Saturday, December 05, 2015

Ted Cruz-- Worse Than Trumpf? Many Republicans Think So, Especially People Who Know Cruz Best


Like me, Craig Mazin was born in Brooklyn. And, like me, he ended up in the entertainment indiustry (He was a screenwriter at Disney and has writing credit for Senseless, RocketMan, Scary Movie 3, Scary Movie 4 and Identity Thief.) In between, though, he had Ted Cruz as a college roommate in his freshman year. My own college roommate was... well, he may read the blog so I won't say anything, but as you can see from the graphic above-- or from his twitter stream-- Mazin has no compunctions about telling the world what a douchebag Cruz was at Princeton.

This past summer Mazin talked with the DailyBeast's Patricia Murphy about his thoughts on the 17 year old kid he knew back in the late '80s. "Even in 1988," Mazin told her, "he was politically extreme in a way that was surprising to me." She spoke to several other college classmates who "described the young Cruz with words like 'abrasive,' 'intense,' 'strident,' 'crank,' and 'arrogant.' Four independently offered the word 'creepy,' with some pointing to Cruz’s habit of donning a paisley bathrobe and walking to the opposite end of their dorm’s hallway where the female students lived." The females students didn't appreciate him coming on their hallway.

Murphy reports that "Mazin said he knew some people might be afraid to speak in the press about a senator, but added of Cruz, 'We should be afraid that someone like that has power.' And the idea that his freshman roommate could someday be the leader of the free world? 'I would rather have anybody else be the president of the United States. Anyone. I would rather pick somebody from the phone book.'"

A couple days ago Frank Bruni at the NY Times quoted Mazin in a column about how everyone who has ever worked with Cruz loathes him and how voters should be very wary of him. Bruni worries that Cruz is making a concerted effort to deceive mainstream Republicans into believing that he isn't really a monster. "Expect orchestrated glimpses of a high-minded Cruz," he writes, "less skunk than statesman, his sneer ceding territory to a smile."
You saw this in recent debates. He chided moderators for meanspirited questions. He bemoaned the pitting of one Republican against another. The audacity of those complaints was awe-inspiring: Cruz rose to national prominence with gratuitous, overwrought tirades against fellow party members and with a complete lack of deference to elders in the Senate, which he entered in January 2013, at age 42.

He likened Senate Republicans who recognized the impossibility of defunding Obamacare to Nazi appeasers. They took note.

“As Cruz gains, GOP senators rally for Rubio” said the headline of a story this week in Politico, which explained: “The idea of Cruz as the nominee is enough to send shudders down the spines of most Senate Republicans.” Support for Rubio is the flower of anyone-but-Cruz dread.

Anyone but Cruz: That’s the leitmotif of his life, stretching back to college at Princeton. His freshman roommate, Craig Mazin, told Patricia Murphy of the DailyBeast: “I would rather have anybody else be the president of the United States. Anyone. I would rather pick somebody from the phone book.”

It’s not easy to come across on-the-record quotes like that, and Mazin’s words suggest a disdain that transcends ideology. They bear heeding.

So does Cruz’s experience in the policy shop of George W. Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign. After Bush took office, other full-time advisers got plum jobs in the White House. Cruz was sent packing to the Siberia of the Federal Trade Commission.

The political strategist Matthew Dowd, who worked for Bush back then, tweeted that “if truth serum was given to the staff of the 2000 Bush campaign,” an enormous percentage of them “would vote for Trump over Cruz.”

Another Bush 2000 alumnus said to me: “Why do people take such an instant dislike to Ted Cruz? It just saves time.”

His three signature moments in the Senate have been a florid smearing of Chuck Hagel with no achievable purpose other than attention for Ted Cruz, a flamboyant rebellion against Obamacare with no achievable purpose other than attention for Ted Cruz, and a fiery protest of federal funding for Planned Parenthood with no achievable purpose other than attention for Ted Cruz. Notice any pattern?

Asked about Cruz at a fund-raiser last spring, John Boehner responded by raising a lone finger-- the middle one.

More recently, Senate Republicans denied Cruz a procedural courtesy that’s typically pro forma.

“That is different than anything I’ve ever seen in my years here,” Senator John McCain, the Arizona Republican, told the Washington Post.

Many politicians rankle peers. Many have detractors. Cruz generates antipathy of an entirely different magnitude. It’s so pronounced and so pervasive that he’s been forced to acknowledge it, and he spins it as the price invariably paid by an outsider who challenges the status quo, clings to principle and never backs down.

No, it’s the fruit of a combative style and consuming solipsism that would make him an insufferable, unendurable president. And if there’s any sense left in this election and mercy in this world, it will undo him soon enough.
Republican primary voters haven't figured it out yet-- and probably never will. In the CNN poll released yesterday, Cruz was #2, but with greatest momentum. Although the other rightwing misanthrope, Trumpf, is up at 36%, Cruz has risen from 4% to 16% in a little over a month. Even Trumpf, perhaps the most despicable person on the main stage of American life right now, sensed a skunk in Cruz, his erstwhile ally. At his rally in Macon a few days ago he warned the crowd that "Even Cruz, I think he’s going to have to hit me. It’s going to be a sad day, but we will hit back-- I promise." I bet the GOP establishment is drooling over that thought!

Oh... and one more thing. Below is a short post Robert Reich put up this morning on his Facebook page-- a partial transcription of a phone call between himself and an establishment Republican friend of his an ex-GOP congressman he didn't identify. I thought you might like seeing it if you haven't already:

Labels: , ,


At 3:06 PM, Anonymous charlie said...

Again. These back and forth gifs are amusing for about 10 seconds tops. Then very annoying and distracting while trying to read the post. Please stop. I'm begging you

At 4:43 PM, Anonymous Bil said...

Don't listen to Charlie, MORE!!!

So Realistic!


Post a Comment

<< Home