Ted Cruz is the Republican most establishment conservatives love to hate.
As The Washington Post reported in November, “Ted Cruz has been branded a ‘wacko bird‘ by a Senate colleague and a ‘jackass‘ by the former speaker of the House. A GOP consultant labeled him a show horse, and a strategist for a rival presidential campaign called him ‘the Mitt Romney of 2016 — the Republican no other Republican can stand.'”
“The list of GOP politicians and operatives willing to take open shots at Cruz has grown long: Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.), former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, former House speaker John A. Boehner (Ohio), Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.), fellow Texas Sen. John Cornyn, Sen. John Thune (S.D.), former senator Tom Coburn (Okla.) — and on and on.”
Former President George W. Bush, Cruz’s former boss, unleashed on Ted Cruz at a fundraiser for his brother, Jeb, in October, telling the crowd: “I just don’t like the guy [Cruz].” Several of the donor’s expressed shock, one of them noting that Bush was “really pleasant” when talking about Jeb’s other Republican rivals.
“The tenor of what he said about the other candidates was really pretty pleasant until he got to Cruz,” said one donor.
“I was like, ‘Holy sh-t, did he just say that?'” said another, adding: “I remember looking around and seeing that other people were also looking around surprised.”
Washington insiders note that Ted Cruz does not get along with other members of his party in Washington, D.C.
“There’s not a lot of love lost for the guy,” said Josh Holmes, a former chief of staff to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). “And it’ s not what he’s trying to accomplish or what he says he’s trying to accomplish that bothers people,” Holmes added. “it’s that he’s consistently sacrificed the mutual goals of many for his personal enhancement.”
Cruz enraged fellow Republicans in December 2014 when a stunt of his designed to block President Obama’s immigration actions backfired, opening the door for Harry Reid (D-NV) to push through numerous Obama nominations.
Rep. Pete King (R-NY) has said that Cruz is closer to being a “sideshow entertainer” than “the leader of the free world,” adding “he is just a guy with a big mouth and no results.”
Back in April, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) delivered a knockout blow to Cruz for lying and went so far as to enlist the aid of reporters in shaming him.
Even members of the conservative media don’t seem to like Cruz with Forbes unleashing on the Tea Party favorite, calling him un-American and predicting that “he will ultimately be forgotten.” A few months later, they destroyed Cruz – yet again – for his lies about Christians being persecuted in the United States.
Cruz has been gaining on Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump in recent polling, but in the absence of meaningful support from the Republican establishment – it remains to be seen just how far he might go.