Cruz "talkathon" cements his GOP leadership position in Texas
POSTED: Thursday, September 26, 2013 - 12:00pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, October 1, 2013 - 1:21pm
AUSTIN, Texas — Ted Cruz's talkathon may have irked GOP leaders in Washington, but Republicans back home are calling it a game changer.
On Wednesday, after the U.S. Senate, as expected, voted to take up the government spending bill that Cruz spoke against for 21 hours, Republicans in Washington kept up their criticism of Texas' junior senator.
Many Senate Republicans, as The New York Times reports, have grown especially tired of Cruz's assertion that Republicans will be able to defund Obamacare if they push hard enough.
"This is not a situation where you dig your heels in and Obamacare gets defunded," U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, a conservative Republican from Wisconsin, told the Times. "I think people are willing to hope that’s true. I wish it were true. Trust me, I hope Senator Cruz’s oratory convinces five Democratic senators to vote with us. I just don’t think that’s going to happen."
Top Republicans like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn of Texas have come out against Cruz's effort, and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., on Wednesday even called Cruz out for comparing his detractors to "appeasers" during World War II.
But in Texas, Cruz's defunding effort and headline-making speech appear to have emboldened grass-roots conservatives and offered a boost to other Tea Party candidates.
"You can feel the Cruz effect all over the state," Konni Burton, a conservative Republican running to succeed Democrat Wendy Davis in the state Senate, told The Associated Press, adding: "At town halls, at any event, his name gets mentioned and people just go crazy. There are legislators there, too, and they're running and they hear it. They can't ignore what's going on."
Republican consultant Matt Mackowiak said the fight "solidifies Cruz as the leader of the Republican Party in Texas."
As for where Cruz goes from here, while the government funding bill that he opposes is expected to eventually pass, the senator and his supporters hope pressure from activists and grass-roots conservatives compels more Republicans to oppose the legislation before a key vote on Friday, according to National Review.