Ted Cruz Would Rather Be Right Than Win

The Texas senator's plan to defund Obamacare will lead to future consequences for the Republican Party.

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The attack on Syria was a bust but the fight over the budget is the bomb. Instead of cruise missiles raining on Syria, Cruz missiles are taking out Republicans on Capitol Hill.

Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz has dedicated himself to stopping Obamacare even if it means bringing the economy to a grinding halt. By stepping into the limelight, Cruz has made austerity and the tea party the avatars of the conservative movement. Americans don't like either.

Ted Cruz would rather be right than win which is great for him but bad for the conservative movement. Conservative Fox News host Bill O'Reilly underscored the problem when he described Cruz's plan to defund Obamacare as "fanaticism." Cartoonist and baseball fan Charles Schultz, the creator of "Charlie Brown," often spoke of a pitcher whose team had just been crushed. The pitcher's epitaph on the defeat was "How can we lose when we're so sincere?"

Ted Cruz could win his battle against Obamacare and lose the war.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the tea party.]

Republican strategist David Winston has been critical of his party‘s obsession with the budget deficit and its failure to speak to the concerns Americans have for the economy. Conservatives talk about the budget as if austerity is an end in itself. Instead of putting the spotlight on the economy and jobs where it belongs, tea partyers talk incessantly about reducing the deficit and killing the Affordable Care Act. There are many Americans who have concerns about health care reform but there are a lot more who worry about the economy. Obama cares about economic growth. Cruz can't or won't.

The good news for Cruz is that he could pick the next president. The bad news for Cruz is that it won't be him. He will run and pull the eventual GOP candidate so far to the right that the Democratic candidate will walk into the White House. Or better yet, he wins the GOP nod himself and the Democratic candidate coasts into the White House.

But I don't think Cruz has either of these scenarios in mind. Cruz has gone out of his way to attack fellow members of the party formerly known as Republican? It's pretty clear he doesn't care at all about the fortunes of his old party. Which makes me wonder if he would run for president on a tea party ticket? If he did run for president and I wouldn't put it past him, the irony would be that he might put tea party piñata, Hillary Clinton in the White House.

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