Thursday, July 21, 2016

Ted Cruz misses another shot at glory

Elephants have long memories, and they won't forget how Lyin' Ted refused to play the game.

In the most dramatic, off-script moment in a Republican convention that’s been full of them, the second-place finisher in the party’s contest didn’t endorse the man who bested him—effectively launching his own 2020 presidential bid in the midst of Donald Trump’s effort this year.

He refused to endorse the Republican Party’s nominee, merely congratulating him on winning the nomination and not so much as mentioning Trump’s name thereafter. “We’re fighting,” Cruz told the crowd, “not for one particular candidate or one campaign.”

In November, the Tea Party senator said, “vote your conscience… vote for candidates up and down the ticket who you trust to defend our freedom and to be faithful to the Constitution.”

He did not say that Trump was this man—and the crowd noticed, loudly booing him at various points during the speech. “I appreciate the passion of the New York delegation,” Cruz responded at one point.

Trump himself seemed to notice as well, as he entered the convention hall and took a seat with his family a few minutes before Cruz finished his speech.

The entrance drew raucous applause, as many delegates turned their backs on Cruz to face Trump and cheer him. Trump sat there, stone-faced, as Cruz continued his remarks. Not once during the address did Trump or his family clap.

The Intercept breaks it down with a handful of videos recording the uprising.  This is going to cost Ted something dearly at some point, whether in four years as he consolidates his bid for the White House again, or in some circumstance that comes sooner in the Congress.  Even Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan played along with the charade of the convention.  Ted's going to be on an island somewhere ... with a small gaggle of supporters.

Though his last rally was months ago, there was a familiar feeling in the air Wednesday afternoon at a riverside Cleveland restaurant as the senator held a thank-you event for his supporters. There were familiar faces and familiar, campaign-trail-rhetoric.

Cruz fired up his crowd—and seemed to revel when the restaurant crowd erupted into boos at the mention of Trump. The timing was perfect. “Our party now has a nominee...” the senator began.

Just as Cruz brought up Trump for the first time, the mogul’s private jet—with “TRUMP” emblazoned on its side, clearly visible from the ground—flew into view over the nearby Cuyahoga River.

At the sight of the plane, the crowd started booing so loudly that Cruz nearly had to shout as he cracked a joke about the outburst of disdain toward his party’s presidential nominee.

“That was pretty well orchestrated,” Cruz quipped. He called out to his former campaign manager, Jeff Roe: “Jeff, did you email them to fly the plane right when I said that?”

The afternoon gathering brought the old Cruz crew back together; a number of long-time Cruz staffers were there, including John Drogin, Tyler Norris, Catherine Frazier, and Roe. Other Cruz boosters attended as well, including Wisconsin state Senator Duey Stroebel, Virginia state Senator Dick Black, Rep. Louie Gohmert, and former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.


“I don’t know what the future holds,” Cruz began at one point, lingering for a moment on the thought.

His supporters filled the silence.

“2020! 2020!” they shouted.

I have never been able to discern the differences between Cruz and Trump, save for the fact that Trump's people early on in the campaign said that because of his wealth, Hair Furor couldn't be bought off like all the rest of the DC crowd.  They appear to be wrong about Trump's income bracket, which is probably why he's been so secretive about his tax bracket, but  once again, truth and facts don't deter them.  And the conservative Christian bloc fell in line behind Drumpf as well, a demographic Cruz was surely counting on.

The GOP lesson for us this cycle is there is no discounting the motivation of bigotry. And the louder and more strident the hate, the farther it resonates.

So four years away and with a myriad of Clinton failures yet to come, I don't see a Ted Cruz 2020 campaign making up much electoral ground on a Hillary re-election bid.  Maybe W Bush is right.

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