Sunday, January 31, 2016

Does it Matter That Ted Cruz is Disliked?

A thread on Twitter began with a post questioning why Cruz being disliked would matter if he was president with an expression of doubt that senators would actually block him out of spite. A following tweet, pointed out that all Republicans would have self-interest in cooperating. And finally that while there was disagreement over tactics there was agreement on policy.

Now all of this is true up to a point, but as argument to wave away the issue of animus directed towards Cruz by his colleagues (and I would guess it goes beyond the Senate) this fails to convince. Are we really supposed to believe that being strongly disliked doesn’t matter in politics? If so, then politics is truly alone in human endeavors.

Yes, at the general level there is policy agreement, but probe a bit and real differences emerge. Tactics in politics are hardly a matter of little importance. The extent to which cooperating conforms to self-interest doesn’t exist in the abstract it is determined.

And we need to consider why Ted Cruz isn’t liked. To some extent it is that he is intent on shaking things up and this I take to be positive. But another aspect is that he is thought to have made some serious tactical blunders (see the shutdown) that have cost the party, and to be concerned with Ted Cruz well beyond anything else. You’re really trying to tell me that this is of no account? That it won’t in anyway impede Cruz’s ability to get things done as president?

To be considered a successful conservative president, Ted Cruz will have to persuade his colleague’s and the people to go beyond what they are comfortable with; to trust him and his judgement. Everything else being equal or near equal, I’ll take the guy who is generally liked and charming over the guy who is despised.

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