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Reblogged:What’s Up With Ted Cruz?

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Like a lot of people, I’m trying to figure out what led Ted Cruz to give a confusing speech with mixed signals at the Republican Convention, and why he added to these mixed signals at an even more confusing and contradictory press conference today.

If you’d like my interpretation from a psychological perspective, it’s passive-aggressive behavior. In this case, it stems from wanting to have it both ways.

Cruz had several options. One was to sit out the Convention altogether, remaining silent, like fellow former candidate and Ohio Governor John Kasich did. Another option was to sit out the convention and condemn Donald Trump, as the Bushes and Mitt Romney did. Another was to go and show support, however tepidly, as Marco Rubio did (via video) and others have done.

Ted Cruz, who’s not generally known for being indecisive or unprincipled, did a little bit of everything. He congratulated Donald Trump on winning the nomination. He refused to endorse Trump. Yet he gave a speech at a convention whose open and stated goal was to crown Donald Trump as the nominee. By the time of his speech, the nomination was already official. Cruz certainly was under no obligation to support Trump; but if he didn’t want to support him, why give a speech at the convention? And when giving that speech, why leave it vague and open-ended as to whether he thinks you should vote for Trump, stay home in protest, vote for Hillary Clinton or perhaps the Libertarian candidate?

Cruz did none of these things; and all of these things, at once. He seemed to want the benefits of going to the convention and seeming magnanimous, and supporting the Republican Party (Trump and all) against the unacceptable alternative of fulfilling Hillary Clinton’s lifelong power lust; and — in contradiction, and at the same time — also have the benefits of distancing himself completely from Donald Trump.

But you can’t have it both ways.

If Ted Cruz believes Trump is a bad man and a terrible mistake for the Republican Party, then the best thing he could have done — for himself and his supporters — was stay home, and to roundly condemn Trump as the wrong man for the job. At his press conference today, which I listened to, it sounded like Cruz wanted praise for doing the “brave” thing, by going to a convention and facing the hostile majority who wanted Trump to be the nominee. I can see this logic if he came, gave the speech, and came out with the shocking revelation that he does not approve of Donald Trump, and doesn’t think Republicans should support him. But Cruz didn’t do that. I’m not saying he should have; but if he had, he would have been justified in calling it a courageous thing, and he would have been consistent, at least.

At his press conference, I heard Ted Cruz speak of what he felt as an obligation or duty to come to the convention. This is when I thought about passive-aggressiveness. When a person is passive-aggressive, he does something that he feels obliged to do, but doesn’t really believe is the right thing to do, or would rather not do. As a result, the person ends up handling matters in a contradictory and confusing way, one that often angers people for good reason.

Cruz’s apologists will call his move a “brilliant,” strategic move, not because they can defend it, but merely because it’s different. But just because something is different does not make it brilliant. Sometimes different is just plain stupid.

Some, like Chris Christie, I believe, have called Ted Cruz “selfish” for acting this way. It is selfish and self-interested, in an entirely good way, to stand by a principle you objectively know to be true. Cruz has done that by standing against Obamacare and in favor of limited government in many instances. He has been a hero to many, including myself, when he stood up to the hypocritical and lying Republicans in Congress (Paul Ryan, for instance) who run on one set of ideas and practice completely opposite ones, once in office.  Sure Ted Cruz is selfish — and in that context, those of us who support things like limited government are right to applaud him. But in this instance, Cruz was more just like any other politician. He wanted to have it both ways, and so what we got was a mixed and confusing theme. He hasn’t helped anyone, including himself, not in the short-run or the long-run, even if Trump does end up losing the election.

Cruz claimed we should all vote our conscience. Well, what does that mean? Vote for Trump? For Hillary Clinton? He ruled out that option, though not until today’s press conference. For Gary Johnson, the libertarian? A write-in? Please say what you mean, Ted. Don’t leave us in the dark. Stop trying to prepare for several scenarios at once — one where Donald Trump wins, in which case you can claim you didn’t refuse to support Trump; or another scenario where Trump loses, in which case you can claim greater credibility for a run in 2020. I expect this behavior from a Clinton, an Obama or a Bush, but not a Ted Cruz.

If you ask me, Ted Cruz, in this instance, was not acting in a principled or a particularly emotionally healthy way. In fact, he looks a whole lot like just any other politician.

Now for the really sad part: If Donald Trump does win, he almost certainly will never have Ted Cruz in line for Secretary of State or Defense, a role that would have been immensely valuable to the causes Cruz claims to believe in. If Cruz really does believe in everything he has always said he does, then I don’t know how selfish — rationally speaking — his actions really were.

 

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I saw the press conference. No mixed signals. He refused to endorse Trump, and gave two very, very strong reasons for it:

1. His principles don't allow him to (he listed the principles in question, and I can't help but agree, those are not principles that would allow a person to endorse Donald Trump)

2. Trump insulted his family (again, I'm in full agreement, can't imagine how he could possibly endorse him after that)

I imagine that a third, unsaid reason is that he is making the smart bet that Trump will fall on his face in the elections, and that the people who stood up to him in the Republican Party will then be in much higher regard than the people who became his lapdogs and went along with his unprincipled, UNPOPULAR, and frankly plain stupid, rhetoric.

Edited by Nicky
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On 7/21/2016 at 5:58 PM, Michael J. Hurd Ph.D. said:

But you can’t have it both ways.

He most certainly can. Cruz is clearly a conservative opposed to Trump's platform. He is also very clearly opposed to Clinton's platform.

He most certainly CAN say that he endorses neither Trump nor Clinton (because both are very much contrary to conservative principles) while at the same time rooting for the Republican Party to find itself and be successful. He most certainly CAN say that voters should make up their own minds, based on a set of principles any of the candidates can adopt, if they wish to.

Quote

 

Cruz certainly was under no obligation to support Trump; but if he didn’t want to support him, why give a speech at the convention?

 

That is almost word for word one of the questions he was asked at the press conference. He said, and I'm paraphrasing, that the purpose of his speech was to remind Donald Trump and his supporters what principles the nation and the GOP were founded on, in the hope that they will embrace them, abandon their current, hateful, unprincipled, egotistical approach to politics, start working with the conservative establishment, and be successful in the elections.

He also told Donald Trump that he won't endorse him, ahead of the speech, and Donald Trump did not ask him to cancel his speech. So he was an invited guest, he wasn't there under false pretenses, and he had a message he considers important to share with the audience.

The fact that Trump supporters, instead of listening and considering that message, chose to be "outraged" and disruptive, just confirms that refusing to endorse them is the right choice. In fact, it's a good reason not only to refuse to endorse them, but vote for Clinton this year: I would bet you anything that, if a Liberal politician were to step up to the microphone and respectfully disagree with Mrs. Clinton's platform (on foreign policy, for instance), or with her choice of VP (which many on the left do), reminding her that it runs contrary to some Liberal principles, the reaction would be far more civil than it was for Cruz.

Edited by Nicky
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The TV at the dentist's office was playing Bernie's talk in the background while I was trying to focus on reading Uncle Tom's Cabin. The booing and breaking out into chants about arresting her any time Bernie mentioned her name vaguely reminded me of Junior High/High School pep rallies. Mind you, he wasn't disagreeing with her, he was trying to rally the troops to stand behind her in order to secure a victory that the imperative of Trump being defeated be accomplished.

If I vote, it looks like Johnson may get mine. Your links to the electoral college materials, with the observation that if Rep/Dem do not get the minimum required (50%+1), it falls to the house and senate to be decided. Consider it making it a play for a prolonged "silly season".

 

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