Ask a liberal what he thinks of shutting down the government out of principle. The answer would probably be unprintable. Ask the same liberal what he thinks of last month's filibuster by U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. Same answer.
Yet the same liberal likely would applaud Wendy Davis, the Democratic state senator who shut down the Texas legislature this summer out of principle. She did it with a filibuster.
Ask a liberal what he thinks motivated Cruz to spend 21 hours talking on the Senate floor. The answer would probably be that Cruz has ambitions for higher office — the White House.
What motivated Davis? Surely it was her principled opposition to restrictions on abortion. Maybe not. Davis isn't just considering a higher office. She's seeking it. She wants to replace Republican Gov. Rick Perry in the state that not only elected Perry three times but sent Cruz to the Senate.
Neither Cruz nor Davis succeeded in effecting the change they sought. Cruz wanted to defund Obamacare. Davis effectively ran the clock out on a special session, but the legislation she opposed was enacted anyway in a subsequent special session. Still, they did make a name for themselves.
Both were catapulted to national prominence, which is more impressive for Davis because she had much further to go. A state senate seat is nowhere near as notable as a U.S. Senate post. She also has a long way to go in succeeding Perry: Texans haven't put a Democrat in a statewide office since 1998.
Cruz is a long shot for the presidency. He's relatively young. He's a minority. He's only been in the Senate a short while. Yet he's already on the national stage. In this regard, Rafael Edward Cruz has some things in common with Barack Hussein Obama.