With shutdown, Ted Cruz is outfoxing himself
by Kevin Foley
October 04, 2013 12:28 AM | 1542 views | 7 7 comments | 43 43 recommendations | email to a friend | print
T ed Cruz is not a “whacko bird” as Sen. John McCain famously characterized him. Cruz is whacko like a fox. He knows exactly what he is doing.

Cruz is the tea party’s Barack Obama. When he was elected to the U.S. Senate, as the book “Game Change” notes, Obama found himself in what looked a lot like a retirement home full of wealthy old men and women prattling on endlessly about this and that. Obama was only 45 and realized he needed to strike out on his own if he didn’t want to end up as a Senate lifer.

You know the rest.

Enter the unctuously unappealing Raphael Edward Cruz, 42 years old and hot to make his mark. Unlike the personable Obama who played by the Democratic Party rules, the smarmy, self-serving Cruz has violated all of the Senate’s staid tenants of decorum, not to mention Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment, thou shalt not speak ill of any Republican.

At first, I thought Cruz was just another Texas lout on the make. Then I learned about his academic credentials, Princeton and Harvard Law, both with honors. In less than 20 years, he went from student to household name. That takes enormous luck or an awfully disciplined game plan. I’ll go with the latter, because Cruz is far too intelligent to rely on mere luck.

To attract attention, public relations practitioners advise clients to disrupt the status quo, to do things differently than everyone else, to stake ownership to new or emerging issues or ideas. Cruz has enthusiastically embraced all of these in the three years since he was elected to the Senate.

However, there is one more thing we tell clients: Never anger, alienate or belittle stakeholders or the public and its diverse constituencies. A good example of how this works can be found at The Coca-Cola Co., where every effort is made to engage all audiences and to assiduously avoid offending anyone. They sell a lot of Coke, as you probably know.

You may or may not buy Cruz’s political philosophy, but the way he’s gone about selling it has angered and alienated almost everyone inside and outside the Republican Party. His only real supporters, other than tea party nihilists, are incendiary conservative media types.

A recent GQ profile revealed that Cruz is insufferably proud of his intellect and very fond of telling anyone who will listen how incredibly smart he is, all he has accomplished, and the powerful and influential people he knows. Like any good lawyer, Cruz seldom lets down his guard, according the GQ.

This is a public relations tactic, too. A popular brand like Apple or Walmart creates a façade and steadfastly, almost religiously adheres to the brand’s public identity. You never see what goes on behind the scenes.

There are very few examples of successful American politicians who have taken Cruz’s approach to brand-building. Joseph McCarthy was one. Barry Goldwater, Newt Gingrich and Anthony Weiner are a few others. None achieved their ambitions because they relied too much on negatives while seldom expressing positive human attributes like humility, understanding, compassion and humor.

Cruz and the tea party is nothing if not negative. They’re all about killing Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, workers’ rights, the minimum wage, quality public education, environmental standards, the social safety net and now Obamacare.

If you want to know what the country would look like if the tea party was in power, what’s been going on this week in Washington is a good indicator. Cruz and his House minions have nearly achieved their objective: no government at all.

Cruz may, in the end, outfox only himself if he really believes he’s the leader who will convince the electorate the tea party’s vision is America’s future.

Kevin Foley is a public relations executive, author and writer in Kennesaw.

Comments
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Luek
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October 07, 2013
Wouldn't it be super if Obama resigned over this mess? But of course that would leave that nutjob Biden in charge. Win one lose one?
CobbCoGuy
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October 05, 2013
Our progressive friends are running scared. The discourse this past week has been particularly vindictive. See, for example, the exchange between CNN reporter Dana Bash and Harry Reid (Google it; the videos are out there). And, our friend Kevin Foley has provided a second hit piece about Ted Cruz.

Once was not enough, Mr. Foley? You had to write about Cruz twice?

Interesting.

What are they scared of, you ask?

That the American public is learning the truth about Obamacare and how it was sold as a bill of goods to the uninformed. It's taken a long time and it's coming out slowly, but folks are wising up.

What's the evidence, you ask?

James Hoffa's letter to Reid and Pelosi that stated, among other things, "The unintended consequences of the ACA are severe." The bane of public policy - unintended consequences, and, of course, passing a bill first without reading it. Thank you, Nancy Pelosi.

Note that Hoffa is now backtracking and attempting to soften the message of his letter.

Also, the late night comedy shows are taking hits on Obamacare. Saturday Night Live mocked Obamacare. Jimmy Kimmel went out on the street to ask what folks preferred - the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare. Most preferred the ACA.

\snicker\

For the uninformed MDJ readers, they are the same thing.

Obamacare is the law of the land. The Supreme Court upheld some of it and last November's election ratified it, so to speak. No argument.

Sidebar: Of course, the passage of Obamacare - legislative tricks, backroom deals, pass it so we can find out what's in it, party line vote - is another topic.

But back to my point - If the progressives were absolutely confident in their position, if the progressives were absolutely confident that it is good policy, if the progressives were absolutely confident that the American public will like it, why such vitriol now?

Anyone?

Oh, one more thing before I go. Have you heard? The IRS paid a visit to Dr. Ben Carson.
Luek
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October 10, 2013
Yeah, Obamacare is now the law of the land as you so majestically pontificated. But the fly in the buttermilk is who gets to pay for the mob that will get theirs for FREE since they can't make a living for themselves and have to depend on government handouts to survive but can make babies one after the other. In other words a huge freeloading class that votes to keep the Demorats in power. When on when is Atlas going to finally shrug?
Ole Man I
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October 04, 2013
I would suggest it would be a much better country if the Tea party folks were in charge. At least the socialist Progressives would be out of power.
good grief!
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October 04, 2013
Kevin Foley's columns have now been elevated to Editorial status! What a downer for this paper. He is more suited to some kind of tabloid sheet than a neighborhood newspaper. Not uplifting, not informative, not even engaging enough to be provocative, so what does he have to offer the reader?
East Cobb Senior
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October 04, 2013
Kevin, you have accurately described the real charlatan in your commentary, Barak Obama, the street organizer from Chicago, the murder capital of America. Unfortunately, and much to the detriment of our nation, we don't have to wonder what this country would look like if Obama and his liberal minions were in charge.

We are there, high unemployment, out of control crime and bankruptcy in our major cities, staggering government dependence, political and economic stagnation, moral decay and deteriorating global respect and influence. Never in our nation’s history have we experienced such a decline on all fronts. Your total inability to face facts and grasp reality puts you in the "Alice in Wonderland" category of Kool-Aid drinkers.

Your incompetent "Messiah" in the White House is an unmitigated disaster and we need to thank those in Washington willing to stand up and attempt to stop the social, economic and moral landslide this country is experiencing. Thank you Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and others for your willingness and courage to push back.

behind the scene
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October 04, 2013
We already learned what's going on behind the scenes when Mr Cruz wasted 21 hours of time making a speech allegedly against something for when he then immediately voted. Cleraly the only thing behind Mr Cruz's scenes is Mr Cruz. Why do the Repbublicans keep falling for this: "If he is shamelessly and relentlessly for himself, then surely he will be GREAT for the USA."
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