(Jack Ohman via GoComics.com)
In the Atlantic, Yale professor Jack M. Balkin calls the Teahadists’ new darling a nasty name:
…[L]et’s suppose Cruz sees something (or is betting on something) that his opponents in the Republican Party don’t see. Then his actions make a lot more sense. He is not a terrorist or a bomb thrower. He is a Leninist. He wants to sow discord among his erstwhile allies so that he can seize control…
… Cruz wants to take over the Republican Party. He could try to organize the Tea Party as a third party, but that is a risky proposition, and it could easily fail… So the prudent move is to take over the existing GOP’s operations and transform it in the image of the Tea Party, with the goal of becoming the dominant party once again. That is why Cruz is attacking his fellow Republicans for being weak-kneed and insufficiently devoted to the conservative cause, rather than doing what you would think a hard-right politician should be doing — attacking liberals and Democrats. He is deliberately fracturing the Republican Party so he can take hold of the largest piece of it….
This brand of no-holds-barred conservatism is losing a few voters at the margins, but so what? Once these squishes are gone, the Tea Party can exert even greater control over the more ideologically pure remnant, which will be known as — wait for it — the Republican Party. Cruz plans to be the political leader of that party. Then, when Obamacare runs aground — as Cruz and every other true believer knows it will — the people will come begging for a savior. The savior will be none other than Ted Cruz, the man who literally stood up to Obamacare and made opposition to it his signature issue….
Jon Chait at NYMag echoes the analogy:
The Republican Party right now most closely resembles a Weatherman gathering from about 1969, with various factions debating the feasibility of immediate communist revolution versus building a working-class movement as a prelude to smashing the state. As such, distinguishing the various gradients of ideological fanaticism has become an increasingly abstruse task.
The agenda has largely been driven by the “Defund Obamacare” faction, led by Ted Cruz, which proposes to shut down the federal government until such time as President Obama agrees to abolish his health-care plan, which would of course be never….
If this is a fair assessment — and even his admirers, or the syncophants currently claiming to admire him, admit that in Cruz World it’s all about Ted, all the time — driving his party into a ditch, and possibly destroying the country’s global standing in the process, might well seem a reasonable gamble. Especially since, given the Teahadist narrative, the very worst risk to Raphael ‘Ted’ Cruz would be a not-too-unpleasant sojourn out of the limelight, and a social rehabilitation culminating in grooming a younger messiah to pick up the fallen banner. Unfortunate for the lesser spirits who end up dead or disgraced, but then the rest of us are naught but spearcarriers in Cruz World…