Sunday, September 29, 2013

Republican Base Loves Ted Cruz-- Party Leaders... Not So Much


This week, PPP found that Ted Cruz is now the number one choice of Republican voters to be their 2016 nominee. With 20%, he tops the libertarian choice, Rand Paul (17%), the Old Eastern Establishment choice, Chris Christie (14%), the less old, Southern Establishment choice, Jeb Bush (11%), and all the also-rans like Paul Ryan (10%), Marco Rubio (10%), Bobby Jindal (4%), Rick Santorum (3%) and Scott Walker (3%). Cruz is up 8 points in a month.
He's made himself the face of a government shutdown over Obamacare, and the Republican base supports that by a 64/20 margin. It's not surprising that Republicans identifying as 'very conservative' support a shutdown 75/10, but even the moderate wing of the party supports it by a 46/36 margin.

Cruz is leading the GOP field based especially on his appeal to 'very conservative' primary voters, who he gets 34% with t0 17% for Rand Paul and 12% for Paul Ryan. Voters who fall into that ideological group make up the largest portion of the Republican electorate at 39%. With moderates Cruz gets only 4% with Christie leading at 34% to 12% for Jeb Bush and 10% for Marco Rubio, but they only account for 18% of GOP voters and thus aren't all that relevant to Cruz's prospects for winning a Republican nomination.

Our numbers also suggest that Cruz is now viewed more broadly as the leader of the Republican Party. When asked whether they trust Cruz or GOP leader Mitch McConnell more, Cruz wins out 49/13. When it comes to who's more trusted between Cruz and Speaker John Boehner, Cruz has a 51/20 advantage. And when it comes to Cruz and 2008 GOP nominee and Senate colleague John McCain, Cruz wins out 52/31. He now has more credibility with the GOP base than the folks who have been leading the party for years.
And those folks who have been leading the party for years, hate his guts and think he's dragging their party over the cliff. He's the symbol of a purer, small, regional GOP that has great appeal in areas where rich old white men dominate. Republicans who see their party as a truly national operation that can reach out and win the presidency and win statewide outside of the Old Confederacy and the Mormon Empire, are not happy with Cruz and his tactics. At Slate this week, John Dickerson explained why his Senate colleagues "despise" him. And it's not for the same reasons Democrats and normal Americans despise him. And it goes beyond the unseemliness of being a junior senator who's grabbing the spotlight. After all, Elizabeth Warren is doing the same thing on the Democratic side of the aisle and most of her colleagues adore her. "Their affection for him this week," begins Dickerson, "became so qualified as to be indistinguishable from hatred... [I]t's likely that no senator has created as many enemies in his party in as short a time as the junior senator from Texas.  Sen. Cruz hasn’t been content to stop there. After angering his fellow GOP senators for days, he capped the week off by making fewer friends in the House. As Robert Costa of the National Review first reported, just as House Speaker John Boehner was cobbling together support for a measure to fund the government, Cruz advised Tea Party conservatives not to support him and they took his advice." Based on interviews with Cruz's colleagues, he's compiled a lengthy list of why Cruz is so hated on Capitol Hill.
He weakened the GOP’s position in the coming budget debates: Right now Republicans should be unified in their opposition to President Obama’s budget policies. The president’s approval rating is at the low end of his tenure, and the country supports the GOP’s position on reducing spending. Why did Sen. Cruz drive this enormous wedge in the Republican Party on the eve of big and important fights with the White House?

He’s fooled the grassroots: By suggesting that Obamacare could actually be defunded through his Senate action, he confused voters by setting expectations that could never be met. Furthermore, he was an enabler to interest groups who sold that “bill of goods,” as Sen. Tom Coburn put it, so that they might raise more money from the grassroots.

Pressure: Members of Congress are getting lots of heat from their constituents to support Cruz in his effort. He will be able to cause headaches in the future based on the permanent false distrust he has created between members and their constituents.

Jealousy: In a matter of months, Cruz has built a base of support that allowed him to act as the de facto Republican leader of the Senate. [Not to mention the House.]

Breaking Reagan’s Commandment: Cruz says he has not attacked Republicans specifically, but in his alliance with Jim DeMint, the former South Carolina senator and now president of the Heritage Foundation, he has done something more powerful. He has helped raise money to run advertisements against incumbent Republican senators.

He wasted precious time: Republicans don’t want to get the blame for a government shutdown. By soaking up valuable Senate time with no-win maneuvers, Cruz has left House leaders with less time to follow their legislative strategy-- one that might have won limited concessions from White House. Or, with significantly more time, House Speaker Boehner might have been able to produce a funding bill that would have at least included a one-year delay of the Affordable Care Act. That would have put Democrats up for re-election in vulnerable states in a tough spot; at the very least, red state Democrats would have had to take an unpopular vote. Now the GOP looks fractured, time is short, and Boehner may only be able to pass the funding bill passed by the Senate Democrats-- which he’ll almost certainly have to do with Democratic votes, offering even more leverage to the enemy.

Ego: He has used his colleagues to elevate himself in the furtherance of his 2016 presidential ambitions.

He made Obama’s critique look accurate: For years, President Obama has said a minority faction of zealots controls the Republican Party. By hijacking the system for a cause that had no chance of success, Cruz confirmed Obama’s cartoonish vision of a party controlled by a wing unconcerned about practical results.

He turned a tactical fight into a purity test: The majority of Republican senators agreed with Cruz on the importance of defunding Obamacare, but they disagreed with him on tactics. He characterized those with whom he had a tactical disagreement as ideological turncoats.

He blunted the GOP’s best plan of attack on Obamacare: The Affordable Care Act was falling under its own weight as stories of rickety implementation, layoffs, and companies dropping coverage of their employees continued to be published. By linking the “defunding effort” to continued funding of the government, Cruz distracted the public from Obamacare’s inherent problems. That distraction undermined Republican efforts to chip away at the legislation through smaller attacks, like a one-year delay that might have led to a full repeal if the GOP took back control of the Senate in 2014.
Saturday, the Dallas Morning News reminded Cruz's constituents that if he causes a government shutdown, he'll still be getting his paycheck. "U.S. Senate talkathon star and tea party darling Ted Cruz said Friday he has no plans to forfeit his paycheck if the federal government shuts down amid a nasty budget battle he’s helping wage." His Texas supporters don't care. Nor do they care that he's a mealy-mouthed liar and a typical politician speaking out of both sides of his mouth.
Asked Friday about White House aspirations, Cruz responded: “My hands are full with the U.S. Senate.” He added that it was “100 percent of our focus.”

When a questioner wanted to know why he had already traveled to Iowa and New Hampshire, the first two places to vote in presidential primaries, Cruz said he was simply trying to build opposition to the health care law.
The L.A. Times published its very own Dr. Seuss poem to cap off Cruz's week:
Cruz does not like Obamacare
He doesn’t like to care or share
He doesn’t want to help the poor
He wants the rich to just have more
He likes to bully folks around
His own voice is his favorite sound
If Dr. Seuss had met Ted Cruz
He’d tell him, “Ted, I hope you lose.”

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At 12:49 PM, Anonymous Sue said...

Dominionist party forming now!


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