Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) president Grover Norquist has now turned to left-wing media to continue his smear campaign against Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), a first-year senator already emerging as a leader of the Republican Party.
“I have never had a criticism of Ted Cruz’s strategy because I’ve never been able to find it,” Norquist said Monday night on Sirius XM’s Standup with Pete Dominick, according to a report in The Daily Beast. Dominick is a reliably progressive radio host who hosts his show on the liberal POTUS network on Sirius XM. The Daily Beast is similarly liberal, having dropped notions of objectivity when Tina Brown killed the Newsweek arm of the publication.
Norquist’s staffers have engaged in a deliberative Twitter campaign against Cruz and the Tea Party movement. Ryan Ellis, the tax policy director for Norquist’s downtown Washington, D.C., organization, recently attacked the National Review‘s Andrew Johnson on Twitter. “hey look, the idiot from NRO who thinks shutting down the govt defunds obamacare is attacking me, too,” Ellis tweeted, referencing a story Johnson posted on National Review‘s website including a tweet showing he views Sen. Cruz as a “despicable man who lies to good people.”
Ellis also called Tea Partiers “freaking retarded.”
“I’ve gotta tell you, man, I’m starting to think these tea party activists are freaking retarded,” Ellis said in one of the tweets Johnson posted, directed at right-of-center writer David Freddoso.
Ellis later apologized in part, only for calling Tea Partiers “retarded.”
“As someone with a Down Syndrome first cousin, I should not have used the word ‘retarded’ in any context,” Ellis tweeted later, hardly walking back his attacks on the conservative movement that made his boss Norquist who he is today. “It was a throwaway heated term.”
In another tweet that Johnson did not post at National Review, Ellis called Cruz a “demagogue who lies to the base.”
While Ellis took much of the heat from Grover Norquist’s ATR for running these tweets, he is hardly the only Norquist operative waging battle with the Tea Party on Twitter. Patrick Gleason, Norquist’s director of state affairs at ATR, tweeted that he believes Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) is Sen. Cruz’s “butt boy.”
“.@redstate @Freedomworks & co want to primary ‘squishes’, but looks like they also may need to defend Cruz’s butt boy,” Gleason tweeted, with a link to a Washington Post article about establishment efforts to go after Sen. Lee.
Gleason also called for Sen. Lee to lose his position in the U.S. Senate, adding former state Sen. Dan Liljenquist–who unsuccessfully primaried Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) last year–in that tweet. “UT needs a US senator who wants to rep the state, as opposed to being the errand boy of the junior senator from TX,” Gleason tweeted. “CC: @DanForUtah.”
Gleason also attacked Sen. Lee in another tweet by saying he was Cruz’s “sidecar.”
John Kartch, the communications director at Grover Norquist’s ATR, blamed Sen. Cruz via his Twitter feed for Cook Political Report saying several House Republicans are vulnerable because of the government shutdown. “Thx Cruz RT @RyanLizza: Cook Political Report: ‘we are making changes to our ratings in 15 House seats, all but one in Dem direction,'” Kartch tweeted.
Kartch also argued that Cruz is responsible for what the Washington Post argued was a massive lost opportunity by Republicans against Obamacare. “Ahem, Cruz RT @TheFix: How Republicans blew a massive political opportunity on Obamacare,” Kartch tweeted, with a link to a story in the Washington Post arguing the GOP lost a shot at Obamacare.
Adam Radman, the grassroots campaign manager for Norquist’s ATR, accused Sen. Cruz of lying when he said the establishment GOP did not have a strategy against Obamacare. “Sen. Ted Cruz said people opposed to the ‘defund’ tactic didn’t have a strategy? That’s completely false!” Radman tweeted.
In recent weeks, Norquist has lost any chance to spread his messages through conservative media. Glenn Beck, the founder of The Blaze, has come out against Norquist publicly. The National Review has clearly, as evidenced by the Johnson story referenced here, lost trust in him. Red State has come out swinging against him, too, with that publication’s editor Erick Erickson calling on Tea Partiers to remember that Norquist’s organization believes has said it believes they are “retarded,” while only offering a pseudo-apology, next time Norquist comes calling them for help. Thus, it’s no wonder why Norquist runs to the left to attack Cruz.