.@DouthatNYT on Ted Cruz. He's not the first conservative commentator to see through Cruz, but he sees clearly. https://t.co/DD51fofi0k— Brit Hume (@brithume) March 26, 2016
Hmm. Ross Douthat of the New York Times is not enamored of Ted Cruz. Guess he has had enough of 45-year-old freshmen senators thinking they can be president.
A few gems from Douthat's column, "Who Is Ted Cruz?"
With Cruz, though, even the most fervent peroration always feels like a debater’s patter, an advocate’s brief — compelling enough on the merits, but more of a command performance than a window into deep conviction.
This doesn’t mean that Cruz’s conservatism isn’t sincere. But the fact that he seems so much like an actor hitting his marks fits with the story of how he became Mr. True Conservative Outsider in the first place. Basically, he spent years trying to make it in Washington on the insider’s track, and hit a wall because too many of the insiders didn't like him — because his ambition was too naked, his climber’s zeal too palpable. So he deliberately switched factions, turning the establishment’s personal disdain into a political asset, and taking his Ivy League talents to the Tea Party instead.Remember my piece the other day, "Cruz: The Establishment's Anti-Establishment Candidate"?
I did not make that connection to his failing the audition. I pointed out his spending 15 of his 20 post-law school years in Washington, sure. Heck, wife is Goldman Sachs, right? But I did not understand that he failed to gain favor for the same reason 70 percent of Republicans have rejected him in this three-way race. He polls 30 percent. The Donald polls 43. The young man is too earnest.
Douthat sees Cruz as a weather vane conservative, going with what seems most popular among conservatives is just as deadly as weather-vaning other groups. Many conservatives followed Sarah Palin in calling for the bombing of Libya in 2011. Now everyone blames Clinton.
Then there is this from Douthat:
The same pattern has prevailed in the presidential campaign, in his complicated relationship to Trump — obsequious at first, cynically imitative on issues where Trump’s demagogy has worked, and finally self-righteous and dudgeon-filled now that the name-calling and scandal-mongering have been turned against his reputation and his family.
Throughout this rise, Cruz has often seemed less like Goldwater than like American conservatism’s own Kenneth Widmerpool, the most memorable character in the English novelist Anthony Powell’s series, “A Dance to the Music of Time.”
A dogged, charmless, unembarrassed striver, Widmerpool begins Powell’s novels as a figure of mockery for his upper-class schoolmates. But over the course of the books he ascends past them — to power, influence, a peerage — through a mix of ruthless effort, ideological flexibility, and calculated kissing-up.
Enduring all manner of humiliations, bouncing back from every setback, tacking right and left with the times, he embodies the triumph of raw ambition over aristocratic rules of order. “Widmerpool,” the narrator realizes at last, sounding like a baffled, Cruz-hating Republican senator today, “once so derided by all of us, had in some mysterious manner become a person of authority.”I hate to annoy people with reality, but what has Cruz accomplished in his life? Did he help revive Manhattan? Did he help rescue Atlantic City? Did he increase the family fortune 100-fold?
I know why Trump is running. He thinks he can save the country. And I think I know why Cruz is running, because he needs the job.