Republican Senate candidates Ken Buck and Owen Hill have made no secret that they are big admirers of Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz. Both Buck and Hill supported Republican maneuvers that eventually led to the government shutdown last fall — a shutdown that was orchestrated in large part by Cruz. The October shutdown was politically disastrous to Republicans, but for Cruz, it was a chance to show Tea Party types that he should be their guy for President in 2016.
For Buck and Hill, their support of Cruz is about trying to make it out of a June Primary as the GOP's nominee to take on Sen. Mark Udall in the fall. In order to win the Primary, they need the support of many of the same Tea Party Republicans who think Cruz is the greatest Canadian since Justin Bieber. But that unabashed support for Cruz comes with a price — one that may be increasingly steep. Check out this blistering editorial in the Wall Street Journal, which Sen. John McCain tweeted out to his followers:
The Senate passed the House debt-limit increase on Wednesday, but not before some needless drama that helps to explain why Republicans remain a minority.
Democrats had enough votes to pass the increase with a simple majority, which means they would have owned the debt increase. But then Senator Ted Cruz —the same fellow who planned the GOP's shutdown fiasco in October—objected on the floor and insisted on a 60-vote majority. This is exactly what Democratic leader Harry Reid wanted because if the bill failed he would have sent the Senate home on recess and returned later this month to join President Obama in flogging the GOP as the debt-ceiling deadline neared…
…We're all for holding politicians accountable with votes on substantive issues, but Mr. Cruz knew he couldn't stop a debt increase the House had already passed. He also had no alternative strategy if the bill had failed, other than to shut down the government again, take public attention away from ObamaCare, and make Republicans even more unpopular.
There are probably safer ways to ingratiate yourself with Tea Party supporters than to hitch your wagon to Sen. Cruz, but Buck and Hill are too far gone into Cruzland now; they can do little more than just hold on tight and hope Cruz doesn't crash everyone into a guardrail. Of course, given the increasing rancor towards Cruz and the rising star power of other ultra-conservatives such as Sen. Rand Paul, this ride may come to a messy end sooner rather than later.