Former Republican Sen. Tom Coburn said Thursday night that his former colleague Sen. Ted Cruz's rhetoric and failure to deliver on promises is creating a "Cruz effect" that leads the public to have less confidence in Congress' ability to do its job.
"I call it the 'Cruz effect,'" Coburn, who retired from the Senate in 2014, told Sirius XM host Pete Dominick. "Look, when you tell people you can accomplish something that you can't, for example, shutting down the government over the Affordable Care Act. When, in fact, you promise people in your speeches and your talk that we can do this, and by dinghy, we're gonna get rid of the Affordable Care Act, and all we have to do is shut down the government.
"Well, that's one thing to tell 'em that," the former Oklahoma senator said. "It's a whole other thing to be able to accomplish that, and build a coalition that once you shut it, that it doesn't get opened up 'till you win.
"So what happens to that is, once you've told people that, and you've put your finger -- 'everybody that doesn't believe exactly like I believe, you're not a patriot, you don't care about the country' -- what you do is you create greater disappointment in the hinterlands, because you gave them a false hope, knowing that you couldn't accomplish it, but it was about yelling, and screaming, and waving the flag," he continued. "And so what happens is, there becomes less confidence in the Congress and its ability to do its job.
"You know, I came out of the Senate with one of the most conservative ratings ever in the history of the Senate. You know, it was like 98.8% in terms of conservative," Coburn concluded. "And yet, I compromised all the time to accomplish things that were good for the country."
Ilan Ben-Meir is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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