Last night’s performance by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, along with his remarks to the Texas State Delegation this morning, clinches it.
In the end, the voters got it just right. Cruz did not quite have what it takes to be President of the United States.
He seems to be clinging to the belief that Republicans and that great swath of swing voters should vote for all the Republicans down-ballot while abstaining from voting for Donald Trump – as Hillary Clinton, thereby, soars into the White House. And that the resulting stronger Republican Majority in the House and Senate will provide a vigorous check on her policy choices until Ted Cruz rides to the rescue in 2020.
That is an illusion of the grandest order.
But, I can see why “Princess Bride” is the venerable senator from Texas’ favorite film. He’s been home sick in bed, nursing the wounds of a losing battle for the Republican nomination, while dreaming of his ascension to the presidency in 2020, a fairy tale he might imagine the ghost of a grandfatherly Ronald Reagan reading to him.
If, in fact, the Party had chosen Ted Cruz in 2016, we would all be singing his praises now. And, there is much to commend. Just not enough to attract a sufficient number of voters to put him in the catbird seat Donald Trump now sits in after winning the most delegates.
As of Tuesday night Trump is now the Republican presidential nominee. And, today, we are on the way to celebrating this fact.
Ernest Hemingway, whose birth 117 years ago we celebrate today – this author celebrating in Hemingway’s hometown of Oak Park at the Hemingway Society conference – would see great sport in all of this. The Sun Also Rises, bullfighting and fiestas! A perfect theme for the Republican convention!
Trump decimated his opponents and, if past is prologue, he’s on the way to decimating Clinton. If you are a Republican or swing voter, swinging Trump’s way – and the tight polls indicate there are an awful lot of them especially in all-important swing states – what’s not to like?
And, now the fiesta – complete with the “behaving badly” not unlike that chronicled by Lesley Bloom in Everyone Behaves Badly: The True Story Behind Hemingway’s Masterpiece The Sun Also Rises – is underway. (What a masterpiece the “fictional” version of the Republican convention would make!)
And, there’s a lot to celebrate.
For starters, Trump is not unlike Hemingway’s lifelong hero Theodore Roosevelt. Both are big and bold and all about American greatness and cleaning out the dead wood. And both have dollops of common sense.
Trump, too, in Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence’s words is “Reaganesque.”
And, not to put too fine a point on it, but he’s not a nerd. He might be, in his brother Fred’s adolescent opinion, a “pain in the neck” but, in this political setting and season, that’s a virtue!
Look. This is about the future of America. And, in President Barack Obama’s words it’s “steak or fish.”
So, let’s all get down to the business of choosing Manhattan steak and making America great again.
Mary Claire Kendall is a Washington-based writer and author of Oasis: Conversion Stories of Hollywood Legends. She served four years in the George H.W. Bush Administration as Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Health.