Ted Cruz’s Jaunt to Cancun Validates Everyone’s Priors
By now, you’ve probably heard about Sen. Ted Cruz (R–Texas) fleeing his mid-crisis state for a family vacation to Mexico. As Texans struggle to survive amid days of freezing weather and power outages, the Cruz story is, at best, a distraction from any real issues involved. But it’s also perfect tribal warfare fodder, so of course it became the centerpiece of Texas crisis coverage and commentary yesterday.
Perhaps the most tedious part about the whole cycle is how rarely anyone’s opinions on this story deviate from their already-held opinions of Cruz and/or Republicans more broadly. Those who think he’s the worst have seized on this as another opportunity to say why he’s the worst—what kind of monster abandons his constituents in a time of tragedy to soak up some sun in Cancun? Those who normally support Cruz countered that the senator is powerless in this situation and that the senator and his family staying in Texas and suffering along with the masses wouldn’t have accomplished anything.
That last part is both true and not. A number of politicians, including those from outside Texas, have been doing plenty to help out from afar. For instance, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D–N.Y.)—a perennial punching bag of Cruz’s—helped raise $1 million for Texans in need yesterday. So the idea that Cruz couldn’t be doing something doesn’t fly.
Did Cruz necessarily need to remain in Texas to do good deeds for the people there? The AOC example also suggests the answer here is no. The Cruz defenders are right about at least that much; the senator could very well have pitched in from his phone and laptop on a Mexican beach.
But did he actually do that? The answer is also no.
There’s no evidence that Cruz high-tailed it out of Texas and then, once he and his family were safe, got right back to work in aiding his constituents. Rather, he arrived in Cancun, spent his time there defending his decision to flee Texas, and then returned ahead of schedule yesterday afternoon, blaming the whole debacle on his kids.
“With school cancelled for the week, our girls asked to take a trip with friends. Wanting to be a good dad, I flew down with them last night and am flying back this afternoon,” Cruz said yesterday.
The Ted Cruz thing is ultimately a pretty silly and pointless controversy — it’s not like he can single-handedly turn the power back on by remaining in Texas — but holy moly is it a lot of fun to watch him step on a political rake two months in a row
— Eric Boehm (@EricBoehm87) February 19, 2021
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