- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 21, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Cleveland — As Charles Krauthammer put it, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz wrote “the longest suicide note in U.S. History,” and it was a disjointed, contradictory one that revealed a deeply conflicted and narcissistic man. A principled stand for the party and country? Hardly. In the end, it was all about Mr. Cruz. There’s a reason why he only has one friend in the Senate, and this week, that reason became explicitly clear to the American public.

On Wednesday night, Mr. Cruz started off strong.

He argued for “a return to freedom,” where you can chose your own healthcare, not have the IRS beat down your door, possess a tax-free internet, speak your mind, practice your own religion, and have the right to bear arms. He spoke of state rights, of building a wall on the Southern border, for the United States to stop admitting ISIS terrorists as refugees, and of a Supreme Court that follows the Constitution

These are all positions that Donald Trump supports and has advocated for.

But then, after saying “And, to those listening, please don’t stay home in November,” he told the American public to go out and “vote their conscience.”

To overwhelming boos.

Just in March, Mr. Cruz pledged to support Mr. Trump if he became the Republican nominee.

“Yes, because I gave my word that I would. And what I have endeavored to do every day in the Senate is do what I said I would do,” Mr. Cruz said in a Fox News debate.

So much for Mr. Cruz’s word.

Some of Mr. Cruz’s delegates, and those in the Never Trump camp, liked his convention speech — but as the Republican primary proved — there isn’t enough of them to win an election. The overwhelming majority was reminded why they don’t like the cocky senator. At a time when the party so desperately needs to come together, he chose to divide, and for his own personal benefit.

Mr. Cruz is making the political calculation that Mr. Trump will overwhelmingly lose come November and the party will be torn apart. He’s placing himself in the “see, I told you so,” camp (never a great one to be in), so that he can make a bid for the presidency again come 2020.

On Thursday, Mr. Cruz argued not supporting Mr. Trump was in defense of his constitutionalist principles — and that if Mr. Trump were to embrace the ideological brand of conservatism he laid out the night before, he’d consider an endorsement.

This is baloney — as Mr. Cruz himself soon revealed.

After sharp pushback within his own delegation — many of whom were angry and upset at Mr. Cruz’s open defiance the night before — Mr. Cruz broke.

“I am not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father,” Mr. Cruz said. Adding: “Can anyone imagine our nominee standing in front of voters and taking questions like this?”

Twenty minutes before, he had vowed not to say anything negative about Mr. Trump.

This all leads me to say — is anyone really surprised at Mr. Cruz’s double-face?

This is a man, after-all, who drafted off of Mr. Trump’s coattails for the first six months of the primary campaign. Was Mr. Cruz offended when Mr. Trump criticized Arizona Sen. John McCain on his war-hero status? Nope. Did he rush to defend Carly Fiorina after Mr. Trump disparaged her looks? Not a chance. Did he guard Megyn Kelly against Mr. Trump’s continued barbs? Sorry. He stayed silent.

The reason? His campaign team calculated it was the best call for his White House bid. Mr. Cruz thought Mr. Trump’s star would fade, and that he was best positioned to capture Mr. Trump’s supporters.

That didn’t happened. And after this week’s performance, Mr. Cruz ensured it will never happen.

For even if Mr. Trump doesn’t win the White House in November, his supporters aren’t going anywhere. And they’ll remember Mr. Cruz for the Brutus he’s become. His political career is as good as dead.

Kelly Riddell is a columnist for The Washington Times.


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