Business or bluster? Cruz's performance so far depends who you ask


by MARK WIGGINS / KVUE News and photojournalist DAVID GARDNER

Bio | Email | Follow: @MarkW_KVUE

Posted on March 28, 2013 at 6:19 PM

Updated Thursday, Mar 28 at 6:21 PM

AUSTIN -- Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is back in Texas this week. In a series of scheduled appearances, Texas' newest senator is letting his constituents know he's been hard at work. 
"In the last two weeks I've introduced two amendments to defund and to repeal 'Obamacare' in its entirety," Cruz told an audience in Richardson on Tuesday.
Opponents point out neither was successful. 
"We know more about what he's against than what he's for and we don't know what he's bringing to Texas," said Matt Glazer, executive director of Progress Texas. "The only thing that Ted Cruz has actually accomplished is he's gotten bipartisan consensus that no one really likes working with him."
Since taking office in January, Cruz has been on the losing side of 62 out of 92 votes. His aggressive questioning of Secretary of Defense nominee Chuck Hagel launched him into the headlines, as did his part in filibustering the nomination of C.I.A. Director John Brennan over the potential use of American combat drones. 
Cruz failed to prevent either confirmation, although following the filibuster, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder reaffirmed in writing an earlier statement to Cruz that a drone strike against a citizen noncombatant on American soil would be unconstitutional.
Amid the controversy over Cruz's Washington, D.C. debut, the junior senator's Tea Party mentor told KVUE that Cruz is doing just fine. 
"If you don't shake things up a little bit, you can't change them," said former Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), who campaigned with Cruz in 2012. "I'm just very proud of him and I know the pressure that one person is under when they take a stand on anything."
DeMint says he had more than his share of critics during his tenure in the nation's capital. During his eight years representing South Carolina in the Senate, DeMint aggressively opposed the Affordable Care Act and earned a reputation as one of the upper chamber's most conservative members.
Despite his high profile, DeMint passed just one bill as a senator, naming a post office in his home state. After resigning this year to head the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, he argues there are different measures of success. 
"A lot of what we have to do if you're effective is to stop the bad things that they're trying to push through in Washington that hurts states like Texas," said DeMint.
"I think we have been tremendously effective in the few weeks that I've been serving," Cruz told KVUE's Dallas sister station WFAA on Tuesday, pointing to as evidence his unsuccessful battle against the Affordable Care Act as well as his vocal role in the Senate debate over gun regulation. 
"[Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid [D-NV] announced the assault weapons ban was not going to pass the Senate because the votes weren't there," said Cruz. "I think the leadership that we provided has had a significant impact in doing exactly that."
With Texas airports, transportation infrastructure and military installations all relying on federal money, Cruz will face plenty more decisions with significant statewide impact. Meanwhile, Texans will continue watching.


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