Have you ever watched a wind sock deflate until it is just a sad polyester shell crumpled on the pavement? Have you ever left some soft cheese near a hot stove and come back to find a demoralized puddle in its place? Have you ever failed to properly care for a houseplant so that not only do you watch it die, but you spend several weeks witnessing it wither, crumple and lose all dignity?
Relatedly, did you see Ted Cruz on with Tucker Carlson on Thursday night?
Here is what I will say about that interview: Personally, just personally, if I were having exploratory surgery to make certain that no hint of a spine remained in any nook of my body I might have overlooked, I would not do it on national television. If I were plucking my voice out and giving it to Tucker Carlson to add to yet another of his magic seashells in the hopes that, in exchange, he would give me legs for 2024 — I would do that somewhere where the cameras were not rolling. I know that Ted Cruz has always loved soup, gelatinous, oozing, always taking the shape of its container. However, I did not want to watch him become soup. Some processes ought to be private.
I would take more joy in watching Ted Cruz be berated for his words (one of the few unalloyed delights that remain to us) if the words in question were not his description of Jan. 6, 2021, as a “violent terrorist attack”; I would also take more joy if the person doing the berating were not Tucker Carlson, complaining that this was no way to describe the very fine people who had so kindly vouchsafed their presence in the Capitol and if Carlson were not wondering why Cruz would utter such hideous slander.
Opinion by James Downie: Ted Cruz’s humiliation made headlines. But his colleagues’ cowardice is more worrying.
“You told that lie on purpose,” Carlson began by saying, “and I’m wondering why you did.”
“I wasn’t saying the thousands of peaceful protesters supporting Donald Trump are somehow terrorists,” Cruz said, truckling. “I wasn’t saying the millions of patriots across the country supporting Trump are terrorists.” He went on: “Tucker, I agree with you. It was a mistake to say that yesterday, and the reason is what you just said, which is we have now had a year of Democrats and the media twisting words and trying to say that all of us are terrorists.”
The interview could not have been a more vivid reminder that the Republican Party has been undergoing a Change for some time. It would be bad enough if everyone in the GOP shocked the country by simply showing up one day transformed: new blandly smiling faces, new gelatinous substance barely holding their bodies upright, new minds wiped perfectly clean. But it’s somehow worse that it is all happening in public.
We have to watch the slow melting away of the original worried face, the replacement of the vestigial spinal column, the painful extraction of the memories. It is sickening to see, even if the victim is Ted Cruz. If anything, it’s more stomach-churning, because he is so eager and so transparent about it. He is thrilled to be undergoing this lobotomy! He tweeted out the interview himself!
Opinion by Greg Sargent: Ted Cruz kisses Tucker Carlson’s feet, exposing the far right’s ugly underbelly
There are some metamorphoses you simply do not sign up to look in on. If you had told me a decade ago that I would have to watch Ted Cruz oleaginously beseech Tucker Carlson to allow him to see the five fingers the party prefers rather than the four he knows are really there, I would have gone into another line of work.
Yes, here are the new parameters for acceptable Republican speech, and here, right on time for his scheduled reprogramming and groveling, is Ted! He knows which way the wind is blowing, and he will do his best to become a windbag that blows in that direction, whatever humiliating deflation is required first.
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