Oh, for fish sakes…

Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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42 Responses

  1. 1) He is a total asshole.

    2) He is completely toast as a national candidate. There is a roughly 0% chance that he will enjoy even an iota of establishment support should be ever run for POTUS. Everyone from McCain and Boehner on down is sharpening a big, sharp knife with the word “CRUZ” carved on the blade. They are veritably salivating at the prospect of that very first gaffe, and I promise you there is no bus big enough on this planet for them to throw him under.

    Oh, and unrelatedly? While it was a remote possibility already, the chances I will ever vote for another Republican in my lifetime have now become more fleeting than the Higgs boson.Report

    • Scott Fields in reply to Russell Saunders says:

      Russell –

      Are you sure he’s toast as a national candidate? I’d like to believe so, but the juxtaposition of the two news items Tod notes scare the hell out of me.

      Here’s a guy who has so little respect for his followers that he’ll put out a press release that is breathtakingly detached from reality because he is so confident they’d prefer to be lied to than have him acknowledge he’s completely screwed up. In return for that contempt, the money comes pouring in!

      This a parallel universe territory. All rules are off.Report

      • There’s very little historical basis for winning the GOP nomination without establishment support. Goldwater is pretty much it.

        Less unlikely is that Chris Christie or someone suchlike will get the nomination by trying to sound like Ted Cruz. There’s a historical basis for that.

        Truthfully, I wouldn’t consider it such a bad thing if he did win the nomination. Could be a clarifying moment.Report

      • Scott Fields in reply to Scott Fields says:

        I guess that’s my point, Will.

        Cruz is exploring new frontiers of chutzpah. Precedent seems immaterial to me.Report

      • I can’t imagine the circumstance in which he wins the nomination. True, the level of support he’s getting for the level of chutzpah he’s showing is unprecedented; but he’s getting that support from people who consistently vote against the establishment candidate every year anyhow. Maybe he could get more turnout amongst that group than, say, Santorum, but that group already turns out pretty heavily in the primaries so there’s a limit to how far that will get him.

        In a weak field like there was in 2012, he might be able to sufficiently consolidate movement conservative support to pull off the upset over an establishment candidate having a hard time getting primary voters to the polls.

        But Cruz is going to have to face at least two very strong candidates who have cultivated their own independent constituencies while also holding their own amongst more traditional elements of the GOP coalition (Christie and Paul). Add in the inevitable religious conservative flagbearer of the Santorum/Huckabee mold, and where is Cruz’s constituency other than conservative activists?

        The guy has a 14% national approval rating (and 28% disapproval, but that’s less relevant for our purposes) despite all of the attention he’s been getting, meaning that at most a little more than a third of Republicans have a favorable opinion of him. To win the primary, he’d need to be the top choice for about 2/3 of the primary voters who have a favorable opinion of him, which just isn’t going to happen – too many of the people likely to be potential Cruz voters are either committed Paul-ites or committed religious conservatives who will vote for whomever steps into the Santorum/Huckabee role.Report

      • Tod Kelly in reply to Scott Fields says:

        Good comment, Mark. My only quibble would be this:

        If Ted Cruz is the guy I think he is (as opposed to the guy others here think he is), he will be a totally different cat in late 2014/early 2015 than he is today.

        I don’t think he is a true believer. I think he’s a waver rider. I think he will have tried to have made himself into some kind of centrist that gives nods to social conservative (like W. did in the 2000 election) by that time.

        But I still think he’ll lose the nomination. I continue to hold steady in my opinion that in big, national elections people don’t award the prize to unlikable people, no matter how many right things they say. And Cruz is pretty unlikable. From what I understand, people that are friends and colleagues of his don’t particularly care for him.Report

      • Scott,

        Earlier in the summer I thought he had a decent shot because for some reason I thought he exuded a certain seriousness of (very out there) purpose on the hard-core Tea Party stuff, he’s smart and looked like he had a competitive instinct that I thought might get him some of Rand Paul’s natural constituency, and on issues he’s less at odds with certain parts of of the GOP coalition than Paul is while being just as radical as him (spending; federalism contra various personal rights i.e. abortion, etc.) on the ones (except national security) that the base cares about.

        However, I completely failed to anticipate this course of action on his part. At least for 2016, he’s toast as a serious contender, though he’ll certainly have the “wacky conservative alternative” mantle wrapped up (which may have been all he was interested in doing for 2016 purposes all along). I got it largely wrong; he’s a no-go now. I don’t think he’s done for good, though, because I do think he retains some of those qualities I mentioned, and this episode can certainly be put in the past over time.Report

      • Scott Fields in reply to Scott Fields says:

        Mark, Tod and Michael –

        I don’t disagree with any of these assessments. And I agree that Republican Nominee Cruz is a massive long shot, especially in 2016. But, a certain Newton Gingrich was the Ted Cruz of the 1995 Shutdown and he found his way to a Second Act, so things I have a hard time imagining happening come about more often than you’d think.

        Here’s what’s baffling me. Cruz is no Sun Tsu, but he’s no Palin. He’s smart enough to know that press release was bullshit. So what’s the play?Report

      • Tod Kelly in reply to Scott Fields says:

        @scott-fields “So what’s the play?”

        In my opinion, the play is having something handy in a year or so when the default/shutdown is unpopular that you can pull out and say, “you’re wrong, George Stephanopolis/Chris Wallace/David Gregory, it wasn’t me who wanted to default. In fact, I warned agains it! I went on record as saying so. It was Harry Reid, Barack Obama, and (insert likely GOP opponent here) that forced us/almost forced us to default.”

        And then whoever is interviewing him won’t call him a lier, they’ll just move on to the next question — because that’s how we interview major candidates these days.Report

      • Scott Fields in reply to Scott Fields says:


        That’s likely it.

        Greg Stillson could have claimed he was just hugging that kid he was using as a human shield and David Gregory would have admired his humanity.Report

      • Kim in reply to Scott Fields says:

        Romney was freaking unlikeable. He managed to score the nomination.
        OTOH, McCain was a walking timebomb (but actually likeable enough, I suppose).Report

      • @scott-fields Jonathan Bernstein has written about this kind of thing a lot over at Plain Blog.

        In a nutshell, successful national candidates need major party actors to carry water for them from time to time. No candidate or campaign will be free of error, and all will at times need allies to help them recover.

        Let’s say Cruz goes on some Sunday talk show and says “I think we can all agree it was a mistake for our country to encourage women to work outside of the home.” This leads to some concern in his campaign that women might be less inclined to vote for him. They hope they will be able to deploy lots of proxies to say mealy-mouthed things about how Cruz meant to say we failed to honor women who stay at home raising kids, need to support the family, blah blah blah.

        But instead John Boehner goes on Fox news and says “I can’t speak for Ted Cruz, but for my part it’s been an honor to work with so many wonderful female colleagues in the House on both sides of the aisle. I don’t think he speaks for the GOP on this issue.” Etc.Report

    • greginak in reply to Russell Saunders says:

      As a national candidate he is crispy but not with the R base. I think his strategy is actually aimed at fracturing the R coalition with the hope he can come out as the leader. To the base this kind of theatrics will play well. If and when he backs down he will drape himself in the flag and make sure everyone knows those darn RINO’s (boener, mcconnell, etc) were against him. He will only give in, if at all, while making it look like he has born the real sacrifice. He will position himself as the true conservative candidate. Oh yeah the R establishment will have their knives out but he will go with the ” The Establishment is Out to Get Me” line. The more they go after him the more he can position himself as the real outsider. Good ol Sarah P, among others, has used that attitude. Plenty of the TP/R base hates “RINO’s” and DC pols enough that he can build a significant base just by sticking it to them even if they are R’s. I think Cruz is really aiming at moving up big time for the Prez nomination in 16.Report

      • Morat20 in reply to greginak says:

        Worth noting: Sarah Palin’s actual chances of being the GOP Presidential candidate in 2012 were, I’m pretty sure, actually negative.

        If Cruz is just aiming for a few years of really good wingnut welfare, sure. It makes sense. If he wants the Presidential or VP slot for 2016? He pretty much took his chance, tore it up, set it on fire, and peed on the ashes.

        A friend of mine is convinced the 2016 candidates will be Santorum/Ryan, and Cruz makes them look like a shoo-in. (The idea of Santorum/Ryan even managing Romney numbers is, well, pretty far fetched. Or hilarious. Whichever.)Report

      • greginak in reply to greginak says:

        Cruz by all estimates is smart guy with a hefty helping of ego. He also seems like a True Believer to me. The way campaign finance works now its possible to rake in big time real money enough to win an election even if you don’t have full establishment backing. O did it that way to a degree in 08. Once you have the nomination or at least momentum there will be big money types who will jump on board. I really doubt Cruz is just angling for a permanent Fox slot and to churn out red meat books. He is aiming high.Report

      • Morat20 in reply to greginak says:

        Then he’s a flaming moron. Every knife in his party is out for him, the actual party machinery knows what he just cost them. The GOP actually broke through Bush’s floor, and the actual bad, reckless, horrible stuff hasn’t happened yet. They’ve just furloughed a few million people, ruined a lot of vacations, and generally irritated the American public. They haven’t actually, you know, tried to burn down the country by trashing it’s credit rating and petulantly refusing to pay the bills like grown-ups.

        People don’t believe they’ll actually do it (or, for their own — sub 27% — supporters, that’ll it’ll be bad) — what do you think will happen to their numbers when those idiots actually pull the trigger and it turns out that yes, indeed, it is a rather painful self-inflicted wound by a bunch of idiots who very obviously have no plan.

        Every Democrat — heck, everyone even contemplating even considering voting for a Democrat in 2016 would be thrilled if Cruz ran. It’d be like Bachmann running 2012. Personally I think the GOP is going to HAVE to nominate a crazy person, get thoroughly trounced within an inch of it’s life (with, probably, even MORE delusion on polls going into election night) in order to get a clue.

        But they won’t. Because Ted might be able to raise some money, but the machine can raise a whole lot more. And the crazy money? That’s spread around a whole lot of crazy.

        I mean, Cruz is gonna be competing with Backmann, West, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin for the cash — and that’s not getting into the people actually running. Just the hucksters out for cash.

        The rich guys aren’t gonna give too deeply to crazy, and frankly there’s a cap to how much the crazy not-rich can actually afford.Report

    • Kim in reply to Russell Saunders says:

      Tough, you’re still being assessed a GOP Tax:

      … which, um, is why I’m not voting for a Republican on the national level.
      (I’m exempting local judges, because our law school turns out some pretty good characters, and some of them are Republican. Not that I Enjoy Voting for judges, mind.)Report

  2. Morat20 says:

    If you wanted some extra fun news, we are now official close enough to the debt limit that a single Senator — *cough* Cruz *cough* — could force a default, just be withholding unanimous consent.

    (Although I did read that the actual default date was probably — probably — pushed back a few days because, you know, no one’s getting paid anywhere and the government isn’t cutting checks. When the lights come back on all that’s gonna be owed, but it buys a day or two — mostly because all the big money doesn’t go out the door until the end of the month).

    As to Cruz — yeah, he’s DOA as a candidate. He’ll be like the token crazy person running in 2016, basically for his book tour about how he totally would have saved America from Socialism and Facism and Islamism and Hillary Clintonism if the House hadn’t caved on him during the Great Debt Ceiling Debate — a position which will appeal to the 27%.

    His own establishment hates his guts (they didn’t, by all accounts like him BEFORE he pushed his party off the cliff to put himself in the spotlight). For the money men, well — going big is to be admired. But Cruz went big without a plan, a way out, or any strategy and flopped badly. That doesn’t open the big pockets. That shuts them. They want a guy who can, you know, actually get something done.Report

  3. Burt Likko says:

    …a large muscular man named Sven whack an especially deserving Senate member repeatedly over the head with a dead mackerel…

    That’s an oddly specific fantasy. Not at all like Brett Favre in a sauna with a bottle of thousand island dressing.Report

  4. NewDealer says:

    Do we blame Cruz or his Press Secretary? Andrew Sullivan seemed to blame the press secretary when he put this in his Annals of Chutzpah post.

    Also from what I’ve read, Ted Cruz is a true believer:


    Another article had an 18 year old Cruz reading a book titled “Was Marxist a Satanist?” Do you really think that Ted Cruz was planning his political career at 18? Why do you think these guys are cynical sellers instead of true believers?Report

  5. greginak says:

    Cruz may be a maroon and riding a wave, both of which i doubt, but there is one thing you can say for him. He has garnered himself massive attention and name recognition neither of which usually come to new senators. He is, for the worse, a power player now in DC and among the Fox/ TP set. Well those are more than one thing, but the point is, despite the negatives, he seems to have cagily risen quickly.Report

  6. Damon says:

    I’d vote for him, if only to piss off everyone else ’cause that’s how I roll.

    Now, as to the characterization of him bing an asshole, yep. 100%. But that also describes every other member of congress, so that’s really not news either.Report

    • Kim in reply to Damon says:

      Bernie’s not an asshole, I’m pretty sure.
      (and if Franken is, well, one expects such hubris out of comedians).Report

    • North in reply to Damon says:

      I thought you were a libertarian Damon? Though if you’re actually a contrarian that makes a lot of sense.Report

      • Damon in reply to North says:


        The contrarian does indeed run strong in me. I also enjoy taking opposite positions of folks I run into if only because, in my one party state, they rarely meet anyone who thinks differently than they do.Report

      • NewDealer in reply to North says:

        Does this mean you take the opposite side even if you think the one-partiers in your state are right on a particular issue?

        This strikes me as rather, well, you used a certain word above to describe members of Congress.Report

      • Damon in reply to North says:

        Frankly, I can’t recall an issue where I thought the one partiers in my state were right on a particular issue, at least on substantive, state-wide issues.

        But in converstations with people on topics, either at a federal or state level, I’ll often play “devils advocate” or take an opposing side merely to challenge their points, so yes. Is that asshole-ish? Maybe, but people who live in a bubble and who only interact with like minded folks should have that bubble burst.Report

      • morat20 in reply to North says:

        Oh, contrarians. You’re exactly like the herd mind you disdain, only instead of reflexively and unthinkingly saying “me too!” you say “Not me!”, with exactly the same amount of thought and effort put into it.

        And you’re so proud of it!Report

      • Damon in reply to North says:


        I’m not proud of the act, I’m proud of the response. The flustered, sputtering, hostile SHOCK that I could DARE to think against the hive mind. The look I get that I’m some ALIEN in their midst when all I dare do is object to their position. This is usually followed by outright dismissal, but once and a while I actually get someone who thinks about my response. Those are the people worth engaging with. There are even some of those people on this site.Report

      • Kim in reply to North says:

        your trolling is weak at best.Report

      • Damon in reply to North says:

        I was referring to the reactions I get in person from my comments, I wasn’t trolling. I don’t come to this site to troll. If I wanted to do that, I’d go to Slate or Huffpo. See above comments for info on where I live. It’s essentially an echo chamber. ANY comment or thinking not in line with the Wash Post/NY Times editorial board is viewed as alien and hostile.Report

      • Kim in reply to North says:

        Trolling can be done in person.
        More likely to get your head lopped off with a protester sign, though.
        (don’t laugh, this happened to someone I know. Those signs hit HARD!).Report

  7. BlaiseP says:

    Ted Cruz. Prophet for our times. Nietzsche said there are no facts, only interpretations.Report

  8. Crprod says:

    Kim Il CruzReport

  9. Will Truman says:

    I hope it’s indicative of something that my pro-shutdown friend retweeted something saying that now is not the time for Republicans to be going after one another. Specifically, I hope that it’s indicative of some sort of realization that they actually have quite a bit to answer for, within the party.Report

    • BlaiseP in reply to Will Truman says:

      Presumably, you’ve seen Michelle Cottle’s analysis of Ann Coulter’s psychotic fugue

      On Monday, conservative provocateur Ann Coulter visited Sean Hannity for a plug-her-latest-book sitdown, during which her host tossed out what he no doubt assumed would a typical conservative-colleagues-in-arms softball: “Establishment Republicans are at war with the Tea Party base, and I’m angry about it!” But Coulter slammed it, so to speak, to the opposite field, going on a tear against Newt Gingrich, Todd Akin, Mark Sanford, and Liz Cheney, whom she declared to be “hucksters, shysters, and people ripping off the Republican Party for their own self-aggrandizement, for their own egos, to make money.”

      First, let us give the requisite nod to the rich irony of one of the GOP’s most cynical button-pushers professing outrage over ambitious conservatives’ desire to profit personally at the expense of the party’s greater good. Report