James Moore is a political analyst, author and business communications consultant who has been writing and reporting on Texas politics since 1975. He is the founder of Big Bend Strategies and publishes regularly at Texas to the World. The views expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. View more opinion on CNN.
(CNN)He might have been the best of us. He is the worst of us.
The manifest tragedy of the life of Texas’ junior US Sen. Ted Cruz is what he might have accomplished had he not wasted a fine intellect to serve his craven political ambitions instead of the country he professes to love. Nearly every clever phrase he has turned in public discourse appears to have been designed to disrupt, not repair, and to turn the focus to Cruz, instead of the issue at hand.James MooreThe first Hispanic American elected to the US Senate from Texas, and a graduate of Harvard Law School and Princeton University, Cruz had argued nine cases before the US Supreme Court by the time he ran for Senate — more than any practicing Texas lawyer or member of Congress. Anyone who has authored 70 Supreme Court briefs, which Cruz did as solicitor general of Texas, surely must have skills to marshal the power of facts.Instead, he has spent much of his time leveraging falsehoods for his political benefit. More specifically, the senator has used his Ivy League education to promote election fraud theories that inspired rioting insurrectionists and QAnon quackery when he could have been at work creating policies to improve American lives. Compromise appears to be of little interest to Cruz, though. There are no cameras on the crowd in the middle. The television lights are shining at the fringe. Read MoreWhat exactly happened to Cruz is difficult to fully assess. A man who had called President Donald Trump a “pathological liar” during their presidential primary in 2016 embraced the President’s falsehoods about a stolen election four years later — and, in doing so, may have destroyed his political prospects.JUST WATCHED’Horrifying’: Former spokeswoman reacts to Cruz’s role in riotReplayMore Videos …MUST WATCH
‘Horrifying’: Former spokeswoman reacts to Cruz’s role in riot 06:37Just consider the day of the insurrection on Capitol Hill. Cruz was on the floor of the Senate arguing for a commission to investigate claims of fraudulent electoral results, and he justified his rhetoric by saying, “Thirty-nine percent of Americans believe the election that just occurred was, quote, rigged.” But he knew it was an honest election. Cruz has always been an artful dodger of details that do not facilitate his desired outcomes. Consequently, aside from misrepresenting the actual polling figure he cited, he ignored the truth that some voters acquired a conviction the election was stolen from the words of a President famous for lying and empowered by the conservative media that proliferates his deceptions as actualities. Further, the senator failed to mention that more than 80 judges in state and federal courts had considered evidentiary pleadings regarding dead voters casting ballots, hacked voting machines, ballot dumps and backroom tallies, but did not find sufficient evidence to order further action be taken. Still, Cruz maliciously fed the mass delusion leading to the attempted coup in Washington, DC.The linguistic cues from the President to “stop the steal” and take over the Capitol were also constantly ringing in Cruz’s ears. There are more than 74 million Trump voters, and the senator wanted them to all know he was their guy if Trump opted out — or was unable — to run in 2024. Trump administration officials flee to avoid holding him accountablePutting lives at risk — along with the very citadel at the center of American democracy — was of seemingly little concern to Cruz. Democratic norms could be abandoned if it advanced his personal political causes. In fact, while the mob was beating a police officer to death and defacing congressional offices, Cruz was sending out a fundraising tweet, which aides later insisted was an automated coincidence. His tweet said he wanted financial help to stop the counting of electors. Not even all of his staff was willing to tolerate the senator’s behavior. This week, Cruz’s communications director, Lauren Blair Bianchi, resigned because of the January 6 attack. Cruz cannot possibly think his language played no role in the Capitol invasion; he is simply denying it. This is one of his greatest political skills. In an interview with a Houston TV station after the riot, he said he had not supported the President’s incendiary claims about the election and had even spent Trump’s entire term in conflict with the White House. “I have disagreed with the President’s language and rhetoric for the last four years,” he told KTRK. “If you looked to what I have said, you will not find me say the same language or rhetoric.”However, that generally seemed to happen only when Trump was standing between Cruz and the presidency.His foulest disagreements with the President occurred in the primaries. The exchanges between the two men went well beyond what passes for standard campaign language. “This guy Ted Cruz is the single biggest liar I have ever dealt with in my life,” Trump said. “I mean it. He will lie about anything.” Get our free weekly newsletter
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The Texan then referred to Trump as a “sniveling coward” after he attacked Cruz’s wife by sharing an unflattering picture of Heidi Cruz next to Melania Trump. Their mutual insults defiled the low standards of even the rankest political campaigns.Ultimately, though, Cruz and Trump became confederates, and the senator offered to argue in front of the US Supreme Court for Trump and the state of Texas in a lawsuit claiming swing state results had to be invalidated. More recently, Cruz began a recent campaign speech in Georgia with, “God bless Donald J. Trump.” The simplest explanation for the base behavior of Cruz is that he will say and do anything to achieve his goal of becoming president, and he has demonstrated that he is willing to put at risk the very democracy of the country that he dreams of leading. That ought to earn him a lifetime ban from getting anywhere near the White House.
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