Chris Cillizza writes:
Ted Cruz isn’t planning to be in the Senate for very longI'm pretty sure that's not what Cruz is thinking.
On Wednesday, Ted Cruz did something you almost never see in the Senate: He purposefully made political life harder for his Republican colleagues.
By forcing the Senate to round up 60 votes to end debate and force a final vote on a clean increase of the debt ceiling, Cruz knowingly complicated things for the top two Republicans in the chamber -- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn (Texas). Both men face primary challenges from their ideological right and neither relished the idea of helping break a filibuster for a debt ceiling increase with no Republican proposals attached.
... McConnell and Cornyn, both of whom are favorites to win their primaries, will never forget Cruz's move this past week. And, Cruz is plenty smart enough to realize that.
Cruz, ultimately, wants to be president.... If Cruz doesn't win [in 2016] (or doesn't run), he won't be up for re-election until 2o18. He may well run for a second term but if he decides at some point between now and then -- or even after he is re-elected -- to go the Jim DeMint route and simply walk away from the Senate, don't be surprised.
Cruz won't be climbing the leadership ladder. Ever.
Oh, sure, he'd probably love to win the presidency in 2016. But I imagine he's also comfortable with the notion of staying in the Senate. That's because he likely believes that the Republicans who hate him will eventually be replaced by teabaggers (or "constitutional conservatives" or whatever the hell they're calling themselves these days) -- you know, uncooperative, my-way-or-the-highway extremists just like him. I'm sure he thinks he will climb the leadership ladder very, very fast once control of the Senate -- and the House, and the White House -- has passed to nutjobs like himself.
And if that never happens, well, he gets a great deal of love from the base (and, I'm sure, from some crazy right-wing billionaires) for being far more extreme than the McConnells and Cornyns (who are extreme only most of the time). In other words, he's loved by his fans precisely because he's hated by the McConnells and Cornyns. Plus, this posture brings in large amounts of money.
The point of his Senate career is not the point of most senators' careers. As they say on reality TV....