Cruz rode to the rescue in the finest tradition of the cavalry coming over the hill last night.
The media had been in full nuclear meltdown all day over the idiotic non-story of “Melania plagiarism.” (You can tell how idiotic our non-stories have gotten by the way we can signify them using only keywords. Our public square might as well be full of one Pavlov, one bell, and 100,000 dogs.)
Then Ted Cruz spoke, and in the twinkling of an eye, no one cared about Melania Plagiarism anymore.
Some in the online media may try to resurrect the Melania theme when the Cruz Non-Endorsement kerfuffle dies down. The usual suspects on MSNBC and CNN will no doubt keep “Melania” as a totem to cry out to and dance before in the firelight. But no one will hear anything they say from now on.
The noise from the “Ted Cruz fallout” (I haven’t heard the word “fallout” used this much in a 24-hour period since the 1980s) has changed the course of the cognitive river. It ain’t goin’ past Melania Station anymore.
Trump fans who recognize this will credit Trump with being smart enough to let Cruz happen. Sure, why not. Trump’s a smart guy. I’ve seen other pundits speculating that Trump let Cruz give a non-endorsing speech so that Cruz could hang himself and get it over with.
And maybe so. Everyone reverts directly to the negative these days. It’s possible Trump envisioned that outcome, but that he also thought it would be cost-free for himself, and might have political benefits, to let Cruz speak for the Trump-reluctant in the party, in a primetime spot at the convention.
Trump already won the strategic point of order on Monday: his supporters had already prevailed over the anti-Trump faction. Trump won the nomination on the floor on Tuesday. He’s won. Would it encourage unity more to let Cruz speak – showing magnanimity and the ability to tolerate non-endorsement – or to deny Cruz, the guy who came in second, a feature slot?
When Trump walked in during the middle of Cruz’s speech, I immediately recognized that it wasn’t Trump who was being upstaged last night. Let’s keep things in perspective here.
My regular readers know I’m not a Trump supporter. That’s not because I fear Trump. I credit him with knowing what he was doing, and not thinking only bloodthirsty thoughts, when he let Cruz speak last night.
And I do support Cruz for using his opportunity in the way that seemed right to his principles. He did a hard thing last night. He knew he was going to be booed. He knew the Trump supporters would turn against him when he didn’t given an endorsement. He knew critics on both the left and the right would say he had ended his political career, or that he was being a sore loser, or both.
Cruz didn’t give an endorsement because he couldn’t in good conscience do so, and because he’s a fighter. I’ve been telling you that all along. I would have been surprised if Cruz had endorsed Trump, since Trump does not in fact represent the posture of limited-government constitutionalism Cruz spoke about last night.
I’m glad Cruz is a fighter. The principles of liberty never just sort of settle on us while we’re sleeping. They never stay in place without a fight either, because the forces of evil are always trying to destroy them.
They have to be actively, purposefully fought for. Cruz sees that, and he doesn’t compromise or give up. You want liberty – that’s the deal.
Trump can do some things that are positive, on balance, without fighting for the principles of liberty. And I’m telling you right now, that’s exactly what he’s going to do. A lot of things will remain negative, or get worse, if Trump is elected, because he won’t be fighting for the principles of liberty.
We can expect Trump to be better than Hillary in important ways. I don’t think he comes in with any active desire to silence dissent using the force of law, and Hillary does. Trump will want to make better managerial decisions about government programs than anything Hillary will want. No question about those things. (The all-important difference with Cruz is that he would recognize the many, many points of contact at which government shouldn’t even be making managerial decisions for the people.)
And, of course, hardly anyone on earth – certainly not Trump – could be as cynically corrupt as Hillary in using the power of government to enrich cronies. We can expect him, in general, to not go around 24 hours a day egregiously breaking the law.
I predict Trump would learn faster in a dynamic, disordered international environment that Hillary ever could. I think he’d be more inclined to listen to empirically-based counsel on foreign policy. I don’t think I’ll agree with him much in this area, or find his policies inspired, but I’m quite sure he would have America’s interests at heart more than Hillary does.
So we will see where it all goes. But in the meantime, rejoice, Trump fans. Ted Cruz did Trump a big favor last night. I’m hearing Rush Limbaugh right now making the case that Mike Pence’s speech got a lot more viewership, and held more interest, because it was preceded by the Cruz drama. I think Rush is right about that (taking away nothing from Pence, but his profile isn’t that high and he’s a pretty low-key guy. Cruz’s appearance guaranteed Pence would have a bigger audience, for what was a good and rousing speech).
And the Cruz speech kicked Melania Plagiarism over the cliff. It’s gone. Heh.