Cruz Takes Heat — From Texas Republicans

One Republican says, “It’s time for a little outreach back home.”

Texas US Senate Republican primary candidate Ted Cruz talks to the media on election day, Tuesday, May 29, 2012, in Houston. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
ASSOCIATED PRESS
Tom DeFrank
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Tom DeFrank
Sept. 19, 2013, 6:08 a.m.

Fresh­man Sen. Ted Cruz may be the darling of the tea party and the bane of Wash­ing­ton’s main­stream polit­ic­al es­tab­lish­ment, but he’s be­gin­ning to draw fire from some Texas Re­pub­lic­ans who worry that he’s more in­ter­ested in fuel­ing his 2016 pres­id­en­tial am­bi­tions than in tend­ing to Lone Star State busi­ness in Wash­ing­ton.

“He’s our Cruz-mis­sile,” a ma­jor Texas GOP fun­draiser told Na­tion­al Journ­al. “The wing­ers love him, and es­tab­lish­ment Re­pub­lic­ans tol­er­ate him be­cause they’re scared of him. But he’s not tak­ing care of busi­ness at home, and he’s already the most hated Tex­an in Wash­ing­ton.”

Cruz as­so­ci­ates pass such brick­bats off as sour grapes from a Texas GOP es­tab­lish­ment that Cruz em­bar­rassed by de­mol­ish­ing Lt. Gov. Dav­id Dewhurst, the party fa­vor­ite, in last year’s primary.

“He’s the toast of con­ser­vat­ive gath­er­ings every­where he goes,” one Cruz ally said. “He really knocks ‘em dead.”

Cruz’s press sec­ret­ary, Cath­er­ine Fra­zi­er, noted that since be­ing sworn in last Janu­ary her boss “has done well over 60 pub­lic events in nearly 20 cit­ies across Texas.”

“Sen­at­or Cruz’s top pri­or­ity is serving Texas in the Sen­ate and stand­ing up for the prin­ciples that Tex­ans elec­ted him to de­fend,” Fra­zi­er said.

There’s no doubt­ing Cruz’s star power. He’s one of the most sought-after speak­ers on the na­tion­al Re­pub­lic­an cir­cuit, draw­ing stand­ing ova­tions with his at­tacks on Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion policies while ex­cor­i­at­ing what some call Pres­id­ent Obama’s lead­er­ship fail­ures.  

But the same bom­bast­ic style that whips up party faith­ful and has cata­pul­ted him in­to the 2016 pres­id­en­tial con­ver­sa­tion has also ali­en­ated some Re­pub­lic­an sen­at­ors who don’t en­joy be­ing lec­tured to by a col­league with even less sen­at­ori­al ex­per­i­ence than Obama had when he ran for Pres­id­ent.

Many Texas Re­pub­lic­ans are frankly scared of him. Sen. John Cornyn, who has im­pec­cable con­ser­vat­ive cre­den­tials, is widely de­scribed as fear­ful of be­ing per­ceived as to the left of Cruz. When Cruz de­cided to vote against Sen. John Kerry for sec­ret­ary of State, Cornyn fol­lowed suit. Only one oth­er sen­at­or joined them.    

“It’s fine that he’s in de­mand around the coun­try,” one top Texas Re­pub­lic­an said. “But he spends re­l­at­ively little time in Texas. Most Texas busi­ness­men are con­ser­vat­ive, but they’re not ex­treme right and they don’t know him. That’s prob­lem­at­ic; it’s time for a little out­reach back home.”

An­oth­er Cruz skep­tic adds: “The prob­lem with Cruz is, he’s angry. He needs to fig­ure out a way to soften his im­age.”

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