Cruz’s surrender caucus language boomerangs

Ted Cruz coined the term “surrender caucus” to describe Republicans who are reluctant to induce a government shutdown over the funding of Obamacare because they believe this move might very well cost the GOP its majority in the House. But now, when Cruz tries to inject a little realism of his own into the discussion, he is accused by some House Republicans of advocating surrender.

For example, Rep. Sean Duffy told Laura Ingraham today that Cruz is showing insufficient backbone. How so? By noting that Senate Democrats can strip defunding language from the continuing resolution and calling on House Republicans to “stand firm” in that event. Duffy said:

I think the strategy that Ted Cruz has been advocating for – it’s really hard to win when you can’t get the Senate on board and he’s proving that by the very nature of his surrender.

You can’t talk to the American people, you can’t talk to our bases on this strategy, and then completely roll over. Thank God [Cruz] wasn’t there fighting at the Alamo!

But Cruz was only stating the obvious. So why the strong reaction by many House Republicans? I agree with Avik Roy that it’s because House Republicans are tired of Cruz’s “surrender caucus” rhetoric, which he appears ready to renew when the issue kicks back to the House after Senate Dems strip defunding language.

Duffy confirmed this assessment. Appearing on Joe Scarborough’s program, he complained that “we’ve been abused by these guys [Sens. Cruz and Mike Lee] for so long.”

Meanwhile, the House went ahead today and passed a continuing resolution that would keep the government operating while defunding Obamacare. House Republicans were (or pretended to be) euphoric, and the battle within the Republican party over tactics, was put on hold.

When it resumes, perhaps Cruz will be a little less over-the-top in his attacks on conservatives who disagree with him over tactics. Name-calling may be okay when directed at the other Party. It may even be tolerable, though less than ideal, in disputes among Republicans over policy.

But name-calling should be eschewed in disagreements among Republicans over tactics — assuming that the dispute is in good faith, and not merely a vehicle for posturing.


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