Saturday, April 02, 2016

Ted Cruz Is Not My Champion

I understand Senator Graham's position, and most of the others who've endorsed him. He's not Donald Trump. Who, in addition to being worthy of shame for his reprehensible conduct, either is completely ignorant, or is pandering to the completely ignorant. All that is understood.

Ted Cruz is also pandering. He may not be the walking embarrassment that Trump is, but what bothers me is that he still thinks he can corral the crazy. He says almost equally absurd things--like patrolling Muslim neighborhoods is a good idea--but he does it without swearing, or at least directly insulting everyone for a few chuckles. As a result, he gets a pass. But I'm sitting here going, "Did anyone else hear that?!" If this primary were anything like normal, this guy wouldn't be anywhere near the nomination. If that bothers you, good. It means you've been hating Democrats more than listening or thinking like a sane person.

Today, my social network feed is filled with Senator Cruz's proclamation that he will abolish the IRS. A sane person, even in light of the fact that the Obama administration at least possibly allowed the IRS to target his political opponents--would say, "I promise that the IRS will not be used for political purposes." It makes the point, it expresses sympathy with those who are angry about what happened, (allegedly), and it's achievable. Either Senator Cruz is a crazy reactionary that makes Reagan look like a Democrat, or he's trolling for votes among people who are. Either way, I don't think you should support a person like that.

How you talk tells the people what kind of culture you want to create, at least among the people in your voting coalition, and those at least willing to consider you. Ted Cruz has created a culture at least as reactionary and unhealthy as the frontrunner, and if you listen to many conservatives, I should accept this as the price of business. I don't think so.

And this isn't about issues, per se. By some measures, I agree with Ted Cruz almost 90 percent of the time, on the actual tangible policy questions. How you talk matters. More than what you think. If you made me choose outright between the three remaining, disregarding all the current delegate math and strategic considerations, I would choose John Kasich, and proudly. He doesn't make me apologetic at the thought of supporting him. He doesn't bring deserved shame upon our party and country. That actually matters.

Let me end this way: if not saying immoral and absurd things makes one a "liberal" and part of "The Establishment," we deserve to lose. There is no philosophy left to defend. If the price of consideration is that high, no principled person of conscience should be willing to pay it. The New York Times may call everyone to their right a dangerous reactionary, and a person of good will and principle will be ready to take his lumps. But woe to us, who have become so angry that we turn the left's boy who cried wolf into a prophet! That's the greatest shame of all.

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