Pity Ted Cruz

It is true that Cruz has been a thorn in the side of his own party since Texans sent him to the Senate in 2012. But his guilt in that regard is not his alone; antagonizing Washington is, in a sense, what Texans elected Cruz to do.

Many political observers sneer that they disdain Cruz because he eventually and cynically endorsed Donald Trump, after notoriously making an honorable stand and refusing to do so at the Republican National Convention last July. Well, shoot. He seemed, at least, judiciously miserable about his decision to finally back Trump. And unlike most of the Republicans who thus sold their souls, he successfully convinced Trump to give him something in the deal. Cruz added ten names to Trump’s list of potential Supreme Court picks, and secured his promise to pick only from the list; Neil Gorsuch was one of the jurists Cruz proposed.

All in all, Cruz is not nearly as bad as everyone says. To elaborate, since that’s a low bar: He’s smart. He’s thoughtful. His “dad jokes” are pretty good. And contrary to the conventional Beltway wisdom, he doesn’t just care about himself; there is some evidence that he cares about Texans, too — and look, someone has to.