Yesterday big news was John Boehner saying that Ted Cruz is “Lucifer in the flesh.” According to a column published today by Politico, Cruz relishes every insult, even when they come from his side of the aisle. An excerpt:
Of course, Cruz isn’t the first prick to inhabit politics. Lyndon Johnson, for example, famously enjoyed humiliating secretaries, senators and aides by summoning them into the bathroom for conversations while he was seated on the presidential throne.
Richard Nixon could be nasty, too, but he resented the hatred his actions elicited. All would agree that Donald Trump is a wicked man, but he has his sensitive side, too, as proved by his emotional reaction to charges that he’s short-fingered.
If not the first prick, what is Cruz? He’s the first American politician who strives to be despised. If waterboarded, Johnson, Nixon and Trump would confess that they prefer love to hatred. Not Cruz, whose premeditated rudeness, self-righteousness, backstabbing and name-calling have inspired a dozen recent pieces exploring the question of why Washington hates Ted Cruz. He wants to be hated.
Did Cruz decide to play the hateful political villain, or was it thrust upon him? I defy you to look at him and not associate his squinty-eyed, prehensile-nosed, whiny-mouthed demonic visage with the great villains of film noir history. If looks are destiny, perhaps the answer to why Cruz works so hard to be hated can be contained in a snapshot: It’s the path of least resistance.
But even film noir villains have deep soul-searching stretches in which they question their own badness. If Cruz has submitted to even a soul-searching once-over, I’d be surprised. Instead, he wears the hatred of his peers like a badge of honor, the way Lucifer and his fallen angels wore their Lord’s scorn.