Last night, after the Indiana primary results were called, almost immediately, for reality television star and R'lyehian love-pillow Donald Trump, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz -- thought to be the last hope of the "#NeverTrump" movement if we weren't counting John Kasich (and we weren't) -- bowed out of the race, elbowing his wife in the face in the process.
Cruz vacates the race after winning a handful of states and demonstrating some degree of savviness when it comes to meticulously working the delegate selection process. This probably will give him hope to believe he might give this whole running-for-president thing another try in 2020. There is one thing he might consider doing differently, however: Maybe don't be a huge prick to everybody. Maybe just cut back on the whole being-a-prick thing by, like, 50 percent. Give that a try.
Think about it: At a time when Cruz needed everything possible to break his way in Indiana to forestall Trump running the tables and making it certain he'd get the number of delegates he needed to claim the GOP nomination outright, you got former Speaker of the House John Boehner describing Cruz as "Lucifer in the flesh." Boehner went on to say, "I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life."
This is not good! And one has to wonder, could it have been avoided? What if Ted Cruz had not been, at all times, a maximal jackass? What if he'd been a little bit friendlier? What's happening in the parallel universe where Ted Cruz had actual friends, or at the very least, colleagues who aren't personally repelled by the very thought of him?
Here are some of the things that the people who should like Ted Cruz, because he pretty much shares their baseline conservative values, have said about him, because he is such a huge dick:
- Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.): "If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody would convict you.”
- Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah): “He’s not one of those who really does a terrific job in the Senate.”
- Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.): "You learn that in kindergarten — you learn to work well together and play by the rules. Another thing you learn in kindergarten is to respect one another."
- Former Sen. Bob Dole: “I don’t know how he’s going to deal with Congress. Nobody likes him.”
- Bonus Lindsey Graham, on the choice between Cruz and Trump: "It's like being shot or poisoned. What does it really matter."
- Random person from Indiana: "You look like a fish monster."
Now, here are the sorts of things that Cruz might have preferred to hear people saying about him:
- "If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, it would be truly sad, because we love that guy. We'd definitely seek justice."
- "He does such a terrific job in the Senate. I'm always striving to be more like him."
- "He totally learned all the right lessons from kindergarten."
- "He's going to be such a success with Congress. Everyone really likes him, because he's so respectful and good-hearted."
- "The choice between Trump and Cruz is like being shot or having the best day of your life, filled with cake and balloons, surrounded by all the people you love, feeling for one perfect moment as if everything is right in the world and being thankful that you're alive."
- "You remind me of fish because you're delicious and packed with nutrients."
You see how there are some subtle but important differences? That's the sort of thing people say about you when you don't treat your colleagues like dirt, and cause unnecessary government shutdowns in an attempt to grandstand on the backs of your nominal allies.
Of course, it's anybody's guess whether Cruz might have gone further as a presidential candidate, had he won the affection of his peers. This GOP primary has been about as far from "The Party Decides" as anyone can remember. Given Trump's success, it's possible it would have done Cruz no good at all to have the backing of the barons and baronesses of the Beltway's gilded community.
Still, would it have killed him to be nicer? Maybe!