Some Guy Who Thinks He Can Be President

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, during the Iowa Agriculture Summit, Saturday, March 7, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa.  (Photo by Mark Peterson/Redux for MSNBC)

“Satire is tough when some politicians become caricatures of themselves.”

Steve Benen

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has potsherds. Some of the finest-grained potsherds in existence.

Again we reiterate the importance of narrative; the tale sounds silly enough in the straightforward reporting, but the commentary can lend appreciable dimensions:

When reports surfaced last week that Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) may face criminal charges as part of a federal corruption probe, it seemed like a possible opportunity for Republicans. Because so many of the recent political scandals have involved GOP officials, I thought Republicans might connect Menendez and Oregon’s John Kitzhaber to make the case there’s something rotten in the Democratic ranks.

But Kasie Hunt reported from Iowa over the weekend that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has a very different attack in mind.

Cruz also suggested pending federal charges against New Jersey Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez were politically motivated – tied to Menendez’s support for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition to a U.S. deal with Iran over their nuclear program.

“The timing is curious,” Cruz said .... “It raises a suggestion to other Democrats that if you dare part from the Obama White House, that criminal prosecutions will be used potentially as a political weapon as well,” Cruz said. “That’s a serious concern.”

The Texas Republican added, “This investigation has been going on for over a year and yet the very week they announce a pending indictment comes within hours after Sen. Menendez showing courage to speak out against President Obama’s dangerous foreign policy that is risking the national security of this country.”

Greg Sargent noted the other day that he was planning to joke about the right concocting a conspiracy theory involving Menendez, the White House, and Iran, but the mockery was already too late. “They’re already saying [it],” Greg said.

There is, in fact, plenty to the story, and at this point in a political arc even supporters start to wonder at what point one or another charge against Sen. Menendez will stick. As Benen noted last week:

In other words, this isn’t the first time there have been reports about Menendez facing real legal trouble. That doesn’t mean he’s in the clear – on the contrary, charges may very well be filed against the senator later this month – but it does suggest political observers should be patient while we wait to see what happens. The allegations certainly seem serious, but time will tell.

The thing is that for all we badmouth politicians there also comes a point when we really do have to wonder; much like professional athletes, by any objective scale one cannot suck and be stupid and reasonably expect to succeed. And, to be certain, we can insert here any number of jokes about Texas, but that convenience allows us to pass by what seems an important consideration."I was gonna joke about conservatives claiming charges against Menendez are b/c he criticized O on Iran. But they're already saying it." (Greg Sargent/@ThePlumLineGS, 6 March 2015, via Twitter)

Consider the degree of stupidity Mr. Cruz’s tinfoil requires. He must be capable of recognizing the excrement coefficient to his posturing. The idea that we do this to opponents of Israeli belligerence, which would be the notorious stance under American policy, is rarely taken seriously even when it has the appearance of being true. That supporting Israeli belligerence would warrant a conspiratorial arrest to silence a sitting United States Senator is a staggering proposition to begin with. And compared to the question of just how many scandals have swirled around Mr. Menendez, and a growing sense that there is a reason he suffers such exposure, lex parsimonae even further suggests the absurdity of Mr. Cruz’s crackpottery.

But therein lies the catch: Is Mr. Cruz really so stupid? Or does is he simply hoping, betting, or presuming that everyone else is?

No, really. Think back. Remember that misty yesteryear when leftists were prominent enough that people noticed them behaving this way, and everyone got annoyed? It still seems mystifying how such behavior, if couched in conservative causes and terminology, warrants this sort of respect.

And remember, Mr. Cruz thinks he has presidential potential.

Is he really so naïve? Or is he actually so smugly cynical?

____________________

Image note: Top―Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, during the Iowa Agriculture Summit, Saturday, March 7, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa. (Photo by Mark Peterson/Redux for MSNBC) Left―”I was gonna joke about conservatives claiming charges against Menendez are b/c he criticized O on Iran. But they’re already saying it.” (Greg Sargent/@ThePlumLineGS, 6 March 2015, via Twitter)

Benen, Steve. “Cruz finds a new conspiracy theory to play with”. msnbc. 9 March 2015.

—————. “New Jersey’s Bob Menendez faces possible charges”. msnbc. 6 March 2015.

Hunt, Kasie. “Ted Cruz: DOJ should investigate Hillary Clinton’s email”. 7 March 2015.

Easley, Jonathan. “Cruz: Menendez probe politically motivated”. The Hill. 7 March 2015.

Sargent, Greg. “I was gonna joke about conservatives claiming charges against Menendez are b/c he criticized O on Iran”. Twitter. 6 March 2015.

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