I’m an opinionated person, but – you may have to take this on faith – I really do try to look at most issues objectively. In part it’s because I’m a journalist, but also because I’m a novelist who can’t write fiction, i.e., a frustrated one. Show me a fucked-up person, and I try to think what made him or her into such a mess, and if I think I have a pretty good idea, I start to feel empathy. So while I might express very strongly worded opinions, inside I’m thinking, you poor thing.

Did that make sense? Because I’m trying to explain how I feel about Ted Cruz. And I have to add this: I can’t get my head around him.

I mean, I understand how this ambition monster was birthed and nurtured, but what I can’t understand is how he can not know that hardly anyone actually likes him. Lindsay Graham says (in public!) that everyone in the Senate hates him, his college roommate has a second career making funny insults about him – and he doesn’t care, he still thinks he should be president, and who knows, maybe he will be, someday. Repellent candidates have worn down the American people before (koffNixonkoff), and anyone who thinks Cruz will go away after 2016 is a fool.

But I’m amazed at how tin his ear is, how a guy who’s so smart can be so amazingly bad in any sort of candid spotlight. Every photo of him, even allowing for the prejudices of photo editors, makes him look greasy and smarmy. How does a man with an ounce of self-awareness use a term like “basketball ring” in a place like Indiana? And having done so, how does he not make an immediate joke – something about jet lag or brain farts – at his own expense? I understand why so many comments/tweets make reference to “his human suit getting itchy.”

And now he’s picked a running mate who is every bit his equal, personality-wise.

There’s a guy who sometimes rides the bus when I do. I see him reading National Review, and once he and a couple of other guys had a little chat about their personal weaponry that made me want to move and go sit next to a homeless guy. From where he gets off, I know that he lives a block away. When, before the primary, a solitary house sprouted a TrusTED sign, I had a feeling it was his, and sure enough, it was.

Maybe I should ask him.

Or not.

Speaking of politics, here’s a writer I’m not fond of, hitting a nice triple about “the woman’s card.” I sense improvement.

Happy Thursday, y’all.

Posted at 8:46 am in Current events |

44 responses to “Ew.”

  1. brian stouder said on April 28, 2016 at 9:04 am

    Re Indiana and basketball and so forth, let me just say Pam and I watched Bobby KNight’s introduction of the Donald, and ol’ Bob sounded terrible.

    He has literally become the cranky old “get off my lawn” guy…and that’s when he’s coherent…otherwise, he sounded more confused than politically charged

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  2. Deborah said on April 28, 2016 at 9:06 am

    The Woman Card link is a must read. Thanks for that, Nancy.

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  3. alex said on April 28, 2016 at 9:06 am

    Guess I’ll need to start carrying my Gay Card. I understand, from my friends on the right, that it makes me all-powerful. No legislator will be able to resist my come-hither stare. Big business CEOs will drop to their knees to cater to my every desire. Even federal judges appointed by Republican presidents will do my bidding and trample the rights of everyone else just so I can have special rights that are superior to everyone else’s. Ms. Petri should just get rid of that worthless Woman Card and get a Gay Card instead. Then she could have her choice of public restrooms and feel free to piss all over the seats just like the men do.

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  4. Peter said on April 28, 2016 at 9:27 am

    Boy, you’re not kidding about Ted Cruz. You’ve seen plenty of guys like that in High School, but sometimes they find true love and the spouse inherits a lifetime job of getting them toward normal.

    The heck with the basketball ring – what’s the deal with Carly Fiorina?

    I’ve said it before – perhaps the only good thing about Donald is that he’s exposed the rest of the field for the frauds that they are. The Chris Christie debacle was something, but compare that to La Carly. When the best praise you get is that she’s not Sarah Palin, that’s one bad decision.

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  5. Bob (not Greene) said on April 28, 2016 at 9:39 am

    With the combination of Cruz and Fiorina, the U.S. could have its first-ever all-vampire presidential ticket. I mean, those two look like they ought to be flashing fangs, wearing capes and sleeping in coffins.

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  6. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on April 28, 2016 at 9:41 am

    Nancy = John Boehner. Now that’s shocking.


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  7. adrianne said on April 28, 2016 at 10:15 am

    I’m applying for my woman card right now! Didn’t realize I needed one.

    One of my faves, Gail Collins, nails Trump’s latest move (with a side shot at Chris Christie, another politician whose charms elude me:) http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/28/opinion/trump-deals-the-woman-card.html?ref=opinion

    And I’m hugely enjoying the continuing specter of Ted’s freshman roommate at Princeton conducting his Twitter war on his Tedness. My fave bit: The upperclassmen actually invited him out to dinner because they felt sorry he had to room with such an asshole.

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  8. brian stouder said on April 28, 2016 at 10:17 am

    Well, Friday is game-night for several friends and I.

    Every two weeks (more or less) we convene at one or another of our homes, and play a board game or two or three. Most of these are fairly fast-playing, and mix a little luck with the chance to pursue a strategy, and the best ones include colorful bits and pieces, and/or a humorous theme


    Anyway – in gamenight terms, it had to have been a desperation play by Raphael to pick Carly now – as that was his highest-value remaining card to play if the convention goes to a second ballot.

    It’s still almost unbelievable to me that el-Trumpo is going to win the nomination, but plainly – he is going to do just that.

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  9. Bitter Scribe said on April 28, 2016 at 10:30 am

    I understand that self-confidence is important for success, in politics and most everything else. But there comes a time when it crosses over into self-delusion. Believing that laying off 30,000 employees, tanking your company’s stock price and getting chased away from the boardroom constitutes a splendidly successful tenure as a CEO means you’ve crossed.

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  10. Jeff Borden said on April 28, 2016 at 10:42 am

    From what I’ve read, Raphael was raised by his even more deeply creepy father to believe he is a messiah born to lead ‘Murica back from the brink and, thus, has been praised and built up since he was a young man. No wonder he is a self-absorbed dick.

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  11. adrianne said on April 28, 2016 at 10:44 am

    This from John Boehner on Ted Cruz: “I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life.”


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  12. ROGirl said on April 28, 2016 at 11:03 am

    The Donald should show his card from the He-Men Women Haters Club.

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  13. Heather said on April 28, 2016 at 11:50 am

    If there is one thing I have learned in my more than four decades of life on this planet, it is to never underestimate the power of people to engage in denial.

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  14. brian stouder said on April 28, 2016 at 11:53 am

    ROGirl – forget flashing the card; that guy has tirelessly conducted a 21st Century misogyny road-show!


    He’s the PT Barnum/Zig Ziglar/Ziegfeld Follies spectacle of the age – sure to become a redefined word in the next Websters (Trumped: hopelessly crossed up, off-message, out of one’s depth, delusionally convinced that ones self is always right)

    Now, and going forward, everyone in the national media will have to rethink “free media” and how to operate their megaphones…because there’s no end of guys (mainly guys) who are sure they’re right about everything, and who will emulate the Trump road-show, at every future presidential campaign, for the rest of our lives

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  15. alex said on April 28, 2016 at 11:54 am

    A primer on Icelandic sauna etiquette for those who may be traveling there soon.

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    • nancy said on April 28, 2016 at 12:34 pm

      That was a great read. I’m transfixed by the shape of the guy’s head — the subject, not the author.

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  16. Jakash said on April 28, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    Swell woman card column and the twitter hashtag mentioned in it is hilarious, too. If Rump were a woman, he’d be just as clueless and uninterested in actual governance as SheWho Palin, with even LESS relevant experience, which is truly remarkable. How’d she do? Seems like he could go head to head with SheWho in make-up usage, but I’m not sure the Great Pumpkin look would resonate with her fans, if he were attempting to play the woman card…

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  17. Joe K said on April 28, 2016 at 1:12 pm

    Maybe they should donate some of the 6 million to the policeman bereavement fund,for the next office who is gunned down because he hesitated, mistakes are made, offices are human, it’s a split second,would you rather be judged by 12 or carried by 6?
    Pilot Joe

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    • nancy said on April 28, 2016 at 2:32 pm

      I hate those bullshit T-shirt phrases like “judged by 12,” etc.

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  18. Sherri said on April 28, 2016 at 1:17 pm

    I saw a tweet from someone yesterday about Trump being introduced by a man fired for choking a student, then bragging about being endorsed by one convicted of raping a woman.

    The other thing I saw on Twitter yesterday was this series by Al Giordana, comparing different types of activists on the left: https://storify.com/zatchry/the-divide-on-the-electoral-left-between-sanders-c

    It fits with an internet group that’s forming that I read about the other day: brandnewcongress.org. I agree that we need a better Congress, but their plan shows a total lack of understanding of how to actually win elections.

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  19. Sherri said on April 28, 2016 at 1:29 pm

    Pilot Joe,

    It’s a odd thing that officers seem to make more mistakes in shooting unarmed citizens when those citizens happen to not be white. They can somehow pause for that extra split-second more often with white people, and let everyone survive.

    LEOs are not soldiers, and that military mindset needs to go.

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  20. Julie Robinson said on April 28, 2016 at 1:38 pm

    Sherri, I fear that disappointed Sanders supporters will retreat from the political process instead of engaging, not to reemerge until the next charismatic dreamer gets their notice. As Lin-Manuel Miranda puts it in Hamilton, “winning was easy, young man, governing’s harder”. Add disillusionment from losing to the hard work that you know yourself from your planning commission position, and it’ll be left to the R’s again.

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  21. Jakash said on April 28, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    Well, I read Alex’s sauna article. There’s got to be something off about that photo, right? His head can’t really look like that, can it? If so, I can certainly understand why wearing a bowler hat “has become his trademark in the Icelandic literary scene.” I can’t say that I was transfixed by it, but certainly disturbed.

    I particularly enjoyed the author linking to the article in the Icelandic paper. Evidently in Icelandic, which is not surprising, though I wonder how many Slate readers benefited from the link. One comment I could partially read: “Sinn er siður í landi hverju. Við höfum gömlu góðu sturtuna, Finnar sína gufu. – ‘In Rome, do as the Romans do!'” it read. Maybe nobody’s translated that phrase to Icelandic, for some reason, but it’s always good advice. ; )

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  22. jcburns said on April 28, 2016 at 1:45 pm

    Aha, https://rain.today.

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  23. Sherri said on April 28, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    Jakash, that Icelandic phrase reminded me of this article I read on identifying languages at a glance: http://theweek.com/articles/617776/how-identify-language-glance

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  24. Jakash said on April 28, 2016 at 3:06 pm

    Well, that’s an interesting and helpful article, Sherri, and, indeed, you can identify the quote as Icelandic by utilizing it. Alas, though “To get the answer, often all it takes is a little character,” that’s more character than I’ve got! ; )

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  25. brian stouder said on April 28, 2016 at 3:24 pm

    I’d nominate Sherri at 18 for Thread Win, throwing Indiana’s delegates her way!

    I go the Bobby reference, but I the Tyson one escaped me, ’til I asked Uncle Google for an article about the rally

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  26. alex said on April 28, 2016 at 3:27 pm

    Lucifer in the Fort. And he promises a second coming on Monday.

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  27. Jeff Borden said on April 28, 2016 at 3:48 pm

    I’m with Sherri.

    Watching a Chicago cop pump 16 bullets into a black teen holding a folded pocket knife –including 14 shots after the kid was already writhing on the ground– may have played a role. Or maybe it was the Cleveland cop who waited all of two seconds before killing a 12-year-old playing with a pellet gun. Or maybe it was the killing of the young man in Ferguson because he was walking in the street.

    Being a police officer is tough work, no doubt, but it’s also a choice. If you lack the ability to react rationally and professionally, please move on. Aslo, we must do a better job of weeding out Dirty Harry wannabes before they kill. The prick who murdered the kid in Chicago had double-digit citizen complaints on his record.

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  28. Deborah said on April 28, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    Sherri’s Al Giordana Twitter thread link about the left is spot on. We have some far lefty friends in Chicago and we’ve said (to ourselves) for years that everything they’ve stood for has utterly failed, for instance they’re super big on unions, look what happened to those, etc, etc. They even joke about how they always lose politically but they never change their tactics.

    The Icelandic Sauna link was interesting. I have wanted one of those Icelandic sweaters for a few years now. I have a great sweater that I got in Ireland that I always get compliments on, it’s big and roomy and warm but it’s getting shaggy. Time for an Icelandic one. Do you think the photo is warped in some way to make the guy’s head look so elongated? The bodies of the people look shortened too. But the background looks normal?

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  29. nancy said on April 28, 2016 at 4:40 pm

    I had an Icelandic sweater from L.L. Bean, once upon a time. I finally had to stop wearing it because most buildings in the U.S. are overheated in winter, and I was always sweating and/or struggling to get out of it. Plus, it’s not really my style now, although i’ve seen some cool ones since I’ve been reading about Iceland — ones that are a little longer, closer to the body, and that don’t make you look quite so much like a sheep.

    The comments on the Slate piece are all about the guy’s head. And they’re funny.

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  30. Jakash said on April 28, 2016 at 5:25 pm

    “More like a fivehead, if you ask me…” I’d estimate more of an eighthead, myself.

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  31. Suzanne said on April 28, 2016 at 5:28 pm

    I work with a guy who is a huge Cruz supporter. Funny thing is, by working with this guy, it gives me insight into the likes of Cruz. Both have built up a fantasy world that they inhabit and are quite happy there, even though it’s fantasy. The job my coworker does relies mostly on commission and he can barely squeak by. He ducked out of work he had pending today to hear old Ted speak and often comes in very late because he’s out tracking down raw milk for his family, or is doing something with his church. And yet, he has said to me with a straight face that he is so glad to live in a meritocracy in which anyone can work hard & rise to the top! Except he doesn’t work hard and when there is a free dinner to be had, or a way to avoid paying costs related to business (oh, can I use your printer? Mine is out of ink), he is front and center taking what he can. He complains about entitlements while his wife is on disability and sees every doctor in town. But in his fantasy world, he’s a self made man and he’s the best in the business because he is so smart and prays to God about every decision.

    In other words, a Cruz soulmate. They make their own reality.

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  32. Brandon said on April 28, 2016 at 6:05 pm

    @Suzanne, #31: People are strange.

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  33. Deborah said on April 28, 2016 at 6:18 pm

    Cruz is the kind of guy (and as Brian says, they’re mostly guys) who thinks he’s absolutely right about everything and almost everyone else in the world is completely wrong. Which of course is just bizarre. I used to ironically say to my right wing sister about the Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod), “How were we so lucky to be born into a family that belonged to the church that had it exactly right, and every other faith/denomination in the whole wide world had it wrong?” I elaborated to her that when you think about it, that was quite phenomenal, and that we should spend every minute of every single day giving thanks for that amazingly fantastic blessing. How could we have been so overwhelmingly lucky or chosen? Snark. Pure fantasy.

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  34. adrianne said on April 28, 2016 at 6:18 pm

    Gawd,Suzanne, your co-worker sounds like a Cruz soulmate!

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  35. Brandon said on April 28, 2016 at 6:21 pm

    The Obameter:


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  36. Deborah said on April 28, 2016 at 8:48 pm

    I spent most of the day carting the kitchen stuff across the street to the new place. It’s almost all in except for some stuff we’re still going to need for meals etc. I will be glad when this move is over, my back is killing me. We have purged so much stuff we actually have storage space to spare, which is good because I’m sure we’ll start accumulating again. I wish we wouldn’t, I’d like to be rid of extraneous stuff. We figured that all told among the three places we have, Chicago, Santa Fe and Abiquiu we have about 2,000+ SF of space, that includes a garage in Santa Fe and a 4′ x 6′ storage space in Chicago. That seems like plenty of space if you ask me.

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  37. Deborah said on April 28, 2016 at 8:53 pm

    I can’t get the comments to load on the Slate article on the Icelandic sauna controversy. What am I doing wrong?

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  38. Sherri said on April 28, 2016 at 9:13 pm

    The Sanders campaign was smart about raising money, but stupid about spending it: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/sanders-is-biggest-spender-of-2016-so-far–generating-millions-for-consultants/2016/04/28/600170ce-0cf2-11e6-a6b6-2e6de3695b0e_story.html

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  39. Jolene said on April 28, 2016 at 11:16 pm

    Deborah, I loved your comment re the incredible luck of having been born into a family that happened to belong to a church of the only denomination that really had a handle on the truth. I have never understood how so many people apparently don’t catch on to the idea that the factors that most influence who we are and what we become–race, sex, intelligence, health, nationality, family income, and, yes, our parents’ religion–are a matter of chance, not, for the most part, something we either chose or earned. We are always both agents and subjects, but we lose sight of that–usually seeing ourselves as the agents of our successes and the subject of malevolent forces when things don’t go so well.

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  40. alex said on April 28, 2016 at 11:29 pm

    Deborah, at the bottom of the Iceland article are three icons — Facebook, Twitter and a purple one with a bubble quote in it. Click on that last one.

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  41. alex said on April 28, 2016 at 11:43 pm

    And yes, that’s really his head:


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  42. Deborah said on April 28, 2016 at 11:46 pm

    Alex, I did click on that icon but my iPad won’t load the comments for some reason. I’ll switch to my iPhone to see if that works.

    I think tomorrow is the day our DSL is turned off for good. Yay! I hate DSL. We won’t have cable in our new place until Sat, the 6th. So I’ll be using my iPhone for everything for awhile. We also won’t have our landlines for a couple of days but who cares. We had to have 2 landlines, one for the doorman to call us and the other for DSL, they couldn’t be on the same line. Glad to be done with all of that.

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