The secret is out.
Unable to maintain the storied façade of Senate collegiality, Majority Leader Harry Reid reluctantly spoke a dark truth about newly minted Senator Ted Cruz. “My friend from Texas is like a schoolyard bully,” Reid said from the Senate floor, more in sadness than in anger.
It took the most powerful man in Congress to say publicly what many nervous senators have said privately about the “very junior senator from Texas." I have cataloged the most shocking allegations of bullying, intimidation and alpha-male unseemliness from the tumultuous first months of Senator Ted Cruz:
- Cruz bumped Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) in the hallway, pointed and said "what's that on your tie?" When Udall looked down Cruz flipped up his hand, batting him in the face. As Udall arrived at the Senate cafeteria, he noticed his lunch money was gone.
- Ted Cruz regularly sits on the hood of his Camaro in the Senate parking lot, with a toothpick in his mouth, waiting for the Senate Women's Caucus to let out.
- When Sen. John McCain asked Cruz what he was filibustering against, Cruz replied "whaddya got?"
- Suspect fitting Cruz's description drove slowly by the White House, clinking three empty beer bottles stuck to his fingers and taunting, "Obaaaamaaa! Come out to play-ee-yay!"
- Spends all Republican caucus meetings slowly rocking his back-row chair, chewing gum and cracking wise.
- Anonymous complaint filed with the Senate Ethics Committee alleged a certain Texas senator "only refers to Hawaii Sen. Schatz by the present-tense version of his name."
- Gave Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank a swirly. Refused to pay for replacement eyeglass lens.
- His knuckle tattoos read "SINE DIE." (Cruz lost his left pinkie at a high-stakes Federalist Society moot court.)
- Joined Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) for an extended game of keep-away with Sen. Leahy's lip balm. The Senate Judiciary Committee meeting had to be rescheduled.
- Every time Sen. Barbara Mikulski enters a room, Cruz slicks back hair and says, "How YOU doin'?"
- Cruz interrupted a long answer by SecDef nominee Chuck Hagel, with "speaking of drones, we gonna wrap this up soon?"