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Friday, September 27, 2013
You Already Know The Future Of Ted Cruz
Ted Cruz runs for president. Jackasses in Iowa talk about his honesty and his directness. They portray him as an outsider, a renegade, a fresh new face. What they mean is something else, something darker. Anyway, soon after that - because of dropping polls, stories of infighting, and some hideous thing he says into a hot mike or on hidden camera - his campaign turns into a space shuttle made of balsa.
Does it stop there? Christ, no. Because then Ted Cruz finds what he was meant to do all along. He's going to get a TV show, a radio gig, or an income stream from giving speeches to the kind of folks who think the UN is a totalitarian plot and gay people are poisoning our water supply. Maybe Fox picks him up at first. Eventually, though, he gets a niche market, a place in our culture where he can really cash in on those qualities he showed among the mouth-breathers in the Hawkeye State. Because those qualities are narcissism, paranoia, and shamelessness.
There's a kind of conservative who has these traits. The kind of person who wants nothing more than to peddle conspiracy theories, throw sand in the machinery, and call everyone around him or her a Nazi. These people can't run a disciplined team and get to 270. They alienate their own party. They lose staff and collect enemies. But they illustrate that what internet sales hacks call "the long tail" applies to the marketplace of ideas as well as that of porn and videogames.
The second act of this sort of conservative is where the audience thins out, and her or she plays to a remnant of lunatics, cranks, and neo-Confederates. Some kind of site like Rightwingwatch showcases each clip of the latest awful display, and Republicans pretend they never liked him anyway. But that's actually a bonus, because for the cult that still follows Cruz, part of the attraction will be membership in a group of true believers, fighting a war against an alien and hostile world. John of Patmos got their number the first time around. Not much has changed.
Ted Cruz's second act awaits. We can't get there soon enough. But of course while Cruz spends his last few inconsequential but lucrative decades riffing on FEMA-theories, Politico or the equivalent will be hyping the next wave of who the fuck cares. There is no relief in sight.
I'm going to start not taking him seriously right now, and beat the crowd.