There’s something “other-worldly” about Sen. Ted Cruz. And the reaction he provokes.
The whole Cruz phenomenon reminds me of the billionaire industrialist who invited 50 of his most important business friends on a hunting trip in Maine. As dusk began to set in, their guide seemed downright lost. The industrialist took him aside and, in a burst of pure fury, said, “You told me you knew every square inch of the Maine woods.” “I do,” shot back the guide, “But I think we’re in Canada now!”
When’s the last time a political figure drew such volcanic excoriation from left and right? Sen. Joe McCarthy drew it from the left. Sen. George McGovern drew it from the right. The hostility pattern that forms around Sen. Ted Cruz is rare, if not unique. It’s almost as if there’s a secret treaty among beltway insiders that deals with crowd-pleasing upstarts like Ted Cruz.
In World War II, Finland was a “co-belligerent” of Nazi Germany. They rejected the tern “ally” because Finland was a democracy and they despised the Nazis. However, Hitler’s attack on the Soviet Union offered Finland the chance to reclaim land taken from them by the Soviet Union in the Winter War of 1939. As the sprawling convoys of Allied ships left England headed across the northern tip of Norway for the Russian ports of Archangel and Murmansk, one ship would peel away from the formation and head south for the Finnish port of Petsamo to unload American jeeps, tanks, tires, raincoats etc. for the Finnish Army that was fighting our ally, the Russians. In return, the Finns agreed not to cut the far northern Russian rail links from those northern Russian ports and not to allow their German “co-belligerents” to cut them, either.
I’d be willing to bet what I normally bet on the Super Bowl that our ex-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton didn’t know about that secret treaty!
What kind of secret treaty do I suspect surrounds Sen. Ted Cruz? Whenever somebody so appealing and so brilliant so suddenly erupts into political stardom, one-and-all inside the beltway agree to join forces – far left to far right – to ensure that this unexpected and uninvited upstart is destroyed.
The beltway insiders failed to invoke that “secret treaty” at the emergence of Barack Obama, probably in deference to his race, and Republicans are far from the only ones twisting in regret. More Americans, I suspect, regret Obama’s emergence today than yesterday, fewer today than tomorrow.
Some of you winced when I applied the word “brilliant” to Ted Cruz. Dr. Alan Dershowitz, himself one of the smartest men in Washington (and the world, for that matter), hails Ted Cruz as totally brilliant. Both of them are so bright, neither one should be permitted to think during take-off or landing! And, yet, Cruz is trashed in the public prints as an “idiot” and splashed across the front of a magazine as the “Mad Hatter.” He’s also getting death threats on Twitter. Things like that trigger suspicions of designer-hatchetry at play.
And what is there to fear? A superstar emerging on the right who has mobilized his stardom only to fight Obamacare! Is that really cause for national fear plus hatred? I fully understand decent people who perpetually fear successful right-wing extremists. The story of Hitler keeps coming to mind. This is precisely where Sen. Cruz’s trajectory calls upon us to use some intelligence of our own. Yes, there was a Hitler. We are properly alerted to the danger of a demagogue sweeping aside all opposition and raking in all the political chips on the table. But look at how other political superstars turned out. Mustafa Kemal in Turkey after World War I ripped his time-trapped Islamic nation from its “prison,” brought it into Western civilization and the modern era, even changing the alphabet from Arabic to Roman, and positioned the army as the guardian of a secularized democracy.
Look at Poland’s Lech Walesa; Czechoslovakia’s Vlacav Havel. Much to praise, nothing to fear.
The “problem” with Sen. Ted Cruz now is the peculiar way in which he’s scrambled the Washington egg. Party leaders despise him; the people give him eight-minute standing ovations. He’s easily the most popular conservative figure in America. Nature abhors a vacuum. Human nature abhors that kind of imbalance. Party leaders hate him. He must be obliterated!
What about the “damage” Cruz has inflicted upon the “Republican brand”? (Ah, yes. I remember that Republican brand before Cruz so well! Wasn’t it great?)
“He can’t win!” “He could never win!” “There was never a strategy!” “There was never a pathway to victory!” And yet Ted Cruz mounted the ramparts with a broken bourbon bottle and did his best. He was “self-serving,” you complain. Get over it. We’re all mice trying to become rats through body-building.
And what was it, again, that Cruz was immolating himself for? Was it white supremacy? Was it acceptance of sado-masochism in universities? Was it the end of representative democracy?
Nothing near. He was – and is – at war with Obamacare!
In the beginning there were two kinds of monkeys – those who took a chance and those who didn’t.
And those who didn’t are still up in trees making faces at those who did.