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Friday, February 15, 2013

Sen. Ted Cruz Tests ‘Comity,’ Risks Payback

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, uses a poster while questioning Chuck Hagel, a former two-term GOP senator and President Obama's choice for defense secretary, during his confirmation hearing at the Senate Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, uses a poster while questioning Chuck Hagel, a former two-term GOP senator and President Obama’s choice for defense secretary, during his confirmation hearing at the Senate Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

Junior Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has only been in office six weeks but already he’s making waves for his unusually hardline stances and sharp-elbowed style.

Cruz, a Tea Party favorite, was slapped down by lawmakers in both parties this week for his unusually combative questioning of Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel.

Republicans yesterday filibustered Hagel’s nomination, though some GOP senators denied that it was a filibuster, since they plan to allow a majority vote on the nomination later this month.

Cruz was one of only three Senators to vote against Secretary of State John Kerry’s nomination. He also voted against Hurricane Sandy relief money, and voiced “deep concerns” about the immigration reform plan drawn up by Florida Senator and rising Republican star Marco Rubio.

But there’s word today that Ted Cruz might be named closing speaker of the influential Conservative Political Action Conference this March.

Guest:

  • Ruth Marcus, opinion writer for The Washington Post.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • sjw81

    he sounds lke a real jerk . try doing this in your workplace, attacking your new peers

  • OnpointListener

    I find Ted Cruz more than disturbing.  James Fallows at the Atlantic (linked above) compares Cruz to Joe McCarthy.   We are witnessing the acts of a very dangerous man.  He is an amoral  militant ideologue.  It is up to the seniors in the Senate to get this man under some modicum of control.  It is up to voters to throw out the lemmings in the Senate and the House who are afraid to stand up to Cruz, and other “off the chart” double speaking, lying obstructionists.

    • Julian Wood

       How can someone be an amoral ideologue? Isn’t that a contradiction in terms?

      Call him an amoral posturer, or an overly zealous ideologue, or a hypocrite if you can find examples of hypocrisy. But please, try to at least make sense in your criticism.

      As for me, I can’t tell whether he’s a Goldwater or a McCarthy. I like his personality, his background, his fiscal policies, but I can’t stand his style of late. Hope he dials it back a bit.

      Still, I’m not willing to condemn him just yet. Ted Kennedy and Joe Biden get passes for Bork, right? I think we can forgive Cruz for Hagel. He’d better shape up right quick, though, or I might yet exhaust my reserves of patience.

  • Mapleroad

     Much of the opposition to Hagel stems from his
    questioning of Israel’s
    policies concerning Palestinians and settlements in the West
    Bank.  Since even half of
    Israelis question these conservative religious agendas, and since much of our
    right wing’s unquestioned support of those policies is “Bible-based”, I
    ask:  “What about separation of church
    and state?”

    • Julian Wood

      You know, separation of church and state is a lot more limited than you think it is. We don’t live under a militant secularist system like French laicite or Kemalism. All it means is that the government can’t officially endorse or mandate a specific religious practice. Abraham Lincoln used God all the time in his speeches, and you’re deluded if you think the abolitionists didn’t invoke God literally every chance they could.

      Anyone is allowed to use any religiously-based argument to get votes or
      to make decisions as long as they don’t mandate a specific religion.
      That applies to Civil Rights, it applies to moral issues (anyway,
      secular morality is no less an article of faith than religious
      morality), it applies to peace, to war, to welfare, to welfare reform.
      It applies to anything you want as long as you keep the government out
      of official church activity.

      Again, it’s groundbreaking stuff for the 1700s, but it’s no more than common sense now. It’s not an issue that’s in dispute, and I don’t appreciate ignorant secularists like you trying to bring it into dispute. If you want laicite so much, pass an amendment.

      • Mapleroad

         You make excellent points.  I regret that my distress over false arguments, and haste in replying,  made me seem “an ignorant secularist.” 
        But neither do I wish to be labeled anti-Semitic if I think dialogue about the legitimacy of West Bank settlements is appropriate.

        The fact that Mr. Hagel seemed embarrassingly unprepared for questioning is a legitimate concern.

  • Kpallante

    This knuckelhead is just like the rest of teabaggers that listen to AM radio & FOX.

  • BHA_in_Vermont

    Why stop at North Korea or “extreme or radical groups”?

    Hey, the money could have come from:
    - a basement printing press he COULD be running
    - a drug ring he COULD be running
    - prostitutes that he COULD be selling on an hourly basis
    - banks he COULD have robbed
    - etc, etc

    What an ass. Texas voted for him, guess they have the opportunity to NOT elect him again. Unfortunately they are stuck with him for 6 more years unless he gets hit by a bus.

    • OnpointListener

      Six days is way too long to tolerate this militant.  Six years is FOREVER.   A Frank Bruni column just published this afternoon on the NYT is fittingly titled:   “The GOP’s Nasty Newcomer”.

      I have been wracking my brain trying to figure out how we can get rid of this guy, short of being particularly malevolent!  The only thing I could come up with is discovering that Cruz has committed egregious act,  violating civil or criminal standards.  However, this will not happen.  While Cruz may be an amoral ideologue, and willing, like McCarthy, to assert innuendos and impugn character, he is smart enough to know what lines he should not step over.

      Which leads me to my final point.  As I have stated in another comment here and on “On Point”, I believe that Ted Cruz is dangerous.  He is dangerous because he is willing to demolish our form of governance, our safety, and our economy, just to get his way.  One, who has never served,  questions the patriotism of Chuck Hagel?  Hagel is the man with two purple hearts (it is two isn’t it?) and, who as a Republican Senator, has served his country well.

      Hagel has rightfully questioned  fixed ideologies with fixed paradigms for handling perceived threats to the U.S.  Obama chose him because Obama wants  an independent thinker in that spot.  The Pres. wants one who knows war and its horrors and is willing to argue his point with the President.  Hagel is not against all wars.  However, he can distinguish threat levels and develop a reasonable course of action.

      The allegations that Hagel is an anti-semite are purely red herring and the Republicans promoting such drivel should be called to task.

  • http://twitter.com/JohnnyFroggg J Frog

    I don’t know about Cruz, but much more importantly who will we have as Secretary of Defence?….and you have to admit Hagel’s performance at his confirmation hearings was pretty pathetic.  He was unsure of our so-called “containment” policy (Sen. Levin had to correct him).  He wouldn’t answer a straightforward question from Senator McCain about whether he thought the troop “surge” was effective or not.  He wouldn’t answer it.  Plenty of time to prepare but Hagel was embarrassingly bad. 

    • OnpointListener

      I don’t think Hagel appreciated the demeanor and lack of respect showed by some of the Senators.  The hearing seemed  prosecutorial with many redundant or irrelevant questions.  I wonder if part of the “performance” issues result from surprise at the nastiness of  some of his former colleagues and an unwillingness to “cower” before them.
      I think that he did  not answer the “surge” question because the situation on the ground is not yet ripe  enough to draw a final conclusion.  We still have troops on the ground in Iraq and Iran…. it would be irresponsible for him to state that the progress made will ultimately be transitory unless we permanently occupy these countries with troops.  I am not saying that Hagel necessarily harbors that thought, but that such a line of questioning is inappropriate when we have troops on the ground in those countries.

      • http://twitter.com/JohnnyFroggg J Frog

        Military strategic and tactical questions inappropriate? He already put his opinion on record when he was a Senator (when troops were on the ground). He was against them. It seems perfectly appropriate for him to be asked whether he has changed his mind.

        Hey, I’m for bringing troops home and closing most of our foreign bases. (Why do we need a more troops in Australia?)

        http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/17/world/asia/obama-and-gillard-expand-us-australia-military-ties.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

        But I’m also for an informed, candid Secratary of Defence. If his feelings were hurt, I’m sorry but he will be getting into much tougher situations as Secretary of Defence.

        • OnpointListener

          Mr. Frog, 
          You make important points.  Thank you.  

  • Jdm151 08

    You are being compared to Joe Mcarthy and your character assault of a decorated viet man veteran is unacceptable as Sen. McCain has indicated.

    • isotropic

      I can remember when McCarthy called Ike a Communist.

  • iammikesmith

    Poor pathetic liberals.  They just HATE Mexicans that are not mowing their grass.

  • Myramore

    He is a pig

  • Hminkoff20

    As a Texan, I’m embarrassed to say that this jackass represents my state. 

  • isotropic

    He not only sounds like him; he even looks like Joe McCarthy!

  • Ekshanahan

    Looks Locke Cruz was slapped down for fulfilling his role, to ask questions. Hard not soft, not just giving everyone and everything that old gang pass. The republicans will filibuster and put on the show but with little substance.

  • Bdunyc

    When Cruz falls–as all demigods d0–there will be nary a hand to help him up.

  • Nell35

    Sen. Hagel’s “pathetic” performance during the hearings was a perplexed response to the incredible and unwarranted disrespect and misdirected anger of the Republicans.  What a waste of time and taxpayer money.

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