What’s the matter with Ted Cruz?

What’s the matter with Ted Cruz?

Gone is the happy citizen warrior fighting for the Constitution and against Washington corruption.

In his place is a haggard lookalike resembling Elvis in his last days: bloated, incoherent, paranoid.

you ain’t nothin but a hurr durr

The campaign takes a toll on everyone, of course. It means thousands of miles of travel, nonstop TV appearances, and the media prying every minutiae of your personal life down to your CVS receipts.

Despite all her faults and disappointing past appearances, Hillary seems to be weathering the storm better than in previous elections (at least she’s not drinking and crying).

Bernie’s enjoying himself – heck, this is the most attention he’s ever gotten!

Kasich is eating his way across America. And Trump always shows up ready to play ball.

But good God, Ted’s slipping.

In a recent Sean Hannity interview, Cruz evaded simple questions on delegate strategy with completely unrelated commentary before snapping at Hannity, who’s had Cruz on his radio and TV shows more than any other 2016 candidate.

The campaign bizarrely promoted the unflattering interview afterwards to make Cruz look like the victim of a spiteful, Trump-backing Hannity.

When that didn’t work, and the story looked like a bromance in decline, they made nice with Hannity.

Later, Cruz announced an alliance with third-place candidate and 12th man synchronized swimmer John Kasich, instructing Kasich voters to vote for Cruz in Indiana and Cruz voters to choose Kasich in Oregon and New Mexico in a bid to stop Trump in the next round of primaries.

Kasich during an abnormally-still moment

Four days later, after more laughing criticism, Cruz announced “there is no alliance” with Kasich.

Most recently, Cruz named Carly Fiorina as his VP choice in a rambling press conference complete with lullaby singing, baffling not just political observers, but everyone.

somewhere off the stage a cruz staffer just committed suicide

After all, who names a VP choice when they don’t (and won’t) even have the nomination?

The choice was, ostensibly, to deliver California for Cruz and boost his support among women.

Carly Fiorina, after criticizing opponent and incumbent Senator Barbara Boxer’s hair, proceeded to lose her Senate race in California by a full ten points.  Cruz’s choice is like Trump picking Michael Huffington as his running mate to deliver the California primary and the gay vote.

who could blame him for switching orientation

How many hours until Cruz admits the whole Cruz-Carly 2016 thing was a big joke after all?

A more sympathetic source would probably point to the National Enquirer cheating allegations as a reason for Cruz’s disappointing performance lately.  I won’t link to them here, it is the Enquirer after all, the more prurient gossip-hounds can scour for the specifics themselves.

Note how few people stepped up to vouch for him at the time (Amanda Carpenter who was, of course, one of the women named, and, well, that’s about it.)

The conversation wasn’t “of course not!” or “how dare they?!” it was “yeah, I could see that” or “I’m gonna barf”.

keep your sidechicks off instagram, kids

It takes an incredible amount of self-confidence, charisma, and likability to run for the highest office. Cruz has one of those, to the point of hubris.

When Trump exhibits overconfidence about Mexico paying for the wall or winning a primary you laugh, because there’s a wink and a nod.

Then you’re surprised, because he actually comes up with a remittance recapturing plan to build that wall and he – a reality TV star with no prior political experience – wins a state primary against people who’ve wanted to be President since they learned to tie their shoes.

worst game of risk ever

Cruz is incapable of winking, nodding, and providing substance.

He’s the guy in the gym that hits the heavy bag by standing in one spot, pulling his arm back as far back as possible, then plowing his arm square into the bag, left with a look of shock, pain, and confusion when his arm is busted and the bag swings back and clobbers him.

Each debate was an exercise in chakra torture, not just because Marco sweat like the car salesman exposed on the local news for selling lemons.

“Mr. Lundegaard, this is Reilly Deifenbach calling from GMAC. How are you this morning?”

For “the best debater in the world” Cruz didn’t win the audience at home.

Oh sure, he said quite a lot of nothing, his meaningless drivel rivaling the most inexperienced high school policy debate team regional finalist.

None of it was memorable, none of it was particularly insightful, but what was memorable was that face.

ahem: LADIES

I don’t want to be one of those people who rips on Ted Cruz’s face because that’s not very nice, plus there’s little he can do about it at this stage.

Let’s get to more substance though: from a policy standpoint, everyone should, for the most part, be on Cruz’s side.

His ideas seem reasonable enough (taxes on a postcard! Constitution! well that’s about it for novel ideas) and he’s been steeped in new age conservatism long enough to earn some fans and followers.

And he’s losing, badly, to a guy with a Comedy Central Roast in his honor.

How unlikable do you have to be to lose a primary of your own supporters out of sheer smarminess?

Cruz is politically autistic.

He could’ve been in the lead if he co-opted Trump’s positions early on and starved Trump for oxygen.  Border wall?  “Ted’ll build it!”  Veterans?  “Ted’ll help em!”  Trade negotiations?  “Ted’ll deal!”

Instead he spent months complimenting Trump hoping Trump would play nice when the going got tough.  Even Rubio wasn’t that stupid.

As soon as Cruz won Iowa, he sat on his laurels.  He won Texas, but if he didn’t win Texas he should’ve dropped out there and then.  As other rivals fell by the wayside, Cruz sat back, confident in his abilities to win on the ground.

Has no one learned any lessons from Iraq?  Why let Trump get the upper-hand on the issue anyway?

Cruz, like other pundits who have kept their head in the plastic bag of domestic politics for too long, assumed Trump would implode eventually.

He never did.

Even an idiot could tell you that Trump was addressing long-hushed issues like immigration, trade, and jobs that usually get the old one-two punch of lip service followed by inaction from politicians.  Failure to co-opt them doomed Cruz’s campaign.

Cruz’s next step was to just go outright negative, which was even more damaging.  Voters don’t respond to negativity.  Even when Trump’s criticizing something he’s offering it with the brightside/caveat that he’ll improve it.

Then, Cruz lost a chance to rob an opponent of delegates in his opponent’s home state (who misspoke 7/11 for 9/11 within hours! of the primary) by making a boneheaded comment deriding “New York Values“.  Even Trump, who’s broken damn-near every rule of elections, knows that you don’t sh*t on New York during an election.  It’s the fifth rail of American politics.

Cruz’s comment may have helped him in Iowa – and it lost everywhere else.  Cruz couldn’t even win Manhattan, filled with the wealthy donors he loves so much.  That honor went to Kasich, who should pitch a political version of Man vs. Food after eating a third of the Bronx.

if this campaign works out, he should replace Larry the Cable Guy as the Prilosec OTC spokesman

Cruz’s success thus far has been solely due to announcing approximately 176 months ago that he was running for President and outright harassing potential delegates.

If only he could see the irony of railing against the political establishment by using their tactics.

Speaking of which, his “Washington Cartel” nonsense has gone too far. As soon as someone criticizes him – guess what? You’re part of the “Washington Cartel”!

John Boehner, retired Speaker of the House, calls Cruz a son of a b*tch.

All of a sudden, Boehner is part of the “Washington Cartel”!

Cruz is so unlikable that virtually no member of Congress wants to endorse him.

They’re all part of the “Washington Cartel”!

Trump calls him “Lyin’ Ted”, and now Trump is part of the “Washington Cartel” despite never holding elected office.

Cruz in a top-secret meeting with the head of the “Washington Cartel”

One would think having SuperPACs worth tens of millions of dollars and the financial support of the three wealthiest donor families this election cycle

the Wilks Family, donation: $15.0 million
the Mercer Family, donation: $11.3 million
Tony Neugebauer, donation: $10.0 million

would place Cruz not just squarely in the ranks of the “Washington Cartel”, but in a prime leadership position of said “Washington Cartel”.

With financial backing like that, it’s no wonder his family looked so uncomfortable pretending to be folksy.

If all else fails, Cruz is banking on his personal story carrying him through the election: how a young, vaguely-immigrant boy gifted with oratory rose from impoverished, humble ranks with a firm belief in the American Dream and the Constitution to Harvard, the U.S. Senate, and the highest office in the land.

Hey wait, didn’t we elect that guy in 2008?

At least he was born in the United States.

Much like Obama’s, Cruz’s biography is questionable.

Their “humble” origins are bunk: Obama’s grandmother who raised him was a bank Vice President in Hawaii, Cruz’s father started an oil firm in Canada.

Both Obama and Cruz were inspired by extremist father figures (Rev. Wright, Cruz’s dad), were not remembered with particular renown or fondness at Harvard, won their Senate seats in an upset, had no Senate accomplishments of note, have spouses who controversially received six-figure jobs with little merit (Michelle’s hospital admin job in Chicago, Heidi at Goldman Sachs) and have three distinct political gifts: community organizing, talking, and a casual relationship to the truth.

At this stage, Cruz’s strategy is simple: bypass the will of the voters and win by being a convention favorite a few ballots down (just ask President Huckabee and President Santorum), a strategy that would spell disaster in a general election and tell a majority of Republican primary voters to go screw themselves.

In 2008, if it came down to that, and Hillary was the frontrunner going into the convention, Obama could’ve pulled that off and maybe eked by in a general election — after all, he was likable.

Cruz doesn’t have that luxury.

And much like the actual timeline in 2008 where Hillary stumbled towards the convention then conceded at the last possible moment, Cruz’s best option would be to do the same.