Every state is represented in the U.S. Senate by two individuals who, under an unwritten rule of good government, would seek to work in close political partnership.
The Texas Tribune has published an interesting analysis of the relationship of Texas’s two Republican senators, one of whom is running for president of the United States.
Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, according to the Tribune, aren’t exactly close. They aren’t joined at the hip. You don’t see them singing each other’s praises.
Is it a metaphor for what we’ve heard about Cruz?
It’s been stated repeatedly during this Republican primary campaign that Cruz hasn’t made many “friends” in the Senate. He doesn’t “play well with others,” the saying goes. He called the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, a “liar” in a Senate floor speech and then just this past week said he had no intention to take back what he said.
It might be a big deal — in a normal election cycle. This one isn’t normal. As the Tribune reports: “In any other circumstance, it would be curious that a viable presidential candidate did not have the support of his fellow state Republican. But each man in this case represents the visceral divide raging in the party: Cornyn is the consummate establishment team player, while Cruz is the TEA Party insurgent.”
Cruz has been a senator for slightly more than three years. Cornyn was elected in 2002. What’s more, the Senate is Cruz’s first elected office; Cornyn, on the other hand, served as Texas attorney general and, before that, as a member of the Texas Supreme Court.
Cornyn knows how to play the political game in Texas. He’s good at it. Is he exactly my kind of senator? Hardly, but I do respect the man’s political skill.
Cruz brings another element to this game. I would consider it his amazing degree of hubris and utter fearlessness.
It’s long been said that the U.S. Senate is a 100-member club that requires a bit of time for members to feel comfortable. It took young Ted Cruz no time at all to grab a microphone on the Senate floor and begin blasting away at his rivals.
It’s only a hunch on my part but it might be that the Texas rookie’s rush to the center of the stage could have been a bit off-putting to the more senior legislator.
It used to be said that the “most dangerous place in Washington” was the space between Sen. Phil Gramm and a microphone. Gramm left the Senate some years ago. Ted Cruz has taken up that new — apparently with great gusto.
Is he a team player? Are Texas’s two senators — Cornyn and Cruz — on the same page all the time? Consider this from the Tribune:
“There are no whispered tales in Senate circles about heated arguments between the two men or icy glares on the Senate floor. Instead, the most frequently used word observers use to describe the relationship is ‘disconnected.’”