Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Ted Cruz: A Liar in Winter

(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari.)
     TrusTED - Ted Cruz campaign slogan, "trust" in the past tense.
     It could plausibly be said even by those who aren't Bernie or Hillary or Trump mavens that virtually the only particle of honesty that has ever come out of the Cruz campaign was when he tried to kiss his five year-old daughter (the one he frankly admitted early last month to spanking for lying) and she recoiled in disgust. Ever the political calculator, Tailgunner Ted immediately handed off the troublesome offspring after glancing to see if the camera had caught the painfully awkward moment like a pedophile caught tonguing a first cousin at a Mississippi family reunion. (It had.)
     It has been a weird, surreal winter for the junior and first term senator from Texas. It is one that has seen him vault from obscurity into a virtual tie for Chief Trump ankle biter with fellow first term senator Marco Rubio (R-Cyberdyne). But it's a reality in politics that with increased visibility comes increased scrutiny (as if there's any difference).
     And with his improbable elevation in the polls since the Iowa Caucus that he'd won by default when Trump left the state before the caucus and refused to take part in the GOP debate the night before, Cruz is under even more scrutiny than when he held his fake Dr. Seuss filibuster that essentially shut down the government. And his credibility has taken a beating not so much at the hands of Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders. All they have to do is stand by with arms akimbo and virtual halos over their heads and let Trump do his trademark bullying bellowing.
     And it's hard if not outright impossible to find fault with what the Hair Apparent is saying about someone who is now his biggest GOP rival. Ted Cruz is running a blatantly dishonest campaign. Of course, this is virtually synonymous with Republican campaigns in particular and all of them in general as campaigns are just ruthlessly crafted and projected propaganda. What's staggering is that Cruz has been caught in so many blatant lies in such a relatively short period of time.
     It's difficult to catalog all the lies that Cruz has been caught in. But with the cravenness of your typical self-serving politician, it's notable that Cruz has never once accepted responsibility for a single one of those lies. It's always the dog's fart. This came to a head a few days ago when Cruz essentially fired his Communications Director Rick Tyler for a campaign spot that purported to show Marco Rubio dissing the Bible by saying it didn't contain any answers (In fact, the Florida senator had said to a Cruz campaign staffer that the Bible "had all the answers."). Of course, it didn't help when Cruz, as in many official campaign spots, used the tried-and-true rubber stamp, "I'm Ted Cruz and I approve this message."
     Of course there's not one answer in the Bible to explain why Ted Cruz is even still in this race or how he can articulate a message that will resonate with the conservative electorate, especially now that at least 10 Republicans have dropped out or suspended their presidential campaigns (the latest being Jeb!, who will perhaps toddle off to fix something else, like the World Trade Center or NOLA's levees).
     This naturally teases another question, one the corporate mainstream media gets the dry heaves at the thought of asking Cruz: Even if he was dedicated to running a clean, positive campaign while his underlings nonetheless are hamstringing him on literally a weekly basis, if he can't control a few key staffers during a campaign that at least doesn't threaten to touch off WW III or plunge world markets into the Dark Ages, how can a President Cruz be trusted to keep a watchful eye over his subordinates in the West Wing? After all, the Bush administration was rife with power-mad psychopaths and clueless incompetents pursuing their own agendas scurrying behind the Idiot Son's back while he choked on pretzels, starting with Dick "Bunker" Cheney. And look how well that worked out (See trade center, World and Orleans, New, Katrina).

I Approved That Message Before I Disapproved It
     Still, Cruz can't completely blame his staffers for every lie. No one told him to lie about getting his health care cut off because of ObamaCare. And how can Cruz say with a straight face that he couldn't tell the difference between Ben Carson briefly going home and suspending his own campaign (that he pathetically tried to pin on CNN)?
     Essentially Ted Cruz can be described as someone who's even creepier than the sinister-looking Richard Nixon without any of the political adroitness. One of Ben Carson's colleagues, a respected neurologist, recently published a paper on how it's difficult to look at Cruz's "creepy, unsettling face." His own college chums are terrified at the thought of him becoming president. He is reviled, at best ignored, by the GOP establishment to the point of him still, Trump rightly said, not securing one endorsement from his fellow Republican senators. 
     If you want to know how much in the cold Ted Cruz is, even his BFF Mike Lee of Utah has essentially endorsed Marco Rubio while simultaneously campaigning with Cruz. To add insult to injury, Rubio's been picking up endorsements like a sailor picks up STDs on liberty (such as from Viagra pitchman Bob Dole in a desperate attempt to help Rubio with his electile dysfunction problem). And lastly, as with the establishment GOP, Cruz is leaving anti-establishment teabaggers who've long since sworn fealty to Trump utterly cold.
    So why is Ted Cruz steadily rising in the polls (with an albeit tainted Iowa Caucus win)? Or has he plateaued and is doomed to finish as a semi-respectable also-ran by the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this July? It seems the latter may be the case in light of Cruz's dismal third place finish in last night's Nevada Caucus.
     Perhaps in the long run, Cruz's little bump in the polls was the political equivalent of the Yankees taking the first three games from the Red Sox in the 2004 ALCS: After the first three caucuses/primaries, it's all downhill. If the overwhelming voice of the 75,000 Republican caucus-goers who came out last night to vote is any indication, perhaps Cruz will be relegated to the ash heap of this election cycle as surely as Ben Carson will be.
    And the stench of dishonesty is sinking Cruz in a profession where corruption and dishonesty is considered a time-honored part of the game. The blatant pandering and flipflopping sank Mitt Romney four years ago (and he won Nevada's caucus big in 2012, although just 34,000 showed up to vote that year) and the Cruz campaign has been so glaringly disingenuous even conservative voters are beginning to notice and are turned off by it.
     Perhaps Cruz is the one who should get spanked for lying and it seems Donald Trump was the one who did it last night. As a parting gesture, perhaps Senator Seuss should change his campaign slogan from TrusTED to BusTED.

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