Ted Cruz looks to be going for the “vulture win”.
That’s what they call it in baseball, anyway. The starting pitcher does most of the heavy work, taking his team deep into the game before finally leaving the mound in exhaustion, unable to continue. A fresh reliever enters the game, throws to just one or two batters, and somehow walks away credited as the pitcher who won the game.
A vulture win.
So when Donald Trump appears as the headliner at this afternoon’s Washington rally against the Iran nuclear deal, Cruz will be there too, ingratiating himself with the Donald and his supporters. In fact, Cruz invited Trump to share the stage at the rally, knowing the media attention that Trump will bring.
“An awful lot of presidential candidates have gone out of their way to take a stick to Donald Trump,” as Cruz helpfully points out. “I am not one of them.”
No, Ted, you certainly are not. Quite the contrary. You are content to bask in the reflected glow of the Trump supernova, waiting until it burns itself out. Let Trump inflame the base. Let Trump say the things that you will not say, and you’ll be ready to pick up the pieces. Meanwhile, you’ll perfect your little “Teddy Haskell” suck-up routine:
“Gee, Mr. Trump, your hair sure looks wonderful today!”
“Why thank you, Teddy! What a bright young man you are. And so polite too! Jeb, see what a polite young man this Teddy is. You should learn from him … loser!”
Unlike June Cleaver, though, the Donald ain’t really buying it. Whatever his shortcomings, he knows a sycophant when he sees one, and I suspect he uses them far more adroitly than they use him. We’ll see….
And of course, it won’t be just Cruz and Trump at this afternoon’s rally at the U.S. Capitol. They will be joined in their opposition to the Iran deal by an illustrious group of speakers, some of the most influential voices in today’s conservative movement:
You’ve got the estimable Glenn Beck, with his charts and dire warnings about the coming caliphate. There’s renowned foreign-policy expert Sarah Palin, flying in from Alaska. Michele Bachmann, filling the last final days until Obama the Anti-Christ brings on the Rapture. U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert and his buddy Steve King. The Islamaphobe Frank Gaffney, who warns that the Obama administration, the American Conservative Union, Congress and other groups are filled with Muslim Brotherhood secret agents out to impose Sharia law on the United States, with Obama himself a likely co-conspirator. Oh, and Phil Robertson of “Duck Dynasty” fame.
These are the high-caliber folks with whom the leading candidate for the 2016 Republican nomination chooses to share the stage. (Georgia Sen. David Perdue is also on the list of speakers. Aren’t you proud?) It ought to be quite the shindig, and since it’s co-sponsored by the Tea Party Patriots — “those earnest, issue-oriented, book-club organizing activists who are passionate about policy,” to use George Will’s precise description — it’s guaranteed to brim with well-informed commentary, insight and illumination about a critically important foreign-policy decision.
If nothing else, Trump may have finally found a group in which he comes off as the moderate, sober-speaking statesman.