We could have run this story over the weekend, but it really deserves some weekday virtual ink. Roughly one week ago, Bloomberg Politics dispatched Mark Halperin to interview United States Senator and top tier GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz (R-Texas) about… something. If there was anything of value to be found in this brief session, it was quickly lost in a stunning display of racially tinged bias and insulting badgering on Halperin’s part as he seemed to put Cruz through his paces to find out if he’s Cuban enough. We’ll get to the details in a moment, but I’d like to share the summary from Ruben Navarrette, who discovered and highlighted the segment, and seems to worry that Halperin has gone off his meds.
Imagine the following pep talk that a young Ted Cruz might have gotten from his father, Rafael, about 35 years ago.
“My son, I was tortured in a jail cell in Cuba, but I managed to come to the United States and build a life so that you could live your dreams. I grew up speaking Spanish, but I made sure you spoke English so you could go far. If you study hard, you can attend great universities. You can clerk for the chief justice of the Supreme Court, become a great trial lawyer and argue nine cases before the high court, get elected to the U.S. Senate, and someday run for president.
“Then, after all the family’s efforts and sacrifices, one day, you can go on an interview program and be asked by a smug and clueless white journalist if you’re authentically Cuban.”
Watching Mark Halperin of Bloomberg Politics interview Cruz recently, I wasn’t just uncomfortable. I was actually nauseated.
Before we go any further, let’s just get this over with and show the train wreck. Rather than subjecting you to the entire “interview” there is a video of just the “Are You Cuban Enough” portion.
Halperin: Senator, people are really interested in you and your identity. I just wanted to ask you as a historical matter, when you filled out your application to Princeton, to Harvard Law School, did you list yourself as an Hispanic?
Halperin: … if you have an affinity for or a connection to anything part of your Cuban past, do you have a favorite Cuban food… Cuban dish?
Cruz: Oh, I grew up eating Cuban food all the time, I…
[Halperin cuts him off] What’s your favorite dish?
Halperin: Alright… do you like Cuban music. Do you have a favorite Cuban Singer?
Halperin: Finally, I wanted to give you the opportunity to welcome your colleague Senator Sanders to the race and I’d like you to do it, if you would, en Espanol.
"Mr. Kennedy, if you are indeed the first Irish Catholic president, chug this bottle of Jamesons and eat a potato." #HalperinQuestions
— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) May 10, 2015
For the definitive response, we go to another favorite expert on matters of import to the Hispanic community, the incomparable Fausta, who wonders if Halperin was expecting to interview Ricky Ricardo. She closes with what we all probably wish Cruz had said were he not too professional to do so. (Read her entire coverage.)
Cruz is much too polite, but I’m not. Here’s something in Spanish, Halperin,
Bésame el culo.
Personally, I’m waiting on pins and needles for the Halperin interview with Elizabeth Warren where he asks her to perform a rain dance for drought stricken California and to comment on the Iran negotiations deal in fluent Cherokee.
Side note: As of this writing, Halperin was on Morning Joe for two solid hours and the panel never brought this up once.