Ted Cruz has plenty of fervent supporters in the Tea Party movement, but he seems to be emerging as the ultimate villain on Capitol Hill, even among his own party. The latest wave of criticism stems from earlier this week, when Cruz forced a procedural vote on the debt-ceiling hike that required Mitch McConnell, John Cornyn, and other Republicans to cast votes that could haunt them in the primaries. (Afterward, the Wall Street Journal's editorial page called out Cruz's stunt as “needless drama that helps to explain why Republicans remain a minority.”) In the Washington Post, Dana Milbank blasts Cruz for an "ego trip" that put his own interests ahead of his party and even the "nation's solvency."
Cruz, though, seems to revel in it, writes Milbank, who describes the scene during the Senate vote: "Watching the chaos from the side of the chamber was the man who caused it: Cruz, his hands in his pants pockets and a satisfied grin on his face." His move drew support, of course, from Rand Paul and Marco Rubio, and all three members of this trio "are mucking up the gears of government in ways that will earn them favorable attention in the primaries," writes Milbank. But won't Cruz and company face payback from party leaders? Don't hold your breath, writes Kathleen Hunter at Bloomberg. The old rules and the old modes of punishment—lost committee posts, for example—don't apply anymore, not "in a political era in which campaign cash flows freely from outside the party machinery and cable outlets offer many ways to grab attention and influence."