Skip to main content

In Ted Cruz v. Paul Ryan, Ryan is the winner

By S.E. Cupp
updated 11:00 AM EDT, Fri October 11, 2013
The Statue of Liberty looms over visitors below on Liberty Island in New York Harbor on Sunday, October 13, 2013. The statue was closed to the public by the federal government's partial shutdown that began October 1, 2013, but reopened Sunday after the state of New York agreed to shoulder the costs of running the site during the shutdown. The Statue of Liberty looms over visitors below on Liberty Island in New York Harbor on Sunday, October 13, 2013. The statue was closed to the public by the federal government's partial shutdown that began October 1, 2013, but reopened Sunday after the state of New York agreed to shoulder the costs of running the site during the shutdown.
HIDE CAPTION
Government shutdown of 2013
Government shutdown of 2013
Government shutdown of 2013
Government shutdown of 2013
Government shutdown of 2013
Government shutdown of 2013
Government shutdown of 2013
Government shutdown of 2013
Government shutdown of 2013
Government shutdown of 2013
Government shutdown of 2013
Government shutdown of 2013
Government shutdown of 2013
Government shutdown of 2013
Government shutdown of 2013
Government shutdown of 2013
Government shutdown of 2013
Government shutdown of 2013
Government shutdown of 2013
Government shutdown of 2013
Government shutdown of 2013
Government shutdown of 2013
Government shutdown of 2013
Government shutdown of 2013
Government shutdown of 2013
Government shutdown of 2013
Government shutdown of 2013
Government shutdown of 2013
Government shutdown of 2013
Government shutdown of 2013
Government shutdown of 2013
Government shutdown of 2013
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • S.E. Cupp: Paul Ryan's proposal on entitlements has been attacked by Ted Cruz backers
  • She says Ryan is pursuing the worthy goal of reforming entitlement programs
  • Cupp supports Cruz's effort to defund Obamacare but says Ryan's plan isn't in conflict
  • She says GOP shouldn't get locked into internal battle over tactics

Editor's note: S.E. Cupp is co-host of the new "Crossfire," which airs weekdays at 6:30 p.m. ET on CNN. She is also the author of "Losing Our Religion: The Liberal Media's Attack on Christianity," co-author of "Why You're Wrong About the Right," a columnist at the New York Daily News and a political commentator for Glenn Beck's "The Blaze."

(CNN) -- The Los Angeles Times headline said it all: "Rep. Paul Ryan Fails to Close Republican Divide."

When this became Ryan's job, or whether his now "controversial" Wall Street Journal op-ed was even an attempt at doing that, is anyone's guess.

But once again, Republicans have decided to cannibalize themselves viciously and needlessly instead of uniting over common goals.

S.E. Cupp
S.E. Cupp

To be clear, the divide on the right isn't over policy. No Republican I've met thinks Obamacare is good legislation. No one is suggesting capitulation on the debt ceiling. Everyone wants spending cuts, entitlement reform and deficit reduction.

Where we're divided is over tactics. Incidentally, Ryan hinted at this in September to Politico:

"Yeah, there's a bit of frustration. ... We all believe the same thing, we all want to achieve the same goal, and so we shouldn't be questioning each other's conservatism over tactical disagreements."

See Sen. Ted Cruz take on hecklers
Cruz: I do support health care overhaul

Guess no one on Team Ted Cruz got that message.

After Ryan's op-ed, which pushed for a strong-willed fight for entitlement reform in exchange for raising the debt ceiling, failed to mention the unholiest of Tea Party holies, Obamacare, he was nailed to a proverbial cross by Ted Cruz defenders, who then immediately told everyone at Golgotha -- or on Twitter -- of his betrayal.

Cruz speechwriter Amanda Carpenter tweeted, "There is one big word missing from this op-ed. It's start (sic) with an O and ends with BAMACARE."

Heritage Action spokesman Dan Holler was similarly snarky: "Much like White House press, Paul Ryan doesn't mention Obamacare in WSJ oped. #shutdown."

Over on Red State, Daniel Horowitz posted the questions, "So we are going to ditch the fight over Obamacare, which is extremely unpopular, to fight for Medicare reform? Really, Paul Ryan? And they think we are politically stupid?"

Now, nowhere in Ryan's op-ed does he suggest ditching the fight over Obamacare. As Cruz's cheerleaders point out, Ryan doesn't even mention the health care law.

But the thing that defies logic (and good manners) is the necessity of this kind of puerile bullying. Ryan's plan isn't in competition with or heretical to Cruz's message. It's simply another objective conservatives should fight for, both in the short term and the long term.

Furthermore, the sniping is just unseemly, and frankly, Cruz's defenders are only managing to make Ryan look like the grown-up.

I don't recall Ryan jumping into the fray when plenty of Republicans were criticizing the strategy to defund Obamacare -- a position by Cruz that I have applauded as heroic. When Sens. Bob Corker and Orrin Hatch and Rep. Peter King were scolding Cruz for a plan they knew was ill-fated, Ryan was virtually silent on the move. This, even though Cruz has never been shy about his disdain for Ryan Republicans. Back in March, Cruz criticized Ryan's budget plan for its Medicare cuts. And he's made it clear he doesn't trust Ryan when it comes to budget negotiations.

It's hard to argue that Ryan isn't a staunch conservative. To treat him like a traitor is preposterous and unproductive. And while I admire Cruz's conviction, and stand by his commitment to peel back a program as odious and ruinous as the Affordable Care Act, he has to learn to work with others on his own team.

The Los Angeles Times headline isn't accurate. Instead of reading "Rep. Paul Ryan Fails to Close Republican Divide" it should read "Team Cruz Rips Republicans Apart. Again." If he keeps it up, he'll lose people like me who are with him on the policy, but quickly losing patience for his tactics.

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.

Join us on Facebook/CNNOpinion.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of S.E. Cupp.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 1:33 AM EST, Thu December 25, 2014
Danny Cevallos says the legislature didn't have to get involved in regulating how people greet each other
updated 6:12 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Marc Harrold suggests a way to move forward after the deaths of NYPD officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos.
updated 8:36 AM EST, Wed December 24, 2014
Simon Moya-Smith says Mah-hi-vist Goodblanket, who was killed by law enforcement officers, deserves justice.
updated 2:14 PM EST, Wed December 24, 2014
Val Lauder says that for 1,700 years, people have been debating when, and how, to celebrate Christmas
updated 3:27 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Raphael Sperry says architects should change their ethics code to ban involvement in designing torture chambers
updated 10:35 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Paul Callan says Sony is right to call for blocking the tweeting of private emails stolen by hackers
updated 7:57 AM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
As Christmas arrives, eyes turn naturally toward Bethlehem. But have we got our history of Christmas right? Jay Parini explores.
updated 11:29 PM EST, Mon December 22, 2014
The late Joe Cocker somehow found himself among the rock 'n' roll aristocracy who showed up in Woodstock to help administer a collective blessing upon a generation.
updated 4:15 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
History may not judge Obama kindly on Syria or even Iraq. But for a lame duck president, he seems to have quacking left to do, says Aaron Miller.
updated 1:11 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Terrorism and WMD -- it's easy to understand why these consistently make the headlines. But small arms can be devastating too, says Rachel Stohl.
updated 1:08 PM EST, Mon December 22, 2014
Ever since "Bridge-gate" threatened to derail Chris Christie's chances for 2016, Jeb Bush has been hinting he might run. Julian Zelizer looks at why he could win.
updated 1:53 PM EST, Sat December 20, 2014
New York's decision to ban hydraulic fracturing was more about politics than good environmental policy, argues Jeremy Carl.
updated 3:19 PM EST, Sat December 20, 2014
On perhaps this year's most compelling drama, the credits have yet to roll. But we still need to learn some cyber lessons to protect America, suggest John McCain.
updated 5:39 PM EST, Mon December 22, 2014
Conservatives know easing the trade embargo with Cuba is good for America. They should just admit it, says Fareed Zakaria.
updated 8:12 PM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
We're a world away from Pakistan in geography, but not in sentiment, writes Donna Brazile.
updated 12:09 PM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
How about a world where we have murderers but no murders? The police still chase down criminals who commit murder, we have trials and justice is handed out...but no one dies.
updated 6:45 PM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
The U.S. must respond to North Korea's alleged hacking of Sony, says Christian Whiton. Failing to do so will only embolden it.
updated 4:34 PM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
President Obama has been flexing his executive muscles lately despite Democrat's losses, writes Gloria Borger
updated 2:51 PM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
Jeff Yang says the film industry's surrender will have lasting implications.
updated 4:13 PM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
Newt Gingrich: No one should underestimate the historic importance of the collapse of American defenses in the Sony Pictures attack.
updated 7:55 AM EST, Wed December 10, 2014
Dean Obeidallah asks how the genuine Stephen Colbert will do, compared to "Stephen Colbert"
updated 12:34 PM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
Some GOP politicians want drug tests for welfare recipients; Eric Liu says bailed-out execs should get equal treatment
updated 8:42 AM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
Louis Perez: Obama introduced a long-absent element of lucidity into U.S. policy on Cuba.
updated 12:40 PM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
The slaughter of more than 130 children by the Pakistani Taliban may prove as pivotal to Pakistan's security policy as the 9/11 attacks were for the U.S., says Peter Bergen.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT