Internecine strife could cost the GOP the Senate....
Texas freshman Sen. Ted Cruz forced a procedural vote on raising the debt ceiling to over $18 trillion. As recounted by the WSJ editors:
Democrats had enough votes to pass the increase with a simple majority, which means they would have owned the debt increase. But then Senator Ted Cruz —the same fellow who planned the GOP's shutdown fiasco in October—objected on the floor and insisted on a 60-vote majority. This is exactly what Democratic leader Harry Reid wanted because if the bill failed he would have sent the Senate home on recess and returned later this month to join President Obama in flogging the GOP as the debt-ceiling deadline neared.
The 60-vote threshold was reached only after GOP leaders Mitch McConnell, John Cornyn and 10 others voted to let the final debt-ceiling vote proceed. All 12 then opposed the increase on final passage, but thanks to Mr. Cruz they had to walk the plank with Democrats on a procedural vote.
Not coincidentally, activist groups allied with Mr. Cruz announced they will use those votes in GOP primaries this year against Messrs. McConnell and Cornyn. Mr. Cruz claims to be neutral in Senate primaries, but he knew exactly what he was doing.
What does one make of this?
Put simply, Cruz put internecine partisan advantage over his party's collective interest in maximizing electoral gains, thus making less likely a 2014 GOP takeover of the Senate. So, the likely winners are: (a) Democratic senators who can label last week's debt ceiling vote bipartisan: (b) a hyper-partisan Democratic president whose power in his final two years will be far greater if he has the ability to stuff GOP House bills in the Senate; (c) all Democrats running in 2014 & 2016, who can blame the GOP for Democratic obstructionism in the Senate.
Voters who say "A pox on both their houses!" will stay home. Many who turn out will blame the GOP, as they did last fall when the 17-day partial shutdown championed by Cruz infuriated many voters, caused the GOP's favorability number to fall to a record low and kept the media spotlight away from the first three weeks of the ObamaCare rollout fiasco. Cruz's folly comes a new polls show most voters believe Obama is abusing his executive authority by wrongly bypassing Congress.
As a model for what the GOP can do (t/h Jennifer Rubin), the sterling governing record of MI Gov. Rick Snyder offers hope. Snyder is undiong the severe economic damage done by his liberal predecessors. Mainstream media players ignore this, having celebrated as vice-presidential material the disastrous tenure of Snyder's immediate predecessor, telegenic progressive Democrat Jennifer Granholm.
Bottom Line. Ted Cruz is clearly not stupid. But he is a case study of a freshman senator who "went Hollywood" the moment he hit town. He is the prime beneficiary, perhaps even more than Democrats.
Putting personal gain above party is the antithesis of the civic virtue our country's founders and constitution's framers considered essential to the success of the republic.
Letter from the Capitol, LFTC, Conservative Politics