Monday, December 09, 2013

MAYBE TED CRUZ LOOKS AT MANDELA AND SEES HIS OWN FATHER

I'm not sure why Ted Cruz chose to be part of the congressional delegation attending Nelson Mandela's funeral, just as I'm not sure why he wrote a Facebook post that praised Mandela without qualification (for which, of course, he was viciously attacked by his own commenters).

Does Cruz just love the spotlight? Is this an attempt at African-American outreach in advance of Cruz's inevitable 2016 presidential run, a la Rand Paul's cockamamie proposal to save Detroit by turning it into a Third World tax-shelter island in the middle of the U.S. landmass?

I think it's both of those things -- but perhaps there's more going on.

The preferred narrative among right-wingers who are now praising Mandela is that once he got out of prison he became a totally different person -- he was no longer a big commie.

Well, Ted Cruz's father, now a rabble-rousing wingnut who angrily compares President Obama to Fidel Castro, actually fought with Castro before bribing his way out of Cuba in 1957. Cruz the Elder now loathes Castro, but obviously this wasn't always the case.

I don't see this as comparable to Mandela's story, but maybe Ted Cruz does. The great believer in ideological purity knows that his own father wasn't always conservatively pure. So maybe praising Mandela feels, for Ted, like praising Dad.

9 comments:

Victor said...

Could be.

Or, maybe he feels the trip will give him some gravitas.

Or, he's just an arrogant sociopath who loves the limelight.

Kathy said...

We'll see. If he keeps to the background, then I'll go with your "he sees his dad" diagnosis. If he tries to grab the limelight, then it's definitely sociopath. Could be both.

Knight of Nothing said...

I think you're on to something. I'd add that it's probably also somewhat generational. Ted Cruz is a step younger than all those college republicans and interns who argued in favor of the apartheid system in the 1980s. Cruz may owe them an ideological debt, but he just doesn't carry their baggage. So I think it's easier for him to see Mandela as simply a South African patriot and ignore his politics.

I was lucky enough to visit the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg, SA. A sobering experience.

aimai said...

I don't think its worth imagining that Ted Cruz does anything for sentimental reasons--much less uses praise of another person as an indirect way of praising his father. I get the feeling from watching Cruz and his father in action that Cruz's father was a terrifying God to his son, and not the kind of God who brooks comparison with anyone else. Unless Cruz's father had a thing for Mandela Cruz wouldn't bother to praise Mandela because I'm betting that Cruz grew up in a household where everyone outside the household except the chosen few were rejected and despised. Thats decidedly true of the specific branch of religion they pursue, which is all about the elect.

I don't think Cruz is at all personally racist--but I do think he is extremely selfish and self centered so I don't think Mandela or Mandela's struggle matters to him one way or another. I do think he wants to be seen as a player onthe world stage though--anyone remember when someone (no, not Romney) rushed over to England to have some pictures taken with the Queen to shore up their cred. I remember at the time (and no, it wasn't Palin with thatcher either) that their handler explained that they knew that pictures of them would appear on the TV news and that was all their voters needed to see. Just the picture would stand in for all the international stuff that other people worked to create/study/have be meaningful.

Given the paranoia, isolationism, and historic ignorance of Cruz's median voter its a risky ploy--he'd be better off staging a "salon des refusees" style counter memorial if he could figure out how to do it with some kind of rebus like picture.

Philo Vaihinger said...

I believe Mandela remained a friend and supporter of Fidel until his death.

Not so, Cruz the Elder.

Steve M. said...

anyone remember when someone (no, not Romney) rushed over to England to have some pictures taken with the Queen to shore up their cred. I remember at the time (and no, it wasn't Palin with thatcher either) that their handler explained that they knew that pictures of them would appear on the TV news and that was all their voters needed to see. Just the picture would stand in for all the international stuff that other people worked to create/study/have be meaningful.

Palin met with Henry Kissinger and several world leaders (e.g., Hamid Karzai) at the UN in late September '08. That was supposed to generate some good pictures.

Unfortunately, Palin's interview with Katie Couric was also conducted at that trip to the UN. Oops.

aimai said...

I'm really sure it was someone farther back than the Palin/McCain election. I seem to remember it was some guy--perhaps even Bush himself right before he ran for President the first time. But in any event its a perennial. Even Nixon spent some time in foreign lands shoring up his cred when he was briefly out of office and while betraying his country.

Kathy said...

I really do find Cruz's decision to attend the funeral odd, given the overwhelmingly negative response to his Mandela Facebook post. Of course, he may see himself as the head of the "legitimate" US government. I wouldn't be surprised to see him try to elbow Obama out of the way and get meetings with high level officials so he can preach the "real" American way. I look forward to Rachel Maddow's coverage.

flipyrwhig said...

You're overthinking it. Cruz wants to be Mr. Liberty N. Freedom. He wants to equate all struggles against tyrants to one another. Moses = Jesus = Reagan = Mandela = Cruz.