Saturday, February 6, 2016
I would not recognize Brooke Baldwin but now I would vote for her
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CNN, which was covering the press conference, cut back to the anchor Brooke Baldwin. “O.K.,” she said. She paused and collected herself. “Just so we’re all crystal clear here, when Senator Cruz, with all due respect, tries to throw my network and CNN under the bus, let me stand up for my colleagues and journalists here.” Her face bore an expression that, if Cruz stays in the campaign much longer—and he will, maybe to the end—will need its own name. After explaining, again, what CNN had reported, Baldwin turned back to her guest, Representative Mark Meadows, of North Carolina, who has endorsed Cruz, and apologized for getting “fired up.” Meadows smiled and said that he knew how hard the job was—“it’s one thing to report, it’s another to verify it”—as if, again, Cruz’s only error had been to trust the media. Baldwin squinted, tilted her head, and stopped him.
“Congressman, forgive me, but I’m going to call out B.S. when I hear B.S. And that was B.S.,” Baldwin said. If only someone would do that during the debates. Later on Wednesday night, Cruz acknowledged that “CNN got it correct.” He added, “Miracles happen.” He had moved on to attacking Trump. During the months when Cruz was flattering Trump and mimicking his bigotry, he seems also to have been building up his own store of personal insults, which he is deploying now. But Cruz’s blunt objects are always finely sanded and polished. Donald, as he refers to him, is “fragile” and a “child.” He is a Twitter addict, and, Cruz said, “We’re liable to wake up one morning and Donald, if he were President, would have nuked Denmark.” One couldn’t dispute that general picture, though the choice of Denmark is odd. (Perhaps it was a backhanded way to also irritate supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders, who points to Scandinavia as an economic model.) But Cruz is also working hard to portray Trump as soft on immigration and as someone who wouldn’t be as ruthless a deporter as he would be. How is it that when a leading G.O.P. candidate finally, forcefully turns on Trump, it only serves to underscore the ugliness that Trump has added to our political discourse? This week, Cruz released a video decrying not just Trump’s deals but the whole concept of deal-making. The video also attacks Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate Majority Leader, and John Boehner, who was, until recently, the Speaker of the House, to the extent that one might think they were also running against him in the primary. Cruz himself is introduced with a closeup shot of his cowboy boots.Many politicians are shameless; what seems to set Cruz apart is his unhidden pride in the craft of the political slur, the artistry of nastiness..