This is where Cruz re-enters the picture. Extreme voices may win primaries, but they do not win statewide elections, especially in a nation where a majority self-identify as centrist. This is a lesson Republicans have learned before but that stubborn factions, who would rather tether themselves to a flagpole than run the flag across a finish line, seem unable or unwilling to embrace.
Think back to 2010 and Delaware’s Christine “I’m Not A Witch” O’Donnell and Nevada’s Sharron “Some Latinos Look More Asian To Me” Angle. And then, who can forget 2012’s stars: Richard Mourdock, who explained that rape pregnancies are gifts from God, and Todd Akin, who explored the nuances of “legitimate rape.”
Cruz comes off as smarter than all of the above combined. There’s a reason so many outside the Beltway admire him. To those who feel jilted by the system and insulted by critics, he is a vision of palm trees, dates and fountains. He articulates what they think and feel and, as a bonus, he’s got that Latino thing.
But Cruz is a mirage — an idea conjured in a fantasy that can’t be realized in reality. Like many successful politicians (and narcissists), he reflects back to others their own projected needs and desires. But then reality sets in — the debt-crisis deadline looms or the defunding ruse is exposed as theater — and only dust and dung remain among the shards of mirrored glass.
To the most important point — the crux of Cruz: The only person who loves Ted Cruz more than Ted Cruz is Barack Obama. It is the White House and Democrats, not Republicans, who have advanced the idea that Cruz is the face of the GOP. Remember when the White House insisted that Rush Limbaugh was the leader of the GOP? These narratives are useful to Democrats because they loonify the GOP, driving voters away from their fiery rhetoric just as intense heat repels any sensible mammal.
Cruz and Co. were more useful than Democrats could have hoped for as Obamacare limped out of the starting gate. One can bet that the greater the “glitches,” the bigger the megaphone for Cruz — the useful genius.
The only hope for Republicans going forward is that Cruz resists the allure of his own voice.
Kathleen Parker is a columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group. She can be reached at email@example.com.