Thursday, July 21, 2016

What Cruz's Convention Speech Says About Trump

If one reads certain reports and reactions of Senator Ted Cruz's address to the 2016 Republican Convention, he figuratively defecated on the carpet in Mr. Trump's living room. Others seem to believe Mr. Cruz deserves two chapters in an updated version of Profiles in Courage.

While many are trying to analyze, defend, or vilify Cruz, the fact that he spoke without endorsing Donald Trump may reveal more about Mr. Trump than it does Senator Cruz.

Mr. Trump's political success seems predicated in no small part on the belief that Trump says what he means and means what he says. 

Cruz's speech gives the lie to that assumption. If Trump truly says what he means and means what he says, Cruz would not have spoken at all.  According to a June 27, New York Times report, Trump categorically declared that no one who had not endorsed him, including Senator Cruz, would be allowed to speak at the convention.
“If there’s no endorsement, then I would not invite them to speak,” Mr. Trump said in an interview, adding that former rivals like Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Gov. John Kasich of Ohio should not expect to address the convention if they continue to withhold their support.
Cruz offered no endorsement prior to his speech ,during his speech, or after his speech. Trump knew he would not.
The man constantly referred to from the podium as the world’s greatest negotiator went along with giving his last and strongest rival for the nomination a prime-time speaking gig knowing that Ted Cruz would not endorse him.
Those given a copy of the prepared speech indicated that Cruz would mention Trump's name only once. Further, the "vote your conscience" line that caused so much consternation was in the prepared remarks.
With no endorsement prior to the convention or in Cruz's prepared remarks, even the truest Trump believers will have difficulty that he said what he meant or meant what he said in this instance. Even a single failure is damning when a campaign is based on the cult of personality rather than issues. Perhaps that's why the true believers in the convention hall were doing their best to appropriate the Sam "Say It" Kinison and have Cruz take the Rodney Dangerfield from Back to School.

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