Ted Cruz’s press conference today was as desperate an exercise in spin as I have seen in many years:
One of the stranger aspects of Cruz’s rhetoric throughout the last few weeks has been his insistence that Washington must “listen to the American people,” when it could not have been clearer that those advocating the shutdown/defunding strategy were doing their best to ignore what the public had to say. Indeed, for some of Cruz’s defenders the fact that his effort was extremely unpopular meant that it was noble rather than indefensibly foolish. He followed this up today with the bizarre claim that “the American people over the last few months have risen up in overwhelming numbers,” which is true only in the sense that an overwhelming majority of the people disapproves of what Cruz and his allies have been doing.
Cruz briefly allowed himself to acknowledge reality when he admitted that “there is nothing to be gained” by holding up the Senate deal. Then again, there was never anything to be gained by the pointless showdown that Cruz urged his party to embrace, which didn’t stop Cruz from deceiving his colleagues and his supporters by claiming that something could be gained. It is only now that the farce has come to an end that Cruz is willing to accept that continuing that showdown is futile, but there was never a time when it was not. Barro sums up what has changed:
Nothing has changed today to make delay and destruction any more futile than it was yesterday, back when Cruz was in favor of delay and destruction.
The only thing that has changed, I think, is that Ted Cruz has more to lose than to gain by continuing to wreak havoc.
So Cruz is capable of recognizing when he has reached a dead end, but he is indifferent to the damage done to anyone but himself. Anyone who wants to follow a leader like that should be prepared to be ill-treated and misled from start to finish.