Before I run off to see a movie that will occupy my time while so many of my friends and colleagues disgrace themselves supporting brain damage for profit (here is Sally Jenkins on the NFL’s disgusting imitation of tobacco executives), there are three topics related to recent posts that bear mentioning.
- Ted Cruz’s Creepiness
Many Ted Cruz supporters were dismayed that even while flagging the biased and unfair tactics being used by the news media to discredit the most reviled of the seven GOP presidential contenders, I sympathized with those who find the Texas senator creepy. They don’t seem to understand that defense from a non-Cruz supporting ethicist is infinitely more credible and useful to their cause than support from a mouth-foaming conservative pundit, but never mind: nobody understands me, and it’s comforting to be attacked from the right for a change. However, I am thoroughly sick of people who don’t know what an ad hominem attack is accusing me of engaging in it.I ahve never used Ted Cruz’s creepiness or any of his other personality flaws to attack Cruz’s positions or political views. Doing that is an ad hominem attack. In the context of viability as a Presidential candidate, Cruz’s appearance, manner, and vibes, including what many see as creepiness, are relevant to their fitness to run for President, because fitness includes electability.
Thus it is relevant that Jeb Bush comes off as a bumbling weenie; that Chris Christie is fat, that Ben Carson looks and sounds like he is on barbiturates, that Marco Rubio is short, and that Kasich is dorky. Do you think it’s a coincidence that most Presidents are taller than average, and almost never bald? Charisma is rare, even in Presidents, but having it is a huge advantage (See: Trump, Donald) and having the opposite of charisma—Nixon, Dole, Gore, Ted Cruz—is a serious handicap. I’m really sorry that your hero seems creepy, Cruz fans, but it’s a fact, and it matters. Don’t shoot the messenger.
By the way, you will notice that Chris Christie is working at losing weight. Ted????
2. The ABC Moderators’ Last Question.
The Super Bowl is not a national priority, nor should it be placed on par with the vital matter of choosing a competent set of Presidential candidates. Martha Raddatz’s invitation at the end of the debate yesterday inviting the seven GOP hopefuls to predict a winner also elevated the NFL when it needs to be condemned to save lives. It would have been wonderful if one of the candidates had the wit and courage to say so, but it also would have been very, very risky.
3. Ben Carson’s Lost Opportunity
It wouldn’t have been risky for Carson, though. How useless can the man be? For perhaps the only time, his status as a neurosurgeon was mad suddenly relevant by this question. He had an opportunity to educate the public about concussions, CTE, football, and why it was crass and irresponsible to be cheering a game that maims young men and leaves them demented. He had a chance to do something to justify his otherwise incompetent candidacy. Instead, he grinned, made a wan joke about predicting one of the two teams would win, and passed.