How much damage will the National Enquirer allegations do to the Cruz campaign? According to Gawker, which has read the story, none of the alleged paramours are named, and their photos reproduced in the piece are pixilated, presumably to deter speedy identification. How can we convict on such sketchy evidence, even if that sketchy evidence appears to be more substantial than Lessard’s case against Kennedy? On the other hand, the publication has a pretty good track record catching cheating notables (Hart, Edwards, Tiger Woods, Jesse Jackson). Maybe it has temporarily vagued-out the specifics of Cruz’s alleged affairs because it plans to drip-drip-drip the details into the public over the course of several issues to sell more copies.
If true, the story will be damaging. But even if false, which is entirely possible, the charges will be almost as damaging to Cruz, because he can’t afford to spend scarce time and political capital on the controversy to refute and erase the stain. He’s too busy fighting Trump for the nomination!
Here’s what haunts me most about this story. Today, the cable channels and the Web are filled with high-speed speculation about a story that many of us (including me) have not yet read. What if Cruz is innocent? To borrow a phrase uttered by an exonerated Reagan administration official, where will Cruz go to get his good name back?