Buffalo Bill ’s
who used to
ride a watersmooth-silver
and break onetwothreefourfive
he was a handsome man
and what i want to
how do you like your blue-eyed boy
— E.E. Cummings
For the conservative movement, Ted Cruz was going to be a savior. The anointed one. His father told us that Ted was “anointed…to bring the spoils of war to the Priests.” The congregation of the New Beginnings Church in Irving, Texas, laid hands on Ted and he was invited to speak in tongues. And the high priests of National Review solemnly said “amen.”
Like Cummings’ Buffalo Bill, Ted would “ride a watersmooth-silver stallion” and break Donald Trump. Because the self-styled conservative movement had pronounced Ted to be an authentic “constitutionalist,” and nothing else mattered.
Not when Cruz alienated an entire state —a large one — as when he accused Trump of representing “New York values.” Some Jews felt not a little uncomfortable with that, as “New York values” was often used as an anti-Semitic dog whistle. This sense of unease was heightened for some of us when Cruz told a New Hampshire audience that for Trump to attack him for taking loans from Goldman Sachs — where Cruz’ wife Heidi works — was “to use a New York term…the height of chutzpah,” apparently exaggerating the guttural “ch” in chutzpah.” As Dana Milbank wrote in the Washington Post, chutzpah “is not a ‘New York’ term. It’s a Yiddish — a Jewish — one.”
Now, many folks use the work “chutzpah” without offending anyone. It’s a convenient term to describe extreme nerviness, and it’s entered into the English language. Like “bagels.” For example, President Obama used “chutzpah” to describe Senate Republicans when they passed a bill to repeal Obamacare knowing he’d veto.
Personally, I think that it was Cruz’s clumsiness in the way he used the term that caused us to pause. A sort of extreme self-consciousness. As if his first draft of the speech had read “to use a Jew-boy term,” and then he changed it when he realized that some might find it offensive. This is an admittedly subjective feeling on my part. Rather like the hilarious Easter dinner scene in Woody Allen’s Annie Hall, where the Woody character is so ill at ease with Annie’s über Wasp family that at one point he imagines himself looking like an ultraorthodox Jew to Annie’s grandmother. Ted Cruz can come across as a very creepy guy.
And neither does Cruz’s utter cluelessness matter to the soi disant movement conservatives. As when he slandered all of the southeastern states:
Donald has done well in the southeastern states.… Now Donald has a harder problem in the west, it’s interesting, his location he does well in the southeast. He does well with a certain demographic of voter.
And what demographic would that be? “Voters who have relatively low information, who are not that engaged, and who are angry.” Cruz blithely writes off the voters in huge swathes of America.
What’s really interesting in this interview, however, is how Cruz manages to highlight an essential difference between him and Donald Trump. Trump had said that he loved “the poorly educated.” Unlike the elitist Cruz, Trump does not think that a person’s level of education is equivalent to his level of information or intelligence.
What Trump said about “the poorly educated” indicates his belief that these qualities don’t correlate with one’s level of education. Trump knows that an Ivy League education doesn’t confer intelligence, and Ted Cruz is evidence of that fact. Just as in Cummings’ poem, where the invocation of Jesus serves to highlight Buffalo Bill’s arrogance, Ted Cruz betrays his false religiosity by his lack of humility.
And now Ted Cruz has cemented his relationship with Mr. Death by being one of the first to blame Trump for the University of Illinois-Chicago riots that deprived him of his First Amendment right to free speech. (Surprisingly, Cruz was followed by Marco Rubio and John Kasich.) So much for Cruz’s constitutional principles. He has allied himself with the likes of the Black Lives Matter movement, the Communist Party, and Bill Ayers, the terrorist who helped Barack Obama get started in politics.
And at NRO, the magazine that fired Mark Steyn because he wrote somewhat harshly, but truthfully, about the Islamic terrorist groups that want to annihilate us, we have Kevin Williamson, a Defender of the Faith, advocating a final solution to the bothersome American Middle Class that supports Donald Trump:
The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die. Economically, they are negative assets. Morally, they are indefensible.… The white American underclass is in thrall to a vicious, selfish culture whose main products are misery and used heroin needles.
Got that folks? The very people who made America possible, the bedrock of our culture that told the world that if only you were willing to work hard, you could make it in America. And if not you, then you could provide your children with a leg up the social ladder. These people “deserve to die.”
Sadly, the conservative movement, in its histrionic, narcissistic pique — engendered by the realization that it no longer has a following — has completed the circle. The ideological right that filters reality through an artificial prism it calls “conservative principles” has become intertwined with the psychotic left, and the two untenable extremes are locked into a dance of death. And this is why Ted Cruz can never become president of the United States. He’s defunct. Mr. Death doesn’t have enough of a following in our country. Even after seven years of the Obama administration, this kind of nihilism has not gained a sufficient foothold to elect Ted Cruz.