Ted Cruz: Mensch!

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If you read my blog, you know I’ve had differences with Senator Ted Cruz. But the Senator has stepped up. Bigly! Only a gentleman would do what Cruz just did with his El Chapo bill.

Remember the GOP race? Cruz and Trump went at each other like nobody’s business. Wives and all. While Cruz couldn’t bring himself to endorse Trump at the convention, Ted has stepped up a lot since the election.

The biggest step-up to date: this El Chapo bill. Via Breitbart News:

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) introduced a bill calling for the use of $14 billion seized from cartel drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to be used to pay for the President’s border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

Trump’s most prominent issue in the campaign starting June 2015 was the Wall. You remember the rallies, don’t you? “And who’s going to pay for that big, beautiful wall?”

M E X I C O!!!!

Senator Cruz has no reason to help Trump solve his number one issue. None. No one would think less of Ted Cruz if he continued to pursue his personal goals, paying no attention to President Trump’s agenda.

But Senator Cruz has gone total mensch. He’s taken it upon himself to find a way for Mexico to pay for the Wall. A solution NO ONE can possibly object to. Making a Mexican drug lord pay for it.


My hat is off to Senator Cruz. Now, if we can get some Missouri NeverTrump Republicans to step up and put America before their own egos.

#NeverTrump Self Immolation Over Trusty Ted Cruz

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This is for the people, like me, who realized sometime between June 2015 and June 2016 that Donald Trump is at least better than Hillary and possibly a transformational character who can reverse America’s descent into chaos.

“A leader is a man who can adapt principles to circumstances.”
– General George Patton Jr

You might think this post is an attempt to reach #NeverTrumpers and bring them on board the Trump Train. I wouldn’t do that. Those #NeverTrump people are emotionally unreachable. They have barricaded themselves inside a perfect world that never existed. I published Turning On Trump as a last lifeline to the NeverTrumpers, but most slapped the line away, rejecting life in the real world. Switching metaphors, more than one NeverTrumper told me, “this is the hill I want to die on.”

Ted Cruz just called in the airstrike on their position on that hill.

#NeverTrump Reacts

#NeverTrump people, the dozen or so remaining, believe being principled means making perfect the enemy of good. Because of that limiting belief, #NeverTrumpers turned on Ted Cruz yesterday, as viciously as they turned on their other friends and loved ones who support Trump.

Senator Ted Cruz never went #NeverTrump, but a lot of NeverTrumpers believed he had. Glenn Beck, Dana Loesch, Ben Howe, and Erick Erickson expressed emotions ranging from depression to rage. Most of their comments centered around #NeverTrump’s disordered view of what “principled” means.

What Are Principles?

While people recognize many principles, most people recognize security as a key principle. Security is so important that, without it, no other principles are possible. In his book Principle-Centered Leadership, Steven Covey argues there are four fundamental dimensions of life: security, guidance, power, and wisdom.  He argues that principles are external. They are the lay of the land. Values, on the other hand, are internal. Values are the filters through which we see the land.

In other words, principles are observed and tested facts. Principles are the way the world really works. Values are how we navigate that world, and our navigation requires well-ordered security, guidance, power, and wisdom.

A friend (and unswerving conservatives) was a Cruz delegate from Missouri. You know him: State Senator John Lamping.

Principled Leadership

When Cruz dropped out and Trump’s nomination became certain, Senator Lamping immediately switched to Trump. Lamping’s example highlights Covey’s idea of principles and values. He sees principles as the way life works, and he used security, wisdom, guidance, and power to advance his values given that reality.

Politics is like war, and commander’s intent comes into play. Our intent is a more perfect union to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our descendants. When we find the situation on the battlefield to be different than we expected, we don’t abandon the fight and go back to the commander for a new plan. We do what’s necessary to achieve the objective.

This Cruz delegate did that. He realized that, with Antonin Scalia’s chair empty, a Clinton win would mean a final loss of that key objective. Rather than waiting for instructions, he improvised. He redirected his fire. Lamping sought to achieve the commander’s intent. He used his power to win, his guidance to choose tactics, his wisdom to break from past tactics, and his need for security to attack with vigor.

We call Lamping’s example “leadership.”

I’m pretty sure #NeverTrump would disagree with Covey and Lamping. Those #NeverTrumpers apparently see principles as internal and boolean. They also seem to believe principles are unseverable. Unseverable meaning every “principle” is equally important.

#NeverTrump’s Perverted Principles

To #NeverTrump, a person who agrees with 99 percent of our principles is as evil and dangerous as the person who agrees with zero percent. NeverTrumpers demand complete allegiance to every position they personally hold. Deviation is deviance. Deviance is a sin.

To #NeverTrump, there is no such thing as more conservative or less conservative. There is conservative, and there is progressive, and any amount of deviation from their orthodoxy is a total rejection of their orthodoxy.

According to Beck, Loesch, Erickson and their ilk, Ted Cruz exposed himself as “unprincipled” by endorsing Trump. Therefore, to the tiny and shrinking colony of #NeverTrump, Ted Cruz is no better than a progressive.

That light you see on the #NeverTrump hill is not John Winthrop’s shining city. It’s a colony of cultists setting themselves ablaze.

Why does Ted Cruz’s Speech Bother Me So Much?

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I’m trying to put my finger on exactly why I found Ted Cruz’s remarks Wednesday night so incredibly distasteful.

The Pledge thing is a goodly part of it.

Simply put, the parties to the Pledge Ted Cruz signed were only Ted Cruz and the RNC (by extension, you can probably include the delegates and voters, too).

The Pledge promised support, including data, from the RNC in exchange for Ted Cruz’s endorsement of the eventual nominee.

However, the Pledge that Ted Cruz signed with the RNC did not include Donald Trump. Trump’s signature is nowhere on the Pledge Ted Cruz signed. Therefore, the suggestions that somehow Trump can change the terms of the Pledge is ridiculous (and a little embarrassing, frankly).

So yeah, as a matter of fact, Ted Cruz broke that Pledge and in doing so broke his word. A word he has repeatedly claimed was a sacred trust.

That’s no good, but that’s not why I’m so bugged.

Then there’s the boorishness of his actions. Someone else said it best, when she described Ted Cruz’s speech akin to being invited to be the best man at your ex-girlfriend’s wedding, and then when it was time to toast the couple, instead implore the ex to run away with you!

Torturing the metaphor even further: this morning, the debacle continued when the rebuked Cruz kicked over their chocolate fountain, slapped the groom, insulted the bride, and was finally booted out by the rest of the wedding party.

Really bad, right? But no.  That’s not the thing, either.

Maybe it’s the squandered opportunity.

Donald Trump gave Ted Cruz free reign to do the right thing and follow through with his commitments to the Republican Party, its delegates, and voters. Trump’s people reviewed Cruz’s remarks and did not demand they be reworked. Instead, Trump left it up all up to Cruz.

Donald Trump provided Ted Cruz prime-time air to say anything he wished, without restriction, and with it, all the rope he could possibly ever need to pull himself out of the hole he was standing at the bottom of, as well as use to pull together the Republican Party.

Instead, Ted Cruz used that premium time, that golden opportunity, in a room rooting loudly for him, to deliver a speech that was all-too-typical of today’s political class: a too-cute-by-half, snidely performed speech designed to serve no one except Ted Cruz.

But believe it or not, that’s not what bothers me so very, very much, either.

No. What bothers me is far more odious, more destructive, and more revealing of the brutal ambition animating the junior senator from Texas.

What really got to me was that he did all of these things on the back of a little girl who just lost her Dad in the cold-blooded police shootings in Dallas.

He traded on her grief, going out of his way to create connections between them both.

Just five paragraphs in, he said:

“Just two weeks ago a nine-year-old girl named Caroline was living a carefree Texas summer. Swimming in the pool, playing with friends, doing all the things a happy child might do. Like most children, she relied upon the love that she received from her mom, Heidi, and her dad, a police sergeant named Michael Smith.”

As I watched Ted Cruz speak, that queasy uh-oh feeling suddenly wracked me.  You know the one: that intense, looming dread that sends slippery ribbons of nausea that somehow extend to the bottom of your feet.

He’s lost me. Perhaps forever:

“… Caroline gave him a hug and a kiss as he left for work, but as they parted her dad asked her something he hadn’t asked before. ‘What if this is the last time you ever kiss or hug me?'”

I physically cringed when he said:

As I thought about what I wanted to say tonight, Michael Smith’s story weighed on my heart. Maybe that’s because his daughter Caroline is about the same age as my eldest daughter, and happens to share the same name. Maybe it’s because I saw a video of that dear, sweet child choking back sobs as she remembered her Daddy’s last question to her.

Good. Lord.

After several minutes of freedom-liberty-constitution pabulum, he called back to poor Caroline:

“We’re fighting not for one particular candidate, or one campaign, but because each of wants to be able to tell our kids and grandkids, our own Caroline’s, that we did our best for their future and our country.”

Followed by a reference to her Dad:

“Sergeant Michael Smith stood up to protect our freedom. So do the soldiers, and sailors, and airmen, and Marines everyday fighting radical Islamic terrorism.”

And the gut-wrenching finale:

“And it is over that I hope will bring comfort to a grieving nine- year-old girl in Dallas, and God willing, propel her to move forward, and dream, and soar, and make her daddy proud. We must make the most of our moments, to fight for freedom, to protect our God-given rights, even if those with whom we don’t agree so that when we are old and grey, and when our work is done, and when we give those we love one final kiss goodbye we will be able to say freedom matters and I was part of something beautiful.”

What a ghoul.

Ted Cruz used this defenseless little girl and the horrific murder of her father as his personal human shields to shame people away from criticizing him for breaking his word and using valuable, prime-time air for his own, too-cute-by-half, non-endorsement of the Republican Presidential nominee, and to promote his own, exclusive interests.

That’s what bothered me.

I’m not sure what’s in store for Mr. Cruz.  Hell, I’m not sure I care very much at the moment (or if I ever will).

But I’m fairly certain that whatever positions he may hold in his lifetime, a real chance to earn the nomination to the Presidency of the United States will never be among them.

Christina Botteri is a founder of the original National Chicago Tea Party and the newest Hennessy’s View contributor.
Transcript source: http://time.com/4416396/republican-convention-ted-cruz-donald-trump-endorsement-speech-transcript-video/

What If Ted Cruz Said This Instead?

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Parts pulled from comments to this post:

Today Cruz proved himself to be Lyin’ Ted again.

After swearing that his non-endorsement was all about “freedom and the Constitution,” he admitted today that he broke his oath of support solely because Trump insulted his wife and his father. For Ted, this was personal, not business.

Ted could have told us it was personal last night. But he lied instead. He could have said something else, too. And if I were his speechwriter, I’d have offered him something like this:

The Republican elephant in the room is looking at me, and you all know it. That elephant is asking, “will he endorse or won’t he?”

Let me address that once and for all.

If I don’t endorse Donald, I’ll break my vow to my party and to my country, and I pride myself on keeping my word to voters.

But if I do endorse him, I’ll feel in my heart that I’m breaking my vow to love, honor, cherish, and obey my wife. Because I made my vow to Heidi first, and because I hold that vow and her love above all other commitments, I will not endorse Mr. Trump tonight. But I will, by the grace of God, eagerly vote for Trump and Pence on November 8, and I beg every one you to follow my example.

That would have brought the house down and made Cruz look like both a genius and a great man. As we learned, though, Cruz is neither.

How Donald Trump Destroyed Ted Cruz

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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:

  1. I’m ashamed that I voted for Ted Cruz in the Massachusetts’ Republican Primary.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Cruz wasn’t driven by principle, but by ego. He can’t accept the fact that the party chose Trump over him.

  5. 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.

  6. Pence crushed Cruz.  Newt crushed Cruz. Ted Cruz looks like a sore loser.  He does not look Reaganesque at all.

  7. Ted Cruz is a very small man.

What It’s Like to Meet Ted Cruz

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In case you didn’t hear, Donald Trump invited Ted Cruz to speak at the RNC in prime time with no expectation that Cruz would keep his word by endorsing Mr. Trump. Senator Cruz immediately accepted the prime time speaking spot.

In case you didn’t hear, Donald Trump waived his right to review Senator Cruz’s speech in advance, the first time that’s happened in our lifetimes according to Tucker Carlson. Mr. Trump respects Senator Cruz enough to let the senator say whatever he wants.

How Senator Cruz handled the kindness shown him reminds me of the time I met Ted Cruz, one one one.

I met Ted Cruz in September 2015. We both came off the stage of an event at the same time. I stopped and said, “Senator Cruz, I’m Bill Hennessy. As a founder of the tea party movement, I want to thank you for fighting for our freedom.”

I don’t know what I expected of him. I’ve met presidents. I’ve met senators. I’ve met supreme court justices (before they were supreme court justices). I’ve met many members of Congress and lots of state legislators. I’ve met admirals and generals. Some of them were glib, some were sincere, but all were friendly. Especially the admirals and generals. All made me feel like they were happier to meet me than I was to meet them. 

Here’s what happened as I introduced myself to Ted Cruz.

First, as I spoke, Senator Cruz stretched his neck and took a deep breath without saying a word. He watched me with his chin up.

Then, I noticed that my right hand was hanging between us. He made no attempt to accept the handshake I was offering.

Next, Senator Cruz dropped his gaze slowly down my body to my feet, then slowly back up to my eyes. I felt like I was back in Navy boot camp in PR inspection. Then Senator Cruz slowly waved his right hand between us, right to left, signaling that my time was up, move on.

I’m lucky that I don’t need a senator’s approval to feel good about myself. Twenty years ago, Senator Cruz’s cold dismissal might have crushed me. Not this time. I was actually amused.

For weeks I mulled the incident in my mind. I told very few people about it, and I didn’t blog about it. I was not afraid that my story would affect the primaries. But it was a private moment, and I meant what I told him. I am truly grateful for his work in the Senate, even if his strategies usually fail.

But over time I came to understand what Senator Cruz told me about himself that night. He told me he’s a small man.

I know enough about body language to know why Senator Cruz straightened and puffed his chest. Males of all mammal species stretch and inhale to appear larger. It’s a dominance move. I am three or four inches taller than Senator Cruz. Maybe he was trying to match my height.

Before you read too much into that, most men do this subconsciously in situations where they perceive a threat to their status or safety. Some men feel threatened more easily than others. I have no idea what I did or said to trigger Senator Cruz’s dominance stature. Maybe I sounded more threatening than I meant to. Maybe I startled him. Maybe Cruz practices looking tough in a mirror. I don’t know. But I do know that most senators, most politicians, don’t react this way to my presence. They use very subtle signs of dominance, like putting their hand on my elbow or standing too close, but that usually comes after a few pleasantries to break the ice.

Senator Cruz didn’t want the ice broken. He made no attempt to win me over. Cool, I guess. Some politicians seem glib because they need to be liked. Senator Cruz has no desire to be liked.

My experience may explain why Senator Cruz failed to click with evangelicals and many other conservatives he expected to dominate. Ted Cruz is cold. He lacks warmth. And studies show that people judge warmth even more critically than competence.

If you are a regular reader, you know that between September 2015 and February 2016, my feelings about Donald Trump turned. My feelings about Ted Cruz turned, too. Maybe my growing dislike of Senator Cruz resulted from my experience with him. Probably his rudeness affected me. His dismissive rudeness motivated me to look very critically at the Senator. And the more I looked, the less I liked.

As you know, I analyzed Senator Cruz’s campaign strategy. My analysis showed that Cruz’s strategy was flawed from the start. The details are in my book, so I won’t waste words here. But by January I knew that Cruz was unlikely to win the nomination and had almost no chance of winning a general election. There just aren’t enough true believers, and Senator Cruz lacks the warmth to win over casual voters. I question whether he even wants to win over others.

So why am I writing this now?

Because tonight Ted Cruz tried to emulate Ronald Reagan of 1976. Like most of the senator’s political strategies, this one failed. And it failed because his ego got in the way as it always does.

Instead of Reagan ’76, Ted Cruz became Ted Kennedy ’80. 

They say the measure of a man is how he treats people who can’t do a thing for him. I can’t do a thing for Ted Cruz, and he let me know it.

Tonight, Donald Trump gave Ted Cruz free reign of the RNC stage to say whatever he wanted, and Ted Cruz rudely dismissed Mr. Trump, just as Cruz rudely dismissed Bill Hennessy last September.

Now I ask: who’s the egomaniac?