Aiding and abetting an armed insurrection against the peaceful transition of government at the Capitol January 6 wasn’t enough for the Covid rules-flouting, grandstanding hypocrite and perhaps most despised member of the U. S. Senate – Texas’ own Ted Cruz, a boot-licking aspirant for the Oval Office in 2024.
It wasn’t enough that, for years, he has joined the chorus of Texas officials supporting the Texas legislature’s laissez-faire decision to keep the state’s energy grid separate from the rest of the country to avoid federal regulations. Or that, with cartoon machismo, he disdained warnings that non-winterization of power generators and turbines put Texas at risk from winter storms. The latest polar vortex freeze that killed dozens in the Lone Star state was more than just another climate change red alert. It laid bare the arrant hypocrisy and outright lies of state leaders and should put to rest the myth of Texas exceptionalism. After all, it is climate change denier Cruz who recently criticized Biden for rejoining the Paris Climate Accords, trashed California for its rolling blackouts response to climate-driven forest fires, and earlier told a Time Magazine reporter that climate change fears were a hoax. That’s the same Ted Cruz who tweeted in 2016 that he would “believe in climate change when Texas freezes over.”
No, the faux-populist statesman became every crisis communications manager’s favorite poster child by shirking the minimal role required of elected officials in a disaster. Led by his Marie Antoinette wife, Heidi, who complained that it was so frigid in Texas that she’d rather be in Boston, (no offense taken), he absquatulated with his family from their icebox Colonial Revival abode in Houston’s tony River Oaks section to a Ritz Carlton luxury getaway in sunny Cancun, all the while blaming his daughters for his misbehavior. Apparently of no concern were the lives of his freezing, hungry and thirsty constituents left to die from hypothermia, carbon monoxide poisoning, non-potable water, lack of edible food or the need to fulfill Senatorial role #1, facilitating federal disaster aid.
At first he played “Where’s Waldo” with the press, refusing to admit what he had done. Then, when outed, he lied, confirming once again the aptness of Trump’s “lyin’ Ted” nickname for him. Quickly social media embraced the Cancun Cruz story, with puckish memes proclaiming he’d crossed the Mexican border to give his family a better life. Lost in this story is his highhanded flouting of Covid guidelines that will cost his daughters at least a week of school.
Ironically, for all of Cruz’s years of narcissistic behavior, from shutting down the government in a one-man filibuster to his role in the January 6 insurrection, the greatest public outrage is now centered less on his Cancun trip than his having left behind in the freezing house Snowflake, their little white poodle, captured in photos looking mournfully through a glass door. (Apparently, there are more dog lovers than Constitution lovers.) Even Gail Collins got into the act, indicating that Cruz’s behavior toward Snowflake was far more egregious than the Romney 1983 family vacation with Irish setter Seamus riding on the car roof.
Ted Cruz, the ranking Republican on Senate Commerce’s aviation subcommittee, likely encouraged United Airlines to probe immediately who at the airline contradicted his false cover story by leaking to the media that he changed his airline ticket to get back from Cancún earlier than he originally planned. Since the airline has the ability to monitor every computer keystroke of every agent, the leaker could be fired from his or her job. Ted Cruz is safe in his position for at least another four years. It’s enough to make a snowflake weep.
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