One of the truly brutalizing, utterly mind-fucking things about covering a US Presidential campaign from Primary season all the way to the general election in the Fall is the way you begin to build a close, personal and completely one-sided relationship with each of the candidates – even if they’re an odious, morally decrepit neanderthal like Ohio Governor John Kasich.
Over time, as weeks become months, the endless, ghastly parade of press conferences, debates and interviews seem to slowly distort your rapidly-crumbling mental faculties; like raging syphilis or some kind of experimental drug popular with anarchist millennials in the most shattered parts of Eastern Europe. Whether it’s a function of simply absorbing staggering quantities of premium, uncut bullshit or some insipid form of Stockholm syndrome remains an open question; but after a while, it becomes possible to briefly enter the mental hellscape of a candidate so deeply that you start to get a strange, but shockingly reliable sense for how a particular candidate thinks, feels and even how they’ll react to a given situation.
I mention this now in my defense because after nine consecutive months of watching Texas Senator Ted Cruz skulk, dissemble and ooze his way through the Republican Primary, I’ve developed a sort of highly-begrudged admiration for the tenacity, malleability and sheer, excruciating patience of his campaign. If Kasich is a shambling zombie from the Republican Party’s past and Trump is the enraged, contemptuous ogre of its future – then Cruz is the creeping, inevitable, slime monster of its present; inching closer and closer to the party’s nomination while constantly absorbing bits and pieces of his faltering rivals. Through unwavering ambition, a crude form of animal cunning and relentless cowardice in the face of Trump’s early assaults on his character – Cruz has been able to cast a terrifying spell over what remains of mainstream conservatism in America; forcing them to embrace a candidate that virtually nobody in the Republican Party actually fucking likes, or even remotely trusts.
From a pure personality perspective he’s arrogant, abrasive and more than just a little bit fucking smarmy. This is after all the man whose college roommates at Princeton described as fundamentally rude, smelly and utterly incapable of personal growth. As a boy, Cruz was hated even in high school for his lack of empathy and personal skills – a trait that remained constant throughout both his later education and his time serving the American people in government. Folks, we are talking about a guy who once responded to a classmate’s heartbreaking tale about her mother’s decision to abort a child she simply could not afford to raise by telling the poor, now sobbing freshman that her mother would burn in hell because she was a “whore.” This is the same mutherfucker who once called the leader of his own party, Mitch McConnell a liar on the Senate Floor; although in Cruz’s defense McConnell is a goddamn liar and an obnoxious shitheel to boot.
As it turns out, Ted is, or at least was, also more than a little creepy – and that’s even if you disregard the (likely) slanderous rumors about Cruz fucking everything that moves except his wife and potentially appearing in the infamous DC Madam’s phone records. Apparently our upright, uptight and incontrovertibly moral holy roller used to lurk by the women’s section of his dorm at Princeton in nothing but a paisley bathrobe; an activity he partook in often enough that his roommate fielded repeated requests from female students to “keep Cruz out of their hallway.” Actually, the words “creep” or “creepy” seem to come up an awful lot when talking to people who know Cruz on what passes for a personal level; four students independently questioned about their time with Cruz in college used precisely that language to describe him in 2013 and there’s only one candidate in this race the entire goddamn internet is trying to trick into revealing that he is in fact the Zodiac Killer. Ted Cruz gives rational and even less than rational people, the fucking heebie-jeebies without even opening his gaping, scientifically terrifying maw to speak.
Then, of course, there is Cruz’s time as a legislator and elected official to consider – a time which quite frankly seems to have been spent almost entirely devoted to the singular goal of realizing Ted’s delusional quest to become the single most powerful man on the planet as President of the United States.
While serving as a Supreme Court clerk to Chief Justice William Rehnquist, Cruz was known to his fellow clerks as both a death-penalty zealot and an obnoxious kiss-ass who reportedly undertook tennis lessons so he could spend as much time as possible with his boss. Immediately upon assuming the role of Solicitor General of Texas, Cruz promptly went about raising the profile of his office by repeatedly inserting himself in politically charged cases around the country that had virtually nothing to do with his state at all. Cruz absolutely flooded the Supreme Court with amicus briefs on high profile, conservative issues like abortion and gun control – filling a mind-numbing 70+ such papers over the course of his five-and-a-half-year tenure when perhaps three such briefs a year would be considered normal for his predecessors.
Actually Ted’s time as Solicitor General of Texas is uncomfortably revealing for more than just his glamour-seeking friend-of-the-court briefs; lawyers working for Cruz report that he wasn’t particularly interested in discussing legal strategies with his staff – instead preferring to spend his time watching cable news on a television he ordered installed in his office immediately after taking the job. Cruz is also remembered less than fondly for resting his goddamn cowboy boots on subordinate’s desks like some tinpot dictator in a particularly shitty, foreign porno flick and decorating his office with a giant fucking picture of himself arguing during one of his few actual appearances before the Supreme Court.
Perhaps the most damning revelation from Cruz’s career as Solicitor General however, comes from his handling of the infamous Medellín v. Texas case in 2005 when Cruz not only openly stated his intention to lie to the Supreme Court of the United States to his staff, but actually submitted his initial SCOTUS brief with a statement he incontrovertibly knew to be false contained inside. The case involved the brutal rape and murder of two young girls in Houston – one of whom was wearing a children’s watch adorned with the Disney character Goofy. Ever the insipid carnival barker, Cruz choose to initially describe the item as a Mickey Mouse watch in his brief because he wanted the image to have a more powerful and dramatic effect on the presiding judges. Yes, you read that correctly folks – Ted Cruz reportedly tried to lie to the fucking Supreme Court because he thought one cartoon character made for a more memorable and graphic story than another.
If Cruz’s time impersonating an actual lawyer while openly inflating his own grotesque profile within the Republican Party was memorable however, his next act as a freshman Senator for Texas would go down as one of the most singularly disgusting, self-aggrandizing, shameless vanity crusades in the history of US Politics – the 2013 government shutdown over Obamacare. Look folks, the simple goddamn truth is that you could pen an entire fucking book about the gigantic clusterfuck that was the government shutdown and why it was almost entirely Ted Cruz’s fault; frankly, one day I just might write that book myself. All you really need to know however is that it was a bald-faced attempt to subvert democracy by forcing President Obama to defund the Affordable Care Act, it ended up costing the American taxpayer twenty-four billion fucking dollars and it never had even the slightest goddamn chance of working – even according to the mainstream Republican Party, which actively opposed Cruz and his Tea Party rebels every step of the way during the shameful sixteen day saga.
In fact, the only people who actually benefited from the whole wretched ordeal were a few Tea Party candidates running on a scorched-earth platform in 2014 and, you guessed it, Ted fucking Cruz – who’d managed to raise his national profile immeasurably during a farcical, twenty-one hour insult to the American political process disguised as an asinine filibuster touching on such staggeringly monumental topics as the Little Engine that Could, Ted’s Darth Vader impression and the Dr. Suess children’s classic, Green Eggs and Ham. For those of you reading this article outside of America – please let me assure you that I’m not making any of this up and that no, I’m not entirely sure why Ted Cruz isn’t in prison for endangering the livelihoods of 800, 000 government workers and wasting twenty-four billion dollars of taxpayer money. Apparently however, the answer involves “freedom” and “grassroots conservatism” somehow; although I remain pretty fucking skeptical myself.
Since that time, Cruz has gone on to wage one of the more remarkable three year wars against reason, intellect and common decency in recorded human history. Who can forget the time he called for the federal government to “repeal every word of Common Core” – a voluntary, state-based program that isn’t even a fucking actual law. Or that time he implied that Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel might have taken $200,000 from the government of North Korea; an act which would literally count as treason against the United States of America. How about the time Cruz used a clerical error to imply the 2015 mass shooting at a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic could have been committed by “a transgender leftist activist” after bearded, pro-life gunman Robert Dear murdered three and wounded nine American citizens before not-so-fucking-cryptically informing police who’d apprehended him “no more baby parts” and later telling a judge that he was “a warrior for the babies?” What about all of the times Cruz has shown a staggering indifference, lack of awareness or open hostility towards scientific facts despite chairing the Senate subcommittee on Space, Science and Competitiveness?
In fact, in retrospect, it’s fair to say that Cruz has managed to keep himself in the media spotlight by saying outrageously stupid or disingenuous things almost continuously since orchestrating and serving as the face of the aforementioned government shutdown. The sniveling, skeevy son of a bitch is literally always on fucking television; whether through embarrassingly ham-fisted attacks on the Democratic Party, dramatically celebrating the political demise of his party’s own House Speaker, or gleefully declaring that the country would be better off if the Senate had 100 more people like Jessie Helms – a profoundly bigoted, racist politician who once tried to block the Senate from approving Martin Luther King Day, just to shore up the ignorant redneck dispshit vote in a 1984 election.
Sweet mother of god, do you folks realize that we’re almost two thousand words into an essay about Ted fucking Cruz and somehow we haven’t even mentioned the fact that he’s a goddamn nutcase fundamentalist who wants to carpet bomb Syria to get ISIS and actively denies the separation of church and state in American law! To put it extremely fucking bluntly, Ted Cruz is a dark ages, Old Testament Dominionist/Reconstructionist who believes that Christians have a holy duty to seize control over seven key aspects of society – family, religion, education, media, entertainment, business and government. It is simply impossible to measure Cruz’s staggering disconnect from reality in this light and within the context of a heated Republican Primary campaign that could theoretically hand this fucking nutcase the goddamn nuclear football; we’re talking about a mutherfucking professional lawyer who claims to be a devoted student of the Constitution and yet somehow allowed his own father to publish a book which disingenuously states “although many people think otherwise, the concept of separation of church and state is found nowhere in either the Declaration of Independence of the Constitution or the United States of America.”
Still unconvinced? Okay, let’s talk about the fact that Cruz equated President Obama’s call to reject discrimination against Muslims in the wake of the horrifying San Bernardino murders as an outright defense of terrorism. Let’s discuss Ted’s poorly timed “joke” about having to assassinate the Iranian ayatollah if his country tries to acquire nuclear weapons in the wake of a treaty he detests with every fiber of his body – but is utterly powerless to stop so long as he doesn’t become President. Consider, for just one goddamn moment that this is a candidate who responded to admittedly devastating terrorist bombings in Belgium by calling for police in America to “patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized,” in a speech that almost assuredly angered both Muslims and people who still give a flying fuck about civil liberties nationwide. I cannot, for the bloody life of me, think of a single person in America who might be less suited to command the most powerful army on earth, at a time when we’re trying to stamp out an apocalyptic, death-cult wandering around the mutherfucking desert and just itching to get into a final, world-changing battle with a Christian army, then a guy who can’t even hide his intolerance, fear and hatred of Muslims long enough to get elected.
It gets better of course, because pretty much everyone around the Cruz campaign is also a raving Christian fundamentalist as well. Ted’s previously mentioned father, Rafael Cruz is a powerful traveling evangelist who recently declared that his son was “anointed by God” to be the next President of the United States. Ted himself is enthusiastically supported by seriously unhinged, fundamentalist Pastor Kevin Swanson; a man who openly advocates “killing all gays,” picketing gay weddings and publicly lauded Uganda’s infamous “gay death penalty” law as a model for “bringing Biblical law to bear in the area of homosexuality” – although the feeling may no longer be mutual as Cruz’s campaign has since tepidly acknowledged that attending a rally with Swanson was “a mistake.” Cruz’s multi-million dollar SuperPAC is run by billionaire fundie David Barton – himself a Dominionist and infamous in historical circles for penning an embarrassingly inaccurate series of revisionist-history books about America’s founding fathers; designed to promote the idea that the United States was founded by Christians, as an indisputably Christian nation, with Christian, or specifically biblical law underpinning government and society at large.
Oh no my friends, we are not done here yet – as if all that weren’t enough, it is objectively fair to describe Cruz’s campaign and perhaps even his fundamental worldview as anti-woman. For example, Cruz vigorously opposes abortion under any circumstances where the expectant mother’s life isn’t in danger – including incest and rape for fuck’s sake. In January 2016, Ted formed the “Pro-Lifers for Cruz” coalition – an organization co-chaired by a man who called for the execution of abortion doctors to “expunge bloodguilt from the land and people” in his charming (read: terrifying and irresponsible) book Their Blood Cries Out. Cruz also opposes contraceptive benefits for women; although it’s not entirely clear if this is a function of his undying hatred for Obamacare or his fundamental religious views on contraception as a whole. Either way, there’s at least some evidence that Cruz doesn’t even fucking understand how contraceptives work; he’s gone on record describing Plan B tablets as “abortifacients” despite the fact that the pill works by literally stopping a woman’s ovary from releasing an egg and thus making pregnancy impossible. Finally of course, it simply wouldn’t do to forget that Cruz was one of many, many Republicans who opposed the 2014 update to the Violence Against Women Act that expanded protections for victims while setting aside funds for the investigation and prosecution of violent crimes against women.
Hey, have I mentioned that there’s a better than even chance Ted is also a racist who hates, or at least dislikes African Americans? I mean, I certainly can’t objectively prove it but his father most definitely is a racist and so are some of his longtime friends and associates in conservative politics. Let’s be completely fucking honest with each other for a moment, shall we? Is it really that much of a stretch to imply that a man who blames Obama for every problem America has ever had while publicly stating that the Black Lives Matter Movement is “literally suggesting and embracing and celebrating the murder of police officers” might be just a little, teeny bit fucking racist? In fact, wouldn’t it be more accurate to say that there is in fact very little chance that Ted Cruz isn’t a goddamn racist? I’m just asking a question between rational, reasonable fucking adults here – aren’t I folks?
Naturally, when taken as an objective whole, Ted Cruz’s personality deficiencies, long term track record of fucking over even his own allies to get ahead and the fact that he might actually think he’s the second coming of Jesus Christ in a literal, end of the mutherfucking world sense, should indubitably disqualify Ted from running for a position on his local fucking school board – let alone President of the United States! So how in the name of all that is good, pure and just in this world did we end up here – with Ted Cruz on the cusp of the Republican Presidential nomination and only the shattered remains of Donald Trump or a mysterious (and purely hypothetical at the moment) moderate conservative revolt standing in his way at this late hour in the process?
Well, for starters, Cruz has done such a remarkable job of preventing the right people from “taking him as an objective whole” that I’m beginning to suspect that no two people in all of known goddamn creation have ever met the same Rafael Edward Cruz. More of a political chameleon than a master of disguise, Cruz clearly has an almost uncanny ability to present himself as everything to everyone so long as he knows which voting bloc he’s interacting with in advance. In a room full of Tea Party radicals, Ted is a strident libertarian and outspoken critic of so-called entitlement programs. Shift him over to a mainstream conservative audience however and Cruz will drone on almost endlessly about the need to spend great fucking gobs of additional money on what is already the largest and most expensive military on Earth. Surrounded by lawyers, Cruz becomes a the perfect picture of a strict Constitutionalist; while on his home turf with other Christian fundamentalists he rails at the sky about altering the laws of the land to more closely reflect the will of his smiting, vengeful God. At this point, I’m not even sure Ted fucking Cruz himself knows what he actually believes anymore but his duplicitous phantasmagoria of rotating, regressive neocon belief systems has made it exceptionally difficult for his opponents to actually pin the Senator from Texas down on policy and ultimately finish him off as a credible candidate for the Republican nomination.
There are, of course, a great number of people who are entirely too damn familiar with the many shifting faces of Ted Cruz to ever believe he’d be an acceptable candidate for President, but in the grand scheme of his campaign, those people are just this side of completely fucking irrelevant to Cruz anyways. If Ted is going to ultimately win the nomination, it will be through some vile, unholy mixture of low-information, rural white voters, Islamophobic fundamentalist Christians and a sizeable portion of the mainstream Republican base that’s so terrified of a Trump presidential campaign that they’ll vote for literally fucking anyone instead of The Donald – even a smarmy, duplicitous fundie who’s basically “ISIS Lite” with the mutherfucking Book of Leviticus in his hand.
Even more so than his malleability however, I think the real reason that Ted Cruz has managed to make it this far is that after years of being (rightfully) hated, he has truly become a magnificent survivor. Years upon years of arguments, self-inflicted failures and wholly earned abuse have piled heavily on his soul; forming a grotesque sort of psychological armor and in the process fundamentally, incontrovertibly changing Cruz somehow – and not necessarily for the better.
When I originally started writing this piece, I was drawn to Cruz’s endless, almost excruciating patience in the face of an enemy he could not possibly hope to defeat in single combat – Donald Trump. Desperate to survive the “idiot elimination round” of the Republican Primary, I watched Cruz skulk, scurry and at times even attempt to curry favor with The Donald while Trump went nuclear on each of Ted’s serious rivals one after another. Finally, when Trump had dispatched Rubio and felt utterly certain that Cruz wasn’t a serious threat, the bloviating billionaire attempted to pivot towards a more mainstream Republican platform; instantly, Ted Cruz struck like a goddamn tiger from the trees. At once both shocking and brutal, Cruz’s sudden attack on a poorly-prepared Trump campaign was the perfect mixture of cruelty, cunning and guile for that moment. Watching on television, I marveled at what seemed like the greatest rope-a-dope strategy executed in modern American politics – despite objectively loathing the man who’d just done the deed.
Now that I’ve examined Cruz’s life more closely however, I’ve come to realize that when Ted sucker-punched Trump that night in Michigan, it was merely the logical extension of Cruz’s master plan to finally gain revenge on an uncaring world that has never loved him quite as much as he felt he deserved. In this intricate and terrifying game, Donald Trump is strictly fucking small potatoes my friends – Cruz is out to settle the mutherfucking score with every fool that has ever dared to cross him.
Every schoolyard taunt, every young woman who wouldn’t give him the time of day, every sneering intellectual that recognized Ted as smart, but not objectively brilliant – by God’s will they’re all gonna pay once Cruz finally has the upper hand! Cruz can see victory and vindication at the end of the tunnel, all he has to do is convince the unarguably moronic voting public that he’s one of them for a mere six months longer. It’s all in range for him now, if he can just keep his goddamn cool for a little while longer.
Cruz undoubtedly knows that he will never find the love and adoration he’s been seeking his entire life at the end of this election; but this isn’t about love or adoration now – it’s about revenge on such a colossal scale that nobody outside of Cruz himself seems to have actually grasped his endgame yet. Soon, so soon that he can almost fucking taste it, everyone who’s ever failed to recognize the inherent superiority of Ted Cruz will suffer, and as he ascends to the golden throne of his new Christian Kingdom – each and every last goddamn one of them will be forced to admit that he’d been better, smarter and more correct about literally fucking everything, all along.
No, Cruz is not really a tiger in the trees, a tactical genius or even the snail that crawled across a straight-razor and managed to survive. Ted Cruz isn’t Superman, fuck he isn’t even Batman – he’s Rorschach with a mutherfucking briefcase and a child-friendly minivan. He is the fragile dreamer scorned, he’s Kylo Ren all grown up in body, but not in mind – a wounded child holding a loaded grenade launcher in society’s living room. Arrogance, scar tissue and rejection have transformed Cruz into the political equivalent of Dylan Klebold, and it’s almost fucking recess time in the Republican Party. All that time, all that pressure and the endless waiting are almost over – soon the entire country will tremble before the terrible glory of King Rafael the Wicked, and Cruz will merely laugh the haunting cackle of a man who has ground all of his critics to useless piles of sparkling dust.
It’s funny – scientists and philosophers both say that all it takes to turn a lump of common coal into a beautiful diamond is time and pressure; a fact that likely consoles Ted Cruz deep into the night as he attempts to survive the savage bloodletting the Republican Party is undergoing as we speak. No doubt, Cruz believes that once all the carnage-spattered mud settles, his true quality will shine through like a stone that’s finally been cut, polished and presented to fools who had no idea how valuable it was when it first came out of the ground. Of course, that’s probably because nobody told him it only takes time and pressure to make a goddamn road apple as well and if you ask me what Senator Cruz is really made of – my money would be on ten pounds of extremely unstable horseshit stuffed into a five pound gunny sack faster than you can say “Ted Cruz is the Zodiac Killer.”
- Nina Illingworth