Sen. Ted Cruz may be seeing a surge in the Republican primaries, but that’s probably just because voters don’t know him well enough yet. If ever there were a more unlikable person running for president, you’d be hard pressed to find him, just ask anyone — literally anyone — who has ever had the misfortune of knowing Ted Cruz on a personal level.
While it’s not surprising that most Democrats view Cruz and his right-wing policies as morally abhorrent and intellectually idiotic, members of his own party are sounding the alarm as well. This week, former presidential candidate Bob Dole broke ranks and very publicly went after Cruz, dropping some uncomfortable truth bombs.
“I question his allegiance to the party,” Mr. Dole said of Mr. Cruz. “I don’t know how often you’ve heard him say the word ‘Republican’ — not very often.” Instead, Mr. Cruz uses the word “conservative,” Mr. Dole said, before offering up a different word for Mr. Cruz: “extremist.”
“I don’t know how he’s going to deal with Congress,” he said. “Nobody likes him.”
Dole is being a bit too kind to Cruz, though. His allegiance isn’t to Republicans or conservatives — it’s to Ted Cruz. This is the man, after all, who almost unilaterally orchestrated a government shutdown to prove an insane political point about Obamacare. It cost the country billions, destroyed America’s financial credibility overseas, and ultimately accomplished nothing — but it did get Cruz’s name out there. Would Cruz do it again? In fact, he’s already tried.
But it’s not just fellow politicians — on both sides of the aisle — who despise Cruz. His past is littered with people who are eager to publicly dish on how awkward, weird, and misanthropic Cruz was when they knew him. His former roommate at Princeton, the now legendary Craig Mazin, has spent much of the past few years relentlessly mocking Cruz on social media. He paints a very disturbing picture of his former Princeton peer.
I have 30k followers now, and all I had to do was be stuck in a room with Ted Cruz for a year. I'm sure you're all nice, but SO NOT WORTH IT
— Craig Mazin (@clmazin) January 18, 2016
@GaucheFilms He’s not my buddy. I loathe him, and I loathe what he stands for.
— Craig Mazin (@clmazin) October 27, 2012
My freshman year college roommate Ted Cruz is going to be elected Senator. In case I hadn't made it clear, he's also a huge asshole.
— Craig Mazin (@clmazin) October 26, 2012
But maybe Mazin has a personal beef with Cruz. Maybe Cruz was a messy roommate or something? Nope. Another former classmate recently backed up Mazin’s assessment.
People might think Craig is exaggerating. He's not. I met Ted freshman week and loathed him within the hour. https://t.co/2ZrbTdjHJh
— Geoff (@gacohen) January 20, 2016
Hilariously, The Daily Beast decided to track down more of his classmates to see if their stories matched Mazin’s. What they found was an almost universal feeling that Cruz was a creepy, politically extreme asshole.
In addition to Mazin and Leitch, several fellow classmates who asked that their names not be used described the young Cruz with words like “abrasive,” “intense,” “strident,” “crank,” and “arrogant.” Four independently offered the word “creepy,” with some pointing to Cruz’s habit of donning a paisley bathrobe and walking to the opposite end of their dorm’s hallway where the female students lived.
“I would end up fielding the [girls’] complaints: ‘Could you please keep your roommate out of our hallway?'” Mazin says.
Cruz exuded such creepy vibes that even in stories that are ostensibly not about how much he’s loathed, people can’t help but suggest it. The New York Times recently ran a story about Cruz’s time working as a law clerk for Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist. The story quickly devolved into former colleagues uncomfortably noting Cruz’s sick fascination with murder. It freaked everyone out.
In interviews with nearly two dozen of Mr. Cruz’s former colleagues on the court, many of the clerks working in the chambers of liberal justices, but also several from conservative chambers, depicted Mr. Cruz as “obsessed” with capital punishment. Some thought his recounting of the crimes — “dime store novel” was how one described his style — seemed more appropriate for a prosecutor persuading a jury than for a law clerk addressing the country’s nine foremost judges.
But don’t worry, it’s not just co-workers, roommates, politicians, and pundits that dislike Cruz. Average people do as well. In 2014, ABC News decided to take a novel approach to judging a politicians popularity: See what people were saying about them on Facebook. What they found was that 61 percent of the mentions of “Ted Cruz” on the social media site were unambiguously negative.
So how does Cruz survive in politics despite being hated by everyone? It’s not as hard as you’d think. For one thing, he’s backed by a small but powerful group of millionaires who like his anti-government policies. Secondly, he’s a power-hungry, shameless opportunist who seizes the spotlight any time he can. For politicians there is no such thing as bad publicity. The more Cruz’s mug shows up on Fox News, the more conservatives learn to live with his inherent creepiness.
It’s hard to imagine that particular set of skills translating to an effective presidency, however. At this crucial time in America’s relations with other nations, having a man who oozes unlikability in the oval office could be a disaster in the making. It’s also clear that Cruz will use any opportunity to glorify himself, even if it is at the expense of the good of the country. (See: Government shutdown.)
The fact that everybody hates Ted, and that the hatred only grows once you get to know him, should be a MASSIVE warning sign that something is not right with the guy. Is that someone we want running the most powerful nation on Earth?
Feature image via Gage Skidmore/Flickr