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.