Yup. You read that right. I am not a Ted Cruz fan. I should be. He’s young, conservative, and courageous. Although new to the United States Senate, he was unafraid of rigid collegiality rules and, instead, interrogated Hagel the way a good lawyer or a good Senator should. After all, although a president is entitled to his own advisers, the fact that those advisers have to pass Senate review should mean something — and Cruz made sure it did.
That Cruz’s efforts were for naught had nothing to do with his courage or competence, and everything to do with a dysfunctional D.C. mentality. For those of you who watched Netflix’s House of Cards, while the whole melodrama soap opera part was boring, the political machinations were true to form and they were more frightening than any horror movie could be.
So why aren’t I gaga over Cruz? Because I’m not putting my heart on the line again. In past years, conservatives have had the chronic frustration of watching our elected officials get played by Democrats, choose collegiality over values, or behave just plain stupidly. Our response is to become desperate and are constantly on the lookout for a messiah.
Have we learned nothing? To begin with, after the experience with Obama, instead of trying to create our own cult of personality, we should be afraid of that path. I’ll abandon that objection for now, though, because in a media-saturated, low-information age (a sad oxymoron), personality may be all we’ve got.
But more important than this foolish cult of personality is our rush to open our hearts to any conservative candidate who’s not the one that came before. With luck, Cruz will be everything we hoped. But as we’ve seen with other candidates, his past (if he has one) will catch up with him, or his ego will outrun his abilities or, of course, the drive-by media will utterly destroy him. I’m ready to fall in love with Cruz only if the drive-by media is unable to expose a sordid past, his ego remains in check, and he figures out how to play the media better than they play him. And of course, he has to continue to be a stalwart, intelligent, courageous conservative politician in the D.C. cesspool.
This time around, I refuse to rush headlong into love with the first (or the second or the third) potential presidential candidate who comes along. I’m not Marlene Dietrich:
Nor am I going to be the exhausted Lily von Shtup, too tired to function after falling in love with one candidate after another. (And despite the vulgarity of these lyrics, it’s rather uncanny how accurate Madeline Kahn describes the conservative voters’ relationship with the legions of candidates who pass before them and then fail.)
I can help falling in love again — and I will not give my heart to a politician until I’m pretty darn sure the romance has legs.