Monday, January 18, 2016


We tend to assume that there's no limit to what Donald Trump would say (and get away with saying) on the campaign trail. But would he go so far as to bring this up about the wife of his nearest rival?
[Heidi] Cruz has seldom discussed ... the night of Aug. 22, 2005, when the Austin police fielded a call about a woman in a pink shirt with her head in her hands, sitting near an expressway.

When an officer approached, Mrs. Cruz explained that she had walked out after dinner. As she sat 10 feet from traffic, the officer determined that she was a danger to herself, according to a heavily redacted police report first obtained by BuzzFeed News. Additional details from another version of the report obtained by The Times showed that the officer transported her to the unnamed facility. In the interview last week, Mrs. Cruz declined to elaborate on what happened that night and said there had been no similar incidents since. She refrained from using the word “depression,” although in his book, “A Time for Truth,” Mr. Cruz wrote that her move to Texas had “led to her facing a period of depression.”

“I don’t have years and years of major suffering from this,” she said, “and I want to use it to strengthen people around me and to recognize that we all have rough patches.”
The Cruzes had a long-distance marriage at that time -- Ted was working in Austin while Heidi worked first in Washington, then in Houston, 160 miles from Austin. I'm not a Ted Cruz fan (to put it mildly), but I assume this was quite stressful. I don't think less of Heidi Cruz because she lost it at that moment, and the incident has no bearing on my contempt for her husband, which is purely on political grounds.

But what about Trump? Is it really hard to imagine him deciding that he could use this against Ted Cruz?

If he brought it up, I think he'd go into concern-troll mode: I have a beautiful family. My wife, Melania, is a rock. My kids are just terrific. Ted Cruz is a great guy, and he has a beautiful wife but, you know, being president is tough, and being First Lady is tough, and Heidi Cruz ... well, I hope she could handle it. She's had times in her life when things got very dark for her. She had an emotion breakdown -- I mean, she's fine now, but she really, really lost it. She was hanging out by the highwa-- I don't want to talk about it. It's too awful. But if you're president, you need a spouse who's strong. Being First Lady is a tough job. Heidi? I don't know if she could handle it.

Would he actually say that? Would even Donald Trump think it was okay to go that far? And what does it say about Trump that we think he might?

I suspect that even he couldn't get away with this. We're in a confessional, post-Oprah era; we're a long way from 1972, when George McGovern's first running mate, Tom Eagleton, had to leave the ticket because it emerged that he'd been hospitalized for depression and undergone electroshock therapy. Times are different now. People across the political spectrum would rally to the Cruzes' defense.

I wonder if Trump understands that.

By the way, I assume no one would be more scornful of Trump than the Jeb Bush, that paragon of proper behavior and good breeding -- even though Jeb's father's campaign attempted to spread rumors in 1988 that Michael Dukakis had been treated for depression, as Rowland Evans and Robert Novak reported at the time:
Weeks before unsubstantiated rumors about Michael Dukakis made their tortuous way into print, the political apparatus of Bush campaign manager Lee Atwater was investigating the details and trying to spread the findings without leaving any vice presidential fingerprints.

The target was to trash Dukakis without hurting Bush.

... rumors long extant about two instances of depression by Dukakis attracted the Bush campaign's interest long before they were spread by Lyndon LaRouche's minions. Because Atwater's "opposition research" could not risk being caught, his lieutenants asked outside Republican operatives to do the digging and then quietly broadcast whatever they might find....
Trump attacks people personally. He doesn't understand that you're supposed to let the help take care of the nasty stuff for you.


Aunt Snow said...

Why did you bring it up?

retiredeng said...

We're wondering if Trump has the stones to bring this up. But if he doesn't then we do!

Victor said...

None of this is anyone's business, unless you're in the family.

And even then, unless you're either Mr. Or Mrs. Cruz, it's really none of anybodies bee's wax!

Unless, of course, one of the two of them bring it up, or ask for help.

I can't stand either Trump or Cruz, but there really ought to some things that are completely off limits.

BroD said...

Yeah, thanks so much for identifying the limits of decency--by overstepping them.

Unknown said...

The lying comb-over douche-nozzle bigot narcissist just finished a big featured Cracker Talk speech at Falwell's Bigoty U. in freaking LYNCHBURG (<-!) Virstatewithmostslaveowningpotuses.

Remember what the character Noah Cross played by John Huston said near the end of Chinatown?
"most people never have to face the fact that at the right time and the right place, they're capable of ANYTHING." The lying comb-over douche-nozzle bigot narcissist Trump gets up every morning then goes out and DELIBERATELY PROVOKES that time and place. He swaggers around like he's on stage delivering the keynote gasoline spray at a pyromaniacs convention.

Ten Bears said...

You brought it up.

If this filters up into the bimbo bottleblonde bobbleheads of the multimillionaire mainstream media the way reichwing bullshit filters up into the bimbo bottleblonde bobbleheads of the multimillionaire mainstream media it will do as much harm to the progressive persona as the Bundy Boys are doing in my backyard to the fucking Traitor movement.

EYup, both sides do it.

Steve M. said...

BuzzFeed brought it up, nearly a year ago. BuzzFeed has 85 million unique readers a month. The New York Times brought it up again today. The Times has 65.8 million unique visitors a month. So I didn't exactly betray a secret to my 3,000 daily readers.

Steve M. said...

And as the Times story notes, Ted Cruz wrote about this in his book.

Curt Purcell said...

I think part of the puzzlement you're getting, Steve, is that your link points to your homepage rather than the Times article. Absent that link, to those who don't know the Times brought it up today (it hasn't gotten any mention anywhere else that I've seen), it looks like you're just dishing dirt at random.

Curt Purcell said...

Having said that, even with some current context to justify the post, maybe it's best left alone unless/until Trump does make an issue of it.

Steve M. said...

Link fixed now, for what it's worth.

trnc said...

"If he brought it up, I think he'd go into concern-troll mode."

How is this post not concern trolling the same issue? If Trump brings it up, he'll deserve nothing but scorn for it and I would expect many articles in her defense from even Cruz's biggest critics, and possibly even some admonition of Trump from some supporters, but what is the point of getting out in front of it? I think with subjects like this, it would be better to wait until the offense is committed before responding to it.

Hamilton said...

Apparently media analysis, which is one of the primary functions of Steve's site, is off-limits among a field of newly-minted readers who are aghast at the shocking! frank! discussion of a news story.

An old news story that no one really cares about except you, and your tender feelings regarding some old mental health story about a millionaire who had a not-even-breakdown. Will this nightmare of heinous personal attacks from BUZZFEED never end?

Will our millionaires ever be safe again???

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Theo said...

Like the others have said, Trump doesn't really need to bring this up since everyone else will. I think the stigma is still there (Invisible Disabilities Association). It could be a teachable moment for Americans, but I don't see Cruz taking advantage of the opportunity. Depression is painful whether you're rich or poor, but it's a hell of a lot more difficult for the latter.

And a second strike against you for quoting Evans and Novak! :)

labradog said...

You can't sensibly shit in your hand, and then say "Won't it be awful if my fingers stink?"

The New York Crank said...

Between Majid and Kate, I suddenly feel very smart for having decided to moderate posts on my own blog, even if it means leaving some people waiting for hours (or in a few cases days) before their legitimate stuff goes up.

That said, I want to offer a theory as to why Trump has been silent on Ted Cruz's wife. Remember who Trump's wife is — a furriner, from behind the Iron Curtain, no less, in a place called Ukraine where they speak some kind of unintelligible furrin' language.. And Trump likes Putin. Anyone with an adding machine can put two and two together, and come up with the greatest conspiracy theory since the Moon Landing got filmed in Hollywood.

So Trump and Cruz keep silent on each others' wives. It's a more-than-half-century old principle of diplomacy and war containment called Mutually Assured Destruction. With a little self-destruction thrown in.

Yours crankily
(and a bit conspiratorially)
The New York Crank

The New York Crank said...

Whoops! Kate is now gone from the comments section. And I wouldn't be surprised if Majid is next. It's a conspiracy against trolls. Et tu, Steve?

Yours once again crankily,
The New York Crannk