“Vacation, all I ever wanted
Vacation, had to get away
Vacation, meant to be spent alone.” — Belinda Carlisle
Ted Cruz has the greatest timing in the world. I vividly remember an ad released by a Republican running against Rick Perry in the primary. Her ad said, “every four years we vote for Rick Perry and in between we ask ourselves why we did it.” In this case its six years. We all know what Ted Cruz is. Even his fellow Republicans know what he is.
So, the latest “scandal” had Cruz and his family flee to Cancun during the power problem this last week in Texas. He left to take his kids down there and was going to come right back according to him. If you believe him, the idea was that his daughters (10 and 12) wanted to spend time with friends in Cancun and he was just dropping them off with his wife and then was going to come right back to be with his fellow Texans.
This is where we can look at the facts and ask ourselves how much we are really supposed to care. The facts are that his return ticket was originally for Saturday, but he suddenly reserved an earlier ticket when he was found out. What we also know is that Centerpoint announced yesterday that the rolling blackouts were coming to an end. Almost every home has power now. So, he returns after the crisis. That’s leadership.
Far be it from me to announce what we should and shouldn’t care about, but I will offer my two cents and let you decide. One of the things politicians love to do is convince people (or try to) that they are just like them. Cruz’s cover story was that the girls had school cancelled, so they decided to take a trip to Cancun. How many of us could do that? Even as a teacher with a wife that’s an engineer, we couldn’t afford to just uproot in the middle of the year and head down to Mexico. Our vacations are meticulously planned in advance and we barely afford one a year if that.
So, it’s awfully hard to convince yourself that you are just like us. Combine this with the comments from the small town mayor yesterday and that of former Governor Rick Perry who wanted us to all sacrifice in homage to deregulation and you see a common theme here. People who have no idea how most people live are trying to convince us they are in it for us. They come off sounding like Marie Antoinette and her so-called “let them eat cake.” The cruel joke is that many historians now believe that statement never happened and yet these modern day aristocrats make equally cringeworthy statements on a daily basis.
The second point that should be made is that even if we take Cruz at his word (I wouldn’t trust him if his tongue came notarized) what kind of example is he setting for his children? Every time the tough get going we leave for greener pastures? When my neighbors are struggling we should take the first red eye out of town for the nearest beach we can find.
We can take this in it together thing so far. Some people chip in and some people don’t necessarily. However, there is some solidarity with fending for yourself at the same time your neighbors are. Your power is off. Their power is off. You truly know how they feel because you also feel it.
The truest takeaway is the fact that Ted Cruz is really only it for Ted Cruz. If you go back to the last election between Cruz and O’Rourke you saw one of the criticisms that stuck was that Cruz had not really done anything for Texas. He had done plenty for Ted Cruz. He was running for president and spent most of his time as senator running for president. One imagines the same happening in 2024.
Say what you want about O’Rourke and people have. Maybe he didn’t have the experience to be a good senator. Maybe his politics on gun control was too extreme for some Texans. Maybe he was more sizzle than steak. I don’t know how much of that I agree with, but we will leave that aside for now. When this whole thing went down he was at home in El Paso pitching in as much as he could to help his neighbors. That’s what Texans do.
They don’t flee to Cancun to lie in the sun while their neighbors freeze to death. They don’t shield their kids from tough times so they can grow up as entitled brats. They don’t gaslight during a crisis. The sad thing is that in three years when his campaign for senator begins all of this likely will be forgotten. We spend every six years voting for Ted Cruz and the years in between asking ourselves why we did it. Let’s not do that again.