Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz didn't win any popularity points with his demands that the chamber remain in session over the weekend and cast a vote on the $1.1 trillion omnibus spending package, and he's probably okay with that.
Refusing to allow the chamber to return on Monday to vote on the bill, Cruz protested President Barack Obama's executive action on immigration through the extended arguments on the legislation, reports The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza in an analysis piece
Eventually, he forced a "point of order" vote on the constitutionality of Obama's order. The vote failed in the Democrat-controlled Senate, as expected, but brought Cruz criticism
from many of his fellow Republicans, who said the tactic allowed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to push through several judicial nominations that may otherwise would have waited until Republicans took over majority rule next month.
"While the president’s executive actions on immigration are reprehensible and deserve a strong response, I value the oath I took to support and defend the Constitution too much to exploit it for political expediency," Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker complained.
But Cruz Communications Director Amanda Carpenter said that this wasn't the first time the Senator from Texas would not play along with establishment colleagues, tweeting:
And, Cillizza said, Cruz does not care if Corker or incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell like him, as he has made his reputation out of being opposed to the Senate's status quo.
And to show voters that you are not part of the problem in Washington, Cillizza said, it's best to have establishment party members be hostile
Cruz's growing reputation is already giving him star power as buzz builds about the 2016 presidential elections, and his status as a party outsider is much like the one Minnesota Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann tried in 2012.
But Cruz is risking alienating himself from the party base, who may not support him with a nomination, Cillizza writes.
"Cruz is gambling that if it comes to that, the establishment won't be able to stop him," he said. "The establishment doesn't really want to find out if he's right."
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