No, I don’t mean the pugilist played by Sylvester Stallone, I’m referring to Nelson Rockefeller, Governor of New York from 1959-1973. Rockefeller thought Barry Goldwater was a sure LOSER and was proven right. He declined to endorse Goldwater and was booed when he spoke at the 1964 Republican Convention at the Cow Palace in Daly City. They say it was in San Francisco but, trust me, Daly City ain’t THE CITY. Here’s a clip of Rocky’s big moment:
Does any of the above sound familiar? It should because Ted Cruz flipped the bird at Donald Trump and Team Trump let him. I still cannot believe they let Cruz speak without assurances that he would endorse the nominee. Compounding their error, Cruz’s fiery address and smirking grand finale overshadowed the workmanlike folksiness of Mike Pence’s acceptance speech. Gosh, golly, heck shucks, I’m Mike Liar Liar Pence On Fire, and I’m a folksy Hoosier. All anyone inside or outside the hall wanted to talk about was Cruz’s speech. They should have scheduled the losing candidates for Monday in case there was trouble. Team Trump FAIL. Again.
Cruz not only declined to endorse Trump, he told Republicans to “vote your conscience.” The hall erupted in boos and a big ass smirk crossed Cruz’s face. It was a moment when Cruz’s thick skin and willingness to be hated came in mighty handy. It sounded like Philly in the hall but the jeers were led by the New York delegation. No shocker.
Cruz’s hatred of Trump is personal as well as ideological. Remember, Trump viciously attacked Heidi Cruz and, even worse, implied that Cruz’s crazy father was somehow involved in the Kennedy Assassination. I’ve long thought these personal attacks were beyond the pale. It turns out that Cruz has a long memory and is an excellent grudge holder.
A private meeting and apology would have gone a long way towards patching things up but the Donald don’t play that. Of course, Cruz-quite correctly-thinks the Donald is a LOSER and treated his speech as the opening shot of his 2020 campaign. Still, this was the first time I’ve ever had any positive feelings about Tailgunner Ted:
There are two versions circulating about Cruz’s Rocky moment; both of which illustrate Team Trump’s incompetence. First, the Trumpers had Cruz’s speech but didn’t read it carefully and somehow missed the significance of the “vote your conscience” line. This is plausible given how badly the Trumpvention has been run and organized. It’s also a partial explanation for the spousal plagiarism flap. Second, the Trumpers *wanted* the bomb to go off on the floor to unite the party in loathing of Cruz. This line is being peddled by
Patrick Bateman Junior among others. This could be the case OR it’s lie-spin peddled by a inept, mendacious, and “unconventional” campaign. In either, case this was a disaster as it stepped on the VP nominee’s fairly decent speech, by gosh and golly. Fudge that poop.
I have to give Cruz credit for chutzpah. Trump’s political brand is dominance and submission. Look at Christie and Newt Gingrich both of whom behave like Trump’s valets. Newt even tried to rescue things last night by claiming Cruz didn’t say what he said: that’s one refutation of the “deliberate bomb” theory.
In his bold defiance of Trumpian domination, Cruz has laid down markers for 2020. When the dust settles, he could emerge from it as the conservative badass who stood up to the mouthy LOSER. Another refutation of the “deliberate bomb” theory was Trump’s entrance into the hall to distract attention from Cruz’s own bombshell. It was a very bad night for Team Trump no matter how they try to lie their way out of it. Sad.
It was a genuinely amazing moment that I happened to see because I tuned into the Trumpvention just as Tailgunner Ted hit the stage. Looks like I violated my own rule about not watching the RNC. I plead guilty as charged. I hope I won’t be subjected to a Christie-style show trial. Dude thinks he’s Vishinsky (Stalin’s chief purge prosecutor) or something.
Tailgunner Ted is playing the long game in this duel of creep vs. creep. His disregard for party unity is breathtaking and, upon reflection, predictable. What’s unpredictable is that it happened at the convention, which is on Team Trump. Of course, the Insult Comedian thinks that any publicity is good publicity. It’s how sociopaths roll.
The question for Cruz is whether this gamble will pay off when Trump LOSES. Rockefeller’s anti-Goldwater gambit made him at least Luke, if not Lucifier, to party conservatives. He never won the GOP nomination. He did, however, become Sainted Moderate Gerald Ford’s Veep but was forced off the ticket because of the Reaganite challenge. The flip-off picture I have at the top was taken during the ’76 campaign when Rocky was free to let his wingnut detractors know what he really thought of them. In contrast, Nixon supported Goldwater and in the immortal words of Steve Earle:
I think that last part of the Rocky analogy doesn’t quite work. Goldwater was the founder of something (the conservative movement) whereas Trump is an outlier, a freak with bad hair. Additionally, people *liked* Barry Goldwater as a person and Trump is one of the worst human beings ever to run for President. Cruz is, of course, a legendary asshole BUT his views are the views of most Republicans whereas God only knows what Donald Trump believes in except for himself. Repeat after me: He’s still worse than Nixon.
I put myself in a Nick Lowe mood yesterday. I’ll give him the last word. The song is not about Nelson Rockefeller BUT it describes the nature of the Trump-Cruz relationship in the wake of Ted Cruz Vengeance Night at the RNC: