National Review: Ted Cruz Was SAVING LIVES By Fleeing To Cancun
While most people agree that it is pretty gross for Ted Cruz to have gone to Cancun with his family while Texas was in crisis — and while Beto O'Rourke and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, neither of whom are elected officials in the state of Texas, were working so hard to help people in the state — Kevin Williamson at the National Review disagrees.
The real problem, he explains, is not that Cruz went to Cancun, abandoning the people of Texas and his poodle, Snowflake, in the process, it is that people — the "little people" — think that Cruz going to Cancun looks "unseemly" in the first place.
Senator Cruz (R., Texas) is the subject of this week's ritual denunciation for the grievous sin of taking his daughters to Cancun, rather than stay in Texas and endure the snow and blackouts with the shivering little people.
Yes. He literally called other people in Texas "the little people." Although I suppose this 11-year-old who died of probable hypothermia in his trailer was pretty little.
Williamson argues that, actually, Cruz had a moral obligation to go wild in Cancun, because that way he and his family would not take up precious public resources needed by poor people who could not afford to go to Cancun. Really, he was practically saintly.
People who can take care of themselves and their families in an emergency should take care of themselves and their families in an emergency, if only to remove the possibility of their having to be taken care of by the public. Of course, Senator Cruz probably will be more comfortable in Cancun than he would be in River Oaks, but it is no less the case that by absenting himself from the scene, he has given Houston — including its utility providers and its emergency services — one fewer person to worry about. From that point of view, Senator Cruz has a positive moral obligation to be in Cancun.
It was his unnecessary return (in the face of shrill criticism) that was a poor decision.
The man asked for a police escort at the airport. He couldn't even leave town without soaking up precious resources.
As a rich person who happens to be an elected official in the state of Texas, some might think he had an obligation to use his power and influence (and money!) to take care of others in the state. He could have fundraised for the people of Texas, like AOC did; she raised $1 million in four hours for Texas non-profits helping people during these storms, and she is currently heading to Houston to try to help out in other ways. Beto O'Rourke, who is not an elected official of any kind, is out there organizing literally hundreds of thousands of wellness checks on seniors.
Kevin Williamson then compares Cruz getting out of dodge to his leaving Manhattan during Hurricane Sandy, for fear of not being able to get sushi delivered.
I sympathize. When Hurricane Sandy flooded Manhattan in 2012, I was living in a very tall building downtown, near the waterfront. The floodwater wasn't going to rise as high as my windows, but it was certain that the electricity water, and elevators would be out of commission, and it was likely that the ground-level entrance and exit to the building would be practically impassable. Sushi deliveries were out of the question. I could have holed up in my apartment — but, why? I rode out the flood at an inexpensive hotel in Palm Springs, where the wifi was working and so was I. Nobody had to worry about me. If it weren't for the travel complications caused by the epidemic, I wouldn't have been in Texas for this wintry goat rodeo, either.
As weirdly elitist as this entire paragraph sounds, it's still not the same thing because Kevin Williamson has no obligation to serve the people of Texas, Manhattan, or anywhere else.
If the world is mad at Senator Cruz, it is not because he has done anything that hurt anybody. What he has done is judged to be something else: unseemly. The democratic religion in the United States holds, for reasons of pure superstition, that there must be a radical identification between political leaders and the people they represent, which is why Senator Cruz of Princeton and Harvard Law sometimes does that ridiculous good-ol'-boy shtick of his. If the people of Houston are going to suffer — and they are suffering — then Senator Cruz is expected to stay and suffer alongside them, even if he need not do so, and even if prudence would recommend his not doing so.
Oh, I'm sorry — which party was it that needed to be able to "have a beer" with their president who couldn't actually even drink a beer on account of how he was an alcoholic?
While Good Ol' Boy, Man of the People posturing is one thing, it is another thing entirely for a politician to use their riches to insulate themselves from what "the little people" have to go through. The reason there must be this "radical identification" is because it is the job of politicians to help people and if you don't understand what they are actually going though, you're not going to be able to do that effectively. That is why Cruz running off to Cancun was not just a "bad look," but actually bad.
Scientists say that heating in the Arctic may be to blame for Texas's snowstorm problems. Ted Cruz does not believe in climate change, and he personally benefits from holding that stance. If he goes to Cancun, he's not experiencing the downside of pretending that climate change doesn't exist and doing nothing about it. He's leaving that to "the little people."
Then again, it's not as if Republicans do much to help anyone outside of picking out random groups of people and going "Hey! See those people over there? You are totally better than they are!"
Would his staying make anybody in Texas better off? No. If anything, it might make them worse off: Suppose Senator Cruz and a neighbor three houses down both have an emergency and dial 911 at the same moment — does anybody think that a senator is going to the end of the line, even if he doesn't ask for or desire special treatment? If it were necessary to evacuate people, does anybody think that a senator would not have a seat on the bus, even if that meant someone else losing one?
Well that is quite the hypothetical scenario, but I'm going to assume that the neighborhood Ted Cruz lives in has little to no problem getting emergency assistance. They would send two emergency vehicles, I assure you. No one would be waiting in line, because they would all be rich people. And yes, it would make people better off if he were actually doing things, like AOC and Beto, to help people — but the fact that he was not only not doing that, but was running off to Cancun instead, was worse. There's no getting around that.
Williamson then attempts to relate this to praising Dolly Parton for not wanting a statue built of her in the Tennessee state capitol, which he oddly describes as "republican seemliness" as opposed to Cruz's "democratic unseemliness." It doesn't make sense. It doesn't have to.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse