Only a few days into 2022 and we already have the year’s Most Humiliating Interview.
Take a bow, Ted Cruz. Unless you fear bowing might further enrage the far right, in which case just hide under the bed in your Cowardly Lion costume from “The Wizard of Oz.” Shall I have Amazon deliver a crate of adult diapers just in case you wet yourself while anxiously regretting the words you used to commemorate Thursday’s one-year anniversary of the violent terrorist attack on the U.S. Capitol as, to quote you, a “violent terrorist attack”?
Semantics is always the wrapping paper on rewriting history. And 12 months after the MAGA zombies stormed the Capitol, with their nooses and moronic chants and makeshift weapons and rage that comes from binge-eating lies, referring to these terrorists as terrorists is apparently a faux pas for dim and ambitious politicians like Cruz.
Enter Fox’s Tucker Carlson, heir to a frozen food empire, sensei of the constipated resting face and now kingmaker of a Republican party that has forfeited the moral high ground to run buck naked with the lunatic fringe in the wilderness of graft-friendly conspiracies.
Make no mistake: if Carlson thought he could double his ratings by playing footsies with Marxists, he’d show up for Monday’s broadcast cosplaying as Friedrich Engels.
The attack on the U.S. Capitol — and sustained attempts to overturn or delegitimize the most fair and accurate election in American history — was never complicated. But for much of the past year, performative ideologues like Carlson have tried to downplay what was patently obvious to anyone with functioning retinas. That Carlson is now on the same side of history as the MyPillow Guy tells you all you need to know.
The low-lifes beating police officers with fire extinguishers last year, they were patriots! The hordes storming the Capitol were tourists! You know, it’s like what happens at the Louvre, when visitors rush past security to smear feces on the Mona Lisa while threatening to hang curators. No big deal! This was just free speech that resulted in fatalities!
What’s the problem?
The problem for Cruz, the Texas senator with the spine of a jellyfish and moral compass of a hyena, started on Wednesday, when he said: “We are approaching a solemn anniversary this week and it is an anniversary of a violent terrorist attack on the Capitol …”
He was right. But for Carlson, hearing Cruz use the word “terrorist” amounted to a personal attack. It was as if Pumbaa had just called Timon an ISIS meerkat. On Wednesday, Carlson went ballistic. Then Cruz texted the Fox host to ask if he could come on Thursday’s show to explain himself, which made no sense, since the senator has repeatedly used the word “terrorist” to accurately describe the Jan. 6 insurrectionists.
What happened next was a grim reminder that America, and democracy itself, is now a hostage to cowardice and political expedience. If Cruz had any shred of dignity, he would have told Carlson to do something that is anatomically impossible. He would have doubled down and repeated that the jackasses who stormed the U.S. Capitol last year were, by intent and definition, domestic terrorists.
Again, not complicated. For any democracy to thrive and survive, we must all be willing to accept election results we may personally hate. I have a lot of issues with Justin Trudeau — don’t get me started on pandemic testing — but I do not deny that he was duly elected and is my prime minister. And if Erin O’Toole supporters had stormed Parliament Hill to overturn an election, most Canadians would brand those agitators as “terrorists.”
This is what Ted Cruz should have articulated on Thursday. Instead, he freaked out like a goldfish in proximity to a barracuda. When Carlson challenged Cruz for using the word “terrorist,” Cruz looked like he was about to cry. Despite referring to the Jan. 6 rioters as “terrorists” many times, he now said his language was “sloppy” and “frankly dumb.”
I remember Don Cherry once telling me the worst thing a hockey pugilist could do was start a ruckus and then turtle. It spoke to a lack of moral integrity. This is exactly what Ted Cruz did. As soon as Carlson dropped the gloves, Cruz covered up and begged for mercy. If Carlson didn’t get bored by the interview after about nine minutes — it was like watching a cat play with a mouse — he could have probably demanded Cruz repave his driveway.
Carlson was in control from the start. Cruz was in retreat to the end.
Mark Twain once observed, “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear — not absence of fear.” If he were alive today, he might change that to: “Ted Cruz is a pathetic coward.”
I’m stunned an enterprising footwear start-up hasn’t named a line of flip-flops after the U.S. senator. This loser had the former U.S. president call his wife “ugly” and suggest his father played a role in the JFK assassination. Then he ended up becoming one of the disgraced former president’s biggest cheerleaders.
It was like watching Wile E. Coyote write glowing press releases for Road Runner.
Ted Cruz had an opportunity this week to stand up for the rule of law and democracy. He had the chance to draw a line between reality and the dark fantasies that power rabble-rousers like Tucker Carlson. He had a shot at defending the U.S. Constitution and the American Experiment itself. Instead, he turtled.
Ted Cruz isn’t just a loathsome politician.
He is a terrible human being.