So it’s presidential election year! I’m feeling a little schizophrenic, shifting back and forth between the gleeful pleasure of the wildass campaign, and the sick realization that someone is actually going to be elected.
Most of the rhetorical analysis I was reading at first was going to Donald Trump. Of course it took some doing to keep up with the deranged, offensive, ignorant things he said, but then that effort went from drinking from a fire hose to trying to swallow a tsunami as it roared in full of racist stupidity and imaginary “facts”. Basically, though, Donald Trump is simple. He’s pathologically insecure and he wants to be liked and told what a good boy he is. He’ll never get enough, but that’s what he wants.
A more subtle and incredibly dangerous character is Ted Cruz. Unlike Trump, Cruz doesn’t want attention, and he doesn’t care whether anyone likes him. He wants one thing—power—and he will say or do anything to get it. If Ted Cruz was absolutely convinced that he could be elected President by becoming a Democrat, he’d be the most liberal person out there tomorrow.
But for his current approach, let’s take a look at some of the rhetoric on his website. The home page opens with “Join the movement of Courageous Conservatives”, telling us that those other conservatives are not courageous. Given Cruz’s past, the word “courageous” must mean “rigid, inflexible, and intolerant”. Also notice that he’s not actually conservative. A real conservative would never dream of shutting down the government just to make a political point, but Cruz didn’t hesitate for one second when he tried. As I said above, however, he has no actual beliefs other than wanting power.
When you look at the home page of the website for Cruz, you also find a truly interesting bit of rhetoric, not immediately obvious. The top of the page has 8 links, including the mysterious “ES”. That link goes to a Spanish-language version of the page, something you might not know unless you speak Spanish, in which case you could make a guess that it stands for Español.
There is far more than enough room at the top of the page to fully spell out the word, instead of using a blatantly weird abbreviation. If they did, however, even the uneducated poor whites who plan to vote for Cruz might recognize “Español” as a Spanish word. Those angry poor whites (or in Cruz language, “voters”) are exactly the sort of people who damn well don’t want to see any Spanish on the website of their candidate. So with a strange little abbreviation, Cruz hopes to hide the Spanish part of his website, but when speaking to a Hispanic audience, he can say “And look, my website is even in Spanish.” Amigos.
Among the other links at the top of the home page is one called Issues, with a dropdown menu containing 9 further links, including “Restore the Constitution”. That phrase of course means that we’re currently not using the Constitution, although we are, but…anyway. Click on that link and the next page reads at the top “Defending the Constitution of the United States of America”. Adding the phrase “of America”, which we don’t usually say, makes it sound more grand, more serious, more Ted Cruz-y.
The page argues that Ted Cruz is a valiant defender of the Constitution, with statements such as “Unfortunately, recent administrations have defied the Constitution and the rule of law, and as a result we are less free.” So Cruz, who once worked at the Supreme Court, as the same webpage tells us, will never tolerate someone not following the law, particularly once the Supreme Court where he worked has ruled on the law.
Except… This is a good place to note that when Kim Davis, the county clerk in Kentucky, said she would not abide by the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage and issue licenses—even though she could have avoided doing so by quitting her $80,000-a-year job, Ted Cruz rushed to stand with Kim Davis in front of television cameras, to support her defiance of “the rule of law” (to quote his webpage). Cruz thought supporting Kim Davis would be good for him politically, since the people he wants to appeal to are generally anti-gay marriage, and when it comes to hating gays, it’s Constitution? What Constitution? I mentioned that Ted Cruz has no actual beliefs, right?
For a person who took loans from Goldman Sachs to get into the Senate (a major part of Washington, if that point got missed), Cruz says a lot about how much he’s against Washington (and against Goldman Sachs). Then again, Washington is mostly against him, too, because practically every politician who knows Ted Cruz dislikes him, in many cases extremely. Even politicians no longer in power, like George W. Bush and Bob Dole, have gone out of their way to publicly say they don’t like Ted Cruz.
Also under the Issues link of Cruz’s home page, we can follow the secondary link “Rein in Washington” (the place he borrowed one million dollars to get elected to), to a page that reads at the top “Trusted Conservative Leadership”. This phrase raises some questions. We already know he’s not conservative, but to be a leader, don’t people have to follow you? And if none of your colleagues respect you, how are you a trusted leader? Or is the phrase Trusted Conservative Leadership just meaningless noise you make when you run for office? Maybe it doesn’t matter if they respect you, since you’ll take care of that little problem after you gain power.