Skip to main content

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

By S.E. Cupp
October 11, 2013 -- Updated 1500 GMT (2300 HKT)
The Statue of Liberty looms over visitors below on Liberty Island in New York Harbor on Sunday, October 13. The statue was closed to the public by the federal government's partial shutdown that began October 1, but reopened Sunday after the state of New York agreed to shoulder the costs of running the site during the shutdown. Many government services and agencies remain completely or partially closed. The Statue of Liberty looms over visitors below on Liberty Island in New York Harbor on Sunday, October 13. The statue was closed to the public by the federal government's partial shutdown that began October 1, but reopened Sunday after the state of New York agreed to shoulder the costs of running the site during the shutdown. Many government services and agencies remain completely or partially closed.
HIDE CAPTION
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed
<<
<
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
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 2322 GMT (0722 HKT)
Is ballet dying? CNN spoke with Isabella Boylston, a principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre, about the future of the art form.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 2147 GMT (0547 HKT)
Sally Kohn says it's time we take climate change as seriously as we do warfare in the Middle East
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1302 GMT (2102 HKT)
Dean Obeidallah says an Oklahoma state representative's hateful remarks were rightfully condemned by religious leaders..
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1922 GMT (0322 HKT)
No matter how much planning has gone into U.S. military plans to counter the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the Arab public isn't convinced that anything will change, says Geneive Abdo
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1544 GMT (2344 HKT)
President Obama's strategy for destroying ISIS seems to depend on a volley of air strikes. That won't be enough, says Haider Mullick.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1303 GMT (2103 HKT)
Paul Begala says Hillary Clinton has plenty of good reasons not to jump into the 2016 race now
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1501 GMT (2301 HKT)
Scotland decided to trust its 16-year-olds to vote in the biggest question in its history. Americans, in contrast, don't even trust theirs to help pick the county sheriff. Who's right?
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 0157 GMT (0957 HKT)
Ruben Navarrette says spanking is an acceptable form of disciplining a child, as long as you follow the rules.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1547 GMT (2347 HKT)
Frida Ghitis says the foiled Australian plot shows ISIS is working diligently to taunt the U.S. and its allies.
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1958 GMT (0358 HKT)
Young U.S. voters by and large just do not see the midterm elections offering legitimate choices because, in their eyes, Congress has proven to be largely ineffectual, and worse uncaring, argues John Della Volpe
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 0158 GMT (0958 HKT)
Steven Holmes says spanking, a practice that is ingrained in our culture, accomplishes nothing positive and causes harm.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1831 GMT (0231 HKT)
Sally Kohn says America tried "Cowboy Adventurism" as a foreign policy strategy; it failed. So why try it again?
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1427 GMT (2227 HKT)
Van Jones says the video of John Crawford III, who was shot by a police officer in Walmart, should be released.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1448 GMT (2248 HKT)
NASA will need to embrace new entrants and promote a lot more competition in future, argues Newt Gingrich.
September 16, 2014 -- Updated 2315 GMT (0715 HKT)
If U.S. wants to see real change in Iraq and Syria, it will have to empower moderate forces, says Fouad Siniora.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 0034 GMT (0834 HKT)
Mark O'Mara says there are basic rules to follow when interacting with law enforcement: respect their authority.
September 16, 2014 -- Updated 1305 GMT (2105 HKT)
LZ Granderson says Congress has rebuked the NFL on domestic violence issue, but why not a federal judge?
September 16, 2014 -- Updated 1149 GMT (1949 HKT)
Mel Robbins says the only person you can legally hit in the United States is a child. That's wrong.
September 15, 2014 -- Updated 1723 GMT (0123 HKT)
Eric Liu says seeing many friends fight so hard for same-sex marriage rights made him appreciate marriage.
ADVERTISEMENT