It occurred to me the other day, while pondering the cataclysm that is the Republican presidential field, that should the very worst case occur and we somehow end up with a President Ted Cruz, it’s very likely that a good number of us living here may have only two degrees of separation with the leader of the free world.
That’s because Cruz’s in-laws live in San Luis Obispo, where his wife, Heidi Nelson Cruz, was born and raised.
Heidi Cruz’s father, Peter Nelson, is a retired dentist, and her mother, Suzanne Nelson, is a retired dental hygienist.
That means, your dentist — whomever he or she is — may very well know the Nelsons, thus the potential quick link to Ted.
Never miss a local story.
Though interesting, this is not a particularly comforting thought, when you consider that in this most hateful of presidential primary campaigns, Ted Cruz is the sultan of spite.
Cruz is so theocratically rigid and deviously loathsome, he makes Donald Trump seem like a reasonable option for the Oval Office.
Once Cruz started to get traction during the fall debates amid all the talk about who would be an alternative to Trump, it quickly became clear that the Texas senator would have at least some kind of niche appeal. Now, after his win in Iowa and third-place finish in New Hampshire, it’s clear he poses a bigger threat.
To get a better handle on the Cruz phenomenon, I picked up his biography at the library.
The book is two-thirds life story, one-third political philosophy and chock full of irritations.
Like how when Ted and Heidi bought their first house in Austin, Texas, he was so paranoid that someone would break in while she was sleeping and he was out of town that he placed a hatchet under the bed.
Yes, a hatchet.
But then he realized this was just silly, so Second Amendment acolyte that he is, he went out and bought her a .357 Magnum instead.
Or this part about how his father, who at the time was a pro-Castro revolutionary, fled Cuba for America: “It is difficult for many of us to fully comprehend what a beacon of hope this country offers the rest of the world. There is no other place on earth that would have welcomed so freely to its shores a man like Rafael Cruz. He was 18, penniless, and spoke no English. He owned three things: the suit on his back, a slide rule in his pocket, and a hundred dollars that my grandmother had sewn into his underwear. America, quite simply, saved my father. America gave him a chance.”
Yes, he actually wrote that — the guy who wants to hire Trump to build a wall to keep out immigrants from Mexico. The level of hypocrisy astounds.
Does Cruz have any such compassion for Muslim refugees fleeing a dictator in Syria? Does Cruz want to give others the same chance his father got? Nope. How convenient.
Or there are his many, many blowhard condemnations of President Barack Obama, like this one: “The Obama administration’s efforts to forge ‘a new beginning’ with Iran might well mean that one of the most determined enemies of America will possess a nuclear weapon by the end of Obama’s term.”
Or Cruz could be completely wrong, the Obama administration could employ diplomacy to forge a landmark nuclear agreement with Iran and by January, we’d get word that the country had met the mandate to break down its most significant nuclear infrastructure, including dismantling 12,000 centrifuges and sending 98 percent of its enriched uranium to Russia.
Which is what actually happened.
And of course there’s the death of Antonin Scalia, where we get to hear Mr. Constitution lecture about how Obama, with almost a year left in his term, should surrender his constitutional duty to nominate a Supreme Court successor.
Four years from now, if a hypothetical President Cruz were faced with the same opportunity, do you think he would so willingly undercut his executive duties this way, or would he play Gumby and bend his reasoning to suit his situation?
If you are considering a vote for Cruz, think about these examples and then pick someone else, anyone else.