Via BuzzFeed. Mind you, this is a guy who called Rubio “a piece of garbage” during the heyday of the Gang of Eight in 2013. The whole reason Cruz outpolled Rubio this year was because, when push came to shove, conservatives trusted the former more than the latter. In a small way, to watch Beck say that in hindsight he would have traded Cruz’s conservative bona fides for Rubio’s greater electability is to watch conservative talk radio’s entire reason for being disintegrate. What’s the point of beating the drum about principle, Beck wonders, when even the “principled” guys like Cruz aren’t so principled?
I don’t want to needle a man who’s stood admirably against the tide in his own field by resisting Trump, but how did he manage to say this with a straight face?
“For the for the very first time I heard Ted Cruz calculate,” Beck said of his interview with Cruz. “And when that happened, the whole thing fell apart for me. And it’s my fault. It’s my fault for believing men can actually be George Washington. It’s my fault.”…
He added about Cruz: “To become the politician is disappointing. Really disappointing. … He’s still a good man, he’s just a politician first.”
Beck, still frustrated with Cruz, later lamented: “The interview pissed me off. That was so calculated that it was stunning to me.”
You heard Ted Cruz calculate for the first time today? Ted Cruz? Cruz’s entire career has been a calculation, and I say that as someone who voted for him this spring. He became a populist outsider running against Washington only after his attempt to join the establishment failed. He staged his ObamaCare filibuster in 2013 with no hope of stopping the law from being implemented but knowing that it would be great for his insurrectionist brand in the 2016 primaries. During the Gang of Eight debate, he offered an amendment that would have expanded guest workers while removing the path to citizenship knowing that that would let him argue the amendment both ways during his presidential run. During the GOP primaries, he’d claim it was a poison pill to sink the bill; during the general election, had he made it that far, he’d be pointing to the guest-workers part as proof that he’s not a radical restrictionist. Cruz dodged questions on legalizing illegals literally for years, in fact, until pressure from Trump finally forced him to rule it out late last year.
His “bromance” with Trump was itself a giant calculation designed to build goodwill among Trump’s populist voters in hopes that Cruz would inherit them once Trump collapsed. Then he made his boldest calculation yet at the convention, betting that a non-endorsement would make him look good after Trump inevitably melted down on the trail this fall and ended up being crushed by Clinton. Now that that hasn’t panned out, he’s re-calculating and reluctantly endorsing him so as not to be blamed for a narrow Trump defeat (or frozen out by the White House next year if Trump pulls off the upset). All he does is calculate, and his calculations are always to his personal political advantage. That’s why it was easy to predict that he’d cave to Trump eventually. The moment standing on principle began to hurt rather than help his presidential aspirations, principle went out the window. That’s Cruz.
The audio of the interview is embedded below followed by video of Beck’s thoughts about Cruz and Rubio. You’ll see him allude to something specific that Cruz said during the interview that proved to him that he was “calculating” based on private conversations he’s had with others. He doesn’t say what it is, but my guess is that it has to do with Cruz’s answer when Beck asks him about Mike Lee’s role in all of this. Cruz insists that Trump adding Lee to his list of potential Supreme Court nominees was a big deal, which is an insult to the intelligence of everyone listening. Cruz himself once called Trump a “pathological liar,” after all. He has no reason to believe anything Trump tells him about anything, especially who he’s looking at for the Court. Adding Lee to the SCOTUS list was a flimsy pretext by Team Trump to give Cruz something to point to when asked to justify his endorsement. Beck follows up with a good question about that: Since Mike Lee himself continues to refuse to endorse Trump, did you at least let Lee know in advance that you were about to use him as a pretext for joining the Trump train? Cruz hems and haws a bit but doesn’t really answer the question. My guess is that Beck has heard either from Lee himself or from Lee’s inner circle that Cruz never gave him a heads up on what was going down and he wanted to see if Cruz would give him a straight answer about it. He didn’t. Go figure.
Here are the clips, with Beck continually pressuring Cruz to explain what changed since the convention to make him newly confident in Trump. They both know the answer — nothing. Cruz still can’t bring himself to say Trump is fit for office, in fact. What changed, simply, is that Cruz realized he miscalculated this summer in believing that his base would give him a pass on not endorsing Trump and might even reward him for it after Trump went belly up in November. Trump’s stock has risen while Cruz’s has fallen since then, so Cruz adjusted. If you’re going to force the man to choose between principle and his Senate seat, he’ll take the seat every time.