GQ is out with a profile of Texas Republican Ted Cruz. The story, by the excellent Jason Zengerle, looks at the junior senator’s unlikely rise to power and D.C.’s love-hate relationship with him. We learn many formative facts about him, like that his nemesis on the speech and debate circuit was former Obama economic adviser Austan Goolsbee. And he has at least several enemies. Zengerle notes, “He’s been likened to Joe McCarthy, accused of behaving like a schoolyard bully, and smeared by senior members of his own party. Is this any way to get ahead in Washington?” Is there any other way? Some highlights:
He’s an Ivy snob:
“As a law student at Harvard, he refused to study with anyone who hadn’t been an undergrad at Harvard, Princeton, or Yale. Says Damon Watson, one of Cruz’s law-school roommates: ‘He said he didn’t want anybody from “minor Ivies” like Penn or Brown.’ “
He likes to name-drop:
“…everyone from Reagan to Rawls (as in John, the late Harvard philosopher)…”
He’s style-heavy, substance-light:
“So far Cruz has proposed no major legislation and has shown little interest in changing that. He seems content accomplishing nothing because, in Cruz’s view of the federal government, nothing is the accomplishment.”
He hoards sentimental tchotchkes:
“Even Cruz’s favorite footwear, a pair of black ostrich-skin cowboy boots, serves as an advertisement for his credentials and connections. ‘These are my argument boots,’ he told me one morning this summer as we rode the subway car beneath the Capitol to a vote on the Senate floor. ‘When I was Texas solicitor general, I did every argument in these boots….’ “
He was actually born in Canada, but legal experts say it wouldn’t impede a run for president in 2016:
“…by dint of his mother’s American citizenship, he qualifies as a natural-born American citizen…”
He’s a terrible mansplainer:
“…there was the moment, just a month later, when the Judiciary Committee was debating the assault-weapons ban: Cruz was trying to get it through Democratic senator Dianne Feinstein’s thick skull that there was this thing called the Second Amendment and that it deserved the same respect as the rest of the Bill of Rights. He made his point by rattling off other amendments and the rights they protected until Feinstein bristled, ‘I’m not a sixth grader. I’ve been on this committee for twenty years…. I’ve studied the Constitution myself. I am reasonably well educated, and I thank you for the lecture.’ “
And yes, we did pull the video:
What We're Following See More »
"The Senate standstill over a stopgap spending bill appeared headed toward a resolution on Friday night. Senators who were holding up the measure said votes are expected later in the evening. West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin had raised objections to the continuing resolution because it did not include a full year's extension of retired coal miners' health benefits," but Manchin "said he and other coal state Democrats agreed with Senate Democratic leaders during a caucus meeting Thursday that they would not block the continuing resolution, but rather use the shutdown threat as a way to highlight the health care and pension needs of the miners."
Donald Trump transition team announced Friday afternoon that top supporter Rudy Giuliani has taken himself out of the running to be in Trump's cabinet, though CNN previously reported that it was Trump who informed the former New York City mayor that he would not be receiving a slot. While the field had seemingly been narrowed last week, it appears to be wide open once again, with ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson the current favorite.
The House has completed it's business for 2016 by passing a spending bill which will keep the government funded through April 28. The final vote tally was 326-96. The bill's standing in the Senate is a bit tenuous at the moment, as a trio of Democratic Senators have pledged to block the bill unless coal miners get a permanent extension on retirement and health benefits. The government runs out of money on Friday night.
The Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act today, sending the $618 billion measure to President Obama. The president vetoed the defense authorization bill a year ago, but both houses could override his disapproval this time around.