As I’ve written many times, Ted Cruz has been running for office from the moment he was sworn in to the Senate two years ago, working to position himself as the One True Conservative. But I can’t think of a major candidate from either party who has infuriated his own party as much as Cruz. Even the Wall Street Journal is hammering him:
In a Tuesday editorial, the paper’s opinion editors cast significant doubt on the Texas Republican’s ability to assemble a winning coalition, arguing that Cruz’s assumption that he can win by turning out more white conservative voters is fundamentally flawed and warning that the Tea Party firebrand’s hardline stance on immigration makes him “a dream come true for Hillary Clinton,” the likely Democratic nominee in 2016.
Blaming Cruz for “plunging” the GOP’s favorability by leading the 2013 government shutdown — part of a botched attempt to derail health care reform — the Journal depicts Cruz as a polarizing figure all too willing to reflexively oppose anything the Obama administration proposes. The editors castigate Cruz as an “opportunist” for seeking to pare back government surveillance and for opposing the administration’s abortive effort to authorize air strikes in Syria in 2013 — stances that Cruz took despite a generally hawkish worldview.
As for Cruz’s claim that Republicans like 2012 nominee Mitt Romney have lost because they failed to galvanize the right-wing base, the Journal allows that “Romney in particular failed to motivate enough conservatives.” However, the editors posit, Cruz “is probably wrong to think that conservatives alone, especially white conservatives, can elect the next President,” adding that the party’s 2016 nominee “must broaden the GOP’s electoral appeal.” Part of that, the editorial suggests, entails a softer line on immigration; continued opposition to reform will only prove a boon to Democratic efforts to keep Latino voters solidly in the blue column.
Cruz is despised by his fellow Senate Republicans for his selfishness and recklessness. The Republican party leadership hates his guts. He’s spent all his time appealing only to the most extreme base of the party, I presume on the theory that those are the people who vote in primaries. But it makes him virtually unelectable in the general election and even the conservative Wall Street Journal knows it.