8 votes

Ted Cruz is eyeballing 2014 first, not 2016 with shutdown strategy

That is what this pretty keen analysis from the Sunday NYT says. Can he pick up seats, and actually flip the Senate?

In part:

Consider the warnings of many, including some in the conservative establishment, that the shutdown will rebound against the party. As evidence they cite the shutdown of 1995. The winner then was President Bill Clinton, who deftly used the episode to right his wobbly presidency and then coasted to a second term in 1996.

But Ted Cruz, the Texas senator who helped set the stage for the conflict, has offered a different interpretation. Those prophesying ruin “need to go back and read their history books a little more closely” regarding 1995, he said on Laura Ingraham’s radio show in July. “In the next election, 1996, Republicans held on to the majority in the House, the first time Republicans had done that since 1930, in 66 years,” Mr. Cruz pointed out. “We lost a total of nine seats in the House. In the Senate, we gained two seats.”

Mr. Cruz, in other words, was calculating the odds of success in terms of the Congressional, rather than presidential, outcome. This makes sense, since he was born in 1970 and came of age in the years when his party struggled to build national majorities (winning the popular vote only once in the six presidential elections held from 1992 to 2012) and instead flexed its muscles through the legislature.

Changing demographics would seem to weaken the appeal of anti-government figures like Mr. Cruz (who was born in Canada and is of Cuban ancestry). That is why traditional conservatives like the columnist Michael Gerson insist that “pragmatic Republicans” are the party’s salvation, and that Mr. Cruz and his allies are mounting a “revolt against reality.”

But as America becomes more diverse, another population has come more clearly into view: the alienated and disenchanted. These people have embraced a libertarian and anti-government outlook and have little use for what they see as the compromised, impure “big government” conservatism of the Reagan and Bush years.

To this constituency, the Republican who will go as far as he can — taking one last crack at undoing Mr. Obama’s health care reform or voting later this month not to raise the debt ceiling — is not an obstructionist but a politician of principle, a rebel with a cause.

Read the whole thing in theNYT.

What do you think? Can he flip the Senate? How do you think the whole thing will resolve?

For me, this political drama is better than any soap opera, and almost as good as that Broncos - Cowboys game yesterday.

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Why do people think Cruz might go for President?

I'm not really sure why people think this. He was born in Canada. I always thought people let Obama get away with not being natural-born because they misunderstood that to mean the person had to be born in America. Was I mistaken? Do people just not care whatsoever about the Constitutional requirements for the presidency?

Thanks for sharing, Michael. I agree that this is a much more realistic route.


His number one short-term priority is pure and simply to stop ObamaCare.

His number two medium-term priority is to place Democrats back into minority in the Senate in 2014.

His next longer-term priority or ambition, as I've professed all year and still adhere to, is to become Senate Majority Leader [or if Democrats remain in majority - to replace McConnell as Minority Leader].

Michael Nystrom's picture

That's a three count

1. Stop Obamacare
2. Flip the Senate
3. Become Senate Leader.

How many of those objectives do you think he will succeed in?

I'm interested in how things turn out, but this is how they look to me at this point.


He's the man.

"How many of those objectives

"How many of those objectives do you think he will succeed in?"

My guess narrows the options in half, to two out of four.

Zero or all three.

I think Rand for Majority Leader before Cruz!

I said it first! :P


I'm a serial entrepreneur and liberty activist from Texas!


Rand's pretty obviously

Rand's pretty obviously already eying the presidency. Taking a position as a majority or minority leader would be counter to that.

I Agree with you RobHino-Rand Would Be Great as the Majority

Leader. I also think the only reason we see the Majority Leader Boehner taking a stand now is because he is feeling the pressure that Rand could easily take his job away if he didn't take a stand and oppose/delay Obamacare. Boehner also doesn't appear very passionate about his role and has little to say from what I have seen regarding Obamacare and the government shut down.


In order to take Boehner's

In order to take Boehner's job, Rand would have to switch jobs and run as a congressman. :p

Michael Nystrom's picture

Bump it

Because it is a good article.

He's the man.

Very interesting article.

I heard someone say today that maybe the reason the powers that be don't like Cruz is because while he has the academic credentials (Princeton & Harvard)and the connections to Goldman Sacs, Bush, etc. he is not playing their game. I think he educated himself from some of the masters and is playing on the liberty team.

well, how about that: NYT actually gave Dr. Paul some

quasi-credit: Dr. Ronald Ernest Paul, the "Godfather of Post-Consensus Politics" !!??

The states’ rights doctrine was center stage at the Liberty Political Action Conference, held in Chantilly, Va., in September and sponsored by the Campaign for Liberty, a group created in 2008 by Ron Paul, in some respects the godfather of post-consensus politics.


Why would libertarians — many of them Tea Party-aligned — object to giving voters more say in choosing their senators? Because, as a young, Harvard-trained law professor at the event told me, the amendment diminished the authority of state lawmakers.

This is the perspective of a self-conscious minority that seeks not to build consensus but to rally the likeminded. We see it as well in the anti-tax pledges promoted by conservative groups and in the fielding of right-wing challengers to ideologically suspect Republicans.

“ ‘It does not take a majority to prevail,’ ” Mr. Paul said at the conference’s climactic event, quoting Samuel Adams, “ ‘but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brush fires of freedom in the minds of men.’ ”

This is the sentiment guiding today’s post-consensus politicians, who look back even as they gird for the next battle.

Predictions in due Time...

"Let it not be said that no one cared, that no one objected once it's realized that our liberties and wealth are in jeopardy." - Dr. Ronald Ernest Paul