For anyone who happened to watch Ted Cruz’s “performance” at the Republican National Convention last week, they were presented with a real-time example of why he is so universally disliked and distrusted by those who have ever worked with him. Ted Cruz is the most deceitful politician to play on the presidential stage since Richard Nixon. Just looking at Cruz and that shit-eating little smirk on his face when he thinks he has made a good point makes him look like a Cheshire cat who has just enjoyed licking his own ass.
Over his political career Cruz has, at one time or another, hung out to dry his Party, colleagues and his country; all for his personal aggrandizement and to further his ambitions.
Trump magnanimously offered Cruz a platform to speak at his RNC party, without any restrictions. (Trump gave Cruz 10 minutes and he took 23.) It was assumed that if Cruz was willing to speak at the Trump party, that he would do the courteous thing and endorse the nominee. Not! Instead, Cruz used the platform and national television exposure to give a smug, churlish and truculent grandstanding speech that was intended to steal the spotlight from Trump, and put the focus on himself. He was successful, but maybe not in the way he envisioned.
In simple terms, Cruz put his own personal ambitions ahead of a unified effort to defeat Hillary Clinton. It’s fine if as a senior Republican leader you can’t countenance Trump as the Party standard-bearer, but at least have some class about it. But “class” is not a word often (if ever) used in a sentence describing Ted Cruz. John Kasich has not been able to bring himself to endorse Trump, but to his credit he expressed his feelings by staying away from the convention; thus preventing his stance from becoming a distraction. But not Cruz, he saw his unwillingness to support Trump as an opportunity to showboat and attract personal attention.
Cruz’s actions were akin to being invited to the wedding of a beautiful young woman, then when invited to make a toast, he talks about how wonderful marriage is as an institution, but then goes on to comment on how ugly the groom is and to suggest that he is the one the bride should have married.
What was Cruz Thinking?
As is his history, Cruz was thinking about himself and no one else. It is likely that Cruz saw the Republican convention as his first campaign rally for his 2020 presidential campaign. Cruz’s first objective is to hope, pray and do what he can to assure that Trump will lose the election. In Cruz’s self-centered way of thinking, a Trump thumping will clear the way for him to pick up the mantel of disaffected conservatives and give him a leg-up on the Republican nomination in 2020.
There probably would have been more acceptance for Cruz’s disavowal of the Trump nomination with his call to “Vote your conscience” had he not taken the stage of the RNC to do so. His credibility with the delegates and conservative voters was already damaged by the fact that he spent the first two-thirds of the Republican primaries cozying up to Trump and refusing to repudiate his qualifications and inappropriate comments. Cruz, like virtually everyone else, thought Trump was going to implode and when that happened he could be the one to inherit the disaffected conservative Trump voters, leading to his own nomination.
The motivation for the Cruz approach at the convention was obviously to position himself for 2020. He seems to think that God has vested him with the power and mission to bring the Republican Party back together again. (Come to think of it, Cruz does look a bit like Humpty Dumpty.) However, success for Cruz in this effort will be problematic because so many people in the Party don’t like or trust him. And he certainly didn’t do anything to enhance his chances by his performance at the convention.
Cruz may have envisioned himself as the reincarnation of Ronald Reagan who, after a bitter nomination fight with Gerald Ford at the 1976 Republican convention, offered up a brilliant, if reluctant, endorsement speech that paved the way for his victory in 1980. The problem is that Cruz is no Reagan. Taking on Trump and his supporters the way Cruz did, reminds me more of Nelson Rockefeller’s speech at the Republican Convention in 1964. Rockefeller not only refused to endorse the nominee, but directly challenged Barry Goldwater and his supporters; and was lustily booed off the platform. Even though Goldwater was soundly defeated in the election and the Republican Party decimated, the fallout from the Rockefeller speech meant that he never had a chance to be president himself.
We’ll have to see how Cruz’s conniving, narcissistic actions at the RNC play out over the next four years, but one thing is certain, he did not make any new friends among the delegates and Party leaders. But in Cruz’s mind that may be okay, because he didn’t have any friends anyway.