Abusing Fairness And Decency To “Get” Ted Cruz

Cruz college

I am in full sympathy with anyone who gets the creeps from Ted Cruz. The news media’s problem with Cruz, however, is also soaked with pure ideological bias. It doesn’t like his religiosity, nor his conservative fervor. If they turned one-fifth of the intensity of their anti-Cruz zeal on Hillary Clinton, maybe a few more of her more zombified followers  might finally feel some neurons firing.   (I don’t know if Trump shooting someone would dissuade his herd, but I have talked to Hillary supporters who would either refuse to believe it or claim it was set up by Republicans.)

Apparently Cruz’s kamikaze legislative tactics, mendacity and dirty tricks in his current campaign isn’t enough ammunition for those who want to derail his ambitions: now the news media is just looking for dirt, or manufacturing. Supposedly legitimate news organizations have scraped the bottom of the academic barrel to find lawyers who would argue that Cruz isn’t a natural born citizen, even though the same editors would have leapt out of their windows before seeking scholarly endorsement of Obama birther theories. Even non-political publications are doing it: Psychology Today just disgraced itself by publishing the ultimate pseudo-science junk piece from  a professor of neurology at George Washington University, Dr. Richard E. Cytowic, who explains in clinical terms why he, at least, finds Ted Cruz creepy. It is nothing but an ad hominem attack based on his opinion that Cruz is funny-looking, exactly as wrong as criticizing Obama’s ears, Hillary’s calves or Bernie’s wrinkles.

Ah, but Ted Cruz deserves this, you see, because he is conservative, Republican, genuinely rather than tactically religious—can’t have that—and one of the “Cuban guys.”

Piling on after the cheap shots taken at Cruz via Twitter by his jealous Hollywood jerk Princeton roommate, journalist Ellie Shechet decided to track down as many of Cruz’s college acquaintances as possible. allegedly to investigate a “rumor” of young Ted doing something disgusting, but really to see who would trash him. Here’s an example of her “investigative journalism”:

“Many of the people I spoke to were unable, after 25 years, to recall specific anecdotes to explain their dislike for Cruz; others emphasized that his unpopularity stemmed more from who he was than from any actions taken in particular. “I strongly believed that he wasn’t someone you would want to trust with a modicum of power,” Halbert said. “In my opinion, he was not regarded in the group as a person with substantial integrity.”

Such testimony is worthless. It would be inadmissible in court as unreliable hearsay, and is unacceptably prejudicial, which, of course, is the writer’s objective. It doesn’t matter who the Presidential candidate is: their conduct, character and misadventures in college are irrelevant to judging their qualifications now, and unfair to raise to the level of a campaign issue. Seldom is an application of the Golden Rule more appropriate for journalists.

30 thoughts on “Abusing Fairness And Decency To “Get” Ted Cruz

  1. I’d certainly like to witness the throngs of lefty hypocrisy if Republican “journalists” started digging really, Really, REALLY deep into Hillary and Bernie teenage and collegiate past to get the same kind of useless drivel dirt.

    I dislike Cruz and I don’t want him to be President, but I think what the left is trying to do to Cruz shows how deep their moral bankruptcy goes.

  2. Other than the part about, “Cruz’s kamikaze legislative tactics, mendacity and dirty trick ” (which the writer implicitly seems to agree with) or the part about sympathy for those who say Cruz gives them the “creeps”) (which was “ad hominem and totally naive (as “creepy” — there I used that word — as the compaints the author points to, that others are saying about Cruz), I thought the artcle was an eye-opener, In effect, the author (with his “gives me the creeps,” and “kamikaze” language about Cruz) was as scurrilous in his prefatory cheap shots at Cruz as those he complained about). When people are so out to destroy a man (in this case Cruz) you have to wonder what really drives them, what they really are afraid of? Conservative” is not a dirty word. And Cruz is a complex figure, certainly with his faults (as all of us are) but (it would be hard for anyone to dispute) he is extremely talented, articulate, and passionate about merits of Conservatim.

    • Wrong.

      1.You don’t understand ad hominem, and you don’t comprehend the post. I find Cruz creepy, as do many people, just as I find Bush weak and find Carson semi-conscious. My opinion on that matter is completely legitimate and fair game: I can also explain why I think he’s creepy, but I would not pretend to do so as an expert diagnosis.

      2. Closing down the government in a game of chicken with the Administration is by definition a kamikaze tactic. The kamikazes were effective, by the way–more effective than Ted’s gambits. It was a compliment.

      3. If you don’t think the “Voter Warning” mailer was a dirty trick, then you have no business on an ethics blog.

      4. I didn’t dispute that Cruz is extremely talented, articulate, and passionate about merits of Conservatism.

      5. I began the way I did to remove the potential accusation that my criticism of the media was based on a pro-Cruz bias. So you think I flagged the cheap shots on Cruz because I’m anti-Cruz? You’re an idiot, then.

      6. I also stated my own bias up front, as my previous posts have. He’s intellectually dishonest; he believes the ends justify the means (just like Hillary), and he’s in favor of a theocracy. I don’t trust leaders who are like that: nobody should. I think he would be a catastrophe as president despite his many skills, and have pronounced the prospect as frightening.

      7. Of the five candidates I believe are disqualified by their character and conduct, he is the best: I would vote for him over Hillary, Trump, Carson and Sanders. I would also vote for a dead raccoon over any of them. But he’s the best.

      Cruz did the nation a service by derailing Trump, and I was rooting for him in Iowa.

      • Ok fair enough considering you dislike Cruz. On the Kamikaze approach to shutting down the government, I don’t think it is a fair analogy. The Kamikaze pilots were determined to kill as many of Americans and Brits as possible in their pointless last ditch attempt to save the Empire of Japan. Cruz was making the point that Mitch McConnell and Boehner had made secret deals with the Democrats to continue the enormous overspending and debt this country was accumulating. He failed in his filibustering, but the attempt to stop business as usual in Congress was not done for personal benefit. Unlike Trump, Cruz is not a blowhard hypocrite.

        • I don’t dislike Cruz. I correctly identify his conduct as despicable. You can look past it, and you shouldn’t. You also mistated the analogy.. Kamikaze pilot are the ultimate ends justify the means tactic—part terrorism, part human sacrifice: they were like suicide bombers. Cruz forced a shutdown over several issues, which is a warfare tactic, not a legislative one (analogy 1); it causes damage by fear (analogy 2); and it is a pure “the ends justify the means” device (analogy 3). The big difference is that unlike the planes, it causes havoc to no end. If all kamikazes just bounced harmlessly off the ships, that would be the equivalent of Cruz’s grandstanding.

          “X who is bad is good because he isn’t bad in the same way as Y, who is worse” is an invalid argument. No, Cruz isn’t a blowhard hypocrite, He’s a power-obsessed, arrogant, Machiavellian theocrat and demagogue.Sorry, but it could not be more obvious.

          • You don’t dislike Cruz, but are sympathetic, it would appear, to those who call him creepy. Great distinction there — one that totally loses me. If you are sympathetic to those who call Cruz reepy, that speaks for itself as to your views on Cruz, and they are certainly not good.. Ad hominem attacks are personal. they appeal to prejucdice and emotion, rather than to reason. The reference to sympathy for those who call Cruz “creepy” was an ad hominem attack on Cruz, hiding behind what other people say or think. As for the fact that this is an ethics site that doesn’t mean an out of context reference to Cruz’s mailer as “dispicable” is okay unless you put it it in the conext of current political practice. That, you did not do. Rubio had a similar mailer in Iowa — not exactly the same, not quite as egregious but more like the Cruz mailer, that not like. And the Democratic party has used mailers like this in past elections. Now if the mailers were encouraging people to commit a crime, here the result would be horrific. Instead they encourage people to vote. Not a good mailer. But politics is rough edged, and it doesn’t mean Cruz is somehow “creepy,”, “nasty,” or “dispicable.”

            • Creepy is a visceral reaction to various features. I have many friends whom others find creepy—I’m in theater, you see— but I sympathize with them. I don’t like or dislike Cruz–I don’t know him. All I can judge is his conduct, views and manner. I don’t like much of that, it’s true. I do like the fact that he can speak in complete, clear sentences.

              It was not an ad hominem attack on Cruz—you are misusing the term, an do it again in reference to me, and your next comment gets spammed. Here: LEARN—

              An ad hominem attack means that one is substituting the character or quality of an adversary’s thought for the argument the adversary is presenting. This is unfair, as well as misleading. “Your argument is invalid because you are a crook, a fool, an idiot” is an ad hominem attack. It is not an ad hominem attack to prove an argument idiotic, and conclude, on the basis of signature significance, (which requires that an argument be so idiotic that no non-idiot would conceive such a thing and dare express it),that the one making the argument is an idiot, since only an idiot would make such an argument. Confusing the true ad hominem attack with the latter is a useful deflection by poor advocates of the fair consequence of their advocacy. Idiots can still hold valid positions, and disproving the position has nothing to do with proving they are idiots.

              Got that? Now shut up about it.

              As for this: “As for the fact that this is an ethics site that doesn’t mean an out of context reference to Cruz’s mailer as “dispicable” is okay unless you put it it in the conext of current political practice.”

              The fact that this is an ethics site is EXACTLY why I can say that. “Everybody does it” is a rationalization—it doesn’t not excuse unethical conduct or make it ethical. I was writing about Cruz, not the Democrats, not Rubio. (I criticize both plenty) What you are doing here is EXACTLY what Obama or Hillary defenders do when their pets are shown to have lied. “What about Bush…??” they bleat.

              Morons. Don’t try to pull that here. If you don’t comprehend that Candidate X’s bad conduct isn’t justification for Candidate Y’s worse conduct, you’re not ready to post here.

      • Sorry, pal, but saying someone is “creepy” is an ad hominem argument. A man who is “creepy” is the kind of man a woman would be afraid to be alone with. It’s the kind of word you would use about a child abuser or someone who commits obscene acts in public. Don’t kid yourself. You are intellectually and morally bankrupt, and no better than those you criticize.

        • Nope. You are specifically and definitionally wrong. If I rebutted a Cruz position by saying he was creepy, that would be ad hominem. It’s a logical fallacy. My stating that “I am in full sympathy with anyone who gets the creeps from Ted Cruz”was not used to invalidate his positions or qualifications in any way.

          Moreover, I did not myself say that he was creepy. I sympathize with people who think Barack Obama is anti-American, though I don’t think that myself. I think he’s incompetent.

          How you would use the word is irrelevant; I use it according to the standard definition:
          Webster: CREEPY: strange or scary; causing people to feel nervous and afraid.

          That fits Cruz. And yes, I find the prospect of Cruz as president extremely creepy, though I didn’t state that in the post.

          Meanwhile, I’m not your pal, jerk: I’m your host, and you can either show some respect or get lost. Next snotty intro like that gets you banned.

          • Correction: Upon consideration, I’m banning you NOW. “You are intellectually and morally bankrupt, and no better than those you criticize” is a scurrilous and undeserved insult without support, and sounds like something Ted Cruz would say.

            Hear ye, Hear ye: Jeffrey Kalb is hereby banned for being rude at the beginning of his first post, and gratuitously insulting, without support, at the end of it. I used to give commenters who began like this a second chance , but it almost never worked out.

            But do learn what an ad hominem attack is.

            • Jeffery is one of many Cruz fans who have linked on this post, which was posted on a pro-Cruz site. Apparently the gang doesn’t know enough to accept aid from a non-true believer—but then, neither would Ted.

          • Creepy is an adjective that gets overused, true, and often translates into “a man who’s interested in a woman when she isn’t interested in him.” Sticking to the standard definition, I still wouldn’t use it on Cruz, but I did refer to him as a Tea Party whacko once. Still, I’d vote for him or the devil himself to keep Hillary out.

            • I use creepy to describe any person or action that causes me to react with a visceral shudder. Cruz isn’t creepy, the Clinton’s (both of them) and Trump are. So are Bill O’Riley and Rachel Maddow.

  3. Smells like desperation to me. Cruz is within striking distance of pushing Donald Trump aside and becoming what the Democrats fear most – a legitimate candidate who might be able to beat Hillary, from under whose feet the ground is slipping more and more every day, and who can definitely beat Sanders.

    Legitimate criticism won’t work, or won’t work as quickly as they want it to. This is partly a by-product of the Democrats’ own tactics to discredit Fox News and other conservative outlets as untrustworthy. As might be expected, these tactics have resulted in tit for tat accusations that the mainstream media is made up of Democrat shills and also untrustworthy, and some of those have taken root. Real reporting, accurate though it may be, no longer has the effect it once did.

    At this point they are either out of zingers or down to their last arrow and saving that for an October surprise. To keep at least some kind of interest going, they resort to pokes at Cruz’ appearance and rumor-mongering in the hopes it will push some independents away and keep others on the fence.

    The double standard is nothing new, and dates back at least to 2004 as I’m sure most folks here remember. Questions about John Kerry’s service in Vietnam and actions afterward, some legitimate, some not as much, were all treated as irrelevant and unfair by the media, and even gave birth to the term “Swiftboating” for unfair cheap shots. On the other hand, questions about GWB’s time in the Air National Guard about the same time were treated as though they were as important as Watergate. Indeed, Mary Mapes of CBS openly talked about how much she wanted that story. She, Dan Rather, and their supporters saw an opportunity to bring down a Republican president, and didn’t care if they had to cut some journalistic corners to do it. However, the fact that they HAD cut corners came to light, the rest is history.

    It’s no secret that the journalism industry leans left and always has. Edward R. Murrow and Fred Friendly went after Joseph McCarthy as much because they didn’t agree with his politics as his tactics, and there are still journalists out there arguing that the Rosenbergs and Mumia were innocent victims of the conservative establishment. It’s also no secret that it tends to second-guess leaders, leading to the Duke of Wellington’s and Robert E. Lee’s (attributed) somewhat justified sneering comments about the best generals all editing newspapers and Teddy Roosevelt’s Man in the Arena speech. However, no one in the industry has ever come close to duplicating Woodward and Bernstein’s bringing down of Richard Nixon. That investigation is not just seen as determined and competent professionals doing their job and uncovering the biggest investigative story of the second half of the 20th century, which resulted in logical consequences for a president who abused his power, by many on the left. To many on the left it’s the ultimate heroic story which all journalists should aspire to – the scrappy liberal reporter who finds the smoking gun and confronts the dangerous conservative demagogue, defeating him with that ultimate of ultimate weapons, the TRUTH, and sending him into the ashes of disgrace, paving the way for more liberal, compassionate, progressive leadership to come in.

    Of course that’s not exactly how it played. Yes, Nixon resigned in disgrace, but he never faced the full consequences of his actions, since Gerald Ford, perhaps wisely, pardoned him to close the book on Watergate. Yes, the next election gave us liberal Carter, who promised to never lie to us… but he proved not to be up to the job and paved the way for 3 GOP White House terms back to back. Time and again the journalistic establishment tried to bring down both Reagan and GHWB, trumpeting Irangate, US adventures and misadventures in supposedly otherwise peaceful Central America, supposed insufficient compassion towards the emerging AIDS crisis, but nothing stuck to either of them, and Bush the elder only lost in 1992 because he didn’t try to win. Strangely, during the Clinton years, that same establishment largely ignored or minimized a lot of the shady stuff that went on behind the scenes (Whitewater, Vince Foster, etc), and tried to minimize Clinton’s adultery with a subordinate on the job and subsequent perjury.

    Enter GWB, and suddenly it was again all-attack all-the-time. The press never forgave GWB for the constitutional crisis that marred his assumption of office, or his finding his voice and becoming, at least for a time, heroic, after 9/11, to the point where they really couldn’t touch him from 01-03. Then they saw the chance to bring him down in 04, but muffed that, as I already described. After that, they never let go of the missing WMDs (what did he know and when did he know it? Bush lied, kids died), Valerie Plame (even long after who outed her was known), Katrina (despite the local leaders less-than-wonderful handling of things) and everything else they could throw at him. Still they never could bring him down until his term was over.

    Now they’ve spent almost eight years minimizing the long disaster that was the Obama administration, which frankly hasn’t gotten ANYTHING right, from Iraq (withdrew too early and let ISIS grow, now we’re trickling back in), to the ACA (a pack of lies sold with lies and an incompetent roll-out), race relations (the worst since the 1960s), and religious liberty (Islam gets a pass on everything, Christianity, not so much), foreign policy generally (Syria, Libya, Russia, need I go on?). Yet to the press, he’s still the super-cool Messiah who ended our wars, got back the world’s respect, spread the wealth around at home, and made life just a little bit better for those who needed burdens of oppression lifted and barriers to the life we all deserve removed. He would have made life even better too, you know, but those Republicans in Congress just wouldn’t work with him, despite his many, many, more than reasonable attempts to work with them, because they couldn’t stand that a black man became successful and all they could put up against him in 2012 was Mittens.

    Not to worry, though, they are firmly on the side of Hillary, his chosen successor, and a worthy person to carry forth the beacon of progress. As long as they keep the spotlight on Donald Trump and off of her, she’s a shoe-in, after Bernie Sanders gracefully concedes (he’s really been a model opponent this whole campaign) and maybe accepts the No. 2 spot. He’s got some good ideas, you know, but those hopeless, scary, gun-toting rednecks in the South who all have bad teeth and those studiously dull folks in the Midwest whose idea of a night out is bowling league and who keep their forks at the end of the meal will never be ready for them, and there are still too many rural types and suburbanites in a few key states who aren’t quite ready for some of them.

    However, if Hillary faces either an indictment or the recommendation of one, or Donald Trump ends his run and can no longer suck up all the attention, that whole plan falls apart. There’s still a general feeling that Hillary is inevitable, and against Trump she would do very well, but the narrative of the progressive woman whose time has finally come against the boorish reality show host is starting to come unglued. They are doing their best to shore it up, but the time to do so grows short. Are Michael Bloomberg or Joe Biden waiting in the wings?

  4. The first time I heard a presidential candidate called “creepy,” he was running against, and ultimately lost to, John F. Kennedy.

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