Those hailing what happened with the debt limit increase yesterday as some sort of Revolt of the Grownups that will put the Tea Party back in its place and herald in a new era of bipartisanship should take a look at the Wall Street Journal editorial blasting Ted Cruz as threatening the prospects for a GOP takeover of the Senate.
They aren’t mad at Cruz for opposing a debt limit increase. They’re mad at him for forcing a vote which revealed the double-dealing GOP effort to ensure the debt limit increased passed without Republican votes.
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.
The 60-vote threshold was reached only after GOP leaders Mitch McConnell, John Cornyn and 10 others voted to let the final debt-ceiling vote proceed. All 12 then opposed the increase on final passage, but thanks to Mr. Cruz they had to walk the plank with Democrats on a procedural vote.
It’s all about deceptive GOP positioning, not any desire for bipartisanship or even fiscal sanity. This is why I’m convinced the debt limit saga is probably the death knell, not a green light, for immigration reform. Now an awful lot of Republicans won’t take the risk of coming anywhere near legislation supported by Democrats, even if they secretly support it. Ted Cruz might out them.