Sen. Ted Cruz failed in his attempt to force a government shutdown over Planned Parenthood funding.
One force behind that defeat is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a fellow Republican who has step by step been isolating Cruz, in contrast to Cruz’s repeatedly taking shots at him, calling him everything from a faux conservative to a puppet for the Democrats.
“I have tried very hard to stay out of the presidential race, and I think that’s probably a good rule for me,” McConnell said, according to Politico.
Some Republicans say that Cruz’s priorities these days are different in many ways than theirs in the Senate.
“We had to be prepared,” said John Thune of South Dakota, the No. 3 Senate Republican, according to Politico. “He’s running for national office. He’s got a different endgame than we do. There are things we have to do here. We’ve got to fund the government every year.”
The success Cruz had in forcing a government shutdown in 2013, and the backlash it brought to the GOP, stayed in the mind of McConnell, who was determined not to see an encore.
Politico noted: “The message is clear: McConnell isn’t going anywhere, and everyone in the Senate knows it. Even Cruz won’t say he should resign.”
Cruz is not easily intimidated by shunning from his party. In fact, he relishes it as fuel for his narrative about being a true conservative who leads the fight in challenging the GOP establishment, which he derides as sellouts.
He still is determined to be a major factor in another shutdown cliff that Congress faces later this year.
Politico interviewed unnamed GO leaders and aides about how McConnell and other leaders mapped out a plan to rein in Cruz this time.
McConnell pursued his own funding bill, which did not sit well with Cruz.
He also made moves that prevented Cruz from making his own to thwart McConnell’s efforts.
Republicans blocked Cruz efforts to force a vote what in essence could have been a referendum on McConnell’s leadership, and some Democrats went along.
“When I stood up, I didn’t know I was under a time limit,” Cruz said to Democratic and GOP floor staff late Monday.
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