Pride, it is said, goeth before a fall. Now come the recriminations.
Repeated national surveys have shown public support for the Republican Party tanking since GOP lawmakers banded together to shut down the federal government and bring the U.S. to the brink of financial default.
On a more personal level, Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, one of the highest-profile supporters of the impasse, has seen his approval ratings plunge at home – a conservative stronghold that delivered President Barack Obama a mere 25 percent of the vote in 2012.
Now, in a rare statement of second thoughts, the hometown newspaper of Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has expressed its regrets for endorsing him a year ago. Cruz was one of the chief architects of the impasse.
“Does anyone else miss Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison?” asked the Houston Chronicle editorial board, citing the three-term U.S. senator whom Cruz replaced. “We’re not sure how much difference one person could make in the toxic, chaotic, hyperpartisan atmosphere in Washington, but if we could choose just one it would be Hutchison, whose years of service in the Senate were marked by two things sorely lacking in her successor, Ted Cruz.”
Those, the editorial said, were a focus on Texas’ interests in Washington and a willingness to reach across the aisle and work with Democrats.
“When we endorsed Ted Cruz in last November’s general election, we did so with many reservations and at least one specific recommendation – that he follow Hutchison’s example in his conduct as a senator,” the editorial board stated. “Obviously, he has not done so. Cruz has been part of the problem in specific situations where Hutchison would have been part of the solution.”
Cruz upset Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, the favorite of the GOP establishment, in last year’s Republican primary. Dewhurst was backed by the Chronicle in that race, which may somewhat soften the blow of its recantation (Cruz may point out he was, after all, the paper’s second choice).
Then there’s this: Cruz, like Lee, is not up for re-election for several years.