Maybe Ted Cruz isn’t the smartest guy on the planet after all. For months, as the crafty Texas Senator surged in the polls, voters were told that Cruz is the most intellectual candidate in the race, the best debater – someone the renowned law professor Alan Dershowitz called “off the charts brilliant.”
His every move has been judged a Machiavellian masterstroke, as he drafted behind Donald Trump, sucking up his energy and lurking behind to suck up his fans, stoking Iowans’ fears about immigration and ISIS, presenting himself as a “consistent conservative” in a pond of flip-floppers. Most importantly, calculating just the right moment to end the bromance with The Donald.
But suddenly, Cruz is on the defensive. It turns out he missed a few beats, such as properly reporting loans received from Goldman Sachs and Citigroup – those Big Bad Banks – four years ago that financed his 2012 campaign. This was not a casual oversight. The lapse is not only a violation of the law; it also destroys a significant part of the Cruz narrative. You know, the part where he says to his lovely wife, “Sweetheart, I’d like us to liquidate our entire net worth, liquid net worth, and put it into the campaign,” and she says ‘Absolutely,’ with no hesitation, as he told The New York Times.
It’s a great tale – they sink their fortune into his improbable campaign for the Senate – and miraculously vault Rafael (his real name) into that esteemed chamber, which he then set about turning on its head. Too bad it’s not true.
That’s not the only story Ted Cruz is revising. Donald Trump has adroitly alerted voters to Cruz’ Canadian birthplace, which was not a secret to the political cognoscenti but came as a thunderbolt to those enamored with his anti-immigrant agenda. Most likely, Cruz qualifies as a “natural born citizen” and is eligible to run for president. But, the issue has never been adjudicated. Trump has cleverly suggested that for the good of the party, and his own wellbeing, Cruz should get a ruling on the matter from the courts. That, of course, would only give the issue greater legitimacy, not to mention bog down Cruz’ campaign.
The problem for Cruz is that this birther issue has ushered in a great deal of scrutiny, which has been about as pleasant as a tick bite. It turns out that the names of both Ted Cruz’ parents appear on a 1970 list of Calgary electors for Canada’s federal election of July 8, 1974. Inclusion on that document suggests Canadian citizenship, but the campaign has denied that the senator’s mother was ever a Canadian citizen. His father, originally a Cuban citizen, did indeed become a Canadian citizen while living up north.
Breibart explains, “Under U.S. law, Cruz would have inherited his citizenship at birth in 1970 from his mother, provided she remained a U.S. citizen. She likely would have retained her U.S. citizenship even if she had become a naturalized Canadian citizen, though Canadian law required naturalized citizens formally to renounce all foreign allegiances until 1973.”
Further investigation has turned up a discrepancy contained in Cruz’ memoire, A Time for Truth. Voters are about to learn that Cruz may have sanitized his mother’s history. In his book, Cruz says that Eleanor Darragh’s first marriage to Texan Alan Wilson ended because of her agony at having lost a son to crib death. However, records indicate that the baby died in 1966 in England, where she lived at the time. Wilson claims they were divorced around 1963 and that he was not the father of the infant.
For Cruz, who wowed attendees of the Value Voters Conference in 2014 by pressing the importance of marriage and who is trying to lock up Evangelical voters in Iowa, this could get sticky. People will wonder: did Cruz intentionally polish up his mother’s history? Or did his mother misrepresent her past to her young son?
Curiously, Darragh used her first husband’s last name – Wilson – on Ted Cruz’ birth certificate in 1970. Why she did so is unclear. She had married Rafael Cruz in 1969. Perhaps she wanted to be sure that her son would be assured of American citizenship, and used Wilson’s name to avoid uncertainty. Whatever the reason, it is odd since that was not her name at the time of his birth.
Given the conflicting narratives and timelines, the confusion over Cruz being a “natural born citizen” is understandable. Other issues challenging Cruz are not confusing – such as his absurd posturing as a Washington “outsider.” Cruz is a graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law School, clerked for a Supreme Court judge, became a high-priced corporate lawyer for several years representing the kinds of corporations he now decries, worked on the George W. Bush presidential campaign, has served in the U.S. Senate, and is married to a woman who until recently was a Goldman Sachs Managing Director. That’s about as “insider” a background as you can have.
Ted Cruz is a political phenomenon – a junior senator who made a name for himself being disruptive and disrespectful of our political institutions, who has campaigned on being disliked, and who has most recently gone out of his way to insult millions of Americans.
Bottom line: it took Ted Cruz to make Donald Trump seem acceptable. Cruz is a phony. At least The Donald is authentic.