After his controversial interview with Bloomberg’s Mark Halperin (which ThinkProgress dubbed “the most racist interview of a 2016 candidate“), Sen. Ted Cruz responded to Halperin’s apology with magnanimity: “Mark Halperin is a serious and fair-minded journalist,” Cruz wrote on his Facebook page. “Today he kindly issued an apology for some silly questions he asked me in an interview. The apology was unnecessary — no offense was taken, nor, I believe, intended — but is certainly appreciated.”
This is both smart politics (what’s the saying about picking fights with people who buy paper by the ton and ink by the barrel?) — and a good behavior. And it’s a sharp departure from the politics of outrage, aggrieved bitterness, and victimhood that has been plaguing the GOP, at least since 2008 when Sarah Palin came under (sometimes vicious and unfair) attack.
The truth is that Cruz doesn’t need to take on the “nattering nabobs of negativism” — he had plenty of surrogates do that work for him. Heck, even ThinkProgress got in on the action. Instead, he wisely remained above the fray. So was this pure strategy — or proof that Ted Cruz is a decent human being? To quote Tommy Lee Jones in “The Fugitive,” I don’t care.
I’m so desperate for someone — a leader with some credibility on the right (and who has more conservative bona fides right now than Cruz?) — to do the right thing, that I’ll get around to worrying about the motives later. We teach our children virtues like “Don’t hold grudges,” “Don’t rub the other guy’s nose in it,” “Be gracious,” and “Don’t dance in the end zone.” And now, we have a prominent conservative leader actually living up to those standards. Here’s hoping this is a trend.
Note: The author’s wife formerly advised Ted Cruz’s Senate campaign, and currently consults for RickPAC.