Cruz would be less appalling if he were more of a, y’know…

You’ve heard by know about Donald Trump’s nodding, winking, mock-shocked repetition of a vulgarity aimed at Ted Cruz. And if you haven’t, well, excuse this violation of my civility policy:

“She just said a terrible thing,” Trump said with a smile. “You know what she said? Shout it out.”

The woman shouted louder, but still couldn’t be heard throughout the cavernous arena.

“Okay, you’re not allowed to say and I never expect to hear that from you again,” Trump said with mock seriousness, like a father reprimanding a child. “She said — I never expect to hear that from you again! — she said: ‘He’s a pussy.’ That’s terrible.”…

There’s been a goodly amount of appropriate harrumphing over this, but I haven’t seen any address the “substance,” such as it was.

And the thing is, Cruz would be a more appealing, or at least less appalling, if he were just a wee bit more of a, well, you know.

There’s a long tradition of tough-talking in our politics, but Sen. Ted Cruz takes ersatz machismo to a level that is frankly embarrassing, such as in the video above, in which he promises that “if you wage jihad against us, you’re signing your death warrant,” and that he will never “apologize for America.”

You know what? As uncharacteristic as it would be for me, if Ted Cruz gets elected, I will apologize for America.

Here’s the problem for people like Cruz and Trump both: As much as they’d like to portray the president as a “rhymes with wussy,” Obama’s been actually killing terrorists right and left, including the grand kahuna of the jihad crowd himself. We all know that, if you get mixed up in terrorism, you make Obama’s list.

But he does it like a man of respect, like Vito and Michael, never uttering a threat, but quietly whacking guys left and right as needed. The heads of the other four families thought Michael was a, you know, but they found out different.

Cruz is a wannabe Sonny, only without the rep to back it up. Really, when did Cruz make his bones? Never, to my knowledge.

Cruz needs to get in touch a bit more with his, um, gynecological side, just enough to dial back the empty strutting about. It would make him less contemptible. Maybe then we could take him seriously as a man…

tough 2

The look that’s supposed to scare the terrorists.

29 thoughts on “Cruz would be less appalling if he were more of a, y’know…

  1. Karen Pearson

    If we elect Mr. Cruz or Mr. Trump we won’t have to worry about DASH. We’ll resemble them so closely that it will be hard to tell the difference. And don’t say that at least we’ll be “Christian.” There is nothing Christian in what they propose to do.

    Reply
    1. Harry Harris

      I think David Brook’s commentary on Cruz was pretty much accurate, though scathing. He claims that Cruz, despite his, Christian label, shows very little one would associate with a follower of Christ – no compassion, no mercy, no grace. Too bad that some want to attribute those characteristics to female tendencies and unmanliness. Rubio’s positions in this race are nearly as harsh, but with a kinder face. Then Rubio goes off harshly (and inaccurately) attacking President Obama as some sort of unpatriotic demon, and rails at Clinton as disqualified because of email mistakes and Bengazi periphery. We’re getting the kind of harsh, made-up rhetoric our policy laziness, label proneness, and incuriosity has produced.
      Kasich is somewhat more palatable until you look at his stands on taxation (highly trickle down), social security (raise retirement age, cut Medicare), and balancing the budget on the backs of the middle class. Then there’s his church/state mishmash.

      Reply
        1. Harry Harris

          He’s said that separation of church and state was a “goofy misinterpretation,” and, oddly, proposed a US department of Judeo-Christian values to somehow spread those values overseas.

          Reply
            1. Harry Harris

              Government promotion of a religion or religion itself violates the establishment prohibition, and I would caution any religious person that any government that can promote and support your religious values can shape them and in some sense define them. I, as a follower of Jesus, do not want public policy determined by theology. I want theology and religious values to influence the culture, and thus affect public policy. Many Christians, rather than doing the hard work of standing for their values in the face of a sometimes hostile culture, whine about ejecting God from schools because they can’t promote their sectarian purposes on government time and with government resources. Do you want a Mormon majority community, or a B’hai neighborhood, or, peacenic, Pope who is critical of capitalism’s excesses using government resources to spread their particular gospel?

              Reply
      1. Bryan Caskey

        Just for the sake of argument, what facts are we pointing to that support the conclusion of: Cruz shows “no compassion, no mercy, no grace”?

        Reply
          1. Bryan Caskey

            Okay then. Should be easy to point to a particular instance, no?

            Bear in mind, I’m not necessarily arguing the other side, yet. (as John Cusak would say). :)

            Reply
            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              How about that video at the top of the post.

              And pretty much any time he’s talking about illegal immigrants.

              Or when he says things such as this, which he said last night: “Your victory here tonight has left the Washington cartel utterly terrified!”

              “Washington cartel” being his term for normal elected representatives. A Christian doesn’t exult in terrifying people…

              Reply
              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                Reminds me of when Nikki Haley, at the height of riding the Tea Party wave in 2010, used to exult at the fear of mainstream pols, saying that seeing them “scared” was “a beautiful thing,” and really relishing it. (Go to the 7:00 mark on this video.)

                It’s something that would creep me out even if the subject was terrorists. But when the allegedly fearful ones are normal, sensible people who are not caught up in your extremist ideology…

                Fortunately, she’s outgrown that sort of thing. I think.

                Reply
        1. bud

          For starters Cruz has run a very dirty campaign. His lies about Dr. Carson and CNN are just for starters . Then his craven exploitation of his own daughters was disgusting. And some of policy proposals are hardly compassionate. Proposing to carpet bomb children. I could go on but my thumb is tired.

          Reply
  2. Bryan Caskey

    Things that I like about Cruz:

    1. Cruz seems to be a little less inclined to turn the middle east into some sort of western democratic paradise than say…Rubio. If you like interventionist stuff like deposing Assad with the US military (and then occupying Syria to follow up), then Rubio is definitely your guy.

    2. Cruz’s critics say he’s too stubborn to make deals. Eh, I don’t know about that. Deals will have to be made at some point, but maybe he’s shifting the parameters of where deals will be made.

    3. He won Iowa while telling Iowa farmers that he’s going to get rid of the federal ethanol subsidy. That’s not someone who’s there just telling people what they want to hear. So regardless of what you think about ethanol policy, it’s actually rather nice to see a politician act like he believes in what he says.

    No candidate is perfect, though. He’s not my first choice. My first choice isn’t in the race anymore.

    Reply
    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      And that was…?

      Anyway, you’re making it sound like Rubio’s my guy. But he needs to put the robot thing behind him.

      Personally, I don’t know whom to vote for. I was pretty sure I’d vote for Lindsey, for lack of a viable candidate I liked as much. You know, like I did with my man Joe.

      Now, I don’t know. Either Bush, Christie, Kasich or Rubio, in alphabetical order…

      OR…

      Maybe I’ll do something I haven’t done since I voted for Lieberman in 2004 (and had not done before that in I forget how long), and do the Democratic primary instead.

      Up to now, I had thought it more critical to have a say on the GOP side. But now, with Hillary so threatened by Bernie…

      Still — she’s going to win, and if she isn’t, then maybe she’s not supposed to.

      It still seems critical to make a tiny statement for sanity on the GOP side, where it’s so badly needed…

      Reply
      1. Bryan Caskey

        I liked Scott Walker, but apparently no one else did.

        I wasn’t trying to imply that Rubio is your guy. I was just contrasting Cruz with Rubio on foreign policy.

        Rubio certainly has lots of good aspects, but he has flaws, too. For me, his biggest flaw is that he’s a big government “compassionate conservative” who likes manipulating the tax code to push society in a diretion that he likes. While I would concede he’s a conservative, that’s not really a brand of conservatism I hold with.

        Reply
        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Sorry, I worded that awkwardly. I meant that with this:

          Cruz seems to be a little less inclined to turn the middle east into some sort of western democratic paradise than say…Rubio. If you like interventionist stuff like deposing Assad with the US military (and then occupying Syria to follow up), then Rubio is definitely your guy.

          You were making Rubio sound like the guy for me… And this just makes him sound better:

          Rubio certainly has lots of good aspects, but he has flaws, too. For me, his biggest flaw is that he’s a big government “compassionate conservative” who likes manipulating the tax code to push society in a diretion that he likes. While I would concede he’s a conservative, that’s not really a brand of conservatism I hold with.

          Reply
        2. Brad Warthen Post author

          His drawbacks for me are:

          1. He looks and sounds like the kid who was determined to show you he was The Smartest Guy in Student Government. It’s not just his youth, it’s that he comes across as that kind of youth. I knew guys like that in high school and, to a lesser extent, in college.

          2. All the usual GOP alternative reality stuff, like repealing Obamacare, which he calls a “failed law,” which it is not. This is part and parcel with the usual GOP stuff about Obama. But I suppose the fair thing to do is discount that, since they all spout this nonsense…

          Reply
        3. Brad Warthen Post author

          I’m the guy who walks into the Presidential General Store and asks, “What have you got for a guy who voted for McCain in 2008 and Obama in 2012?”

          And the man behind the counter looks at me like I might be dangerous and carefully shrugs, saying, “We’re fresh out of that.”

          Back when they thought they were inevitable, Hillary and to some extent Jeb presented themselves as that product to a certain extent, but not any more…

          Reply
        4. Brad Warthen Post author

          As for Scott Walker…

          The last time he did anything I liked was when he took on the public employee unions. Because, as you know, I don’t think public employee unions should exist. (The point of a union is to band together to have the power to go up against a powerful employer. With public employees, the employer is us, the public. I don’t hold with workers banding together to go up against us, the people.)

          But what’s he done since then?

          He probably did less than anyone to distinguish himself from the crowd of candidates. Lindsey didn’t do any better, but at least you knew he was the hawkish guy with the jokes. Walker was just “generic Republican.” I can’t recall a single thing he said or did during the campaign, except quit early, which I thought was wise.

          Reply
          1. JesseS

            Student body president about sums it up.

            Cruz’s problem is that he spent years figuring out the audiences he wants to appeal to, but when he speaks to those folks he comes across as having a voyeuristic relationship with them. It makes him downright creepy.

            He plays the Evangelical layman, the gun toting border patrol agent who eats rattle snakes for breakfast, a hard knuckled backroom power broken, and a top notch legal eagle. You can’t simultaneously turn all of those personas up to 11 without appearing just a little cynical, but he does it anyway.

            If he thought there was a good woodworking vote he’d critique Bob Villa and worry voters that they can’t make a good dovetail joint.

            Reply
        5. Assistant

          I agree with your assessments of Cruz, Walker, and Rubio.

          I’m curious as to whether Obama’s going to leave behind any unfinished bidness on his kill list. Maybe remaining candidates at future debates should be asked what they’d do if/when they got the list.

          Reply
        6. bud

          I would have thought Walker would have polled better. He checked all the conservative boxes. This has been a very difficult campaign to predict. I’ll go out on a limb and predict a quick collapse for Trump.

          Reply
  3. Chris McCormick

    Brad, I would’ve thought you’d like Kasich? Is he a bit boring for you, or below the radar, or …? Seems moderate, has (from what I can tell) a strong track record as an executive in a big challenging state, etc. He may come out of the NH bloodbath looking like a contender.

    Maybe a little soft for you on foreign policy? He seems fairly non-interventionist to me.

    Reply
  4. bud

    feeling the Bern that is.

    I know I’m not the greatest writer in the world but if there was some type of edit feature I’d look a tad better.

    Reply
  5. Bill

    Things Have Changed
    A worried man with a worried mind
    No one in front of me and nothing behind
    There’s a woman on my lap and she’s drinking champagne
    Got white skin, got assassin’s eyes
    I’m looking up into the sapphire-tinted skies
    I’m well dressed, waiting on the last train

    Standing on the gallows with my head in a noose
    Any minute now I’m expecting all hell to break loose

    People are crazy and times are strange
    I’m locked in tight, I’m out of range
    I used to care, but things have changed

    This place ain’t doing me any good
    I’m in the wrong town, I should be in Hollywood
    Just for a second there I thought I saw something move
    Gonna take dancing lessons, do the jitterbug rag
    Ain’t no shortcuts, gonna dress in drag
    Only a fool in here would think he’s got anything to prove

    Lot of water under the bridge, lot of other stuff too
    Don’t get up gentlemen, I’m only passing through

    People are crazy and times are strange
    I’m locked in tight, I’m out of range
    I used to care, but things have changed

    I’ve been walking forty miles of bad road
    If the Bible is right, the world will explode
    I’ve been trying to get as far away from myself as I can
    Some things are too hot to touch
    The human mind can only stand so much
    You can’t win with a losing hand

    Feel like falling in love with the first woman I meet
    Putting her in a wheelbarrow and wheeling her down the street

    People are crazy and times are strange
    I’m locked in tight, I’m out of range
    I used to care, but things have changed

    I hurt easy, I just don’t show it
    You can hurt someone and not even know it
    The next sixty seconds could be like an eternity
    Gonna get low down, gonna fly high
    All the truth in the world adds up to one big lie
    I’m in love with a woman who don’t even appeal to me

    Mr. Jinx and Miss Lucy, they jumped in the lake
    I’m not that eager to make a mistake

    People are crazy and times are strange
    I’m locked in tight, I’m out of range
    I used to care, but things have changed

    Reply

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