Texas Sen. Ted Cruz announced today that he has quit the Republican Party.
In a speech at the Heritage Foundation this morning, Cruz argued that the GOP has abandoned its core principles and promoted a new third party for true conservatives.
"The Republican Party has become a bastion of liberalism," Cruz thundered to rapturous applause. "If I'm listening to a speech on the Senate floor, the only way I can tell Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell apart is by their accents.
"A majority of Republican senators support socialist programs like public schools, Social Security and science. Most have voted for big government regulations requiring air bags in cars and pollution scrubbers on power plants. And thanks to GOP cowardice, women are still allowed to buy birth control without a note from their pastor.
"When I first came to Washington, I was naive. I thought Republicans were voting for conservative causes. But an elder Senate colleague sat me down and told me that's not how the game works. Just bide your time, he said. Compromise here. Sacrifice a few things there. And eventually you'll be in a position to make a few changes.
"Well, I am not playing that game anymore. The Patriot Party won't be cutting any deals. We won't be compromising our principles. We won't stop until the debt clock hits zero, the contraception peddlers are in jail and a certain 1970s haze has returned to the skies over our major cities."
Ted Cruz was elected to the Senate in 2010 as a Republican after defeating an establishment conservative in a hotly contested primary. The Tea Party favorite from Texas has since rapidly grown his influence on the right by instigating a number of populist insurrections against the party's establishment on immigration, taxes and healthcare.
Cruz led the effort to defund President Obama's Affordable Care Act, which resulted in last month's 16-day partial government shutdown. Although the shutdown strategy failed to achieve its aim, Cruz achieved folk hero status in the Tea Party.
He is considerably less popular amongst his colleagues in the Senate, however, where his bombastic style has clashed with the genteel deliberative traditions of the body. Indeed, Cruz admitted that fraying personal relationships with Republican senators contributed to his decision.
"I grew tired of sharing a party with traitors like Susan Collins," he told the audience, referring to the moderate Republican senator from Maine. "Why should some clam-eating RINO from New England be representing Texas conservatives in negotiations with the other side? She doesn't speak for me.
"My new Patriot Party won't have any fake conservatives. If we find anyone who's pro-choice, pro-environment, pro-immigration or pro-minimum wage, we'll show them the door. Conservatives are a majority in this country, we don't need anyone else to get to 51 percent of the national vote."
Cruz says he's already recruited Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and Congressman Louie Gohmert to join his new party, and promises more defections are on the way.