Finally, Charles Krauthammer and I agree on something — that Ted Cruz’s speech was the longest suicide note in U.S. political history. His address Wednesday night, and, worse, his double-down TV appearance Thursday morning, comprised one of the most shocking and bizarre developments I’ve witnessed in all my years of following politics.
Steve Hayes, who, like all so many Fox News neocons, still doesn’t get what the Trump phenomenon is all about, mildly defended Cruz by conjecturing that he was simply gambling that Trump will lose big in November, after which he can say “I told you so” to Republicans, then offer himself up as the man who can win for them in 2020. But for Cruz to have such a scenario in mind would mean that he not only suffers from extreme delusions of grandeur, he’s also a scarily diabolical character.
Attention Ted: The primaries ended long ago in Indiana. You lost — and Trump set a record for the number of delegates won. When DT graciously invited you to speak in a prime-time slot at his convention, it was an impressive display of graciousness on his part — so gracious that he didn’t even ask to see your speech notes in advance. After all, you’re a man of great character, right?
I had a slightly different take on Cruz’s self-destructive performance Wednesday night than most people. The term endorsement means different things to different folks, but I never expected Cruz to come out and say anything like, “I fully endorse Donald Trump for president of the United States.”
However, being the naïve soul that I am, I did expect him to congratulate Trump on winning the nomination (which he did), give a great speech (which he did for about for about ten minutes), then end by saying something like, “I urge everyone here to cast their vote for Donald Trump on November 8 and defeat Hillary Clinton.” Nothing strong, just a statement urging people to vote for Trump over the country’s most famous criminal. I would not have necessarily taken that to be an endorsement.
What I witnessed instead is something that no one else seems to be talking about it. Cruz was humming along with a great speech and leading to a whiz-bang finish for his allotted ten-minute time slot. But just when people were getting ready to applaud, it was as though he decided to start a second speech.
That’s the point at which his speech started to sound eerily like he was still campaigning (rolling on to a full twenty-three minutes), and the point at which the crowd started to become restless. Soon, the restlessness turned to boos, and things got very ugly very fast.
The climax, of course, was when Cruz urged people to “vote your conscience for anyone who will uphold the Constitution,” which was a clear euphemism to not vote for Donald Trump. It was at that moment that I turned to my wife and said, “Ted Cruz’s political career just ended.”
On CNN, Cruz lapdog Amanda Carpenter, trying desperately to defend her old boss’s indefensible actions, insisted that he showed he was a man of principle for refusing to fall into line and instead sticking to his principles. Which sounds very noble, except for the fact that it hasn’t been that long ago that Cruz made it unequivocally clear that he would support Trump if he were the Republican nominee, emphasizing that he would do so because he was a man of his word.
There’s no way to sugarcoat it: At the worst possible time, Ted Cruz made it clear that he is not a man of his word. Sorry, Ted, but this will not be forgotten by Republicans in 2020 … or 2024 … or even 2036.
After his indefensible speech, Cruz childishly brought up Trump’s retweet of his wife and his ill-advised comments about the National Enquirer that suggested Cruz’s father was seen with Lee Harvey Oswald before he assassinated JFK. Not as bad as some of the things Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, or even Ted Cruz himself said and did during the primaries, but ill-advised on Trump’s part, to be sure. Serious candidates understand that it’s part of the messy process of primaries.
I’m pretty hard to shock, but Cruz’s remarks surprised even me. The man was actually rehashing the long-settled primary battles at the Republican National Convention! Psst — Ted, the primaries ended long ago. Wake up — and grow up. Take a cue from Ronald Reagan, the man you’re so fond of quoting, who, after a bitter battle for the Republican presidential nomination with Gerald Ford in 1976, graciously endorsed him at the Republican National Convention.
What Cruz’s belligerent stance did accomplish was to belie his claim that his surprise remarks were made on behalf of Americans. It was beyond obvious that they were strictly personal and that he was venting his anger over things Trump had said and done that hurt his feelings.
Which is okay. You can have hurt feelings, the same as Jeb Bush and John Kasich. But as childish as those two have acted, they at last had the good sense and maturity to stay away from the Trump celebration.
Instead, by his own choice, Cruz was nothing more than a party crasher who tried to sabotage the celebration. It reminded people like me, who for several years believed Cruz might be the guy I’ve been looking for since Ronald Reagan left office, that he is, in fact, dishonest, sleazy, and, yes, unprincipled. It was, indeed, a very long suicide.
Since the media will never understand the revolution that is taking place in this country, I’ll say again what I always say after these seemingly negative events involving Donald Trump: You can count on DT getting yet another bump in the polls from this. Now if he can just deliver big Thursday night, he will scare the Dirty Dems even more than they already are.
May Hillary’s god, Lucifer, be with her in her upcoming debates with Donald Trump, because she’ll need all the help she can get. It will be like an amateur boxer going up against a world heavyweight champion, and the outcome will be ugly. And while watching the bloodbath, eat your heart out, Ted, because you easily could have been the number-two man on the ticket — which in turn could have led to the presidency for you down the road.
I am reminded of that famous line from Scarface, when Frank said to Tony, “A haza is a pig that don’t fly straight.” In the future, Ted, you might want to keep that in mind.