TED: CRUZING It occurred to us earlier this week that Texas Senator Ted Cruz was being uncharacteristically silent. While the media pointed and scratched watching to see which candidates for the Republican nomination would end up in the blessed Fox Ten for the season’s first debate, Ted was lingering at about 4.5 percent of favoritism among Republican voters. He moved neither up nor down, and didn’t seem really to care.
Then, Wednesday, there he was, on PBS, on MSNBC, on Fox. He was being cool, compromising, thoughtful. What was going on? This is a man of whom we’ve been leery since he appeared.
After all, here is a man with a resume that would kill a horse. He’s been assistant to this, clerk to that, attorney general for this, argued before the Supreme Court, advised other candidates, shut down the government, fought the Affordable Care Act furiously (“Green eggs and ham”), threatened to unfund food stamps, fought the good fight on behalf of the Tea Party at every step. He must be astonishingly gifted and bright, graduating from Princeton and then Harvard, debating his way across rivers, up mountains, into aerospace. The only thing he hasn’t done is, like Scott Walker, presumed that because he was a winner in a recall election, he could also be a winner and erase ISIS forever.
This is a man in a hurry. He’s too busy to show up and work hard for nearly any cause. He favors ideas, movements, bills, but he hasn’t the patience to stand by and fight for them. He promises support, but when it comes time to actually vote for or against what he’s espoused, he’s nowhere to be found. Some people say that history is comprised of finding the damning detail. Here are the damning details re Senator Cruz’ ambition: eye everything, desire everything, make noise, but actually do nothing. For example, of those committees to which he was assigned on entering the Senate, Mr. Cruz has attended 17 out of 50 meetings of the Armed Services Committee. That’s one third.
He has attended only 3 out of 25 sessions of the Commerce Committee meetings, barely ten percent.
On the Judiciary Committee, which eventually will have to help select Supreme Court judges, among other things, Cruz has managed to get to one quarter of those sessions called. 4 out of 12. I
n the first three months of 2015 – which, after all, is only Cruz’s third year in his job – there have been 135 roll call votes on the floor of the Senate. Mr. Cruz has voted one hundred and fourteen times. In the old days this would label him a “job jumper,” making upward and sideways moves for a fraction of an increase in money, prestige, power. Although we wouldn’t trust him as far as we could throw him, we do have a grudging admiration for a man with a plan, and that’s Cruz.
He blasted his way onto the national stage, made his presence and philosophies instantly known. After that, he really had very little to do that he cared about. He had gone about as far as he could go, short of running for president or becoming a fascistic emperor of the West. If he’s eying the VP spot, the new Republican President had better watch his back. Cruz lasts about four plus months in any job.
Clearly nothing interests him but to surface every so often, reinvigorate his followers, threaten, make ridiculous but always only temporary stands, debate, be unpleasant and supercilious. His attendance record came second to his fund-raising efforts, which might be one excuse for staying below the national radar – a position he definitely does not like. But lo! It worked. Currently he stands in position number three in amount of money raised for his presidential quest. He flies around the country, probably making nice and promising not to criticize other candidates (see Donald Trump) in a quid pro quo “series of friendships.”
This does not always work. Mitch McConnell will not soon forgive Cruz for pushing the government into inaction, for meddling from the Senate in House affairs. At least they have the same make-up man, appearing always shorn, shaved, smooth, and slimy.
In the coming “Debates,” if we insist on calling them that, Cruz will not criticize his fellow candidates. Nor will he likely answer divisive questions. His boxes are checked: education, positions in state and local government in which he had neither complete responsibility but always backup, someone else to blame; two cute little girls, that supercilious alligator grin, the complete confidence in his own narrative.
This, fellow Americans, is a real campaign. Laid-out minute by minute, and proving to many peoples’ surprise, successful.
We distrust it. We distrust him. We don’t like him. Never have. We doubt he has as much certified intelligence as he thinks.
And we’ve been convinced since 2013 that he would be terrible for the country. But hey, we’ve been wrong. We don’t think we are here. But anything is possible. That’s what makes America America.
P.S. Please believe this a gentle version of our feelings.