Sometimes, instead of carrying a copy of the Constitution around in your pocket it would be smart to read it. And Ted Cruz would do well to read Article 1, Section 5. It reads in part:
Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members, and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller Number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such Manner, and under such Penalties as each House may provide.
Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member. (Emphasis is mine.)
This means that Ted Cruz could, theoretically, be expelled from the Senate by a two-thirds vote immediately and with no recourse. Alternatively the body could refuse to allow him to assume his duties at the beginning of the next session in January, 2015. My reading is that this would require only a majority vote. Of course Texas might immediately secede, but sometimes sacrifice is required.
Cruz despite his constant blathering about out foundational document, apparently thinks he is immune to reprisals and appears blind to the signals being telegraphed around him. He is reportedly so unpopular among his colleagues that one senator told MSNBC that Republicans do not attend the chamber when he is scheduled to speak. John McCain, Lindsay Graham and Orrin Hatch are only a few senators that have spoken out against him. Some House members have made it clear they would love to have his scalp and Speaker Boehner has the tone and bearing of someone searching Craig’s List for a hit man.
Even ultra-conservative former Republican Majority Leader Trent Lott, who himself got cross-wise with the Senate and had to resign his leadership position, said about the right-wing insurgents, “You roll them. I do think we need stronger leadership, and there’s got to be some pushback on these guys who think they came here with all the solutions.” Think he was talking about Cruz?
There is no sign in the hours since the shutdown ended that Cruz has touched base with reality, in fact he has doubled down and seems to have an agenda beyond anything related to the Affordable Care Act or any actual policy. Somebody has to deal with him before he and his not-very-bright followers in the house have a chance to drive American into a second gut wrenching shutdown, or cost the country another $24 billion or its credit rating.
The citizens of Texas might return Cruz to office in perpetuity, which unfortunately is their right, but the rest of the country has the right to protect itself against those intent on destroying it. Even if Texas voters want to act on the buyer’s remorse being expressed by some in the state including the Houston Chronicle which disavowed their Cruz campaign endorsement, they can’t do anything until 2018. The Senate can act now or at the latest in January 2015 and the rest of us should demand they do so.