Sometimes it’s hard to know who to root for in the Republican presidential shitshow, unless Ted Cruz is involved, in which case the answer is always the other guy. If you’re like me and hate Ted Cruz’s face, then this moment from Thursday night’s debate is a thing of beauty and a joy forever.
About an hour into the debate, as Ted Cruz was launching into one of his patented Eighth-Grader-Reciting-His-Book-Report-As-Though-It’s-A-Shakespeare-Sonnet routines about how ideologically immune he is to special interests, a linchpin of his appeal, when Trump casually destroyed him. The key here is not what Trump said, but the way Cruz literally throws up his arms in surrender when he’s done:
CRUZ: When I went to Iowa and campaigned against ethanol mandates, everyone said that was political suicide. You can’t take on ethanol in Iowa. And my opponents on this stage not only didn’t do the same. They attacked me and even promised to expand corporate welfare. If we’re going to stop bankrupting our kids and grandkids, you’ve got to be willing to take on the lobbyists…
TRUMP: … if you look back to Iowa, Ted did change his view and his stance on ethanol quite a bit. He did and — at the end. Not full on, but he did change his view in the hopes of maybe doing well. And you know, I think everybody knows that. It was a front page story all over the place, and he did make a change.
BASH: Senator Cruz?
(pause so pregnant it had time to visit Planned Parenthood)
CRUZ: Listen, if you are fed up with Washington, the question you ought to be asking is who is willing to take on Washington?
The wonderful thing about this, besides everything, is that it’s a gut punch to Cruz’s entire purer-than-thou narrative. Trump had him dead to rights, and even though Cruz had an impressive array of spin at the ready, he didn’t even bother to try.