He gets a little too lit’ry in spots, but professor of philosophy Clancy Martin has an excellent TNR essay on “the virtues of being Ted Cruz”:
… Cruz and Trump are in fact appealing to different segments of the Republican Party, and they know it. Trump is the candidate of the disoriented, the confused, the needy; Cruz is the candidate of the dogmatist, the moralist, the convicted. Trump gets the voters who fear and adore; Cruz gets the voters who hate and resent. Trump is all show; Cruz means what he says. Trump wants to be everybody’s boss; Cruz wants to be everybody’s master. Ted Cruz is much, much more dangerous than Donald Trump.
But I only realized this after following Ted Cruz for a month or two. I began with an uninformed repugnance for his views, with which I had only a vague familiarity; then I got to know him, a little bit, as an unlikely presidential candidate, a probable third or fourth place finisher; I watched the dark horse win in Iowa; and somewhere along there I came to understand that, in my opinion, no one currently running for president would be worse for the country than Ted Cruz. Not necessarily because there’s something wrong with his policies, though I consider them to be completely misguided. But because there is something frightening about this person, and there is something frightening about the way he can make people feel…
At 4:30 p.m. on the eve of the caucus in Marion, Iowa, a side door opened to the assembly room of Grace Baptist Church, and Ted Cruz entered along with a chunky bodyguard and his thirty or so of his team members in their signature dark navy blue jeans. Cruz stood quietly as the pastor introduced him. He wore a blue zippered sweater over a button-down shirt, brown leather work boots, and new-looking Levi’s jeans. A few people in the first pew, near the door where Cruz stood, rose to shake his hand. Some handed him campaign posters to autograph. One parishioner passed up a leather-bound Bible and Cruz took time to write something long in the front pages. A second Bible was handed to Cruz, who again paused to write something thoughtful. More posters and more Bibles were passed up, and Cruz didn’t have time to write a message in each Bible, so he started simply signing them on the page that was held open for him: on the fly page, where a book’s author would sign…
Cruz took the stage. In the friendly, intimate atmosphere of the small church, he was comfortable. I’d been to many Ted Cruz events in the past couple of months, and it was the only time I’d seen him genuinely at ease. He seemed happy and not at all exhausted from the grueling schedule of his 99-county Iowa tour. Though rested, his face had an unfortunate lizard quality to it—adult Ted Cruz can never overcome the Komodo dragon quality of his skin and chin—but he wasn’t repellent. He spoke with the almost squeaky register he adopts in a religious setting, waving his arms evangelically when appealing to Christian scripture and stabbing his finger down in his debater’s manner when making a political promise. He didn’t have the chip-on-my-shoulder-but-quick-on-my-toes expression that he wears during televised debates, and he was neither obsequious nor smarmy, two typical Cruz styles I’d come to expect since following him.
“When I’m president you can bet there’s going to be some changes in Washington! On day one in the Oval Office we’re going to prosecute every member of Planned Parenthood who has committed criminal acts!”
“Yes!” the husband of the woman in the tall leather boots shouted, pumping his fist in the air and rising to his feet…
“If we get a president who appoints a left-wing judge…” Cruz said.
“Stone him!” came a voice from the crowd.
“I’m a true conservative!” Cruz shouted. Suddenly I understood something about Ted Cruz and his followers that I hadn’t clicked into before: The proof of Cruz’s merit, as a candidate, was that he he ought to be at the bottom. The proof of being “a true conservative” is that everyone is against him. Being hated is a mark of entitlement.
Friedrich Nietzsche made the argument about the triumph of “ascetic morality” and the Christian reevaluation of values 140 years ago in On the Genealogy of Morals. Imagine you feel oppressed by a culture and a political system that has consistently ignored you and the things you care about. (For today’s conservative, these values might include the definition of marriage as being “between a man and a woman,” the idea of an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work, or that life begins at conception.) Now imagine someone promised to overturn all of the prevalent values of the day in favor of your own, opposing values. For Nietzsche, this meant the value of being wealthy would be reversed into the virtue of being poor; the value of being proud would be upended by the virtue of humility; the celebration of the body would be transvalued into the virtue of sexual restraint. Having power, on this account, would mark the powerful as morally blameworthy; being powerless, by contrast, was a guarantee of righteousness…. It was Paul and his astonishing insight into the psychological needs of the powerless of his time that accomplished this transvaluation of values, the very same psychological needs that Cruz hopes to tap into now. Of course Ted Cruz was despised by the ruling elite: so was Jesus.
It was only natural, indeed desirable that the media and the entire Republican Party had consistently fought against Ted Cruz, and he against them: He represents morality, which is the opposite of everyone at work in Washington today, everything we see in our degenerate age. But you, the voter, know what the truth is and so does God. That’s why Ted is winning against all odds. You feel resentment about the way this country is headed? So you should! Because the values represented by our leaders—even the values represented by the Republican Party—are the opposite of your values. You feel excluded, you feel ignored? You feel bullied, even hated? So do I!…
At the Iowa fairgrounds, there was a run-up of speakers that felt cobbled together: Cruz’s Iowa campaign manager, the nephew of a member of Duck Dynasty, anti-immigration Congressman Steve King, and Heidi Cruz, enjoining us with a wife’s earnest but obviously furtive, unconvinced, and unconvincing optimism to “fall in love with Ted, like I did.”
Then Glenn Beck appeared—the crowd had been whispering he might be coming—and there was a widespread shift of disorientation in the room. Everyone went wild…
Nietzsche argued in Beyond Good and Evil and The Antichrist that the greatest creative moment in Christianity—perhaps even the greatest creative moment in the history of human thought—was when the priest class realized that their power could come from celebrating the powerlessness of the mob. Misery loves company. Aesop’s fox and the sour grapes. Thanks to the internet and its overnight millionaires and twentysomething billionaires, the cresting of American luxury, the likes of which has never been seen before in human history, there are a lot of very sweet looking grapes being dangled in front of the electorate that are just out of reach.
There’s an unsurprising and familiar symmetry between love and hate, and Beck exploited it effortlessly. When we love or hate, we establish ourselves as equals. We neither revere nor despise, we neither worship nor condescend. For people like us, for the good honest folk in Iowa, for Christians who care about the way this country has gone so far astray, Beck explained, Cruz was one of them. And importantly, like them, he was being ignored. Suddenly all of us were part of the same group, the Americans who no one else cares about, the Americans who know what’s right and wrong, but no one listens to them. This is the dialectic of Ted Cruz: either you are bullied, or you are the bully. The bully tells you what’s what; the bullied are morally superior…
It’s a hallmark of modern conservatism to act like the poor, persecuted soul who everyone is out to get, but Cruz really does take it to an art form. He’s the most hated man in the Senate? Cool, he’ll embrace it and sell it to his followers that he’s “shaking up the establishment” and “getting stuff done.”
Oh, and I do love him being compared to a Komodo dragon. Although now Komodo dragons have grounds to sue for defamation.
Major Major Major Major
Ooh, Nietzsche. Bookmark’d for später. Off to make something hopelessly silly with a soldering iron.
Off topic: rainbow in SF right now outside my building http://imgur.com/a/fsnxN
OT, but unfortunately I don’t have good news about my boobie ultrasound from this morning. Something unusual, less than 2 cm, but they want to do a needle biopsy the first week of April. Dr. Google tells me that less than 2 cm (they actually said it’s 1 cm) is probably not too bad. There are a few unusual and nasty things it *could* be that would show this little of a sign, but most likely not. We’ll have to wait and see.
Gin & Tonic
@Major Major Major Major: Huh. Trees with leaves on them. Going to be a while before we see that here.
Major Major Major Major
@Gin & Tonic: it’s like a quadruple rainbow now. Just missed the shot!
@Mnemosyne: Don’t worry yet. And good thoughts.
Is Ted Cruz a serial killer? It would be irresponsible not to speculate.
This current version of the repub party has to be done if Trump and Cruz are the frontrunners for the nomination. It will be a long time before a new incarnation rises from the ashes.
The latest outrage over the picture of Obama and Che is another example of why the party can’t change course as it drives over the cliff. The repub establishment laments the rise of Trump and vows to stop it but then jumps all over this picture to rile up their base which is a big reason Trump is where he is. Morans.
Gin & Tonic
@Mnemosyne: Thinking good thoughts for you. I was a bit alarmed about 6-8 weeks ago when the term “severely atypical” was used about a lesion I had, but everything turned out clean. Hope you get the same result.
@Mnemosyne: @Omnes Omnibus: What Omnes said.
I had a needle biopsy about, gosh, 30 years ago. Turned out I was developing “masses” – not lumps, but areas of thickened tissue – from too much caffeine. I didn’t drink coffee for a few weeks and they went away.
I remember the wise words of Mel Brooks: “Hope for the best, expect the worst.”
I’m debating when and what to tell my family. We’re all still pretty traumatized from last year, so I don’t want to freak my mom and brothers out prematurely if it turns out to be nothing or easily treated.
@Mnemosyne: ::good thoughts::
That description of Ted Cruz makes me think of an old song:
No one knows what it’s like to be the bad man
To be the sad man
Behind blue eyes
No one knows what it’s like to be hated
To be fated
To telling only lies
But my dreams, they aren’t as empty
As my conscience seems to be
I have hours, only lonely
My love is vengeance that’s never free
@mdblanche: He wouldn’t be the only Republican who comes off like one.
A favorite Scott Walker joke of mine is that those dead eyes of his don’t scream “presidential,” they scream, “I have a body dump in my basement and the cast of Criminal Minds is raiding it as we speak.”
@Gin & Tonic:
Dr. Google is reassuring so far, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed. I tend towards weird cysts, so we’re hoping it will be something like that.
Major Major Major Major
@Mnemosyne: I would just wait for the more definitive results before saying anything personally. Especially if they are (as I imagine) not live-in family members. Just my two cents.
@Mnemosyne: I am so, so, sorry Mnemo. Just try to stay calm. Anticipation is the worst.
I’ve had several needle biopsies now and I admit I was pretty spooked by the whole thing. I’m sending my best healthy thoughts to you.
Keeping you in my thoughts. I hope the news turns out to be the best possible.
A Ghost To Most
Please don’t ruin Who songs by associating them with that faith-based fascist.
@gf120581: Walker definitely has a murder room somewhere.
@A Ghost To Most: Co-sign.
@Mnemosyne: My policy is to tell my mom and little sister what a lab has confirmed. Older sister knows what the lab might say, because I don’t go for diagnostics until she’s told me that my symptoms might reflect a serious condition (it’s her field so she’s my PCP)
Also, 1cm and needle biopsy–after ultrasound–is most likely nothing at our age (you too are 44, right?). If it’s not nothing, plenty of time to terrify everyone while you schedule surgery.
Sending good vibes your way, Mnemosyne
@Mnemosyne: Dammit. Sorry it has gone beyond routine.
I went as far as a lumpectomy for what was diagnosed “atypia”. IOW, I could have instead done the “watch and wait.” I was of a mind to do something QUICK. Not terrible idea, but I would have benefitted from a 2nd opinion.
Here’s hoping this all turns out to be nothing serious. Definitely sounds like it was found early, so that has to be good. Good luck with this.
@Mnemosyne: I am so sorry to hear. As trite as it sounds, keeping a positive attitude is important. Hoping for the best.
Mr Stagger(picked Mich State) Lee
I think Yeats said it best about Trump or Ctuz maybe both.
@A Ghost To Most: too late. He’s ruined it for me!
Not to quible but I’ve seen a lot of hate comin’ from Trump supporters too ya know. I’ll agree that Dominionists are the most dangerous though.
CNTRL-F “The Stand”, was disappoint.
I don’t know about this piece. It seems a long-winded way of saying “Ted Cruz is unbelievably creepy”. Which is true, of course. He’s certainly got a backpfeifengesicht .
But I’m not sure my primary reason for keeping someone out of office should be their creepyness.
I listened to a recent Ted Cruz speech. It was chilling. It started out as follows “Hello. This is the Zodiac speaking. The death machine is already made…” I couldn’t listen anymore and turned it off.
Thoughts are with you tonight.
@LAO: Too good to be ruined. Besides Amir for once has it wrong. The song doesn’t fit Cruz. The song hints at depths behind the eyes. Cruz lacks those.
@Major Major Major Major:
Nice rainbow! They’re not always easy to capture in photos.
@Omnes Omnibus: Agreed.
I know he is super religious, but Cruz strikes me as soulless.
What bothers me is that he may have psychopathic depths behind those eyes.
It is probably Nothing, and if it is Something, they’ll get it all. But worrying, I know. Thinking of you, Mnem, with the very best of thoughts.
@MomSense: No need for depths. It’s there on the surface.
Thank you, everyone, for the good wishes. This place really is the best. I was talking about it here last night, so I didn’t want to leave everyone hanging even though it wasn’t good news.
As far as relatives go, I’ll probably tell my brother who’s local the weekend before so he doesn’t have too much time to freak out. My mom and other brother can wait for results, because they just don’t need any more worries about other peoples’ health until there’s something definite.
A Ghost To Most
Agree. Those are the dead eyes of a reptile.
I dunno – Scoot always struck me as a guy with a 55 gallon drum of paste (two-thirds consumed) and a well worn wooden spoon locked away in a secret room.
As for Cruz – the guy is just a creep – what are the odds he’s stocking up on Fla-vor-aide come November? Pretty low I’ll assume, but it would fit his complex rather well.
Just One More Canuck
@Mnemosyne: best thoughts to you
Botsplainer posted a link to photos of Cruz from his high school days. Dear Dog there is normal teenage awkwardness and then there is Cruz as a biblical mime with the face whited out so the psycho eyes stand out even more.
It could be a lot of things that aren’t bad at all but you have to be sure. Have it biopsied and then you’ll know.
I will keep you in my prayers.
I just saw your comment and want to tell you that I’ve been there. It’s the scariest time so be with your family and friends. Hopefully it turns out to be nothing or benign. I’ll pray for you sweetie.
It is astonishing to me how deep I remain cocooned in a liberal/activist bubble. I never knew Che Guevara was hated or mattered to American citizens beyond his image becoming global symbol of rebellion. Apparently, he’s the equivalent to Stalin to American wingnuts. Who knew?
@Mnemosyne: sending out good thoughts.
@MomSense: Have you seen the videos?
Probably Che is hated because he was a magnetic person, and still is even after his death.
Oh no! Will they give me nightmares?
@mdblanche: NOT GETTING OUT OF THE BOAT!
reality-based (the original, not the troll)
we are all crossing our fingers and sending good thoughts.
@Mnemosyne: Good luck! And don’t worry too much until you find out what’s going on, if that’s possible.
a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q)
@Mnemosyne: Hang in there. Good thoughts sent.
@Mnemosyne: I had a lump that had to be removed and inspected surgically because for some reason they couldn’t do the needle biopsy. I worked myself into a frenzy while waiting for the surgery and felt pretty sheepish when it turned out to be benign. It’s hard not to worry, but you have a great attitude. Hope you get the same result I did.
@Omnes Omnibus: Good choice.
Right after the videos you linked is a 4 1/2 minute video of raw footage of Cruz and family. Wow that may be the creepiest Cruz yet.
a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q)
@A Ghost To Most: Excuse me. Reptiles would like an apology.
@Linda Featheringill: Che was hot, also too. A word associated with no RWNJ ever, to my knowledge.
@gf120581: Yeah, I’m surprised Cruz’ Secret Service codename isn’t “UnSub.”
@Mnemosyne: Sounds like it was found early, whatever it turns out to be. Wishing you the best.
All best to Mnem, fighter of good fights.
I’m not sure if they hate him for what he did, or if they simply hate him because they see his face on the T-shirts of people they want to see shot Kent-state-style.
@The Lodger: My new favorite comment ever!
Mingobat f/k/a Karen in GA
@Mnemosyne: Sending good thoughts. I needed two biopsies a couple of years back — all turned out fine. Hoping the same for you.
Mike in NC
Expect Cruz to show up at some campaign event speaking in tongues and holding snakes in each hand. What a freak.
@Mnemosyne: Good luck, hoping for the best.
J R in WV
Mrs J had something show up in her mammogram several years ago. She had a lumpectomy not long after, and it was benign ( so-called! ). I too have had mammograms a couple of times, and a needle-biopsy once that was negative. There was suction involved as well, and local anesthetic. Not pleasant, but glad it was negative!
So mostly these things are not dangerous. Best of luck!
Have you seen what Sam Bee dug up on Cruz? Holy shit!
@Mnemosyne: Nine out of ten breast lumps are nothing dangerous. The odds are very much in your favor.
@Mnemosyne: Sending best thoughts!
@Mnemosyne: I hope it turns out ok. I’d wait to tell the fam until I have more information, but that’s just me. I just hope it turns out to be not a problem. Good thoughts.
@Mnemosyne: It’s scary. My wife has gotten the extra inspection because of oddities in her mammogram. More likely than not you’ll be fine. Peaceful thoughts to you!
@J R in WV:
I hope you’re a guy for the purpose of this comment: men should be doing breast self-exams as well. It’s not very common, but men can get breast cancer too. Our first pediatrician was a man who had breast cancer. Early detection is extremely important!
And fuck cancer.
Mnemosyne – wish the best. Remember, extra Vitamine D reduces the odds of any breast cancer as per medical studies. Raise your Vit D levels to 50 – 70 ng/dl if not already there. Again, hang in there!
@Mnemosyne: I had a needle biopsy. It was done so fast and so smoothly it was like being told to get up again after you’ve just gotten the chance to sit down. I picture them as a good thing either way of the outcome. We either get total relief from the worry, or we get the early diagnosis aand treatment that makes all the difference . Since that one biopsied cyst, I’ve never had another questionable exam, so they are not even a predictor of future abnormal exams. Take care. ” keep calm and scan on” — is a saying from another field, but might work for us as we wait for answers …
@Mnemosyne: welcome to the club. I just had one. First thing is, the biopsy itself is no big deal; the area is numbed completely and the only discomfort is the sting of the anesthetic. Secondly, and I don’t know how to say this well, the worst news can be horrible but the odds are massively in your favor these days. Hang in there.
@Mnemosyne: This very late, but I just want to say that you should be OK. Caught early if it is something”bad” so it can be dealt with.
The Very Reverend Crimson Fire of Compassion
@Mnemosyne: Big prayers going out for you. I know what it’s like to be terrified, waiting for the test results. May your fears prove as groundless as mine did.
Hope everything works out OK. Hugs.