It seems every week, Ted Cruz finds a new way to make himself a national spectacle.
This time, it’s for a condescending and seemingly tone-deaf Op/Ed he wrote for the Wall Street Journal in which he goes after what he calls the “watch-me-woke-it-up” CEOs of Corporate America. The column attacks the heads of companies such as Coca-Cola and Merck for taking public stands against Georgia’s controversial voting rights law, Senate Bill 202, and declares that the GOP is done taking political donations from U.S. businesses.
At one point, Cruz writes that “a clutch of business leaders tried to win woke Twitter points and clowned themselves instead.” That’s an interesting phrase for the senator from Texas to use, since the column is all but an admission that he’s gladly been in the pocket of Big Business for years.
Knowing how utterly lacking in self-awareness Cruz typically is, one can picture him writing that column, hitting ‘send’ and patting himself on the back for getting his licks in on America’s CEOs. Except he winds up providing a classic Cruzian self-own. At one point, he writes this extraordinary paragraph to show the depths of his anger over corporate leaders speaking out publicly against Georgia’s voting law.
“This time, we won’t look the other way on Coca-Cola’s $12 billion in back taxes owed. This time, when Major League Baseball lobbies to preserve its multibillion-dollar antitrust exception, we’ll say no thank you. This time, when Boeing asks for billions in corporate welfare, we’ll simply let the Export-Import Bank expire.”
Not that it is all that surprising to anyone who follows politics, but this is an actual U.S. Senator admitting, in a national newspaper, that he and his fellow Republicans gladly cut billion-dollar companies a break — often very lucrative ones — in exchange for their support. For good measure, he adds this:
“We’ve allowed them to ship jobs overseas, attack gun rights, and destroy our energy companies.”
Um, hello, Senator? The key point in that sentence is “we’ve allowed them.” He is literally saying the quiet part out loud. The entire column brings to mind that memorable moment in The Princess Bride when Inigo Montoya gives Vizzini a grammatical heads-up.
Hypocrisy and disingenuousness are hallmarks of Cruz’s political arsenal, and he puts both on display in his editorial. He takes a Boston Tea Party shot at Coke boss James Quincey’s British roots, the political equivalent of a WWE heel going for “cheap heat” by slamming the city where he’s wrestling.
Cruz also criticized Merck’s boss James Frazier for saying the Georgia bill restricts voter access, an analysis nearly every respective news outlet and nonpartisan election expert agrees on. Cruz writes, “Was he referring to the laws’s provision that mandates more ballot boxes? Or the one that shifts Georgia’s electoral oversight to a nonpartisan appointee?”
Cruz no doubt knows that one aspect of Georgia’s new voting law is that drop boxes in the state’s four biggest counties, Fulton, Dekalb, Cobb and Gwinnett, are being reduced by at least two-thirds the number available in 2020. Those drop boxes are also not available 24 hours a day, because they must be placed inside voting locations. Also, the ‘non-partisan board’ Cruz mentions is appointed by the partisan legislature, which is currently in the GOP’s control. But he doesn’t care about accuracy. He cares about earning points with “the base.”
He and other Republicans clearly doesn’t have much interest in legislating these days, so he’s all-in on the culture wars as the GOP is desperate to change the subject from the overwhelmingly popular bills currently before Congress.
Near the end of his rant, Cruz mentions he’s received $2.6 million in donations from corporate PACs (political action committees). He then declares defiantly that “Starting today, I no longer accept money from any corporate PAC. I urge my GOP colleagues at all levels to do the same.”
[insert eye roll emoji here]
Who actually believes that?
Despite being a legislator who is generally disliked by his fellow members of Congress and even his own staff, Ted Cruz has managed to accomplish something truly remarkable.
He has found a way to make the average American cheer for mega-rich CEOs. So maybe the senator earned that pat on the back, after all.