There is a tendency in Democratic circles to rail against Texas Senator Ted Cruz and his bitter-enders in the Tea Party set.
But come on people. Ted Cruz is the Democrats’ best bud.
As a friend keeps reminding me, how come you are so lucky with your enemies?
Green Eggs and Ham Cruz is a hero to the right-wing Tea Party faction, which followed him over the cliff in shuttering the government. Most of his friends stood with him in refusing to accept the final deal reopening the government and avoiding a default on the U.S. debt.
The result: Cruz and his acolytes should be lionized by Democrats. Perhaps we should set up a secret fund to pay for his travels to the 50 states. We need more photos of Ted Cruz & candidate X; it’s great campaign fodder.
I mean, look at what Ted & Co. have accomplished. He split the Republican Party and brought the party’s favorability to record lows. He and his House friends led the party to abject defeat in their goal to defund Obamacare. In the process, they overshadowed weeks of major problems with the health care reform rollout. They have made compromise a dirty word, alienating independents across the country – and some Republicans too.
Ted Cruz appeared in Virginia for ultra-conservative candidate for Governor, Ken Cuccinelli (R), but even Cuccinelli avoided the obligatory photo of the two politicians together that would have been an instant attack ad.
It is this same brand of extremist Republicans that:
==Nominated Christine O’Donnell for Senate in Delaware, handing a victory to Sen. Chris Coons (D);
==Nominated Ken Buck in Colorado, giving a boost to Sen. Michael Bennett (D).
==Nominated Sharon Angle in Nevada, helping return Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) to the Senate;
==Nominated Todd Akin in Missouri, moving Sen. Claire McCasill (D) from underdog to top dog;
==Defeated Sen. Dick Lugar in Indiana, opening the way for Joe Donnelly’s (D) upset.
We should encourage Cruz and friends to nominate more candidates with strong principles — but few political smarts.
While not all of these Tea Party challenges will materialize or end up resulting in Democratic wins, a number of Republican incumbents up for election in 2014 are being challenged from the right: Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY), Senators Thad Cochran (MS), Lamar Alexander (TN), Lindsey Graham (SC), Michael Enzi (WY) and Pat Roberts (KS).
Meanwhile, extreme right candidates are competing for the Republican nominations in Georgia, South Dakota and Alaska.
Enzi’s race in Wyoming has a double whammy: a Tea Party opponent by the name of Cheney who just happens to be related to the former Vice President.
Admittedly, for Democrats to take advantage of Republican primary upsets, they will have to offer candidates who have a shot at emerging as winning candidates in the right circumstances.
A few months ago, the political punditry suggested that the Republicans might lose a few seats in the House of Representatives but retain control, and had a shot a recapturing the Senate as well.
While it is much too early to make predictions — except by those who get paid to predict — the odds have shifted in the other direction.
When Karl Rove and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce start decrying the little Frankensteins they have helped create, you know there are problems — for them, not Democrats.
So back where we started. Who is the biggest asset to the Democratic Party these days? The President? The Big Dog? Hillary? The Veep?
Nope. It’s Ted Cruz. All Hail.