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You’re probably thinking that Ted Cruz made Donald Trump look bad last night. And he did. Ted Cruz had a prime time speaking slot and he failed to endorse his party’s nominee for president. Hillary Clinton will use it.
A lot of people are saying Trump shouldn’t have invited him to speak unless Cruz agreed to endorse Trump. But Trump didn’t even ask for Cruz’s endorsement. Trump just offered Ted the prime time spot, and Ted took it.
Some people say Trump probably expected Cruz would endorse Trump anyway. But Trump apparently knew in advance that Cruz would not endorse him. Trump says he was okay with it.
So Cruz took the stage and spoke his mind. He told Republicans to vote their consciences. The Republicans booed. And booed. And booed. They booed Ted off the stage.
Some are saying the incident proves that Donald Trump is a terrible negotiator. But he has negotiated his way to being a billionaire, so that’s probably wrong.
Almost everybody is saying that Ted Cruz is rude and selfish. Republicans are saying Cruz is rude and selfish. Democrats are saying Cruz is rude and selfish. Cruz supporters are saying Cruz is rude and selfish. Don’t believe me?
Here’s what anti-Trump Bush backer Ana Navarro said, as reported by Breitbart:
CNN’s Ana Navarro, a former Jeb Bush surrogate who is no fan of Trump, panned Cruz’s speech.
While you should always “vote your conscience,” she said, if you’re invited to dinner, “You don’t eat the food, drink the wine, and then piss on the carpet. It was tacky.”
Also from Breitbart:
A Cruz supporter told Breitbart News: “I think it was entirely selfish. I think he’s ruined his future. Everybody was right about him. It’s a character thing.”
And from Ronald Reagan’s son Michael:
Wow. That’s gotta hurt. Ted Cruz sees Ronald Reagan when looks in the mirror.
And, while I was never a huge Cruz fan (mostly because he’s unelectable), I was so disappointed by his Ted Kennedy move that I finally told the story of meeting Ted Cruz.
When Ted Kennedy snubbed Jimmy Carter at the 1980 Democratic Convention, Kennedy ruined his chances of ever becoming president. But I’m sure he felt good at the time.
Plus, as Donald Trump Jr. pointed out after the speeches, by letting Ted Cruz self-destruct on stage, Trump managed to unify the party in booing Cruz. Fence-sitters decided to jump onboard the Trump train. It’s possible that Ted Cruz, trying to sabotage Trump, put Trump over the top in November.
So, did Ted Cruz out maneuver Donald Trump? Or did Donald Trump give Cruz enough rope to hang himself?
UPDATE: Mark Anderson at LifeZette (an awesome blog) provides an answer:
But herein lies the brilliance of Trump. And make no mistake; this is brilliance way beyond any blind luck, which his opponents like to claim to dismiss him. (If it is luck, then it is downright mythical). Knowing what Cruz was about to do and say, Trump just — let him. It made Ted look small and petty and Trump, who had graciously allowed him to speak, came off looking the better man. Common decency alone is on Trump’s side here (and how ironic is that?). If you can’t be gracious, stay home. No one is missing Jeb(!).
Yep. And it unified the Republican Party behind its nominee in a way an endorsement never could.
Think about this: if Trump can strategize circles around Ted Cruz, imagine what he’ll do to China, Mexico, and Russia.
UPDATE 2: From conservative legend Richard Viguerie at ConservativeHQ in a post titled “Ted Cruz Committed Political Suicide On National TV“:
Here are just a few of the comments from prominent conservatives who are attending the Republican National Convention with me and from other individuals who attended a private meeting before which Senator Cruz spoke just a few days ago:
I’m ashamed that I voted for Ted Cruz in the Massachusetts’ Republican Primary.
I thought Ted Cruz was a man of integrity. Tonight he proved — beyond a shadow of a doubt — that he isn’t. He made a solemn pledge to support the Republican nominee. And he broke that crucial promise.
I thought Ted Cruz was a patriot. Tonight, he proved he isn’t. However bitter and angry he is at Donald Trump, he knows that Trump is the only person standing between Hillary Clinton (a liar, a fraud, a thief and a traitor) and the presidency. And yet – after meticulously laying out the case against another 4 to 8 years of leftist tyranny — he refused to endorse the one man who can put an end to our long national nightmare.
Cruz wasn’t driven by principle, but by ego. He can’t accept the fact that the party chose Trump over him.
Ted Cruz made the worst mistake of his political career. Millions of us will never forget or forgive his betrayal. He will never be his party’s nominee for president. He will never hold the highest office in the land.
Pence crushed Cruz. Newt crushed Cruz. Ted Cruz looks like a sore loser. He does not look Reaganesque at all.
Ted Cruz is a very small man.