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Thank goodness Ted Cruz dumbed down and started acting like himself again. Plus: Growth!

Eric Celeste
Ted Cruz
After last week's outbreak of sanity, Ted Cruz got back to his Tea Party ways this week. Tedcruz.org
News_Newt Gingrich
The last time someone came into Congress with this much disdain for a president and full of this much bluster was ... wait, it'll come to me ... give me a minute ... Photo by Gage Skidmore

Omigosh, you guys! I was so worried! Shaken to my core.

Remember last week, when our state’s preeminent gasbag, Sen. Ted Cruz, went and did something sensible? When he supported Sen. Rand Paul’s day-long diatribe against the administration’s squishy drone policy?

This not only made sense politically, but it was also the right thing to do. Democrats’ key failings for the past four years have been in the areas of government transparency, torture and overzealous prosecution. This fits neatly into that triangle. It’s an issue that should outrage anyone concerned with due process and the government’s willingness to cloud debates on personal freedom with specious arguments about the “war on terrorism.”

I wondered why Republicans didn’t care about those issues. I know, it’s probably because they have no problem with the abuse of power. Still, it seemed like a good political tactic. Better than crying about the economy as it continues to grow, or attacking Planned Parenthood, or screaming “BENGHAZI!” on right-wing radio shows.

Then I saw Cruz standing with Paul, and a cold shudder came over me. What if he’s figured it out? What if he’s going to stop acting like a self-destructive insane person and actually focus on important issues? Has Ted Cruz realized that his Tea Party showboating was only further marginalizing the GOP?

Lucky for me, the outbreak of sensible, statesman-like behavior passed within a week. Perhaps it was just the flu. For this week has brought back the Ted Cruz I know and love.

In his first official speech on the Senate floor, he want back to his nut-job script, which tells him, “Rail only on things you can pin on Obama, no matter its relationship to the real world.” So he asked for a vote to defund Obamacare, which he knew wouldn’t pass, so he can have that skin on the wall for his next appearance before the every-diminishing group of Tea Party nut jobs. He went Old School Ted Cruz, in other words.

But he wasn’t done! This morning, he decided to lecture Sen. Dianne Feinstein on the Bill of Rights. This may not be on page one of his script, but it’s in the first few scenes. Anytime you can be seen as “against” a smart (read: bitchy) female from California, it’s Tea Party law you do so. 

Feinstein mocked Cruz, as she should have, telling him, “I'm not a sixth grader,” and finishing her rebuke with the following quote:

You know, it’s fine you want to lecture me on the Constitution. I appreciate it. Just know I’ve been here for a long time. I’ve passed on a number of bills. I’ve studied the Constitution myself. I am reasonably well-educated, and I thank you for the lecture.

Don’t think for a minute he cared that he looked like a smug asshole. Cruz was just following his script, putting notches in his belt to please what he thinks is a large group of supporters.

In the end, I shouldn’t have been worried about last week’s Cruz. I should have known he’d take the wrong lesson from the Paul filibuster. He looked at the support he and Paul were getting in social media and thought the world was behind him. Actually, two groups were behind him — his acolytes, for whom he can do no wrong, and smart people, who will again abandon him. In any case, he takes these self-selecting groups and imagines that the entire American populace is on his side not just in this instance, but in everything in which he believes.

We’ve seen this play out before — remember Newt Gingrich? — and this time will be no different. Cruz is drunk on the juice, loving his media moment, happy with the way the script is being played out. I just don’t think he’s read the third act yet.

Elsewhere

DFW grew more than any other metro area from July 2011 to July 2012. So we’ve got that goin’ for us, which is nice. 

Good editorial supporting a DHA plan to revitalize the Lakeview area in West Dallas. (Full disclosure: I did work on another DHA project two years ago. More full disclosure: They’re damn fine people.)

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