Friday, April 29, 2016

Boehner calls Tea Party Darling Ted Cruz "Lucifer In The Flesh" And A "Miserable Son-of-a-bitch." So How Does SD's Tea Party React?

     After former U.S. House Speaker John Boehner dumped all over the Tea Party's favorite U.S. Senator Ted Cruz yesterday I  caught a whiff of some long-standing frustrations
How Boehner Sees Cruz
(photo from youtube)
boiling over in Boehner's denunciation.  
Besides violating Ronald Reagan's famous 11th Commandment ("Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican") by conflating Cruz with the devil and calling him not merely a son-of-a-bitch but a "miserable" son-of-a-bitch, Boehner went on to note that he'd gotten along with almost everyone, Democrats and Republicans--including Donald Trump, with whom he's a golfing and texting buddy.  

     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
former SD state rep and senator--and also the founder of SD's Tea Party affiliate Citizens For Liberty. He told me that he isn't surprised by Boehner's broadside because it's typical of establishment politicians to attack their principled counterparts who simply will not yield when it comes to compromising their beliefs and values.

     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.  


  1. Good job on reaching out to Gordon Howie. This is the kind of conversation we need.

    Of course, there's standing on your principles and there's taking your ball and going home. Cruz apparently is a standard bearer for about 20% of the Republican party, which means 10% or less of the country shares his views.

    In that respect, shutting down the government to defend the political beliefs of a small sliver of people borders on criminal, perhaps even treasonous.

    Whatever it is, it's not leadership. And that's exactly what Cruz is; not a leader.

  2. Beware fanatics who are too pure to parley, to conscience-stricken to compromise. History is littered with them, and they are rarely good leaders. Often they're megalomaniacs. Read up on Robespierre and shudder.