Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 29, 2015

Amanda Carpenter Is Ted Cruz’s Twitter Torrent

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Just as there was a glimmer of hope late last month that House Republican leaders would try to pass an immigration overhaul this year, Sen. Ted Cruz and his staff mobilized to extinguish it. It was a one-two punch that showcased the stature of one of the Texas Republican’s top aides.

While Cruz countered House leaders’ rollout of their immigration principles on conservative outlets like Breitbart News, Amanda Carpenter, who helps formulate and amplify Cruz’s message as his senior communications adviser and speechwriter, slung slices of red meat on Twitter.

“Maybe after offering up amnesty for Obama, the Establishment GOP will start working on a global warming cap-and-tax bill for Obama. #WhyNot,” Carpenter tweeted. She continued in rapid fire, tweeting: “Want to know why conservatives aren’t, supposedly, pushing happy ideas? bc we keep having to kill terrible ones the establishment pushes!” and “Hey, remember when they promised to keep the focus on Obamacare. Dontcha kinda think amnesty distracts from that?”

Soon after, Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, began to express doubt that immigration reform could be done this year.

Carpenter’s acerbic wit has helped grow her Twitter presence to reach more than 50,000 people — far more followers than most congressional staffers and surpassing many of Cruz’s fellow senators.

Her unique position in the Twitterverse has provided another pipeline from Cruz to the conservative grass roots. And Carpenter doesn’t hold back — targeting the establishment and GOP leaders again and again, as well as President Barack Obama.

She said in an interview last week that pushing aggressively for change makes the establishment uncomfortable.

“Washington is resistant to change,” Carpenter told CQ Roll Call. “The rise of the grass roots and the influence they have been able to wield in terms of phone calls, letters, emails. This is a relatively new thing that’s happening. We view it as a very positive thing. As Cruz likes to say, ‘Liberty is never more safe than when politicians are terrified.’ So I think people are trying to adapt to that.”

Carpenter acknowledged she has more freedom on social media than is typical for staffers, “which I really enjoy.”

But that freedom has provoked the quiet — and sometimes not so quiet — ire of fellow Republicans who contend that Cruz and his operation are merely seeking publicity for a possible 2016 presidential run at the expense of electing a Republican majority.

The Wall Street Journal editorial page recently called Cruz “the minority maker” and part of the GOP’s “kamikaze caucus” after he forced his fellow Republicans to back a procedural vote to advance a bill to suspend the debt ceiling and avoid a default. Both Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Whip John Cornyn face tea party primary challengers who were quick to use their “yes” votes as campaign fodder.

And Carpenter herself has been target of vitriol. Playboy magazine in 2009 singled her out among 10 GOP women in a crudely headlined article they subsequently took down, and in September a Sacramento County Democratic Party official resigned after a posting an offensive tweet about Carpenter’s children.

She makes no apologies for her vocal Twitter presence, though she said she doesn’t find herself antagonistic. She argues any tension has more to do with complacency among establishment Republicans than anything she says or does.

“This office has allowed me to be fairly vocal on social media in a way that other offices don’t allow their staffs to do,” Carpenter told CQ Roll Call. “But this is the model. We want to be making our argument, making our case, pretty vocally and when we are not the popular voice in Washington it’s more important than ever for us to communicate what we are doing and why so people can understand it and it’s not viewed as ‘Oh, Cruz is just causing trouble.’ No, here is the explanation behind it.”

She said her boss is good at making his own case, “but it also helps to have other people amplifying that in real time when a vote is going down.”

Carpenter’s Twitter presence helped boost Cruz’s lengthy #MakeDCListen floor speech on Obamacare last year. And she was active before, during and after the government shutdown, which many establishment Republicans blamed on Cruz.

She dismissed a common criticism of her boss — that Cruz values party purity over pragmatism.

“This isn’t about purity, it’s not about making people look bad, it’s about how are we going to change Washington for the better,” Carpenter said. “You don’t do that by green-lighting the status quo and keep doing the things that we’ve done that have created a $17 trillion debt and a government that we can’t even exercise any oversight of.

“Am I passionate about stopping that, yes,” she said. “Does that cause disagreement? Yes. [But] that’s OK.”

Echoing Cruz on elections, she added: “Republicans, when they stand on principle, they win.”

The 31-year-old mother of two grew up in Montrose, Mich., in an apolitical family. She embraced becoming a conservative Republican working her way through college at Ball State University and founded a website where she wrote about, among other things, the rising cost of tuition.

That led to jobs at conservative media outlets and a column at the Washington Times. She became a regular on Fox News, and built trust among online conservative activists. She first made her way to Capitol Hill as a senior communications adviser and speechwriter for South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint — who has since become a key Cruz ally as the head of The Heritage Foundation.

DeMint “pioneered a lot of the grass-roots model … and trying to change Washington from the outside in rather than from the inside out,” she said. Initially, she worried that as a freshman, Cruz wouldn’t get active immediately, but joining the Texan’s office was the “best decision that I could have made” after leaving DeMint’s staff, she said.

Carpenter warned not to expect anything different from Cruz if Republicans win the majority.

“His principles are not going to change,” she said. “He’s said before, ‘I don’t trust Republicans, I don’t trust Democrats.’ He’s still going try to do the things he set out to do. The goal of being in the Senate isn’t just to be the guy with the most people on your team. It’s to fix it.”

  • m141934a

    Cruz should be embarassed. Hopefully he will be defeated in his next Senate race. What a disgrace to public service.

    • John Prospero

      Wow..thats good….Cruz should be embarrassed because of
      why? He’s a disgrace?

      Let me guess why…….

      Because he was the only GOPer at the federal level that
      actually stood up against the ACA in three years since its inception?

      Or maybe it was because he put Schumer and Feinstein
      through the wringer when they were assaulting the 2nd Amendment.

      Or maybe it was his most recent embarrassment…when he
      force a vote on the budget so our squishing RINO GOPers couldn’t have plausible
      deniability for their support of it.

      Yeah..these are all bad in my book too…..I much prefer
      the go along to get along GOP…who is constantly capitulating to the left…obfuscating
      what they do in congress to their constituencies….giving only symbolic
      resistance, incapable of articulating conservatism, and unwilling to confront
      our political opposition…

      Good call man..Ted Cruz is a disgrace…

      • sancholibre

        You may have some merit to alot of what you are arguing, but “the only GOPer that actually stood up against the ACA in 3 years”? Really?
        The GOP has done hundreds, literally hundreds, of procedural delays and messaging tactics against the ACA. It has been a literal 3 year barrage against the ACA. In case you missed it, Cruz has not accomplished anything more than any of his fellow Senators in battling the ACA – The ACA is alive and well, everything that Cruz has done was predictable far (as in months) in advance, as well as pragmatically has made no difference.
        Too many people mistake the fact that he was too late to the party to be effective against the ACA with him being the only one standing up.
        He did stand up to it, if only verbally, but everything he tried was so beyond the time it was remotely possible to change anything that it was worthless on an objective level. Certainly you can argue the philosophical merits, but Cruz has changed nothing.

      • Anonymous

        Great info and straight to the point. I am not sure if this is truly the best place to ask but do you folks have any thoughts on where to hire some professional writers? Thanks in advance :)

    • Freedom Rides Again

      Cruz is a disgrace to public service. Oh yeah, for sure. I mean compared to things like Solyndra, Obamacare, siccing Government lawyers on The Little Sisters of the Poor, Fast & Furious, the failure of the Democrats in the Senate to pass a budget for 5 YEARS, the failure of the Democrats in the Senate to enact ANY truly meaningful tax reform and sensible job creating initiatives, and all of Obama’s foreign policy disasters, Cruz just has to be the worst person in the world.

    • Cancel_NPR

      Hopefully someone in the House will grow a pair & IMPEACH that lying mother-kfuc-er in the whitehouse.

      • Christopher C

        Dream on you nutty piece of fruitcake

  • OldDominion

    It’s sad she went to the same college as I did. She went to BSU a few years after I graduated, and I remember when she created a website exposing liberal bias on campus. She singled out some political science professors who I had, stating they were “indoctrinating” students. She created an uproar and received attention not only on campus, but with the Indianapolis media as well as national conservative circles who picked up on the “bias” going on. I’m conservative on a lot of issues, but I told her in several emails and subsequent letters to the campus newspapers that these individuals were liberal, but never tried to indoctrinate anyone. Afterall, if you’re 18 or 21, you should be able to think for yourself.

    She was a publicity hound then and wanted to be enveloped by the far right. You see where it got her.

    • Cancel_NPR

      Oh yeah… NONE of “those liberals” in positions in academia try to indoctrinate anyone…

      • TheSoothsayer

        They didn’t indoctrinate me. If you’re living in the U.S., no one can indoctrinate you without your consent. If you’re dumb enough to change your positions based on what a gray haired ex hippie says, then you’ve got no mind of your own.

        • Cancel_NPR

          Agreed… DUMB is the keyword…
          Obviously, you ain’t !!

          • Christopher C

            And obviously you are

  • jrconner

    Another young conservative with a fine 17th century mind.

    • papal

      At least she has a mind. Is this your style of “war on women”?

      • Christopher C

        Because Carpenter is a female she isn’t subject to comments about her political commentary?Nice try.If Carpenter can sling red meat like Cruz,she is fair game for commentary on her opinions

  • Official Teabagger

    Does she love personal mobility scooters ridden by her fellow patriots? We have an opening at Hoveround.

  • Mr. Sequel

    While David Hume noted that the rules of our morality are not the conclusions of our reason, those who oppose liberty tend to assert that our morals, customs, and traditions have been consciously designed.

  • Socialism is Evil. Organized.

    Those of the liberty school recognize our mind’s limits & are humble toward the processes through which Western civilization has expanded.

  • mcduffymckay

    It’s astounding to me that Ms. Carpenter fails to see herself as antagonistic! I suppose that’s part of the problem with delusional people… that inability to see reality for what it is. I’m equally amazed she garners any attention for her grammatically flawed and juvenile tweets. Far more important than whatever little Amanda may be trying to communicate is the endless stream of venom spewing from her boss. Whether or not he’s actually Joseph Goebbels or Joseph McCarthy reincarnated, Ted Cruz casts an evil shadow across our land.

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