I once heard a politician described as “so slippery, he could slide under a closed door.”
With that in mind, it is worth reading a piece in Politico about televangelism, narcissism, and Ted Cruz.
Curt Anderson, a friend, wrote it. Curt benefits from a wonderfully bright mind and is as solid a conservative as you can find. He has helped elect more real conservatives to the House and Senate than most who wear the badge of “consultant.”
As we watch Cruz’s rise, perhaps all the way to the GOP nomination, it may be helpful to keep in mind what Anderson understands that many don’t:
“Cruz has failed in every cause he has championed—and it is never his fault.”
“That is his Senate career. Of course, all conservatives want these battles to be fought, even if we lose. But it’s not really the issue or the cause that Cruz is championing. No, he just wants to be the one leading the cause—and wants you to see him doing it. Cruz is a perpetual martyr.”
And that’s the sad truth about Ted Cruz.
Being a good conservative does not make you a good leader or even a good man. We can look at the recent government funding deal to see Cruz’s corrosive influence.
Like many conservative radio talk show hosts, Cruz is aflame with anger about Speaker Ryan’s government funding deal. Cruz sets aside the inconvenient truth that “conservatives were aware the top-line funding levels had been set by the budget deal Obama negotiated with Boehner before Ryan came on board.”
As one Republican, quoted in The Hill, admitted, “I think most Freedom Caucus members hated the omnibus product but acknowledge that Speaker Ryan could only do so much within the parameters that he had to work with.”
So who is to blame that the House passed a nearly two-trillion-dollar funding package that oozes slime and political favors? Who chose to travel down this road?
There are 247 Republicans in the House, sworn in January 3rd, 2015. A simple majority is 218 of 435. Republicans have 29 more votes than they need to pass anything they choose – if they can agree to do it.
At some point, there is going to be a funding bill. Every Republican knows that some level of government will be funded.
The GOP’s choice is this: Will Republicans get together, compromise amongst themselves and do that job?
Or will they refuse to work it out within the GOP… and let the compromise occur between Democrats and Republicans, spawning another monstrous Washington grotesquery like Ryan’s inherited funding package?
Ted Cruz made his choice, as he always has. He selfishly inspires others to do the same.
He’s not against compromise. He just pushes it down the road.
Ted Cruz is the poster boy of the Republican who won’t compromise within his party, and so hands funding power to Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer, to let them do his work for him. And, unfortunately for the nation, they do.
Why? As Anderson notes, Cruz would rather be the martyred leader of a failed cause than a contributor to a successful team. He’s been an outsider in everything he’s done.
Without irony, Senator Cruz titled his recent book, “A Time for Truth.” In it, he writes, “I refused to play sports as a child.”
As he grew older, Cruz finally did engage in sports, he confesses, not to be part of a team, but in a conscious effort to make a ridiculed, lonely boy then called, “Felito,” a little less shunned.
Cruz should have played. He could have learned what others who have led teams to success always figure out.
“I think, team first. It allows me to succeed; it allows my team to succeed.” – Lebron James.
“I am a member of a team, and I rely on the team, I defer to it and sacrifice for it, because the team, not the individual, is the ultimate champion.” – Mia Hamm.
“Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” – Vince Lombardi.
Politics is a team sport. Skins v. shirts. Redskins v. Cowboys. Democrats v. Republicans. That’s how we govern our nation.
There is an “R” behind Cruz’s name. That is the party he chose.
But Ted Cruz is still the hapless kid on the sidelines, the lonely outsider, envying those on the field who joyously sacrifice for each other and celebrate each other and take each other to victory.
Ted Cruz will never be on a team, much less lead one.