Ted Cruz’s finest moment

posted at 9:01 am on May 12, 2015 by Noah Rothman

The United States owes Bloomberg columnist Mark Halperin a debt of gratitude. For a rare and fleeting moment, Americans of all political persuasions, religious affiliations, and ethnic backgrounds were united in revulsion over the spectacle of his attempt to interview Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). Halperin’s ham-fisted, chauvinistic effort to force Cruz to prove the authenticity of his heritage by riffing extemporaneously on Cuban culture and to speak en Español were both embarrassing and insulting.

Halperin’s motives were transparent. He set out to demonstrate in some small way that Cruz was Cuban in name only — a CINO, if you will. In this manner, Halperin sought to tar Cruz with the stereotype often applied to minority Republicans that holds their devotion to their ethnic heritage is only skin deep.

Halperin’s apology for his contemptible actions was even worse. After more than 24 hours of controversy and condemnation, Halperin issued a mealy-mouthed mea culpa in PDF format. In the “apology” in which he asked forgiveness only from those who might have been offended, a rudimentary blame-shifting tactic, Halperin insisted that a number of factors were responsible for this kerfuffle. Everything, in fact, but his intent.

Halperin contended that the speed at which he delivered the offending questions, his “tone and timing,” were responsible for the universal impression that he was prosecuting a show trial. He added that the inquisition he led was merely “light-hearted banter” and designed to “give the Senator chance to speak further about his heritage.” And yet, virtually everyone who watched this exchange came away with a distinctly different impression.

The Bloomberg columnist’s apology neatly exposes the hollowness of America’s culture of forced regret. Halperin’s confession reads like an empty gesture because it is. He’s not sorry. He doesn’t really think he did anything wrong. He’s only apologizing for the sake of his career. To remain silent is to risk watching as the self-perpetuating outrage machine’s gears to grind into action, and to possibly watch his livelihood join the hundreds of ill-fated careers that have been crushed in their merciless milling.

Ted Cruz could have contributed to the routinized process of exacting a pound of flesh from the party responsible for a social faux pas. The senator might have easily emerged from that interview bristling with offense and expressing regret for all his fellow Cuban-Americans who were slighted by Halperin’s ignorance. When he read the apology, Cruz might have dubbed it insufficient, or he simply could have said nothing at all. In a display of graciousness, however, Cruz not only accepted the apology but defused the controversy with a statement implying that it was all manufactured in the first place.

Mark Halperin is a serious and fair-minded journalist. Today he kindly issued an apology for some silly questions he asked me in an interview. The apology was unnecessary — no offense was taken, nor, I believe, intended — but is certainly appreciated.

I’m proud of my Cuban heritage, my father’s journey from oppression and prison in Cuba to freedom in America, and also my Irish-Italian heritage on my mother’s side. Both are integral parts of who I am today.

The 2016 Republican field is shaping up to be the most diverse in history, and I look forward to a robust and substantive conversation about how we work together to turn around our current stagnation and expand opportunity for everyone to achieve the American Dream.

What’s remarkable about this statement is that it should ideally be unremarkable. This is how well-adjusted citizens who do not have a vested interest in destroying another’s prospects behave. If this episode followed the pattern associated with the regrettable new normal, America would have stood witness to a grand pageant in which the wronged party pretends to be slighted, the offender pretends to be sorry, cultural arbiters pretend to have an opinion on the matter, and the public pretends to be interested. We all have our role to play in this societal charade, and we’ve become accustomed to performing our parts with enthusiasm – if only to ensure that our livelihoods remain safe from the machine’s gaping maw.

Cruz admirably put a stop to this dishonest display. In doing so, he freed us all from our obligation to play-act our roles in a dispiriting farce. We owe him a debt. If more people in Cruz’s position behaved as he did, perhaps the dreary, rote drama with which we are all familiar would finally end.


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Comments

Halperin is obviously a racist of the first degree… Cruz a gentleman.

Jackson on May 12, 2015 at 9:05 AM

Too bad Cruz didn’t say it all in Spanish and have Halperin have to get it translated.

bflat879 on May 12, 2015 at 9:09 AM

If more people in Cruz’s position behaved as he did, perhaps the dreary, rote drama with which we are all familiar would finally end.

No, it won’t.

Leftists started this hate machine and the only people who are occasionally gracious are conservatives.

Point out a time when a liberal was gracious under similar circumstances. I can’t think of one, either.

The drama won’t stop until the hateful left-media stops.

jaime on May 12, 2015 at 9:11 AM

This is how well adjusted citizens…

And yet he faces an uphill climb against the exact opposite to become the chief executive officer of the land.

Cleombrotus on May 12, 2015 at 9:11 AM

I agree with you wholeheartedly regarding Sen. Cruz’s magnanimous response.

However, as much as we want to think we know someone’s inner motivations, giving into to that desire is always a tricky thing.

Let’s see how Halperin conducts himself in the future and then make a conclusion about his character. Let’s do that for Ted.

The Commentator on May 12, 2015 at 9:11 AM

Had Cruz responded with outrage, the left would have hit back, saying that the interview was done on April 24, and Ted didn’t get angry until after Ruben Navarette’s column lambasting Halprin’s interview came out this past weekend. They’d claim if Ted was really upset about the questioning, he should have said something on April 25, not May 11.

So being magnanimous here is not only the gracious thing to do, it’s also the smart political strategy for Cruz.

jon1979 on May 12, 2015 at 9:16 AM

Cruz just made Halperin into a small little man, which was easy because that’s what he is. The drama will continue because other ‘journalists’ will think they are smarter, and can do a better job than Halperin. Why can’t we all just be Americans and forget this ethnicity and hypen business. I don’t feel an affinity with any politician just because our ancestors came from the same country my ancestors came from.

Kissmygrits on May 12, 2015 at 9:17 AM

Kudos to Cruz

cmsinaz on May 12, 2015 at 9:18 AM

Every time Cruz speaks, his worth goes up…and the stereotype of him being a “conservative beast” gets torn apart.

He is, along with Carly, by far the most consistent direct communicator in the race.

right2bright on May 12, 2015 at 9:19 AM

What’s remarkable about this statement is that it should ideally be unremarkable.

From where I was sitting, the change to remarkable unremarkability seemed to begin during the second Reagan term.

Tsar of Earth on May 12, 2015 at 9:20 AM

So being magnanimous here is not only the gracious thing to do, it’s also the smart political strategy for Cruz.

jon1979 on May 12, 2015 at 9:16 AM

Your are correct, but more important, I do believe that is Cruz…watch the interview, he was not taken aback, he just considered it as stupid questions, but he answered them.

I honestly think it didn’t bother him that much, and we are used to seeing a petulant little child in the white house.

right2bright on May 12, 2015 at 9:21 AM

Cruz has grace under pressure, like Reagan had……in a proper world he would go right to the top

clandestine on May 12, 2015 at 9:26 AM

a sheen of nervous sweat highlighted cruz face during the interview. he all of a sudden he started throwing in some spanish words “mi abuelito” to pander to halperin.

he should have asked halperin if he ever ate gefilte fish.

if you can’t stand down a schmuck like halperin, hillary will have him for breakfast.

renalin on May 12, 2015 at 9:26 AM

How dare he (Cruz) deny Halperin his non-apology. Cruz is a self-hating faux-Latino of the highest order. He may have won this round, but we will fight on!

– random dejected leftist(s)

StubbornGreenBurros on May 12, 2015 at 9:29 AM

And yet he faces an uphill climb against the exact opposite to become the chief executive officer of the land.

Cleombrotus on May 12, 2015 at 9:11 AM

He faces the exact same climb as any other contender.

Conservative4Ever on May 12, 2015 at 9:34 AM

Ted Cruz argued 9 cases before the SCOTUS, he is brilliant, eloquent, and gracious. His response to Mark Halperin is from all accounts typical behavior for him. It will take Halprine a long time to understand how much damage Ted did to him. Halprine no doubt thinks he got lucky and suffered little damage.

I still have not decided on a candidate, but Ted is definitely way up at the front of my list of candidates I would be willing to consider. His response to Halprine reminds me of his response to this.

https://divorcereality.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/tatt-cruz.jpg

A first rate class act is how I would describe Ted Cruz.

oscarwilde on May 12, 2015 at 9:35 AM

If more people in Cruz’s position behaved as he did, perhaps the dreary, rote drama with which we are all familiar would finally end.

All evidence to the contrary, of course.

The left has proven that we can be as gracious and ‘high road’ and ‘above it all’ as we want.

They will never stop fighting tooth and nail, dirty if needs be, ‘end justifies the means’, whatever it takes to win mode, and at this point, I’m seeing little value in ‘playing nice’. In fact, it’s a handicap.

Sweep the leg, knock them down, and finish them. No quarter given.

Midas on May 12, 2015 at 9:38 AM

And yes, I’m a big fan of Cruz.

Midas on May 12, 2015 at 9:39 AM

Yes, Cruz is consistently like this.

Even-tempered and brilliant. Just like they said about Obama, but in Cruz’s case, it’s actually true.

He is strong and unflappable, which I guess is born of true confidence. And he seems like a very nice guy.

All this, and most of his positions on things, is why he’s my main political man.

Alana on May 12, 2015 at 9:47 AM

Why did this whole kerfluffle remind me of the beginning of Blazing Saddles?

“Hey boy, how bout a song? You know, like Camp Town Racers.”

Imagine if a reporter had asked Obama on the campaign trail to “give us a little tap dance” to prove he was black enough.

Severian on May 12, 2015 at 9:48 AM

This was good, Noah.

magicbeans on May 12, 2015 at 9:57 AM

If more people in Cruz’s Halprine’s position behaved as he did a reporter not a cheerleader for the left, perhaps the dreary, rote drama with which we are all familiar would finally end.

4

wifarmboy on May 12, 2015 at 10:08 AM

Obligatory.

Occams Stubble on May 12, 2015 at 10:10 AM

Setting your mind on a greater goal makes it easier to control the narrative, so scrapping with journalist would not be a priority. Good performance by Cruz, better luck next time, whats-your-name.

virgo on May 12, 2015 at 10:18 AM

He faces the exact same climb as any other contender.

Conservative4Ever on May 12, 2015 at 9:34 AM

Respectfully disagree, as he’s not the type to sit on his outsized, deteriorating ass, protected by illiterate pseudo-“journalists”, while presiding over so-called “service” that supported and promoted a sex predator, perpetual lies [“under fire”, for one], illegal document destruction, criminally selling out the country to make money, supervising reactions to military attacks by blaming movies and getting ambassadors murdered, ETC., ETC, and so on.

RL on May 12, 2015 at 10:18 AM

There is a lot of deep substance to Cruz. In addition, he is classy and has grace under pressure as mentioned above. But to say this demonstration of grace was Cruz’ finest moment is to exalt form over substance.

GaltBlvnAtty on May 12, 2015 at 10:22 AM

lol.

we’ve come to the point where a conservative refusing to blame media for everything is now seen as a defining, heroic moment.

everdiso on May 12, 2015 at 10:22 AM

There is one more factor at work here and that is the social media (new media). Journalists/reporters/pundits used to be insulated from direct criticism from the public and if they did receive criticism, it was never reported.

Not so with social media, and the prima donnas of the press now face their true audience, we the people. So, people of the press, publish your pap if you please but know this, you aren’t just writing for an intended few within the confines of the media cocoon, your chrysalis has been laid bare.

Dan_NV on May 12, 2015 at 10:33 AM

lol.

we’ve come to the point where a conservative refusing to blame media for everything is now seen as a defining, heroic moment.

everdiso on May 12, 2015 at 10:22 AM


…WERE YOU ACCIDENTALLY DROPPED ON YOUR HEAD AS A CHILD..??

Pelosi Schmelosi on May 12, 2015 at 10:34 AM

Ted Cruz’s Finest Moment

*so FAR!*

There will be many MANY more!!

Katfish on May 12, 2015 at 10:35 AM

Every time Cruz speaks, his worth goes up…and the stereotype of him being a “conservative beast” gets torn apart.

He is, along with Carly, by far the most consistent direct communicator in the race.

right2bright on May 12, 2015 at 9:19 AM

Very well said! And very true, I might add!

Bob Davis on May 12, 2015 at 10:39 AM

As usual, Cruz took the high road and allowed his enemies to have egg on their face.

Bob Davis on May 12, 2015 at 10:42 AM

I think Bloomberg should be PO’d that Halperin was auditioning for one of those “plum” slots that are soon to open up on the MSNBC schedule while on their dime!

Seems incestuous at least; must be a feature for Journolist.

Did I say “plum”? Perhaps “prune” is a better metaphor.

dissent555 on May 12, 2015 at 10:55 AM

we’ve come to the point where a conservative refusing to blame media for everything be as much of a DICK as the lefty media types who interview them is now seen as a defining, heroic moment. gracious.

everdiso on May 12, 2015 at 10:22 AM

FIFY.

Although I’m sure you don’t see it that way.

Would you rather I assume that’s because you’re not intelligent enough, or not honest enough?

Or is there a third choice? I don’t see one, myself.

GrumpyOldFart on May 12, 2015 at 11:43 AM

I reckon this is indicative not only of Cruz’s character but also of his desire to campaign on substantive issues rather than whatever shiny media baubles temporarily distract from them.

Brize on May 12, 2015 at 11:47 AM

Cruz control, baby

Saverio on May 12, 2015 at 12:03 PM

lol.

we’ve come to the point where a conservative refusing to blame media for everything is now seen as a defining, heroic moment.

everdiso on May 12, 2015 at 10:22 AM

Nope. Halperin decided to be extreme ass and Cruz kindly stepped aside and let the world see it. Heaping burning coals on his head.

wifarmboy on May 12, 2015 at 12:06 PM

lol.

I’m still a shameless fool in full view, for I’m lester.

everdiso on May 12, 2015 at 10:22 AM

hotairians cheerlead ISIS and Putin.
amazing stuff. I am such a liar, and so proud of it.
everdiso on February 3, 2015 at 10:52 AM

“Once Again Conservatives Prove Totally Incapable of Grasping Complex Nuanced Strategies for Complex Realworld Problems”
I’m such a dummy, and so proud of it.
everdiso on September 15, 2014 at 4:17 PM

Schadenfreude on May 12, 2015 at 12:07 PM

He faces the exact same climb as any other contender.
Conservative4Ever on May 12, 2015 at 9:34 AM

I know you mean well but ask yourself if Hillary would have had to deal with this.

Cleombrotus on May 12, 2015 at 12:48 PM

Cruz/ LePage. Good cop/bad cop.

Cleombrotus on May 12, 2015 at 12:50 PM

So, Senator Cruz, do you wear boxers or briefs?

davidk on May 12, 2015 at 12:50 PM

Halperin should have asked Sen. Cruz if he speaks ‘Austrian’….

tanked59 on May 12, 2015 at 1:10 PM

I completely disagree with Noah Rothman’s assessment.

In an ideal world, where opponents were opponents instead of enemies, the high road would prevail. But all Ted Cruz did was bust the door off the hinges and declare open season for the media to devour Republicans with the usual caricatures, and offer false mea culpa if and when they’re called out.

IronDioPriest on May 12, 2015 at 1:43 PM

Correct me if I’m wrong but I didn’t think Spanish was the native language in Cuba.

ksbandle on May 12, 2015 at 1:51 PM

TED CRUZ 2016
https://donate.tedcruz.org/c/FBTX0095/

Sandbear on May 12, 2015 at 4:32 PM

Go Cruz!

Walker/Cruz, Cruz/Walker, either are good. :) :) :)

Theophile on May 12, 2015 at 5:39 PM