So here’s the thing, I was never really a “Cruzah.” I liked Ted Cruz. I thought he was bold enough, conservative enough, and a much needed voice in the Senate. And no, I wasn’t mad when he was basically the first one to announce his run for president.
Go for it, Ted!
Well, the shine went right off that penny, pretty quickly.
As other candidates lined up, almost all of them adequate (and in the case of former Texas Governor Rick Perry, more than adequate), something else about Cruz emerged.
Donald Trump made that fateful, ridiculous ride down his gaudy golden escalator at Trump Tower and announced his own run in June 2015. It wasn’t long after, with the media in full circus mode, that the brash, bold Cruz became the Renfield to Trump’s Count Dracula.
Of course, it was a strategy, at the time. Cruz, so confident that he would be the last man standing, even said in interviews that he felt he would get Trump’s supporters, once Trump had bailed out.
He both underestimated the Machiavellian relationship between Trump and his supporters, and he overdid it with his praise of the hay-haired mountebank.
By the time it was down to a dogfight between the two of them, he’d already given his glowing stamp of approval to Trump. That, combined with a media that treated him as if he were already king, made it all but inevitable that Trump would be the GOP nominee.
And some guy named Kasich, who overstayed his welcome – but that’s another story.
Senator Cruz had one more shining moment left in him. At the RNC convention, he didn’t outwardly endorse his former competitor, but told voters to “vote their conscience.”
So what was wrong with that? It was a perfectly reasonable request.
These are not perfectly reasonable times, however, and the backlash was swift.
Cruz eventually got on board, but I suspect the damage was done. His will was broken.
Fast forward to today, and Senator Ted Cruz, fresh from a hard-fought reelection battle, that nearly saw him out-finessed by a clever upstart, “Beto” O’Rourke, seems to have given up the fight.
No, the fight is all out of Ted Cruz. Today, it’s all about shaking his pom-poms for the glory of Trumpism.
Two stories emerged late last week and through the weekend that should have true defenders of conservatism and American exceptionalism on high alert.
One was a report from The New York Times that stated that the FBI was so alarmed by Trump’s activities, after he fired FBI Director James Comey, that an investigation began into whether Donald Trump was working as an agent for Russia, against American interests.
The report that immediately followed from the Washington Post pointed out that out of five meetings between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, no one, including top Trump administration officials, has any idea what was discussed.
Trump has gone to great lengths to assure that those conversations remain very private, even to the point of confiscating notes and instructing the translator in those meetings to tell no one what was said.
So, if no one knows what they spoke of, how are members of the administration supposed to go about crafting foreign policy?
Not only is there no record to work from, but all Trump will say is how much he admires Putin, and how much he wants to warm the relations between the U.S. and Russia.
And no one is pushing him or stepping in to tell him that he can’t conduct foreign policy the same way he runs his company: corrupt, under-the-table, and ethically suspect.
He is a public servant, not a king. I never expected him to understand that, but the hope was that someone within the GOP would have the spine to remind him.
That person will not be Ted Cruz, as he has learned his lesson.
In a Sunday television appearance, the Texas senator blew off suggestions that Americans were concerned that their president may have worked to advance the agenda of a hostile foreign government, whether wittingly or unwittingly.
“There is an incredible divide between Washington and the rest of the country when it comes to Bob Mueller and the Russia investigation,” Cruz said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“The mainstream media, Washington, is obsessed with it,” he continued. “And when you get outside the Beltway, I don’t find anybody concerned with this at all.”
I’m outside the Beltway. Pretty far outside of it, actually, and I’m concerned, Mr. Cruz.
Obsessed? I may be, but with good cause. There are far too many uncomfortable connections between Trump and our geopolitical foes. I’m willing to admit that when it is all said and done, Trump may prove to be squeaky clean of any actual collusion. He is, however, absolutely guilty of woeful mismanagement of the position, in regards to his treatment of our foes and willful alienation of our allies.
Cruz said Sunday that he only knew what had been reported in the media, and that he would consider any corroborating evidence brought forward to lawmakers.
He added that it’s “premature” to subpoena notes from Trump’s meetings with Putin.
It is not, in fact, premature. The time for those notes to be provided to lawmakers was immediately following the meetings.
Trump chose this job. The executive branch is one of three co-equal branches of government, designed that way to assure the people were fairly represented and that no man claim the mantle of king over this [once] free republic.
He is accountable to all of us, we the people, and no matter what the GOP party line is these days, a sitting president conducting secretive business with a hostile foreign leader, while sitting senators acquiesce is not only bad for our nation, but it is a blatant dereliction of their duty to the public.
Maybe Mr. Cruz should step outside of the MAGA bubble long enough to talk to the rest of us.