Back in his home state on Friday, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz said no one should be shocked by the stir he’s caused after barely 80 days in office — he’s just keeping his campaign promises.
“Washington is a curious place,” the tea party firebrand told an adoring crowd at an Austin Chamber of Commerce luncheon. “They are very, very surprised when you go there and actually do what you said you were going to do.”
Cruz, 42, was a little-known former state solicitor general before he rode a tidal wave of fiercely conservative, grass-roots support to an upset win in last summer’s Republican primary over Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, the choice of Texas’ GOP establishment. He coasted to victory in the general election.
Since arriving in Washington in January, Cruz has made national headlines by embracing the role of Senate troublemaker. His first act was introducing an amendment to repeal the White House-backed health care reform law that had no hope of passing. Cruz also turned up the verbal heat on former Sen. Chuck Hagel during his confirmation hearings for secretary of defense.
Democrats have compared his style to McCarthyism, and some Republicans have even bristled at Cruz’s political bomb-throwing.
Cruz said Friday that he doesn’t shy away from the role but “what I’ve tried to do every single day there is do my job.”
The crowd gave him a standing ovation, though some of the loudest applause came when Cruz recalled that U.S. economic growth topped 7 percent in 1984, during President Ronald Reagan’s first term. Louder and more sustained cheers came when Cruz insisted that Congress “must repeal Obamacare in its entirety.”