Readers of this blog know that I’ve spent a good bit of time over the past couple of years writing unflattering things about U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz.
I don’t apologize for any of it.
George W. Bush the other day more or less climbed on board with many of the rest of us when he said of the junior Republican senator from Texas, “I just don’t like the guy.”
The former president was speaking at a private fundraiser in Denver on behalf of his brother, GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush, against whom Cruz is competing for his party’s nomination.
Mr. President, I don’t like him either.
I’ve struggled a bit to say precisely why I dislike Cruz. I’ve never met him; forgive me for saying this, but I have met President Bush and I find him amazingly likeable.
Cruz, though, presents a different situation. Maybe he’s a terrific fellow — in private. The public version of Cruz, though, is remarkably unlikeable.
He blew into the Senate in 2013 and immediately began hogging lots of TV time. The mainstream media love the guy. He’s what the media describe as “good copy.” He was everywhere, making pronouncements on this and that, speaking of the venerable Senate institution as if he’d been there since The Flood. The young man seems to lack any self-awareness of how it looks to some of us who have watched him pontificate about the Senate and his new colleagues.
He’s managed to antagonize even his fellow Republicans, such as John McCain, who chastised Cruz for questioning whether Defense Secretary-designate Chuck Hagel — a fellow Republican, former senator and a combat veteran of the Vietnam War — was sufficiently loyal to the United States of America. He’s called Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and liar.
It’s all about Cruz.
Then he launched that presidential campaign of his barely a year after becoming a senator. I get that he’s not the first rookie congressional politician to reach for the brass ring. Barack Obama did it. JFK did, too. Heck, you even could say George W. Bush did, too, after serving only a term and a half in the only elective office he’d ever held — Texas governor — before being elected president in 2000.
It’s Cruz’s brashness, though, that seems so … umm … unlikeable.
Bush had it right when he blurted out to the political donors that he doesn’t like Sen. Cruz.
Does it matter that a president is likeable?
It matters to me. How about you?