I find myself unable to defend, but also unable to condemn Senator Ted Cruz for fleeing to Cancun on United Airlines in the midst of a horrific disaster in Texas.
Ted Cruz Flies To Mexico. Did He Abandon His Constituents In Texas?
Texas is a mess this week. Bad weather layered upon bad weather layered upon further bad weather has meant frighteningly cold temperatures. The power grid was unable to keep up and millions are without power, with utility operators unable to even identify when power will be restored. Sadly, the death count is rising.
Enter Ted Cruz, the junior Republican U.S. Senator from Texas. While millions huddle in jackets inside homes not designed for such cold weather, Cruz and his family were spotted at Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston jetting off in business class to the warm beaches of Cancun.
Re: the Ted Cruz/Cancun thing, this is the photo that unlocks the whole thing. He’s in a United terminal. In the top left you can that it’s 4:10 pm (or 4ish PM at least). To the left of that, you can see that he’s near gate E11, with its destination being Ft. Lauderdale. (1/3) pic.twitter.com/hUuUqSNBze
— Nesler (@thatnesler) February 18, 2021
Just confirmed @SenTedCruz and his family flew to Cancun tonight for a few days at a resort they’ve visited before. Cruz seems to believe there isn’t much for him to do in Texas for the millions of fellow Texans who remain without electricity/water and are literally freezing. pic.twitter.com/6nPiVWtdxe
— David Shuster (@DavidShuster) February 18, 2021
I’m not going to defend Ted Cruz, because he is an elected representative, a job which does not stop during a storm. The optics are really bad here and he would have earned himself more favors by staying behind, even if it meant sitting at home in the cold without electricity or water (though I suspect Cruz has a generator). Images of going to door-to-door checking on his constituents, especially if he ventured outside his affluent neighborhood in Houston, would have been a powerful gesture.
But I also note he has a wife and children and that protecting them is his fundamental job; more fundamental than his duty to the entire state. Furthermore, what can he really accomplish from his home in Texas that he cannot in Mexico? In fact, if he was without power at home, he could actually accomplish even less.
He cannot wave his hands and turn the power back on. He is probably not suited to go on a door-to-door rescue campaign. What he can do is demand accountability from Texas utility companies and state leadership. That can just as easily be accomplished from a beach in Mexico as from a home in Texas.
Scarcity is an issue here. Not everyone has the financial resources to escape Texas during a storm. There’s also not enough airline seats even if money was not an issue.
But it is the indignation over his conduct worries me.
Isn’t this outrage what birthed Trumpism in the first place? The “drain the swamp” rhetoric was not the issue, as the last four years demonstrated. Cruz, like Trump, seems woefully out of touch with his “average” constituents. But perhaps that is not the issue.
People voted for Trump because he said what millions were too afraid to say. There was no pandering or lip service. He spoke his mind, offended many, and delighted his base. People felt that Trump was “genuine” and in many senses he was…we have to give him props for appealing to his base by acting in a base manner.
When the so-called “liberal media” piles upon Cruz, ridiculing him for being a “bad person” it causes his support base (at least a plurality of the state), to dig in. It makes them more likely to support exactly the demagoguery that led to the rise of Trump and led Cruz, who Trump viciously attacked, to nevertheless support him anyway.
That’s my take at least…
View from the Wing, perhaps wisely, doesn’t take a position on the conduct of Senator Cruz. While my ultimate conclusion is neither to defend nor attack Senator Cruz, I do fear that the outrage over his conduct may end up doing more harm than good at promoting accountability. Speaking for me, though, you can bet I’d also get out of Texas if I had no water or power at home.
Do you think Senator Cruz should have traveled during the storm?
image: @thatnesler / Twitter