At first The Houston Chronicle liked Ted Cruz. And then the last three weeks happened.
After the Texas Sen. and his splinter caucus forced Republicans into a government shutdown fight over Obamacare, and then thought about forcing the country to default on its bills by breaching the debt ceiling, the Texas paper has buyer's remorse over its endorsement of the Tea Party front man.
"We're not sure how much difference one person could make in the toxic, chaotic, hyperpartisan atmosphere in Washington," the Chronicle editorial board writes Tuesday morning, "but if we could choose just one it would be [former Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison], whose years of service in the Senate were marked by two things sorely lacking in her successor, Ted Cruz." Politico first brought the Chronicle's editorial to our attention.
Whether or not the country will avoid a default is still up in the air.
Hutchinson retired from the Senate in 2012 after 20 years of service and a failed 2010 gubernatorial campaign. The Chronicle originally endorsed Cruz as Hutchinson's successor with "reservations" ahead of the 2012 election, recommending he follow Hutchinson's behavior with other politicians. Since then, Cruz has done the opposite:
And dare we say it? We miss her extraordinary understanding of the importance of reaching across the aisle when necessary. Neither sitting Texas senator has displayed that useful skill, and both the state and the Congress are the poorer for it.
One reason we particularly believe that Hutchison would make a difference in these hectic days is that if she had kept her seat, Cruz would not be in the Senate.
When we endorsed Ted Cruz in last November's general election, we did so with many reservations and at least one specific recommendation - that he follow Hutchison's example in his conduct as a senator.
The paper now realizes the error in its ways: "Cruz has been part of the problem in specific situations where Hutchison would have been part of the solution."
Hutchinson once called Cruz "very bright" on an episode of The Daily Show. Stewart, in a moment of pure prescience, pointed out you could say the same thing about Lex Luthor, Superman's arch nemesis.
The Chronicle conceded their original choice to succeed Hutchinson, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, "has attempted a full-blown political makeover designed to make him the darling of the conservative wing of the Texas party." Now they're not so sure he'd receive an endorsement, either.