Do You Ever Get the Feeling Ted Cruz Doesn't Even Like Music?

Can you walk to the beat of your own drum when you don't even like drums?
Can you walk to the beat of your own drum when you don't even like drums? Photo by Michael Starghill
The music of Texas is vast and contains multitudes. Like the many cultures that make up our various food scenes, Texas music is a complex patchwork that includes everything from Houston hip-hop to Texas country. It’s produced some of the greatest riffs in rock history and included punk that’s both serious and sublime. Texas music isn’t afraid to get experimental, trippy or noisy. Our musicians are some of the best in the world at what they do, even when it comes to polka.

I don’t believe that Ted Cruz likes any of it. Not even wanna-be Texan Ted Nugent.

Have you ever seen Cruz respond to the question of “Who is your favorite musician?” Take a trip back with the video below from 2016 where he is asked that very question.
You’re tempted, at this moment, to handwave away his response. Ted sees someone under the age of 50 asking him the question, gives out a weird chuckle and mumbles, and you could get the impression that he’s not answering because he thinks he’s a dumb question. But what if, at that moment, what he’s really trying to do is process the idea that people have favorite musicians at all?

Not everyone is a music fan, and not everyone has to be a music fan. Some people don’t watch TV. Others don’t read books. And some don’t get anything out of music. While it’s tempting to joke about — seriously, how does one survive in Houston traffic while sitting in silence? — not enjoying music doesn’t make you a fundamentally flawed person. You like what you like, and you don’t what you don’t.

But this particular clip of Ted Cruz is particularly baffling because at least one year earlier, if not many times over the course of millions of conversations he’s surely had, Ted Cruz had something approaching an answer when it came to music. It’s not a great answer, but it is an answer.

“I actually intellectually find this very curious, but on 9/11, I didn’t like how rock music responded,” Cruz said back in 2015. “And country music, collectively, the way they responded, it resonated with me.”

You expect here for him to stand for someone like Toby Keith or Alan Jackson, maybe Lee Greenwood if he really wants to sound like a true patriot. But as the article above points out, he isn’t able to name a country artist he likes or a rock group he was disappointed in. It’s the exact type of answer that has so many dunk on Cruz for being slightly inhuman; he wants to be a real boy so bad, but he doesn’t know how. A normal person might say, “music isn’t a passion of mine, but we do listen to country music in the car.” Ted Cruz gives you a complicated backstory because he knows he needs an answer, but it’s one that shows he doesn’t understand why people are interested in the question in the first place.

Is Ted Cruz’s disinterest in music a reason not to vote for him? Of course not, but it is yet another data point one can look at in his long history of “decisions Ted Cruz has made because he wants to be liked because only people who are liked become President.” Ted Cruz knows people like music, so of course he likes music, just please don’t ask anything about the subject any deeper than that.

Texas is a big, flawed, frequently dumb state, but one that most of us are proud of. And part of that state pride comes from the historical importance we’ve played in the world of music. If you can’t trust Ted Cruz to understand why being a fan of Whataburger isn’t an insult, how can you ever trust him to understand The Suffers?
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Cory Garcia is a Contributing Editor for the Houston Press. He once won an award for his writing, but he doesn't like to brag about it. If you're reading this sentence, odds are good it's because he wrote a concert review you don't like or he wanted to talk pro wrestling.
Contact: Cory Garcia