Ezra Klein notes the gossamer link between Demagogue Ted Cruz's populism and Senator Ted Cruz's record:
Cruz opposes raising taxes on the wealthy. The public supports it. Cruz opposes gun control. The public supports it. Cruz supports sharply cutting spending on Medicare and Social Security. The public opposes it. If Cruz actually believed his job was directly representing the will of the people, his voting record would be extremely different than it is.
Can't argue with that. Yet if the principle holds for demagogues, by rights it should hold for all politicians who virtuously declare Us the People on their topical side. Every congressional vote would merely, mechanically reflect the latest polls on any given issue; legislative outcomes would become routine matters of foregone conclusions, even if "the People" were disastrously mistaken in their popular opinions.
Klein, of course, is only noting Cruz's extraordinary hypocrisy: the Texas senator boasts his direct representation on dread Obamacare while flouting popular opinion on other issues. We can ask what politician doesn't do this, but generally we needn't ask, because rarely does a pol--such as Cruz--make such an issue out of imperious fidelity to populist virtue. In that he is a notorious fraud, even if the same behavior bubbles more subtly throughout the political ranks.
Thus Cruz's hypocritical behavior, as a demagogue, fails to bewilder. What baffles the hell out of me, though, is what Cruz, as a demagogue, thinks he's accomplishing.
The most proficient of American demagogues of yore--Jim Crow Democrats--demagogued on race because they could successfully demagogue on race. They could bottle up racial progress and act the triumphant hero to the troubled hayseeds. Ted Cruz? He's hitched himself to an epic loser. Because Obamacare is unstoppable, Cruz will look pathetically weak as it goes forward.
What's more, he is antagonizing the big-money boys. From BuzzFeed:
"Sure, he’s revving up the base, but so did Michele Bachmann and Pat Buchanan," said one longtime Republican strategist who has worked on multiple state and national campaigns. "If you’re serious about running for president … you need the serious money, more than the direct mail crowd and the small money donors."
And if Sen. Cruz persists in enraging his fellow Republican senators and alienating the party's independent vote, which is critical to so many reelection campaigns, he's going find his demagogic butt senatorially censured, Joe McCarthy-style. Strike three.
Cruz's "brilliance" has always escaped me. But I thought he was smarter than this.