It used to be said in Washington that the “most dangerous place in the world” was the space between U.S. Sen. Phil Gramm and a television camera.
Gramm has left public life and the owner of that title now happens to be another fiery Texas Republican, freshman Sen. Ted Cruz.
According to the San Antonio Express-News headline atop a blog post, the young senator has a movement that carries his name. Call it “Cruz conservatives.”
His ability to muscle his way past more senior Senate Republicans to the center of the political stage in less than two years is utterly astounding. The Cruz Missile exploded on the scene with his GOP primary upset in 2012 of Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, after which it became a foregone conclusion he’d be elected to the Senate from such a heavily Republican state.
These days, if you want some “good copy,” turn to Ted; the glib gab machine is loaded with it. If you want to know what the TEA party wing of the GOP is thinking, ask the junior senator from Texas.
Whatever became of the GOP’s senior pols, such as Sens. Orrin Hatch of Utah, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Chuck Grassley of Iowa? Sure, the party has its share of media hounds, such as Sen. John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Marco Rubio of Florida (I’ll throw Rubio into that mix, even though he’s been in the Senate only two years longer than Cruz).
To be fair, the Senate Democrats have their share of TV hogs. Sens. Chuck Schumer of New York and Claire McCaskill of Missouri come immediately to mind.
No one else — in either party — can match Ted the Canadian’s panache.
It used to be said that it took at least half of their first six-year term for senators to figure out the ropes, to earn their spurs and to find their way to the men’s room.
Not so with Ted. The young man is a force of nature — which makes me, at least, want to head to the storm shelter.