At the Republican debate on Thursday, Sen. Rand Paul called out Sen. Ted Cruz for an attitude that has turned Cruz into one of the most disliked figures within the Republican Party.
"What is particularly insulting, though, is that he is the king of saying, 'Oh, you're for amnesty. Everybody's for amnesty except for Ted Cruz.' But it's a falseness," Paul said. "And that's an authenticity problem — that everybody he knows is not as perfect as him, because we're all for amnesty."
While the specific topic is immigration, Paul's comments are actually tapping into a much broader sentiment toward Cruz: Not even his Republican colleagues really like him.
(There are questions about whether Paul's characterization of Cruz's position is right. Read more about that here.)
Vox's Andrew Prokop wrote about the deep dislike even Republicans have for Cruz:
Being a team player is very important in politics. It's common for presidential candidates to trash Washington on the campaign trail: Barack Obama did it, and George W. Bush did it before him, and Bill Clinton did it before him. But all three were members of good standing in their respective parties — they didn't pick gratuitous fights with their major partisan allies, and they certainly didn't portray their parties' leading electoral officials as corrupt sellouts trying to hoodwink their own voters.
Cruz has done just the opposite. For the past three years, he has been engaged in a very specific, pointed, and personal attempt aimed at painting practically every Republican in Washington as a corrupt phony and himself as the only honest man in the city. And his fellow Republicans don't like this one bit.
This is a problem that has seriously hurt Cruz on the campaign trail — to the point that even as Cruz looked like the only candidate who could really beat Donald Trump in Iowa, much of the Republican establishment picked Trump over Cruz. It was the undertone of Paul's comments at the debate.