Cruz pretends to be a conservative prairie populist. But he’s a Princeton graduate, and got his law degree from Harvard. It’s a quintessential blue blood preppie pedigree. His wife is on leave from a managing directorship at Goldman Sachs. He’s a preening, pure-blood Afghan Hound, pretending to be a kennel mutt. He’s an Hispanic Mitt Romney.
This is the man who accused Senator Chuck Hagel, in his confirmation hearings as Secretary of Defense, of having “trashed Israel.” It was as nasty a piece of McCarthyism as has been seen on the floor of the U.S. Senate since Gunner Joe augered in. Senator Cruz isn’t qualified to lick Secretary Hagel’s shoes, and yet thinks he can criticize him.
Senator Cruz is the man who filibustered the U.S. Senate for 21 hours, a purposeless bladderbuster, attempting defund the Affordable Care Act. But it wasn’t really about health care; President Obama’s re-election was a referendum on his health care plan and, obviously, the people spoke. No, Cruz’s silly stunt was about Ted Cruz. In an interview afterward with – who else? – Rush Limbaugh. Cruz admitted, “In many ways,” he said, “the central issue that we were trying to focus on in the filibuster was not the continuing resolution. It wasn’t even Obamacare.”
He shares with Dr. Ben Carson the wilingness to engage in gross, offensive rhetoric to pander to his Teabagger constituents, at one point saying those who disagreed with him on the Affordable Care Act were like “Neville Chamberlain, who told the British people, ‘Accept the Nazis.’ ” Another Republican presidential wannabe violating Godwin’s Law.
He’s publicly denounced his own Republican Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, as a liar. And, of course, he’s called for a government shutdown to prevent any federal funding of Planned Parenthood, a replay of his call for a government shutdown to do away with Obamacare. This is a guy who would treat a hangnail with a hydrogen bomb.
He’s a soul mate of his extortionately uncompromising colleagues in the so-called Freedom Caucus in the House of Representatives, who similarly confuse attention with accomplishment. All of the Teabaggers, with Senator Cruz as their spiritual leader, have turned petulance and bullying into a theory of governing. Or maybe it’s anti-governing. The whole John Boehner – Paul Ryan circus was a product of their intent to gain power over a system that they claim to intend to enfeeble. Cruz isn’t out to reduce the power of government. He simply wants the power for himself. And has repeatedly displayed an utter disregard for the consequences of his efforts to achieve that power. Or the things he will do in an effort to get that power.
Cruz doesn’t offer remedies. He performs theatrical rants. He’s not interested in collaboration or teamwork. His main use for other politicians, even those in his party, even his allies, is as foils, targets and punching bags.
He’s a demagogue. And not even an especially clever one. He is absolutely the last thing this country needs as President.