Cruz Is Proof There's No Good Way to Handle Trump
Photo by Gage Skidmore
Well, we have to hand it to our Texas presidential dreamer and schemer — former Gov. Rick Perry and Sen. Ted Cruz respectively — for giving it the old college try, but it turns out there's no Texas way to handle the Donald Trump problem.
Perry was the first to take on the Donald. Perry's presidential ambitions were still intact at that point — it was before he was sent to the GOP kiddie table of debates — and he went after his fellow wannabe Commander in Chief with a vim and vigor that even made Perry seem a little, well, presidential at some points. Perry, to his credit, took a good, hard look at Trump and knew this was someone he needed to be leveraging to his benefit. It didn't work. Even though Perry seemed to win every public battle with Trump (except for that weird pull-up challenge thing), he appears to have lost the war.
Now Perry's campaign staff isn't being paid and his dreams of White House glory are looking pretty dim. Meanwhile, Republicans both in and out of Texas seem to be getting on the Trump train. Trump has even supplanted Perry in the political hair jokes department.
And then there's that other would-be president, Cruz. Ever since his meteoric rise to prominence and the U.S. Senate in 2012, Cruz has specialized in tilting at windmills, staging fake filibusters and making enemies out of natural senatorial allies. He plays to the cheap seats, zigging instead of zagging and often doing so in a way that makes his far-right conservative audience roar with approval while the rest of us shake our heads in disgust.
Like Trump, he's the type of politician who says stuff — in a calculated way — that politicians aren't supposed to say, and he had carved a political identity out of the habit that a lot of people liked. The problem is, Trump showed up and basically stole that role and has been playing it to the hilt on the crowded GOP presidential stage. Cruz, who is so often noted as a brilliant constitutional scholar, must have seen how things were playing out with Perry and come up with his own approach to the Donald.
Namely, he decided to make the mega-rich man with hair like a corn husk his "friend." Cruz has gone public with this "friendship," talking about meetings with Trump and how he thinks Trump is a cool guy. It's an interesting angle for Cruz to take, considering he's currently known in the Senate as the guy who couldn't form a coalition around what type of eggs to order. This could have been — and may still be — a brilliant ploy to win hearts and minds that were previously supporting Trump after Trump flames out. But as of this week, the buddy approach appears to have failed Cruz.
How so? Well, as of yesterday, Trump is now beating Cruz in the polls right here in Texas, according to Breitbart. We've already noted that polls at this point are dodgy at best because the GOP field is really too crowded, but still, Cruz getting beat by Trump in his own state says a lot. Even if Cruz is trying to maneuver himself so that ultimately he's the one left standing, based on the poll numbers, that approach is still hurting him now.
Thus, we can now say that, based on the two GOP Texas approaches — the swagger from Perry and the "hey buddy" from Cruz — there's really no way to deal with the Donald and not get gored by the horns.