|How Boehner Sees Cruz|
(photo from youtube)
That last bit, of course, makes Boehner's smackdown plenty laughable, but given the recent history of Boehner's tenure as Speaker of the House, his intemperate lashing of Cruz had some nuance to it. First off, Cruz has the endorsement of the largest Tea Party group in the country, and his long-standing identification with the TP has made him their unofficial standard-bearer in Congress. His 2013 marathon speech denouncing Obamacare for 13 hours straight gave him rock-star status among his TP compadres in both houses, emboldening their caucus in the House of Representatives to attach themselves to Speaker Boehner's side as a persistent political thorn that he never entirely shook off. Indeed, on leaving the Speakership last September, Boehner angrily and bitterly told Face the Nation that Tea Party conservatives are "hucksters" and "false prophets," essentially blaming them for the government's dysfunction.
Considering the relish with which Boehner cast his bile-laden invective all over Ted Cruz, you had to figure that some old scores with the Tea Party were being settled. It certainly made me wonder if the Republican establishment isn't seeking a way to use what they hope is an obliteration of Ted Cruz as a way of burying not only the candidate but his philosophical underwriters in the TP as well. So how's that shaping up around here? Gordon Howie was kind enough to give me some local Tea Party perspective today. Republican Howie, from Rapid City, is a
|He didn't Get Mad|
He Got Even
(photo from politifake.org)
There's an admirable purity to Howie's take, which I think has its validity. My view leans to the pragmatic and tends to see Tea Party intransigence as a giant pain, so to that extent I don't mind watching Cruz get verbally pummeled as badly as he just did. That Trump the dealmaker working with practical realities is building his lead against a confirmed ideologue is probably part of a trend that has been working against the Tea Party of late. Howie gives me some confirmation of this by noting that in '09 when his group formed it was typical to get a thousand or more people to turn out to one of their meetings. Lately that number has dropped to a couple of hundred. I suspect that this is part of a national trend that began since an across-the-board wipeout during the 2014 primary season, A Republican repudiation of their de facto leader Ted Cruz would be a fitting farewell to these obstructionists.