Senator Cruz’s resume is that of a Michael. He was valedictorian of his high school, graduated from Princeton cum laude, was a champion debater, finished magna cum laude at Harvard law, edited the Harvard Law Review, clerked for the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and has argued before the Supreme Court nine times as a state solicitor general while writing dozens of Supreme Court briefs. That such a brilliant, accomplished man so regularly comes off as a petulant, short-sighted phony is inextricable from the demands of the conservative base, and the sorts of personas that it tends to reward.

They say they want “a fighter” but unthinkingly value punches thrown far more than fights won. So Cruz has thrown a lot of uppercuts in the Senate with little to show for it–except, of course, the inflation of his own profile. More like the WWE than the MMA, movement conservatives hand out heavyweight titles based on flash to “fighters” with zero knockouts to their name. This is the GOP faction that thought Sarah Palin was qualified to be vice president and likely to make a McCain White House conservative. That which rouses their enthusiasm harms their causes, as when Palin and later Mitt Romney insulted half the country to appeal to the base.

This “Sonny mindset” has been inculcated by talk radio and Fox News.