As the Republican clown car of presidential candidates continues to merrily roll along, there has been an interesting development over the past couple weeks. Ted Cruz is suddenly rising in the polls, inching above Ben Carson and closer to puzzlingly perpetual leader Donald Trump. It’s been so noticeable that some are even warning that the country should prepare for President Cruz.
But before we start preparing for a Cruz presidency and a subsequent move to Cruz’s home country of Canada, let’s take a step back and look at Cruz’s record — and the people who know him best. An excellent piece in yesterday’s New York Times did exactly that.
Frank Bruni’s editorial starts by setting up a hypothetical scenario:
“You’re evaluating candidates for an open job in your company, and you come across one who makes a big impression.
He’s clearly brilliant — maybe smarter than any of the others. He’s a whirlwind of energy. And man oh man can he give a presentation. On any subject, he’s informed, inflamed, precise.
But then you talk with people who’ve worked with him at various stages of his career. They dislike him.
No, scratch that.
They loathe him.
They grant him all of the virtues that you’ve observed, but tell you that he’s the antithesis of a team player. His thirst for the spotlight is unquenchable. His arrogance is unalloyed. He actually takes pride in being abrasive, as if a person’s tally of detractors measures his fearlessness, not his obnoxiousness.
Do you hire this applicant?
In case you weren’t sure who he was talking about, that loathed colleague is none other than our junior senator, Ted Cruz.
At every level of Cruz’s career, Bruni couldn’t find anyone who would recommend him. But he did find plenty who despise him.
Take, for example, Ted Cruz’s freshman roommate, Craig Mazin, whose disdain knows no bounds:
“I would rather have anybody else be the president of the United States. Anyone. I would rather pick somebody from the phone book.”
How about the time Cruz worked on the Bush campaign in 2000? Surely someone must have liked him there. Sadly, no. Says one colleague:
“Why do people take such an instant dislike to Ted Cruz? It just saves time.”
The stories that have emerged from Cruz’s time at the Bush campaign have suggested that his colleagues had good reason to dislike him. According to former staffers, Cruz used to send his colleagues regular updates on his accomplishments, and shoot off late-night work emails so often that people thought he must have programmed them to go out while everyone was speaking. It’s no wonder that Cruz was the only high-level staffer not to get a White House job — instead he was sent off to the Federal Trade Commission, which writers regularly refer to as a sort of Siberian exile.
Even now, his former boss George W. Bush can sum up his feelings for Cruz in a single sentence: “I just don’t like the guy.”
Bruni’s editorial pointed to a recent tweet from former Bush campaign staffer Matthew Dowd, who said that “if truth serum was given to the staff of the 2000 Bush campaign,” an enormous percentage of them “would vote for Trump over Cruz.”
And Cruz’s time in the Senate hasn’t been much better. None of his Congressional colleagues can stand him, as we’ve previously noted. It’s easy to see why they might not like a guy who keeps a life-size oil painting of himself in his Capitol office.
There’s former House Speaker John Boehner, who, when “asked about Cruz at a fund-raiser last spring, …responded by raising a lone finger — the middle one.”
In the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his fellow Republicans hate Cruz so much that they recently refused to grant him even the most perfunctory procedural vote.
His fellow candidate and Senate colleague Rand Paul, summed up the consensus toward Cruz in the Senate thusly: “He’s pretty much done for and stifled, and it’s really because of personal relationships, or lack of personal relationships, and it is a problem.”
Bruni points out that the negativity toward Ted Cruz has gotten so bad that Cruz has finally been forced to acknowledge it. Cruz “spins it as the price invariably paid by an outsider who challenges the status quo, clings to principle and never backs down.” And yet, the original “maverick” himself, Senator John McCain has said that the attitude toward Cruz “is different than anything I’ve ever seen in my years here.” McCain himself can’t stand Cruz either — he’s denounced Cruz as a “wacko bird.”
So Ted Cruz is trying to convince the public that no one liking him is a good thing. It mean’s he’s principled, a rabble-rouser who can get things done. But dont be fooled. It’s a very bad thing. He’s unable to work with others, not even those who are supposed to be his closest allies. There’s no way he would be able to get anything done as president. Even if he got a fully Republican Congress, nobody would want to work with him. Look how tough it has been for President Obama to accomplish many of his goals because of the hostile Republican Congress that fights him at every turn — and he’s bent over backwards (sometimes too far) to accomodate them. Fellow Republicans have the same level of hostility toward Cruz, and he’s supposed to be one of their own. And that doesn’t even consider the potential for Cruz’s relationships with foreign leaders. As president, he’d make enemies on an international scale, and that’s downright dangerous for this country.
As Texans, we already know this – he’s done nothing at all for our state. It is up to us to publicize this at every turn until Cruz loses. The stakes are far too high for us to be complacent. We must share the fact that we know all too well with the rest of the nation — that when you Cruz, you lose.