The Cruz Congress: How the election benefits Hillary

I think the Republican takeover of the US Senate benefits two people the most: Hillary Clinton and Ted Cruz.

First, let’s start with Cruz.

Cruz, as you’ll recall, was the architect of the very-unpopular Republican shutdown of the federal government. Cruz was able to whip the House Tea Party contingent into a furor, and effectively overrule House Speaker John Boehner. Cruz did all that in the minority. Imagine the damage he can do in the majority when the entire Congress will be stuck on Cruz control.

And that helps Hillary, and hurts the GOP overall. Hillary now has someone to run against: The GOP Congress.

hillary-clinton-book-photo-hard-choicesUp until now, Hillary Clinton had to figure out how to distance herself from a somewhat unpopular president, while having spent the last many years working for him. Now, instead, she can focus her attention, and divert ours, towards all the bad things the Republicans are going to cook up over the next two years.

Just imagine the crazy things Ted Cruz and the Tea Partyers are going to come up with. And the Republicans are going to have to own it. And that will help Democrats in 2016, as the Republicans will no longer be the outsiders — they’ll be responsible for what does and doesn’t happen legislatively in Washington.

I’m not going to sugarcoat this — it’s terrible that the Republicans have taken over the Senate. And they’re certainly going to try to undermine a flurry of issues we care dearly about. But on other issues, I’m not so sure. Take gay rights. While the religious right would like nothing better than to reinstate Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, does anyone really think the GOP is going to try that, let alone succeed? Then there’s marriage equality — it’s not clear what the Republicans can do about that.

But more importantly, it’s not clear what the Republicans really want to do about it. The party overall is over gay rights. They know they’ve lost, and they know the issue is hurting them with younger and independent voters. And while it was easy before to say “gosh, we’d love to bash the gays, but we just can’t because we don’t control the Congress,” what excuse are the Republicans going to give their beloved hate groups, like the Family Research Council? Is Mitch McConnell really going to tell Tony Perkins the truth — that the whole hate and bigotry thing doesn’t work anymore, and in fact is kind of embarrassing?

Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz (bottom right) lead "veterans" in protesting the Republicans own shutdown of the government.

Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz (bottom right) lead “veterans” in protesting the Republicans own shutdown of the government.

I really think the Republican party has a problem along with an obvious opportunity. It’s always better to be in the majority than the minority. But this is a party that is supremely worried that it may never be capable of winning the presidency ever again, because America’s demographics are changing, and “crazy” doesn’t win national elections.

But crazy is what they’ve got. And it’s what they just elected to Congress.

The final wild card is the President himself. Will he try to be conciliatory with a Congress that hates him, and is dead set on grinding the government a halt in order to win back the White House? And if President Obama chooses to take the GOP Congress on, will he have what it takes to win?

I do think that the President is at his best when his heart is in the game, and that’s often when someone ticks him off. Here’s hoping Ted Cruz gets a lot of face time with the President over the next two years.

I’ll have more analysis when I get up in the morning. Quite a night, but not entirely unexpected. Gnite.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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53 Responses to “The Cruz Congress: How the election benefits Hillary”

  1. Bill_Perdue says:

    If you like those terms use them.

    I use the term ‘Democrat Party’ to point out that the leaders and owners of that party are right wing and anti-worker because some people share the delusion that they are not right wing, pro-war, union busters who are in the process of creating, with Republican help, a police state.

    I’m not going to stop.

  2. Bill_Perdue says:

    I am going to use the term Democrat Party and those who want to pretend that I’m a Republican will continue to do so no matter what I say. I’ve seen them in action on a number of sites and they object to my advocating socialism and my rejection, out of hand, of the pretensions of the Democrats as being democratic or being for democracy.

  3. Houndentenor says:

    if you are going to use Democrat as an adjective people are going to think you are a right-wing idiot. If you don’t want them to think that, stop doing it. Your choice.

  4. Bubbles says:

    I’m more worried about Obama selling out what’s left of the American social contract.

    Obama has always been in it for himself. He runs like a dynamo when his own job is up for question, but then phones it in afterwords.

    His next job is to become high paid gadfly. Bill Clinton made $100 million at this in 4 short years after being president. The people who pay that are Big Money/Wall Street. Clinton earned that money by selling out on financial deregulation. Obama has got to sell out on something to get the Bill Clinton treatment. That means giving America Mexico’s social contract.

  5. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    Then for the sake of consistency, it should be the Democrat Party, Republic Party, and Liberty Party.

  6. Bill_Perdue says:

    It’s a political question, not a grammatical question and for me, and demands to ‘respect’ the rightwing political prostitutes who run those parties and the ruling rich who own those parties will always fall on deaf ears.

    The leaders and owners of the Democrat, Republican and Libertarian parties deserve no respect at all. They’re the enemy of working people.

  7. Bill_Perdue says:

    People have fought to make the US a democracy since 1789 and that fight will be won by socialists.

  8. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    The USA was never intended to be a democracy. It’s a republic. Say the Pledge of Allegiance to yourself.

  9. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    He thinks he’s God and does not need to follow rules of grammar.

  10. Bill_Perdue says:

    It’s a political question. The Democrat party is not democratic and the US is not a democracy.

  11. ComradeRutherford says:

    The House will pass articles of impeachment against Obama by next May, and the Senate will vote to convict before July 4. Hillary will ‘move to the center’ which means she’ll be to the right of Mitch McConnell and all the Serious Democrats will praise her move because all politicians should only pander to the far-far right at election time.

  12. ComradeRutherford says:

    Oh, great, just what we don’t need, another right-wing Republican pretending to be a Democrat. We had that with her husband, have have that with Obama, and now Hillary wants to help the GOP further their agenda even more?

    Hillary Clinton, just another Republican running for president.

    I say we vote for Democrats. And that is NOT Hillary Clinton.

  13. Houndentenor says:

    In that case: Democrat is a noun. Democratic is an adjective. Learn the difference.

  14. Don Chandler says:

    I’m a bit surprised you would start by saying Ted Olsen and David Boies led the fight for marriage equality. Not like you to forget the DOMA battle; in fact, I’m sure you have your reasons. Personally, I don’t think the gay rights movement should be confined to recent events, but the dream team is certainly not the leading force behind marriage equality–they were and are a factor. So is Obama’s support a factor. So were Obama’s judicial appointments. Basically: Obama good on marriage equality. Romney and Republicans and Cruz, bad or if you must, evil on marriage equality. That aside, the reason I don’t like the lesser evil argument is it’s impractical…bordering on fantasy. If progressives are going to make progress, they need to build it up from grassroots and win some elections. Then they will have some clout. Who are these leaders anyways? I know them on the local level and vote for them. But nationally, they never make much impact.

  15. Bill_Perdue says:

    The blame game.

  16. Bill_Perdue says:

    I’m not a right winger, I’m a socialist and have been for decades.

    Look somewhere else when you want excuses for the 2010 and 2014 ‘shellackings’ of the Democrats. It lies in the fact that your party is right wing.

  17. nicho says:

    It was Ted Olson and David Boies who led the fight for marriage equality — not Barack Obama. He was brought late to the party, sulking all the way. Only when his pollsters told him the mood of the country had changed did he hop on board.

    As far as representing things people want:

    Obama has bombed seven countries (more than Bush), deported record numbers of immigrants, killed immigration reform through neglect, undermined climate change accords in Copenhagen in 2009, attacked teachers unions, abandoned “card-check” legislation that would aid union drives, and offered little more than rhetoric on raising wages.

    Obama, however, spared no effort to rescue the sinking yachts. In October 2009 the New York Times noted that the bailouts begun a year earlier were fueling a “new era of Wall Street wealth.”

    That will shape his legacy: the real unemployment rate is still at 12 percent, and since 2008, 5.5 million more Americans live in poverty and the median household income has declined 4.6 percent. Corporate profits are
    at their highest level since record-keeping began in 1929, the
    effective corporate tax rate is lower than any point since Hoover was
    president, and workers are taking home the smallest share of national
    income in 65 years.

    Obama and Democratic Party leaders have passed up few opportunities
    to kick their voting base in the face. They abandon supporters the
    instant an issue becomes contentious, such as capping carbon emissions,
    federal funding of reproductive healthcare, or anti-union legislation.
    In contrast, the Republicans stick to their guns in pursuing an
    ideological agenda of upward redistribution of wealth, increased police
    and military force, and reactionary social policies.

  18. Bill_Perdue says:

    I made another reference, and mine is valid.

    The US is not a democracy and does not have democratic elections.

  19. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    What the hell has that to do with what I posted? Instead you decided to spew forth your regular amount of bile. Unfortunately, if you ignore the rules of grammar, you just come off as ignorant. Democratic is an adjective, Democrat is not. Timncguy tried to spare you the embarrassment of incorrectly using the word, but you had too much hubris to follow up on it.

    I would never be so foolish as to describe the government of the USA as a democracy. It was intended to be a republic.

  20. Houndentenor says:

    Using Democrat rather than Democratic as an adjective makes you sound like a right-winger. In fact what it causes people to suspect is that you are actually a right wing plant trying to talk progressives out off voting for Democrats to the benefit of Republicans. I’m not saying that’s the case, but weirder things have happened.

  21. AnitaMann says:

    To hell with Hillary and the personality contest that is the presidential election. The Dem party has to take a serious look at what they’re offering the public and why, if they are offering it, the public isn’t buying it. And repeal citizen’s united, stat.

    But to have to listen to that goose honking asshat Cruz for years and to hear #Benghazi again, jesus, someone just shoot me.

  22. Houndentenor says:

    For my whole life I was against single payer, but lately my every interaction with my insurance company and the clusterfuck that is figuring out who has to pay what to whom over the tiniest procedure makes me think that it couldn’t be any worse than what I have now.

  23. Don Chandler says:

    On marriage equality, Obama isn’t a lesser evil, he’s a greater good. On Citizen’s United, his judicial appointments were a greater good but not enough to win. I know Obama isn’t everything you want. But he does represent some things you do want. Not so with Cruz/Boehner/and the new senate majority turtle.

  24. FLL says:


  25. 2karmanot says:


  26. Bill_Perdue says:

    Or you could refer to the US as a democracy when the truth is that the US is a plutocracy and a banana republic.

    “A new scientific study from Princeton researcher Martin Gilens and Northwestern researcher Benjamin I. Page has finally put some science behind the recently popular argument that the United States isn’t a democracy any more. And they’ve found that in fact, America is basically an oligarchy.

    For their study, Gilens and Page compiled data from roughly 1,800 different policy initiatives in the years between 1981 and 2002. They then compared those policy changes with the expressed opinion of the United State public. Comparing the preferences of the average American at the 50th percentile of income to what those Americans at the 90th percentile preferred, as well as the opinions of major lobbying or business groups, the researchers found out that the government followed the directives set forth by the latter two much more often. It’s beyond alarming. As Gilens and Page write, ‘the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.’ In other words, their statistics say your opinion literally does not matter.” my underlining

  27. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    From now on, can we refer to the sky as sterling and refer to the color red as blue? You’re God, right?

  28. Bill_Perdue says:

    I sound like I know what the Democrats are, enemies of workiong people. So are Republicans.

  29. Bill_Perdue says:

    There is nothing even remotely democratic about the Democrat party.

  30. A girl can dream :)

  31. therling says:

    Whaddya expect from someone in the Republic party?

  32. FLL says:

    I don’t even think Ted Cruz would be foolish enough to take on Medicare. If you read the article about exit polls that I linked to, part of the findings was that whenever the poll question defined single payer health care as “something like Medicare,” the support always went up. That might just be the winning strategy for convincing people to support single payer health care—link it to the success of Medicare, which is universally popular.

  33. The_Fixer says:

    Just because someone endlessly repeats this proposition doesn’t make it any less silly.

    And therein lies the reason for this “Republican revolution” – endlessly repeating silly bullshit. The Republicans are very good at messaging. Of course their buddies own the media, so they have lots of help.

    I have great fear and dread for the coming two years. The damage done by their attempts to starve the government and further stack the economic deck in their favor will be extensive. It’s going to hurt a lot of people.

  34. Houndentenor says:

    Exactly. And running scared from your own voting record and support for the president of your own party does not work. It never did and never will. They’re going to use it against you if they can so you might as well own it.

  35. Houndentenor says:

    No, it just makes it sound like he watches too much Fox News and listens to too much right wing Talk Radio.

  36. Houndentenor says:

    I think McConnell and Boehner may want to do that because they will want to get him to sign SOME legislation, but the Teavanglicals cannot be controlled or silenced by the party elite.

  37. Houndentenor says:

    Republcians are very good at passing the blame and getting away with it. Democrats less so. they will blame everything on Obama for vetoing the bills they pass. Never underestimate the stupidity of huge swaths off the electorate.

  38. Houndentenor says:

    All government involvement in healthcare? Does that include medicare?

  39. 2karmanot says:

    “will he (Obama) have what it takes to win?” ROTFL!

  40. Steven says:

    I very much agree with all that’s written here. I suspect Clinton is suppressing giggles this morning. Had you rather run a presidential campaign defending a somewhat unpopular 8-year incumbent, or had you rather hit Congress under control of the opposition party? This is a tailor-made situation for a Democrat keeping control of the WH. In fact, it may be the only way that has a possibility of happening.

    But it will suck having to watch the shenanigans over the next two years, especially as Rubio and Paul and Cruz fight for attention for their presidential runs. And God help us all if Kennedy retires or Thomas strokes out. I cannot imagine the battle that would ensue.

  41. CA_2014 says:

    Yeah, I heard Sen. Flake (R-Ariz.) on NPR last night and he was asked whether the GOP would work with the President or be obstructionists. He responded by talking about doing immigration reform, passing tax reform, giving the President greater authority to negotiate trade deals. Good luck getting any of those through the House. On immigration, Flake was clear that the GOP cannot win nationally unless it does something constructive about that which doesn’t involve deportations (which are never going to happen anyway). He sounded reasonable. The question is whether such reasonableness holds or they get washed out by demagogues and blowhards like Cruz.

    So maybe the McConnell deal is this: play somewhat nice with the President so the GOP looks reasonable going into 2016. Let Cruz conduct his Benghazi hearings (like we need any of that) to soften up Hillary. But at the same time, if you were McConnell, would you really want to promote Cruz and his ginormous ego? Ugh, he would wear thin extremely quickly if he isn’t already although Teabagistan loves him.

    It’s the six year curse:

    1986: Republicans lose the Senate while Reagan was President (and thus all of Congress as the Democrats held the House then).
    1996: Can’t remember but I recall the Democrats did okay on that one. Blowback from the impeachment?
    2006: Democrats win back House and Senate while an unpopular Bush was president.

  42. GarySFBCN says:

    I think it is too early for Democrats to anoint Hillary Clinton as the next candidate. She looked like a shoo-in before and that didn’t pan-out so well.

    There are 2 years of scandals waiting to happen within both parties and among all prospective candidates. There are 2 years for ‘false flag’ events to be perpetrated on the American public. There are 2 years for the lowest forms of chicanery to be used by operatives of either party.

    No, while it would be nice to have a female president, I can’t get excited about Clinton. Of course I will vote for her if she makes it to the presidential election, but I’m hoping that someone else wins the primary, or better yet, that another party finally emerges as a decent option.

  43. nicho says:

    They won on one huge issue — that the Democrats didn’t have any issues. Their only campaign slogan was “We’re not quite as bad as the other guys.” Presenting yourself as the lesser of two evils doesn’t get out the vote.

  44. timncguy says:

    That would make Bill habitually incorrect and highlight his lack of education.

  45. S1AMER says:

    Yep. But that was enough for the shallow, superficial, ill-informed American electorate. Once again, Americans got the government they deserve.

  46. FLL says:

    Bill habitually refers to “Democrat politicians” and “Republican politicians.” Hint, hint.

  47. FLL says:

    Ted Cruz even made pointed references to future Senate hearings about Benghazi in an interview last night. Cruz seems to think that Benghazi is his magic ticket in 2016. The other obsession is repealing Obamacare and removing all government involvement in healthcare, an agenda which is supported by Ted Cruz and a large chunk of the electorate. But Obamacare is only a very modest step towards government-run medicine. If the country cannot even form a consensus supporting a modest step like Obamacare, how can a consensus form for a single payer system. Polling has been very mixed. A Yahoo/AP poll in 2007 showed a majority who support single payer health care, a Time Magazine poll in 2009 showed only a plurality who support it and two Rasmussen polls in 2011 and 2012 showed only 37% who support single payer and a majority opposed.

    I’m curious about one thing. If there is still no consensus on either Obamacare or single payer health care, could someone explain how there would be a consensus for both major parties to become “extinct” and replaced by a Marxist or socialist revolution that would presumably toss out the constitution that we’ve had for over two centuries?

  48. MyrddinWilt says:

    Brownback also got re-elected. So Hilary can run against the Kansas catastrophe as well.

    Like the dog that caught the car, the GOP won’t know what to do with what they caught. They might try to put the President on the spot but they need to eliminate the filibuster or 60 votes to do anything serious. I don’t think they will eliminate the filibuster unless they have the House, Senate and WH. Then they will do it in a nanosecond.

  49. timncguy says:

    You do know that “Democrat” is not an adjective, right?

  50. Buford2k11 says:

    I generally agree with you, John…but I think, that like abortion, the gop/baggers will not let LGBT issues alone…WE have moved on, but not so much the baggers of the gop…

  51. marknc says:

    My guess is that the Republicans will play somewhat nice with Obama to look like decent people (except Cruz of course) and focus the hate machine at Hillary starting today. In 2 years, they can ramp up the hatred of Hillary just like they’ve done it with Obama.

  52. Bill_Perdue says:

    Now the blame game begins as Democrat politicians blame their losses on everyone but themselves.

    Support for both parties is declining precipitously.

    “Equally if not more critical, loyalty to the Democratic Party among two key constituencies — Hispanics, according to the Pew Research Center, and young voters, according to Harvard’s Institute of Politics — has diminished. In addition, the level of support for the Democratic Party among whites, especially working class whites, continues to fall, according to an NBC/Wall Street Journal June 2014 poll.” New York Times 11 05 2014

    In fact, 34 percent of voters expressed that they were voting in opposition of President Obama today and 61 percent expressed that they were dissatisfied or even angry with the Republican leaders in Congress.

    Both right wing parties are on the short list for political extinction. “Maybe Both Parties are Going Extinct”

    Nick Gillespie:“It’s safe to say that by the end of today, a large chunk of Americans will be bitterly disappointed. … “But whichever side emerges victorious, both Republicans and Democrats should face up to a much bigger truth: Neither party as currently constituted has a real future. Fewer and fewer Americans identify as either Republican or Democratic according to Gallup, and both parties are at recent or all-time lows when it comes to approval ratings.” From the Daily Beast via Teagan Goddards Political Wire

    The political suicide of the Democrat and Republican parties can’t come too fast.

  53. Don Chandler says:

    The GOP won on “hating” the president. They didn’t win on any issue.

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