Cruz has a way of relaxing his media opponents to the point where they feel free to attack him personally; then he stands back as his opponents fall into their own trap.
One thing that frustrated even the most ardent supporters of George W. Bush’s administration was his refusal to hit back hard at over-the-top, abominable personal attacks against him and his family, including his daughters, by those in the media and in the culture at large. Bush revered the office of the president and, unlike his successor, held it to a higher standard than did gutter snipes such as Sean Penn or the New York Times.
This is why Newt Gingrich drew cheers and praise during the 2012 election cycle when he hit back at the media for its open bias. Who can forget that CNN’s John King opened a primary debate by asking Gingrich questions about his ex-wife (something to remember every time we’re told Bill Clinton is off limits)? This election cycle, the role of credible media tormentor has been notably filled not by Donald Trump but by Ted Cruz, and it’s resonating more because Cruz has a clearer path to the nomination than Gingrich did in 2012.
What started out with Internet memes and social-media snickers at Cruz culminated last week in Ann Telnaes’s cartoon at the Washington Post in which she depicted Cruz’s daughters as trained, leashed monkeys. The Post withdrew the illustration but did not apologize. Even primary competitor Marco Rubio, a father of young daughters himself, took a break from his fight with Cruz over immigration to defend the Texas senator.
Telnaes, whose Twitter wallpaper features a Charlie Hebdo cartoon, played the victim and censorship cards when criticized by Cruz and his supporters. What Telneas and our other brave truth tellers in media somehow don’t understand is that we on the right don’t care about the attack on Cruz as much as we care about the double standard of the media. Telnaes has the courage to satirize Ted Cruz’s children but not Mohammed. That’s why she’s not Charlie Hebdo. For my part, I wish the Washington Post had left the Cruz cartoon up. Cruz’s response to Telnaes may have caught some pundits off guard, but for those following him and his campaign, it was vintage Cruz.
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