about "taking confrontational Tea Party sensibilities to new heights--or lows" before rolling out Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) for the obligatory beat-down of conservatives. The Times also quotes McCain's sidekick, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who has to watch his right flank because he faces a potential primary in 2014, who tells the publication some of Cruz's comments regarding Hagel were "out of bounds."
In what is known as a "tell" in the media parlor game, Weissman and the Times commit an unforgivable error by referring to Cruz as "Canadian-born" without mentioning he was born to a mother who was a U.S. citizen, which most likely makes Cruz "natural born" and eligible to run for the nation's highest office. Yes, just when the Texan shows some "muzzle velocity" toward 2016, the Times goes birther.
In a companion piece in the Times titled "The GOP's Nasty Newcomer," op-ed writer Frank Bruni wrote Cruz was an "ornery, swaggering piece of work" who, after less than two months in Congress, is known for his "naysaying, his nit-picking and his itch to upbraid lawmakers who are vastly senior to him, who have sacrificed more than he has and who deserve a measure of respect, or at least an iota of courtesy."
"Courtesy isn’t Cruz’s métier," Bruni writes, implying the minority senator is uppity. "Grandstanding and browbeating are."
Bruni writes that in contrast to Republicans like House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Cruz does not want to see a Republican party that is "inclusive" (Bruni seems to have forgotten Cruz is of Hispanic descent and personifies inclusiveness) and has an "overflow of spite" and a "vitriol" that "brings himself plenty of attention," but will "bring Republicans nothing but grief."
This is the same Bruni who, in a bizarre column last week he compared politicians to imagined colognes, accused Cruz of "haranguing" nominees and having an "aggrieved voice and censorious visage." As for Cruz's cologne, Bruni felt it should be "Cruz Control," which he said was "showy" and "tailor-made for preening, with a top note of sandalwood, a middle note of tonka bean and a base of self-righteousness."
At the Washington Post, Ruth Marcus, in an op-ed, curiously mentioned nearly the exact same points the Times made, citing in particular Cruz's vote against Kerry and his criticism of Emanuel. To Marcus, Cruz did not have "the right" to "smear" Hagel and has "taken the wear-their-scorn-as-a-badge-of-honor approach with his liberal critics."
Politico quoted an anonymous GOP senator who said Cruz "annoyed" him. Like when commenting about Sarah Palin, Republicans refuse to go on the record in criticizing Cruz because they know how much he resonates with the base. Politico, the beltway outlet establishment Republicans often go to to trash movement conservatives, citing unnamed Republicans, also alleged "some Republican senators report that Cruz... speaks at length when it’s far more common for freshmen to wait before asserting themselves — particularly ones who were just sworn in."
Politico also mentions Cruz is getting "talked up in conservative circles as a possible 2016 presidential candidate," which may in part explain the mainstream media's rancor.
But, as the Times notes, Cruz "could not be more pleased."
"Washington’s new bad boy feels good," the Times writes.
And he should, for the Canadian-born-to-a-US-citizen junior senator from Texas is making all the right enemies in an era when Republicans come to Washington and seek to immediately kowtow to the mainstream media and "courtly" establishment Republicans loathed by the conservative base and those living outside Washington, D.C.'s "boomtown."
As Cruz has indicated in past interviews, he is doing something right by finding enemies at the New York Times and the Washington Post less than two months after coming to Washington, D.C. And this should delight the conservative movement that always fears its elected officials will come to Washington to change it and instead get changed by it. Cruz, it seems, will not be the type of politician that promises to drain the swamp and instead sees it as a jacuzzi and jumps in, as so many from both sides have done throughout the years.
“I made promises to the people of Texas that I would come to Washington to shake up the status quo,” Cruz told the Times. “That is what I intend to do, and it is what I have done in every way possible in the responsibilities that have been granted to me.”
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore