Ted Cruz: A tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury. Signifying nothing
Ted Cruz is not a populist. He is a narcissist.
I mean, he thinks he’s a populist. He is convinced beyond the shadow of a doubt that he is out there representing “the will of the people,” despite the fact that even the majority of people who oppose the Affordable Care Act don’t actually want a government shut down.
The problem, I think, is that people like Cruz believe in a divided nation. A nation divided between “Real Americans” and “UnReal Americans.”
Obama, they believe, was voted into office by the UnReal Americans. The ones who aren’t supposed to count. The coastal elitists, the people of color, the college students. It’s why they don’t actually see a problem with discriminatory, ridiculous Voter ID laws, and laws that exist purely to prevent college students from voting. They don’t think these people should have the right to vote in the first place, because they don’t think they’re Real Americans.
Although John McCain may call Cruz a “wacko bird,” although other “establishment Republicans” can’t stand him either, they’ve also internalized this narrative. Which is why not a single one of them denounced Cruz when he spoke so glowingly about Jesse Helms. If you’ll recall, Trent Lott had to resign after praising Helms’ fellow segregationist Strom Thurmond. They’re afraid of him because, at heart, they believe that he represents the real, true, basic-id desires of their entire constituency.
Ted Cruz reminds me, most of all, of some of the socialist and anarcho-syndicalist radicals I used to work with who would begin every other sentence with “Well, after the revolution…” when we all knew damn well that there was never going to be any goddamned revolution. The “big picture” ones who thought it was better that Bush was elected so that people might be enraged enough to actually start said revolution. He wants a different kind of revolution, for sure, but it’s the same delusional personality type.
The 15-hour speech he gave last night was not a filibuster. It was a 15-hour speech. A filibuster, by nature, functions to delay Senate activity. Which this did not do, and was not even meant to do. It was meant to be a 15-hour infomercial for Ted Cruz, and Ted Cruz alone. It was theater.
He wasted 15 hours of time on this fauxlibuster, reading Green Eggs and Ham, quoting Ayn Rand and Toby Keith, and comparing himself to someone fighting the Nazis, or an American Revolution Hero. And he was paid, by us, to do that.
Cruz plans to run for president. He imagines he will rise to power on a tidal wave of support from the gajillions of Real Americans who believe in everything that he believes in. But as these past few elections have proved, as polls have proved, Ted Cruz Style Real Americans are not the majority of the nation. I don’t even think they’re the majority of Republicans. Most Americans actually do believe in some form of gun control. Most Americans do not believe in getting rid of all taxes. Most Americans do not believe in sharply cutting Social Security and Medicare. Most Americans do not think that “Sharia Law” is a legit threat. Most Americans don’t believe that gay people are “evil.”
“Americans feel like they don’t have a voice, I hope to play a small part in providing that voice for them,” he said. Well, la-di-fricken-dah! If that is not textbook narcissism, if that is not the purest of hubris, if that is not a delusion of grandeur, I don’t know what is. Is he legitimately claiming to speak for all Americans, or is it that the only “Real Americans” are the ones who agree with him?
Last I checked, I was also an American. Ted Cruz is sure as hell not providing a voice for me, I believe in single-payer. But as much as I believe in that, I would never have the hubris to say that my desire for single-payer national health care represents the will of the people. Or that any of my personal opinions represent the will of the people. I don’t think that disagreeing with me makes anyone less of an American.
As much as Ted Cruz may like to believe that his non-filibuster was successful in terms of bolstering support for a presidential run, I don’t think this will be the case. Like Macbeth, it will be his hubris that ends him.