Richard Milhouse Cruz

One of the strange parts of the modern mass media age is that the mainstream is vastly more rigid and doctrinaire than in the prior age. Everyone assumed that the burst of new media platforms would broaden the scope of what is acceptable discourse. In the 90’s we were endlessly hearing about how “new voices” and “new perspectives” would change the conversation. Instead, it was one purging after another as the Overton Window swung left and became increasingly narrow.

The most obvious example that comes to mind is the treatment of Mark Steyn by the Conservative Industrial Complex. He made some glib comments about how homosexuals were discussed in the old days and was pilloried by the hysterical homosexual activist editor of National Review. Eventually, he was driven off the site as a heretic. His crime was being funny and interesting, which is always a problem for the ideologues.

Anyway, one result of this weird narrowing of the range of acceptable opinion is that decent writers have to figure out how to take the fringe ideas and make them respectable. It’s often an impossible job as so much has been deemed unacceptable. We live in a land where you can be fired from your job because you noticed that guys named Mohamed have a habit of exploding in public.

Still, the fringe is the incubator of interesting thought these days. A theme with the Red Pill Right, for example, is that we are in a similar phase as we were in the late 60’s and early 70’s. The Left is running out of steam as its ideas become increasing absurd and dangerous. Disorder and malaise are causing the silent majority to look around for someone to restore sanity to government and put things back into their proper order.

That’s what bleeds through here in this Ross Douthat column about Ted Cruz. It’s against the law now to mention Nixon as anything other than the Hitler of the 1970’s so comparing Cruz to Tricky Dick is, as they say, problematic. Instead, Douthat has to rely on a reference to a fictional character most of his readers have to pretend to know. It’s not a great way to get into the essential character of Ted Cruz, but it opens the door a bit to historical comparison at the root of it.

I wrote the other day about Cruz being a sigma male and that’s not a terrible framing, but a more useful one is to look at Cruz as the modern incarnation of Dick Nixon. Cruz, like Nixon, is a guy you instinctively want to avoid. There was an alien aspect to Nixon that even his friends found to be off-putting. His enemies, of course, pounced on these things, hence the name “Tricky Dick.” Cruz has this same problem. His friends are not enthusiastic about him, but his enemies are very enthusiastic.

Nixon, like Cruz, was never embraced by the GOP. Eisenhower picked him as his VP, but treated him like bad odor. Ike was universally revered, but Nixon, despite his talents, was despised by the WASP elite of both parties. Democrats hated him for Alger Hiss and Republicans hated him for being low-class. The fact that Nixon was smarter and more knowledgeable about international affairs made things worse as he could not be dismissed as a rube.

That seems to be a similar issue with Cruz. He had few friends in the Bush administration, despite checking all the boxes and being super smart. Of all the candidates running, on paper he should have been the first choice of the GOP elite. Instead he was the last choice. Even now, he is not really an option, just a useful weapon against Trump. It’s quite remarkable how much the party establishment hates the guy.

Of course, like Nixon, Cruz hates the establishment just as much as they hate him. A big part of Nixon’s ambition seems to have been driven by his rejection by the elites. We’re seeing that with Ted Cruz. He got the senate seat and they treated him like a hired man so he went rogue, calling out the leadership. He even accused McConnell of lying to the caucus, which is unheard of in Washington. His entire campaign is built on his personal animus to his party’s leaders.

Historical analogies are never perfect. Cruz will never be the GOP nominee. He is just being used right now as a vehicle for the Stop Trump folks. They hope Cruz can prevent Trump from getting 1237 delegates. If that happens, the convention goes to a second ballot, at which point the party leaders step in and dump Cruz and Trump for one of their own. If they cannot pull that off then they will make a deal with Trump, maybe having one of their guys as his VP. Either way, Cruz will never be the nominee.

That’s another point of comparison with Nixon. Ted Cruz is a very smart guy. He’s also a very clever guy. Nixon was one of our smarter presidents, but he had a huge blind spot at times when it came to his enemies. He never fully appreciated just how much they hated him. That seems to be the defect of Ted Cruz. He thinks he can win and there is no way in Hell the GOP will let him win. He is failing to appreciate just how much they hate him.

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james wilson
james wilson
4 years ago

You’ve just raised my opinion of Cruz, and explained why Kasich hasn’t dropped out of the race.

If Cruz hadn’t gone nuclear on Trump he could throw his delegates to Trump and get on the ticket. It being politics, maybe such a thing is still possible. He could tweak more noses as VP than as Senator.

james wilson
james wilson
Reply to  thezman
4 years ago

Could be. A little reflection might inform us that Nixon had no politics, certainly no conservative politics. EPA, wage and price controls. Fellows like Nixon tend to look acceptable following the ruin of a LBJ. But the ruin of Obama has a 51% approval rating, so there may be no going back.

Randarius Honeypickle
Randarius Honeypickle
Reply to  thezman
4 years ago

What if the U.S. just repudiated all the national debt?

Kathleen
Kathleen
Reply to  thezman
4 years ago

I’m a Nixon fan also, mainly because of his being anti-communist. In fact, I had just graduated college in the mid-80s (UMASS/Amherst) and read Nixon’s The Real War. It totally changed my life. I had been a leftist throughout college, which was the norm then (and now) at UMASS. When I finished The Real War, all I could think was if the Left was lying about the Soviet Union, and about communism in general, what else were they lying about? That led me to writings by David Horowitz, a former Lefty, and to Eric Hoffer’s True Believer. From there I… Read more »

Karl Horst (Germany)
Karl Horst (Germany)
Reply to  Kathleen
4 years ago

@ Kathleen – While his anti-communist position was a plus. I’m not sure taking the US off the gold standard was such a great idea.

Kathleen
Kathleen
Reply to  Karl Horst (Germany)
4 years ago

@Karl
You’re right, it was not. Fatal error, long term.

Casius Lucius
Casius Lucius
Reply to  Karl Horst (Germany)
4 years ago

Given that there is a finite amount of gold, how do you grow the value of the world economy when it is based on gold? Also, gold has $0 commercial value; it’s all sentimental attachment to the past.

NunyaBusiness
NunyaBusiness
Reply to  Casius Lucius
4 years ago

Yes, gold has NO commercial value.

That’s why people dig holes MILES into the earth to extract it.

The chances are nearly 100% that the processor running the computer you typed that comment from is running on gold conductors, as is much the comm gear that got the signal from you to them and then to me.

But yeah, other than the hundred thousand things it gets used to manufacture every day, gold has no commercial value.

Dumbass.

Randarius Honeypickle
Randarius Honeypickle
Reply to  NunyaBusiness
4 years ago

when computers had lots of little boards in them, say 20 years ago, there were some trace amounts of gold in them. not now though. a smart phone has about 0.001 ounces in it. where is gold used commercially, what products? it has some aesthetic value for jewelry and that’s about it. it does have financial value *now* because people have a sentimental view of it. over time that will go away, and then gold will be worthless.

Karl Horst (Germany)
Karl Horst (Germany)
Reply to  thezman
4 years ago

@ theZman – At the current rate of international debt and monetary policy, I think we’re all heading that direction sooner than later.

Saml Adams
Saml Adams
Reply to  thezman
4 years ago

Nixon just had no real grasp of economics. Hence the monetary and Fed disasters. But got in an China vs. Cuba argument with someone who likened Obama’s visit to Cuba with Nixon to China. Thus, in their mind, completely justified and a diplomatic victory. They were surprised to hear just how much time and how many high level diplomatic meetings were required to put the Mao and Dick in chairs next to each other. Or that the US actually got something for its troubles. Obama? You’d think they woke up one day and thought, “gee we need one of those… Read more »

Severian
4 years ago

You’re spot on about Nixon. It’s funny how the people who should know best treat him like some kind of bizarre one-off, when in fact he’s exactly the kind of guy The Party System (5th, 6th, whatever ridiculous incarnation we’re supposed to be in now) produced with machinelike regularity. Pick any 19th century president — the odds are you’ll find a weirdo with limited interpersonal skills. In the newsprint-and-telegraph media era, the President was basically just his party’s designated flak-catcher. Nixon was a Martin van Buren type — an ideas guy, an organizer, a wire-puller, who through a weird confluence… Read more »

Tom S
Tom S
4 years ago

I remember LBJ and consider Cruz to be closer to that model politician than Nixon.

Notsothoreau
Notsothoreau
Reply to  Tom S
4 years ago

You could not be more wrong. LBJ loved being in the Senate. He had immense power and knew where the bodies were buried. He should not have taken the VP position. He was comfortable where he was.

Cruz, like Rubio, can’t wait to move on to the new job. Cruz has a record as a Senator, but you’d never know it from his campaign. He has no real allies in the Senate and has been ineffective. He has no intentions of spending years in a job to gain power. He wants it all now.

Tom S
Tom S
Reply to  Notsothoreau
4 years ago

In an effort to prove you mis-underestimate me I will demonstrate that I can, “be more wrong,” by expanding my argument. As I said I remember LBJ. Did not know him personally but remember the conversations around the dinner table concerning his political career here in Texas and nationally. LBJ loved many things but nothing trumped power, and he never hesitated to take a step up when the opportunity presented itself. He also would not shrink from any tactic or abandon any supporter if it advanced his position. An alliance to him meant, “What can you do for me today.”… Read more »

Christopher S. Johns
Christopher S. Johns
4 years ago

Nixon was at least sincere in his anti-communism and his loathing of the hippies. Not long ago, I watched Cruz deliver a jeremiad against the entire DC political culture from an empty Senate chamber and it was a spellbinding performance, a “Cortes burns his ships” kind of moment, and the party leadership and the money men will never forgive him. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aimgwzV-77U And I might buy it hook, line and sinker were it not for Heidi, who is an establishment Republican and DC operative to the gills. Her “job” at GS after she left the Bush WH was as naked a… Read more »

Randarius Honeypickle
Randarius Honeypickle
4 years ago

Nixon and Cruz were/are both tweaked, that’s for sure. But I think ole Ted is a pervert and not nearly as good a politician as Nixon was. Cruz will not win re-election, and will not be taken in as a lobbyist. He is a walking corpse, but just doesn’t know it.

Drake
Drake
4 years ago

Pretty accurate. I think Cruz is more of Conservative and Nixon a moderate – whether that is their natural instincts or a reaction to who ran the party in their respective eras can be debated.

I would like to point out – Nixon won eventually.

Andy Texan
4 years ago

As an ex-Cruz supporter, I see him as more devious and sanctimonious than prior to this campaign. I do not believe there is anything Cruz won’t say or do to be president. His conservative credentials (so touted by Levin and Limbaugh et al.) are merely the vehicle he is driving. I no longer trust Cruz.

Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai
4 years ago

Cruz and Nixon differ in one gigantic way. Cruz simply can’t win because he has no appeal to Nixon’s core constituency– the “Silent Majority”. Trump has taken full ownership of this treasured constituency– the last one to command it was Reagan– which is why Trump is the obvious favorite to be the next President.

Casius Lucius
Casius Lucius
Reply to  Buckaroo Banzai
4 years ago

Cruz has been holed below the water line, and is slowly sinking into oblivion. The creepy bastard.

Notsothoreau
Notsothoreau
4 years ago

You have to understand that hatred of Nixon was handed down, generation to generation. The press never forgave him for being right about Alger Hiss. When I stopped being a liberal, I thought I should read a bit about Nixon and set aside my prejudices. I read about his early career, from a historian that had access to the Nixon library. He did some interesting work on those early “dirty tricks”, which turned out to be pretty much non-existent. Standard media, say something long enough and people believe the lie. (Found it “The Contender” by Irwin Gellman. Nixon’s own writing… Read more »

Etcetera
Etcetera
4 years ago

This is a nice try, but more than a bit off. Nixon grew up poor, and attended Whittier College and Duke Law School, then went into the navy. Cruz at least did not grew up poor, attended Princeton and Harvard Law School, and then entered the legal apparatchik system that the Republicans maintain. Cruz has nothing like going after Alger Hiss in his background because he hasn’t really had any political accomplishments, only rhetoric. I really don’t see much basis to compare to them. And Nixon did have friends. Cruz has mistresses. If you really need to find a contemporary… Read more »

Millie
Millie
Reply to  Etcetera
4 years ago

Joe McCarthy

Randarius Honeypickle
Randarius Honeypickle
4 years ago

The one thing that Nixon did that is unforgivable was to start affirmative action.

Orabilis
Member
Reply to  Randarius Honeypickle
4 years ago

Affirmative Action resulted from the 1964 Civil Rights Act, an LBJ “gift” to the nation.
It’s first mention was in Executive Order 10925 of March, 1961.
See here for more:https://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Aamnation.com%2Fvfr+affirmative+action&qfront=affirmative+action&gws_rd=ssl#q=affirmative+action+history

Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai
Reply to  guest
4 years ago

Gary North’s perspective on Watergate is fascinating. There is much more there than we have been led to believe. “Somebody deep inside the bowels of the White House had access to the tapes. This person leaked the exact position of the tapes to the government’s lawyers. This was illegal. The government knew it was illegal. Any reporter with an ounce of sense would have known it was illegal. Any historian with an ounce of sense would have followed the trail back into the White House. And yet, 40 years later, nobody in the mainstream has done it….Forcing Nixon out of… Read more »

Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai
Reply to  thezman
4 years ago

Zman, I stumbled across this recently-published book that asserts that John Dean organized the Watergate break-in because of his connection to a DC call-girl ring. Don’t know if this angle is covered in Silent Coup, but it looks interesting.
http://www.amazon.com/White-House-Call-Girl-Watergate/dp/1936239906/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1459462451&sr=1-3&keywords=silent+coup

BrianE
BrianE
4 years ago

“…he had a huge blind spot at times when it came to his enemies. He never fully appreciated just how much they hated him.” I always considered Nixon to be somewhat paranoid, hence Watergate. Especially given that the election was not going to be close, I know he claims he didn’t know about the original breakin, but others dispute that. As to going off the gold standard, debt economies give the illusion of wealth…which is good optics for a politician– at least until the bill comes. Wage and price controls– attempt to control hoarding. It was a short term solution,… Read more »

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4 years ago

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