US Senator Ted Cruz took a break from the battles on Capitol Hill to Tuesday tour a Leander weapons manufacturer. He was there to talk about his stance on the gun control debate but he also defended why he refused to play nice in the political arena.
When Cruz arrived at LaRue Tactical, a Leander weapons manufacturing site, he was welcomed like a celebrity. His promise to protect the right to bear arms was viewed as a pledge to also help protect the jobs of the more than 120 people who work here.
"These are challenging times right now," said Senator Cruz.
The freshman Senator from Texas has earned a reputation for shooting from the hip. While it won his a place on Capitol Hill, the Tea Party favorite has also earned the disdain from liberals who accusing him of McCarthyism. Old guard Republicans have also urging him to tone things down. However, Tuesday Cruz made no apology for his behavior.
"Washington has a long tradition of trying to hurl insults to silence those who they don't like what they're saying," said Cruz.
The latest round of Cruz criticism involves his hard line opposition to former Senator Chuck Hagel's nomination to be Sec. of Defense. A position he defended by going on the offensive
"A lot of media attention has been focused on the attacks leveled on me and I would encourage all of you if you want to write stories on that great, knock yourself out, but I would ask for every ten stories you write, attacking me, perhaps write one story on the substance of Chuck Hagel's record," suggested Cruz.
The Senator has been looking down a political barrel ever since arriving in Washington DC and his voting record is an indication of just how much of a Lone Ranger he has been. Notable Cruz no votes include the Violence against Women Act, raising the debt ceiling. and the Hurricane Sandy relief package.
"Well it's a little bit of politics as usual; the only surprise is that people are surprised," said Political analysts Chuck McDonald.
Cruz promised on the campaign trail to go against the status quo. While standing one's ground may be admirable, McDonald warns it can also be a lonely and politically unproductive place.
"The business of government is governing and at some point you've got to sit down and make hard decisions and you've got to make tough choices and you've got to do things and sometimes god forbid you have got to compromise when you're an elected official and I think even Senator Cruz will is going to learn that over time that even the rhetoric only takes you so far," said McDonald.
On Tuesday Cruz did display he can say the word compromise. He suggested seeking mental health solutions as part of the gun violence debate could be where some political common ground may be reached. However, he made no promise that's possible unlike his pledge to uphold the 2nd Amendment.