We all know somebody like Ted Cruz. You know, that guy who ran for class president every year?
The guy who started planning on getting into the Ivy League (or the New Zealand equivalent) when he was around 10 years old? The guy who was smarter than you and had no qualms about making that fact perfectly clear? Yeah, that guy. DC is full of people like that. So is Wellington, Canberra, London, and Ottawa, for that matter. But Ted Cruz takes that personality type to a whole different level. He has a belief in himself that’s so pronounced that even other type-A, alpha-male politicians find him distasteful. Ted worships God, but really only because he also believes that God worships him.
Ted got elected as the Junior Senator from Texas in 2012. The media painted him as a “Tea Party Senator,” which made it seem like he was a shoe salesman who suddenly wanted to make a difference, but in real life, Ted’s been floating around in arch-conservative circles since he got out of Harvard Law School. He clerked under Chief Justice William Rehnquist (“The Rehnquist Court” is synonymous with “The Dark Ages” to the American left,) then went to work for the NRA’s pet law firm after that. Remember Bush v. Gore? The lawsuit that went to the Supreme Court, stopped the recount in Florida, led to the Bush Presidency, and ultimately to cement-headed dickery in the Middle East that’s still going on to this day? Guess who wrote more than a few of the briefs in that particular shit show? Hell, guess who’s written 70 legal briefs and argued before the Supreme Court nine separate times, always on the side of the assholes? Our man Ted, that’s who.
So let’s dispense with the notion that Ted Cruz is some kind of long-shot outsider fighting the good fight for the common man. He’s been on the speed dial of every Conservative trying to move Bronze Age legislation through the American judiciary for damn near 20 years. He also happens to be married to a bigwig at Goldman Sachs. Wall Street absolutely has Ted’s assurance that as far as the money side of things go, it will be business as usual, or better. As long as Wall Street has that, they don’t give a shit what politicians do with regards to things like abortion, civil rights, and gun control.
But despite all that, Ted Cruz is a bit of a pariah in his own party, and this is because he’s been pretty disruptive since he got elected. First term Senators are meant to shut the hell up and fall in line, at least for the first six years or so. Cruz did none of those things. It goes without saying that he’s a camera hog. He’s filibustered on the floor of the Senate for no other reason than getting ample network coverage. He sold a government shutdown to the House of Representatives as the only way to force a repeal of Obamacare, despite knowing damn well that said repeal had a snowballs chance in Hell of actually happening. He even accused Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of being a liar on the Senate floor, which might be accurate, but is a totally unheard of thing to do, particularly when the Majority Leader is on your side.
So the question is, why the hell would he do such a thing? Why would he totally ignore established GOP protocol? His career path was pretty much set. He has a rock solid insider’s pedigree and would have been assured a comfortable spot in the Senate, and maybe eventually the Governor’s mansion in Texas, and then eventually, maybe 20 years or so down the road, a shot at the White House. If at any point down that road he loses an election, no problem, there are any number of cushy spots in think tanks or lobbying firms. At least, that’s how it’s supposed to go. But Ted didn’t do any of that. He cut in line pretty forcefully, and as a result he doesn’t have a lot of friends on the Senate floor.
You get the sense that this doesn’t bother him at all though, because all this shit that he’s doing? The shut downs, the camera hogging, the outrageous statements, the butting his nose in where it doesn’t belong? The base loves that. And as I’m sure you all know by now, the base are the guys who vote in the primaries.
If you ask any hardcore conservative in the country what he’s looking for in a politician, he’ll spout some vague routine about “adherence to conservative principles,” but shortly after that he’ll say that he wants someone who will “fight Barack Obama.” It’s a mindset that seems completely unaware of the Presidential Veto, or the requirements needed to overturn said Veto. In other words, hardcore conservatives simply don’t have the numbers to do what they want to do. Then again, neither does Barack Obama or the Democratic Party, but the conservative base either doesn’t know or doesn’t care. If they can’t get Obamacare repealed yesterday and Obama impeached – just because – then they want shutdowns and disruptions and the general work of the government to grind to a halt until they get a “true conservative” in the White House. Any politician who fails to give them that is “betraying conservative principles.” So far, the only politician in Washington who is showing a willingness to do that is Ted Cruz.
This scorched earth mindset is one of the many reasons why Donald Trump is so popular among primary voters. He’s loud, rude, and disruptive. He “fights.” And out of all the 300 or so other guys running for President on the Republican ticket, guess which one of them is the only one who hasn’t said one negative thing about Trump? Guess which one is the only one who hasn’t been on the receiving end of any of Trump’s “drunk guy at the end of the night” tweets? Guess who has been incredibly careful to cultivate not only Trump’s followers, but also the goodwill of every teeth-grinding malcontent who is absolutely furious about every aspect of the Obama Presidency? Our man Ted, who also knows a thing or two about using the resentment of rubes to clear away any obstacles. He’s been doing it since 2012.
Trump’s burnout is inevitable, everybody knows it. The cable news guys aren’t saying it, because he’s ratings gold. They’ll ride that particular train for as long as they can. And when it happens, and all of Trump’s followers drop back down to whatever planet they are currently inhabiting and take a look around, they’ll look around for the only guy available who “fights Barack Obama” and hasn’t “betrayed conservative principles” and hasn’t been called “a joke,” “a zero,” and “a loser” by The Donald. And guess who that will be? Our man, Ted. He’s already a close second behind Trump in early primary states.
So again, don’t worry about Trump. He’s just selling snake oil. Ted Cruz is the guy who should scare the shit out of you. He’s a true believer.
This is Part Two. Part One is here , a short write-up explaining the enigma that is Donald Trump and why we he’s not the most worrisome man in the GOP.