The party line that Ted Cruz and his supporters peddle about why Cruz is so despised by his Senate colleagues is because he’s a true conservative.
I’m going to put that mentality to bed right now, but I’m going to do with with two different explanations: An easy one, and a somewhat involved one.
It’s because he’s a showboating publicity hound who doesn’t want to pay his dues.
Here’s the thing about the United States Senate.
There are only 100 people in the institution, and, with the exception of temporary appointees, every one of them won at least one statewide election to get there. This means that, compared to large membership legislative bodies like the one on the other side of the Capitol, the intricacies of interpersonal relationships between and among Senators is far more crucial in terms of actually getting things done. I think it matters as much as ideology or partisanship. Not only that, Senators represent whole states, not equal population proportion percentage of states, (unless your state is so sparsely populated that it only has one Congressional district.) So, unless you come from a safe red or safe blue state, you sorta have to be light on your feet from an ideology perspective.
We know that Ted Cruz has since at least the age of 18 had the burning desire to be President of the United States, his ambitions in that stead are even greater than the typical Senator, and most of them think they at least can be President. This means that when he upset David Dewhurst in TX-SEN-R in 2012 and then easily won the general, combined with the fact that he won on the same day that Mitt Romney lost the Presidency, Cruz really thought that he was imminently on his way to being President. And, at about the time Cruz came to the Senate, lamestream conservative ideologues, of which Cruz was already one, came to the conclusion that Romney lost because he wasn’t a pure enough lamestream conservative. Therefore, Cruz set out to conduct himself as the Senate not as someone who wanted to be in the Senate and behave senatorily, but as someone who thought that the Senate was for him just a temporary stepping stone to what he wanted his whole life and what he thought he was about to attain. This is why, instead of trying to get along with other Senators to get some actual legislative or other accomplishments, he used his position to do things that weren’t designed to accomplish anything, but merely to draw attention to himself and telegraph to enough interested tuned in people that he is a lamestream conservative ideological purist. That’s all he thought he needed to do to get him to the White House.
The notion he peddles that they hate him because he’s a true conservative is so easy to refute. Two words: Jeff Sessions. Who has in fact participated in most of Cruz’s showboating. He’s far from personally despised among his Senate colleagues, and the reason for it is that he gets the job, and far from having Presidential ambitions, he turned down running in 2016 when, as we can see now, this year’s political climate would have been right in his wheel house.
There’s also the mentality that exists in clubs and cliques of people that it is socially impermissible to try to advance unless you have paid your dues. Young’ens just don’t jump in line ahead of their elders. Applying this to the United States Senate, it means that you better have at least two victories under your belt before you start thinking 1600 Pennsylvania. So here comes this Ted Cruz, who got to the Senate at the politically young age of 42, and immediately starts running for President, ignoring his real job. How else were his colleagues, most of whom are older and have won multiple terms, supposed to react?
And what is at the root of this? His name is Baraq Obama. You may be asking: “Blogmeister, if that’s why they hate Cruz, then why don’t they hate Obama?” Yes, Obama got to the Senate, barely did any real Senate work, and then started running for President. But there was a reason why Obama could uniquely get away with it without being too much resented, and I know for a fact that he was mildly resented for that. But all that was muted for one very obvious reason. You should know what it is, and if you need me to tell you, then I won’t tell you and instead revoke your oxygen consumption privileges. Ted Cruz, while Hispanic, isn’t civil rightsey or social justicey or affirmative actiony enough for his election as President at this time to be considered some sort of historical first, in spite of his New World white Spaniard (Criollo) father and therefore his Spanish language surname. Just because Obama could get away with it doesn’t mean that every first term Senator will be able to.
Now that it’s over for Ted Cruz and the Presidency this cycle, and if he gets it in his head that the Presidency may not be in the cards for him for quite some time if ever, I think he’s going to start getting down to work and behave more like a conventional Senator, and mysteriously, his colleagues’ contempt for him is going to dissipate. In that, Ted Cruz is like another long time Senator named Ted, that being Kennedy. At two points in his Senate career, the Presidency became out of reach for him. The first was Chappaquiddick (“we’ll cross that bridge when we get there”), and when that shut the door for him in 1972, he spend the next decade behaving senatorily. Then he challenged Jimmy Carter in the primaries in 1980, thinking that everyone was jonesing for another Kennedy, and thinking that all that bad stuff had been forgotten. Though as it turned out, none of that was true, and that was Ted Kennedy’s last chance at the White House. Once he realized that, he permanently got in and stayed in Senate mode, which is part of the reason why Democrats so revere him today, in contrast to their resentment of him in his early Senate days when he thought it was just a stepping stone. Similarly, speaking of the Kennedys, the other two, Jack and Bobby, also used the Senate as stepping stones, and were also resented for doing that, even though in Jack’s case, he wisely accumulated two Senate wins before he ran. Interesting, though, Bobby was more like Ted Cruz in that he used his position to showboat and grandstand and draw attention to himself as an ideological purist, and RFK did that even though the President at the time was another liberal Democrat. But, while he was resented for that, the resentment was muted because everyone felt sorry for him because his brother was assassinated. Point is, even in today’s era of the Presidency becoming more and more of a dictatorship and autocracy over more and more elements of American public policy, being a United States Senator is still an enviable position; hell, I was one election away from being a staffer for one, and even now, I still wish. Ted Cruz is young enough and smart enough to figure the job out and do it, and he’s also young enough such that if he does it, everyone will forgive him for his youthful ambitious exuberance.