With a Nod to Andy Borowitz
With a ferocity and speed no pundit, politician, or political scientist saw coming, nervy Ted Cruz exploded his national unfavorability rankings, independent of race, creed, skin color or sexual orientation. In a flash, Cruz’ infamy expanded his Senate reputation as a notorious stage hog, yet that achievement took many stunts and years to bring off. Miraculously, Cruz may have unified disgruntled Conventioneers behind Trump; others pooh pooh this puzzling stunt as solidifying his penchant for counterproductive, pointless mayhem.
Is he a moral hero, defender of his family honor, plus brilliant electoral tactician primed to pick up the GOP fragments after Trump is squashed? Or a foolhardy buffoon hoisted on his own smug righteousness? For months, Cruz’ unfavorables seriously lagged Trump’s and Hillary’s, curious after his self-soiling, miserable failures against a master of mud-slinging and calumny. Cruz fans dread polling will now stamp their guy the greatest sore loser since that despicable president was kicked out for serial paranoia. Right, that Richard Nixon, infamous for whining after losing, “You don’t have Nixon to kick around anymore, because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference.” Who can’t imagine the petty Trump playing the same victim card when voters deny him the White House?
Cruz will need a profile in courage comeback, too, as his long primary debacle was not advanced by what strikes party insiders as unforced, suicidal disloyalty. Before Wed. night, no more than 90% of Democrats despised Cruz for his tedious months of apocalyptic, decidedly un-entertaining tirades for theocracy. Today, scads of Republicans agree, sounding like his Convention betrayal is equivalent to two Benghazis plus one installation a private home server. We know Cruz’ non-endorsement hurts because the ever Deceptive Donald said exactly the opposite, now spurning the nonexistent, never-coming nod. What cockeyed Trump logic, alerted there’d be no endorsement, elevated Cruz to prime time so he could play his sneering Dennis the Menace role?
Cruz’ Lost Cause, His Last?
Early reports confirm upwards of 90% of non-Texans say they’d never again be caught dead attending his smug sermons, let alone donating. Here’s one perhaps telling obituary from a world-class loser/quitter, Sarah Palin: “Cruz’ broken pledge to support the will of the people tonight was one of those career-ending ‘read my lips’ moments,” Palin told Breitbart News. Bingo, this walking dead politician, with unassailable credibility, knows of what she speaks. She couldn’t get re-elected mayor — and wouldn’t last the term.
Let that bide. Notably, Cruz managed to grow his notoriety not by doing something grievous, but by NOT doing anything — other than offering the commonplace: vote your own conscience. Yawn. As opposed to voting someone else’s? Yet Cruz managed what no savvy observer, either front row or in Mongolia, thought possible: found another bigger bomb to drop, more scandalous than Ms. Trump’s clumsy plagiarism. For many Cruz simply clarified how much-unequaled buffoonery the Trump team achieved in only a few days, making this gathering memorable in all the wrong ways. As if the ungodly GOP torrent of irrational, hate-filled, conspiratorial primitivism wasn’t enough of a shocker to America’s fragile mental state. By the weekend, outliers will doubtlessly claim the French revolution, despite kangaroo trials and gory guillotines, had slightly more civility.
Stand aside, Romney, McConnell or Palin, even Trump, as vilified figures of contempt. Cruz is the new object of unforgivable party scorn, so horrendous he might have to find brand new hills to die on. Not Cruz’ view, of course, for his lofty intonations spoke to his great and principled morality, willingly sacrificing himself to educate, if not save befuddled, conned masses. One imagines his next hardcore career, founding an evangelical cash cow church awash with fire and brimstone, proclaiming the End is Nigh. And Armageddon for him is closer than anyone thinks were either Hillary or Trump elected. God does have his little jokes, here at Cruz’ expense.
No “Servile Puppy Dog”
More optimistically, this most unservile attack dog has won over a dozen conservative ideologues thrilled to cheer on the lone idealistic Republican who puts his moneyed career where his mouth is. Fellow travelers project this momentary heroism as the first shot across the bow of the next White House run, with Cruz’ brilliance justified when Trump gets walloped. For fundamentalists, Cruz fits this messianic role so much better than the immoral, billionaire playboy awash in corrupt “New York values.” Or that immoral, crooked woman, merging Washington and New York values with Clinton Foundation shenanigans.
Curiously, if Cruz (or Kasich, even Christie) had won, there’d be zero controversy. Who’d care a whit if a creepy, blowhard loser like Trump, sans political resume, endorsed the GOP nominee? How did Cruz, some still wonder about this boy genius, lose to a buffoon distrusted by 65% of voters, rife with sky-high disapproval ratings with minorities and women. If Cruz is so smart and prescient (from God’s lips . . .), how did he get slammed by the least electable Republican ever, well after Ben Carson? And why then compound the disgrace by rushing onto a national stage, only to piss off millions of the rightwing base?
No doubt Cruz will forever see himself as the only principled champion in the room — true to himself and fearless against multitudes of doubters, if not wayward sinners. But why appear at all, wound himself and the nominee in such a public fashion, without adding anything new at the Convention? How many in Trump’s audience would embrace such contrarian scorn? Lucky he only got booed, not tarred and feathered.
Just when you think the right has done its worse, along comes another thrill-a-minute chapter in the Cruz vs. Trump blood feud. And it ain’t over ’til it’s over.