If there is one person at the GOP convention who appreciates why Donald Trump has succeeded, it is Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.). For all of his lying, Trump appears to tell it like it is — at least what’s on his mind at that very moment. The rest of the GOP, represented so very well by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) — talks out of the corner of their mouth, a patently insincere palaver about The Party and Unity and the suddenly discovered virtues of the most singularly unqualified presidential candidate in American history, the Lump called Trump.
Cruz spoke the Truth, and he seemed a man totally at peace with himself. Like Trump. On all other days, Cruz is the most unlikable man in Washington. But when he says that he will not endorse a man who insulted the way his wife looks and suggested his father was somehow involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy, I emit a Queens Cheer. (Both Trump and I are from that New York borough.) In fact, Trump’s inner Queens must both understand and agree. If Cruz had said something similar about Trump’s father, the hallowed Fred, Trump would have reacted the same way.
What the most pragmatic of party unifiers pray for is a narrow defeat — a Trump loss that does not also entail one of their own. A landslide defeat could cost the GOP control of Congress and all its attendant goodies. Countless lobbyists will lose their choice restaurant tables, and some of them might actually have to practice law — God help the indigents who draw them as a Legal Aid attorney. They have all put party and their own comfy lifestyle over what would be good for the country. Trump would hardly be good for the country.
It has not escaped my notice that Cruz is a self-centered man whose deep ideological convictions happen to coincide with his deep political ambitions. So be it. That does not make him wrong in this instance. While it is true that he could have kept his mouth shut, it is also true that when he opened it, he spoke the truth. The delegates in the hall didn’t like what they heard, but they are a selfish, challenged lot who would embrace the candidacy of a Rottweiler if they had to, praising it for being (mostly) housebroken.
Trump must be ruefully smiling. To his chagrin, the Cruz episode violated his longstanding policy. He should have held Cruz to his standard non-disclosure rule: Don’t disclose who I am. Don’t disclose how you feel. Don’t disclose what’s good for the country.