Glenn Garvin on Sen. Ted Cruz: Loose Cannon or Libertarian Reformer?


Credit: Gage Skidmore

For months, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz abandoned his "the guy with dynamite strapped to his chest" persona, as one Republican political strategist describes it, to be a team player, crisscrossing the country to campaign for GOP candidates. No filibusters on the Senate floor to hold the federal budget hostage to the repeal of Obamacare; no fund­raising letters on behalf of Tea Party insurgents seeking to knock off what Cruz likes to call "squishy" Republican incumbents.

But secure in the knowledge that private tracking polls showed a Republican landslide on the way, Cruz unchained his not-so-inner werewolf. The first thing on the agenda for the new, Republican-led Senate, he said, should be hearings on President Barack Obama's "abuse of power, the executive abuse, the regulatory abuse, the lawlessness that sadly has pervaded his administration." To break up the monotony, Cruz added, the Senate will mount a human-wave attack against Obamacare, voting to repeal the whole thing and then, when the president vetoes their measure, attacking the law one provision at a time, forcing another 10 or 20 or a hundred or a thousand vetoes. Glenn Garvin analyzes Cruz's background and behavior in the February issue of Reason, exploring what libertarians should take away from his positions.