New Texas Senator Ted Cruz blazing a trail in Washington

Cal Jillson, political science professor at SMU's Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, talks about Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's aggressive style in Washington.

By John Whitesides

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - For new U.S. senators, the drill typically goes something like this: Keep quiet once you arrive in Washington, learn how things work and then begin asserting yourself.
That is not exactly the path Ted Cruz is taking.
He has been in office for barely six weeks, but already the senator from Texas, a favorite of the conservative Tea Party movement, has shown a provocative, in-your-face style that has won him criticism and praise.
Cruz, 42, has been chided by Democrats and even fellow Republicans who say he trampled Senate etiquette during contentious hearings in which he went after former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, Democratic President Barack Obama's nominee for defense secretary.
While some Republican leaders have sought to broaden the party's appeal with a more moderate tone on a range of issues, Cruz has unabashedly - and often dramatically - cast himself as a hard-line conservative with a distaste for compromise....

"He talks about issues from an ideological perspective. But has shown no sign of being someone who could sit down and work out a solution to a complicated problem," said political scientist Cal Jillson of Southern Methodist University in Dallas....