Earlier today it was widely reported that North Carolina Senator Richard Burr was not happy with Ted Cruz. That doesn’t make him a special snowflake. Most of the practitioners of crony capitalism and Failure Theater in the Senate are not happy with Ted Cruz. But Burr was not content to merely take a number and get in line. Burr had to make a point of how pissed he was at the idea of Ted Cruz winning the nomination. (Burr’s Heritage Action score is 45%, which is the same as arch-conservatives John Cornyn and Mitch McConnell.)
Cruz has become such a pariah that one of his colleagues, Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, told supporters at a campaign fundraiser for his own re-election that he would vote for liberal Sen. Bernie Sanders for president before Cruz, according to one person who attended the event. Burr did not appear to be joking, said the person, who demanded anonymity to discuss the private gathering.
That a sitting senator who professes to be a conservative of some stripe… and who was elected on the backs of conservatives who worked their asses off for him… would tell people that he would vote for an avowed socialist over his party’s nominee is rather stunning when you first hear it. But then, on reflection, you realize this is very much the way the GOP establishment reacts to a challenger whom they can’t best in a primary. They sabotage him. The help the Democrat win because the Democrat won’t upset their apple cart.
After his words got national attention, Burr, as establishment types do, donned his brown trousers and retreated:
U.S. Sen. Richard Burr on Thursday strongly denied a news report that said he had told people he would vote for Democrat Bernie Sanders over Republican Ted Cruz.
Burr’s aides asked The Associated Press for a retraction. An AP spokesman said the news agency was sticking by its story.
“I will support whoever the GOP nominee is,” Burr tweeted. “@AP is trying to create discord where there isn’t discord by telling lies.”
Burr was responding to an AP story by reporter Erica Werner about Cruz’s unpopularity with fellow Republican senators.
Even the most charitable observer would have to credit the AP story (regardless of the reporter’s bias) and call Burr a liar. First, the AP could have used the statement anonymously. There was no percentage in picking some random RINO senator, pinning the quote on him, and muddying the story with an argument over the source. That would be stupid. AP’s political reporting may be duplicitous and consist of Democrat talking points, but it isn’t stupid. Second, Burr is firmly within that little mean-girls clique that has been bad-mouthing Cruz. So the fact that he was shooting his mouth off to a group of supporters, whom he assumed believed as all right-thinking people believe, is hardly remarkable. Third, he has pulled this kind of juvenile stunt before. Back during the fifth GOP debate in Las Vegas, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz got into a spat over NSA metadata collection. Rubio accused Cruz — very wrongly as it turned out — of divulging “secret” information. Everything Cruz said was from Senate speeches or newspaper articles. Burr immediately announced that he was going to launch an investigation into Cruz’s remarks.
Burr got caught puffing up his neck sack to impress his donors. When the word got out, he did what GOP establishment types do, he denied his own words. And now he’s trying to tell all of us rubes that a reporter lied about what he said. Real class, that guy.