When it came down to voting on whether to end the 16-day government shutdown and back away from defaulting on federal debt payments, all Texas Republicans in the House and Senate said “no.” This month’s confrontation on Capitol Hill has been national in scope, but has it made the GOP weaker or stronger in Texas?The stunt performed by Sen. Ted Cruz, and endorsed by all Texas Republicans in the House and Senate, will not bode well for the Texas Republican Party in upcoming election cycles.These individuals, along with Gov. Rick Perry, have run off moderate Republicans and independents. You can only segregate yourself from reality for so long.The fact that Cruz stood for 21 hours decrying health insurance when his state leads the nation in uninsured adults and children has sensible Republicans shaking their heads. Add women’s rights, marriage equality and climate change to the equation and you have a disaster of mass proportions.Cruz may very well be a well-trained Democratic mole. His actions couldn't have been more welcome. — Beth Dawson, ArlingtonThe Tea Party-orchestrated shutdown has made Republicans weaker in Texas (and elsewhere) among thinking voters.Ignorant Tea Partiers, with no grasp or appreciation of consequences, support “we have our way or we burn the house down” politics, as evidenced by Wednesday’s front-page photos of a “triumphant” Sen. Ted Cruz welcomed home by adoring minions.Strangely, Tea Party “seniors” doubtless depend on monthly Social Security and Medicare benefits, the two most expensive “entitlement” programs in the federal budget!While supporting Tea Party demands that the budget be drastically cut, they appear at rallies toting signs saying “Keep your government hands off my Medicare!” The disconnect between seniors’ own self-interest and the Tea Party’s stated goals is astonishing, but they’ll confront cold economic reality during the next shutdown, when their Social Security checks and Medicare payments are late! — Robert Moore, Fort WorthThe GOP is now awake in Texas, thanks to Ted Cruz! — Don Pittman, ArlingtonTed Cruz has injured the GOP. The Tea Party is not the majority in the party.There’s a need to work across the aisle in this country. — Frances Gregory, ArlingtonRepublicans will be hurt only if a majority of their constituents believe what the Democrats are selling — big government, burdensome debt and a nanny state.I don’t see independent, hard-working Texans giving up their freedoms without a fight. The response to Ted Cruz in Texas has been overwhelming. My senators and congressional representatives did exactly what I voted for them to do. Smart Texans recognize that turning over your rights to government for economic security doesn’t work. We will continue to fight for our independence and the choice to make our living and meet our own needs without interference from government. — Libby Eddins, Trophy ClubDue to the actions of Republicans in Congress, it’s difficult to believe that the GOP’s image in Texas hasn’t been tarnished.Ninety percent of the nation’s wealth is owned by only 10 percent of Americans.Any Texans who aren’t part of this wealthy class and think Republicans are for their best interests need to get a reality check. Better still, a sanity check. — Edward Lindsay, Fort WorthHey, folks, more than half the country wants health insurance and wants it to work.More than half the country doesn’t want the GOP in charge of the U.S. House.This continued revving up of conservative Texans is turning more people toward the center and making Texas a real battleground. It’s firing up the hardcore but hurting recruitment. Thirty-five years ago, Democratic judges were turning Republican. Last week, a GOP judge in Bexar County went Democratic. More will follow. Gov. Rick Perry and Attorney General Greg Abbott will rue the day they over-gerrymandered Texas and created districts that are just too far out there. — Stephen F. “Buddy” Luce, SouthlakeRepublicans are responsible for the 2008 recession and the latest government shutdown. In their ongoing attempts to make President Obama look bad, they’ve hurt the economic recovery. Although, the Texas GOP is stronger politically, this shutdown has divided them into separate groups with competitive primaries. All incumbent politicians of both parties need to be replaced in the upcoming elections. That’s the only action that will focus their attention on taxpayer concerns. — Ralph Walsh, ArlingtonTed Cruz says he wouldn’t rule out another government shutdown. Other Republican members of Congress, after they saw the public reaction, said they were against the shutdown. Others, including all Texas GOP members of Congress, voted against efforts to end the shutdown and avert a government default.Even considering the enormous loss to the economy of the last shutdown, I doubt that the people of Texas will change their thinking much and the Republican legislators will probably all again vote for another shutdown and risk a government default.I’m a disabled Korean combat veteran and am angry at the damage shutdowns can cause to veterans’ services.In the past, I’ve voted for candidates I felt were best qualified, but I’ll have to think seriously about voting for a Republican again. — Edward V. Harris, Hugo, Okla.Regarding this month’s confrontation on Capitol Hill, I continue to be amazed at our Republican legislators’ votes. Had there not been enough votes to raise the debt limit, Wall Street gave very definite indications that financial markets would have erased significant gains made over the last five years. Our economy is giving signals that it’s steadily improving, but these votes would have led to an erosion of investor and consumer confidence here and abroad. Republicans have foregone economic principles due to their blind hatred of our president and the Affordable Care Act, even to the extent that they would harm our economy and our country’s creditworthiness.Will Texas lose its reddish political hue? Curiously, this is unlikely to happen. However, the result will be used against Republicans in future national elections and continue to erode their limited popularity. — Dave Leggett, RoanokeThe 16-day government shutdown benefited media ratings and newspaper sales.The Republicans’ favorite word during this debacle was “no” to compromise, etc. They may be bruised and battered, but they will rally on with their crusades.It was also a learn-by-osmosis teaching moment — making one aware of all the wag-the-dog rhetoric and posturing that’s a staple in Washington. —Delbert Cantrell, Fort WorthBoth of us have been proud Texans for more than seven decades.Now we’re ashamed of Texas because of Ted Cruz and his colleagues, such as U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert. Texas has a huge population of the uninsured, far too many low-paying, part-time jobs, and our education record is pitiful. Yet our elected officials are interested only in undermining the president and getting their names and faces in the news.We pledge to do everything within our means to return Texas to a state we can be proud of.We will be joined by many. — Gary and Fran Rogers, BedfordHuman nature dictates that when you find yourself in “high cotton,” you will likely do anything to remain there.Texas’ GOP contingent has proved that “self-serving” was way more important than the national interest. The Texas version of the GOP is determined to reduce our state and nation to Third World status.Ironically, the majority of constituents following this credo don’t seem to realize that they are one blunder away from being on the wrong side of the line! — Tom Smusz, BrockDemocratic policies, especially Obamacare, will collapse due to their nonsensical structure, but not before doing great damage to our economy. The Great Depression will be looked upon as a cakewalk compared to what’s coming. So conservatives have come to believe that doing some damage now to prevent much greater damage later is permissible, even mandatory. The willingness to cut government funding to tone down policies that have catastrophe written into their design has become the standard by which to measure Republican politicians. The Texas GOP was strengthened in the eyes of conservatives by all Republicans voting to extend the shutdown.The Republicans who allowed the matter to be voted on in the Senate, where stopping it would have actually made a difference, will be dealt with in due time. — Joel Downs, HurstI find it very insulting as a Democrat and a Texan that Ted Cruz says he speaks for me.He doesn’t speak for me. He is one reason I left the Republican Party and have no desire to vote as a Republican ever again.I would hope that the insults of Cruz translate into more disapproval ratings.Cruz acted like a spoiled child in his 21-hour speech that led to nothing. — John M. Davis, ArlingtonAfter years as a Democrat and then changing to Republican, I finally became an independent.While the Tea Party wants a balanced budget, smaller government, less interference and thus lower taxes (and I totally agree), what it takes to get there just can’t happen anymore. Each cut that Congress makes will cut out someone’s pork project.Do any of you think that Sens. Cruz or Mike Lee of Utah will approve cuts to their districts and be re-elected?Not if the people who elected them lose their jobs! — Thomas Nehm, SaginawHow can the Texas GOP be defended?Our Texas “leaders” in Austin and Washington have become frighteningly belligerent in attacking the very fundamentals of this country. From Cruz to Gov. Rick Perry to Attorney General Greg Abbott to Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, they’ve given the collective finger to the American people, our country and our president.They’ve refused to accept the vote of the American people and have sought to impede our government and the growth of the nation.Reasonable debate has become a joke to these people, who sadly have found plenty of Texans willing to jump on board their simplistic message of guns, Obama and hatred of the U.S. government. Their lunacy does not play out well on a larger stage and will eventually come to an end in Texas as well.As the desperation of the GOP increases, they grasp at straws (shut down the government) and hope they can continue to keep ideological blinders of hate on their narrowing band of constituents. — Darrell Dunn, Euless
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