At the end of last week we ran several stories on this fundraising dinner Ted Cruz in Manhattan (yes, he was there looking for money) hosted by two prominent gay hoteliers and his effort – like other Republican presidential candidates – to lash out at the “radical gay marriage agenda” as “illegitimate” on the campaign trail while blithely treating the whole issue as an issue best left to states when trying to get money from gay men in New York.
But something else happened at the end of last week that got less attention. One of the main reasons why soon-to-be Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s nomination was held up for an unprecedented period of time was that Senator Cruz made it yet another on his list of life or death points of principle for the Conservative movement. And yet, when the whole tangle got solved and she finally got her vote, Cruz didn’t even show up to vote.
He was off raising money.
It’s true that his vote would not have changed the outcome. And his twitters staffers argued that he’d voted on an earlier procedural vote. But even conservatives found this a bit much to take. What’s more, ‘sure everybody does it’ or ‘yeah, but that’s just politics as usual’ doesn’t work as well for Cruz as it does for others because the entirety of his pitch and brand are as the true-believer’s true believer.
I suspect this will end up being another of Cruz’s many achilles heels.
While there’s no doubt Cruz is a dyed in the wool conservative, he is also pretty transparently a major bullshit artist. While it is not clear that he is really more conservative than several of the other GOP presidential aspirants, his strategy has been to keep finding rhetorical points and symbolic battles to demonstrate that he is in fact way more conservative than anyone else in the Republican party and the only true hope of oppressed and denigrated conservatives nationwide.
But Cruz seems to be at heart a debater, of the college debate variety, where the point is debate and making the strongest, most tactically deft arguments for basically any position no matter how ridiculous or whether you think it’s true. Lynch, Obamacare, gay marriage are all just debating points in his battle to out-conservative the other contenders in the presidential race. But they don’t appear to be any more than that. And he’s not quite careful enough or doesn’t care enough to keep that at least partly hidden.
I believe that Cruz opposes gay marriage. But I also doubt you’ll find Mike Huckabee making the same rounds in Manhattan or hiding beyond the ‘leave it to the states’ mantra.