What we’ve seen over the last week or so with Ted Cruz’ very public bid to anoint himself the One True Conservative may well indicate that as far as the Overton window has already slid far to the right, that process may not be done. Just look at the battle between Cruz and his fellow senator from Texas, John Cornyn, who refused to go along with his fake filibuster and calls to shut down the government.
Indeed, over the past several weeks, Cornyn and Cruz found themselves increasingly at odds in a tense public battle over whether to use a potential government shutdown as leverage to defund Obamacare. After initially signing on to Cruz’s effort, Cornyn withdrew his support and became a leading critic of the tactic, helping quash any momentum his colleague hoped to gain on the Senate floor this week.
Cruz, who spent all night on Tuesday using a floor speech to deride the health care overhaul, has attacked his GOP colleagues for cowering in the fight over Obamacare. He’s increasingly alienated from most Senate Republicans, who believe his tactics have hurt their party politically and put them in a weaker negotiating position with the White House.
But he has also made things more personal for Cornyn.
He refuses to publicly endorse Cornyn, the Senate’s No. 2 Republican, in his reelection bid, a highly unusual move for a senator from the same state and party. That has infuriated Cornyn allies who see it as a slight that will come back to haunt Cruz should he run for president in 2016 or need Cornyn’s help in the future.
Cruz again pointledly refused to endorse Cornyn for his 2014 election on Friday. But think about this. For 2012, the National Journal rated him the 2nd most conservative member of the Senate. He has a 100% lifetime rating from the Campaign for Working Families (Gary Bauer’s group), the National Right to Life Committee and the National Rifle Association. But now even that is not enough. The Tea Party crowd in Texas is demanding his scalp and want Louis Gohmert to run against him in the primary next year. So it seems that the Republican party is not done moving to the right. It’s hard to imagine there’s much room to move at this point without turning into the Constitution Party.