Ted Cruz committed political suicide the other night. Ted is dead.
I was asked what I thought Cruz would say at the Republican convention. Knowing Cruz as I do, I knew there was a risk he would say what he said. Ted doesn’t like losing, especially to somebody he thinks less of. But was it worth committing political suicide?
A little history: I had met Ted Cruz on multiple occasions. One in particular was when I sat in for Craig James who ran for the Senate seat against Cruz. Craig’s father-in-law was gravely ill so he asked me to represent him, since we went to college together and were friends. That was my first meeting with Cruz.
I mentioned that Craig James played at SMU during the hay day of the Pony Express. He became a running back in the NFL and played for New England in the Super Bowl. He left the NFL to become an anchor for ESPN, and later success in other businesses. In short, Craig James is a star. He doesn’t need Washington to become one.
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I said, “DC is Hollywood for ugly people. And no matter how genuine politicians start out, they become star struck.”
To his credit, Cruz didn’t take the bait. He just launched into the sitting Lieutenant Governor, his real competition. I was impressed with Cruz. Actually I was impressed with his approach.
Later he would ignore me publicly, given what side I had chosen. I began to sense what I witnessed during his speech. There was an ugly side to Cruz. There existed the beast. The beast helped Ted Cruz commit political suicide.
I alluded to it with some friends. I felt it shouldn’t disqualify him, as long as he figured out how to tame the beast. He did tame the beast, at least for a while.
I felt Cruz was running the best campaign, early on; that he knew when to peak, and so on. The strategy worked to a point, then Cruz started to showcase the beast. In a couple of instances, he behaved very “liberal” in his responses to things. He could no longer control the best.
The other side of Cruz is much of the reason he is despised in Washington. His hatred among his peers is not his dogmatic dedication to conservatism, but just the fact that he’s a butthole. Cruz is not easy to like.
In full disclosure, I don’t care what people think about me. This can be off-putting to some, particularly the weak. But I am approachable, certainly empathetic, if not downright sympathetic. I balance my ferocious independence with the idea that I want nothing from anybody. I accept people–most people–as they are. I don’t make friends for what I can get from them, and I don’t play games.
In my meetings with Ted Cruz, I didn’t find that he had much sympathy for others. It’s his way or his way. You can help him or just get out of the way.
My hope was that in his presidential run Cruz would understand the bigger picture. I didn’t want him to be fake, but to evolve naturally. I did.
I never want to be president or run for any public office. Perhaps this is partially because in many ways I’m unbending. That said, if I had lost to Trump, unlike Cruz I would have supported him. In effect, I did lose to Trump by way of Cruz and others. Trump wasn’t among my first three choices. But Trump won.
I think back on my political inspiration, Ronald Reagan. He gave the concession speech of a winner. I found Reagan endearing, his words inspiring. I thought to myself,
“He may have lost, but he’s no loser. That’s the speech of a man who knows he will be on top in the future.”
I was inspired. Ted Cruz gave the speech of a loser. Charles Krauthammer called it, “the longest suicide note in history.”
I agree. Ted Cruz committed political suicide. Ted is dead.