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Is This Guy the Biggest GOP Jerk in Congress?

Ted Cruz has nothing to lose and everything to win by opposing any reasonable policy and generally acting like a jack-ass. Our system is truly broken.

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A healthy disrespect for norms isn’t necessarily a bad thing in a legislator. Mitch McConnell doesn’t care about tradition and norms either, but he does actually care about winning political (and policy) fights for the Republican Party. But Cruz is explicitly and purely self-serving. Cruz wants to be the guy who never compromises because compromises are incredibly unpopular and exploiting activist conservative disdain for the party and for Washington is a can’t-fail maneuver. Jennifer Rubin’s opprobrium is going to be even less of an issue for him than John McCain’s was.

Just look at  this political science survey of FreedomWorks Tea Party activists: They’re ultra-conservative Republicans who hate the Republican Party. They also value ideological purity over pragmatism, to the point where winning victories matters less to them than loudly saying the right thing. (Not great on strategy, these guys.) People like Ted Cruz are doing their best to establish their personal brands at the expense of the actual Republican Party and even the conservative movement. And there’s no mechanism the party can use to get him back in line, because he doesn’t care about results and there’s an entire media and activist infrastructure set up to reward him.


Alex Pareene writes about politics for Salon. Email him at and follow him on Twitter @pareene
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