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Ted Cruz, the Desperate Magician
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Imagine if I toured Pennsylvania wearing a crown, going from every diner to gas station announcing myself as Miss Pennsylvania, even though I never participated in the pageant or won anything.
The point I inartfully am trying to make is that one does not put the cart before the horse, especially if one’s horse is three steps away from the glue factory.
Which brings me to Ted Cruz. The Republican presidential candidate, who is trailing Donald Trump in both delegates and the popular vote, is not only not throwing in the towel, he is wrapping it around his head like a turban and pretending to be a magician who will - poof! - extract a convention victory out of Carly Fiorina’s mouth.
On Wednesday afternoon, Cruz announced that Fiorina would be his vice presidential running mate in the general election, which he has apparently convinced himself he will compete against either Hillary Clinton or the person who hires a member of the Salvadoran drug gang mS-18 to kidnap the former secretary of state and keep her incommunicado until November. Because, essentially, that is the only way Hillary “Make Sure You Don’t Forget the Rodham” Clinton will be AWOL come autumn. She is inevitable.
Cruz, on the other hand, is far from inevitable. His numbers, while better than Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s, are nothing compared with Trump’s juggernaut. And while the political honchos are still weaving scenarios in which there could be a contested convention and Cruz could snatch the nomination from Trump, those of us who are not hitting our heads against the Looking Glass have sadly come to realize it will be a Trump-Clinton contest. This is sort of like the “Rumble in the Jungle” between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman, only with more testosterone.
When I watched the senator from Texas announce his VP choice, I was perplexed. Don’t get me wrong. I think Fiorina is magnificent. During the early debates, she wiped the floor with whoever else was on stage with her, and she held her own with Trump when he went on one of his misogynistic rants about her face.
And yet, that is an irrelevancy, which everyone except Trump seems to understand. The way a woman looks should have no bearing on the way she is perceived by voters, and I say this as a person frequently told she needs a drastic makeover (so you could only imagine what I’d get if I ran for public office.) Many people have also attacked Fiorina’s business record, continually pointing to the massive job losses suffered at Hewlett-Packard on her watch.
But most of those who have examined her history both at H-P and in the business world in general have a strong and positive opinion of her abilities. Furthermore, her intelligence is awesome, and she easily dwarfs 90 percent of the people still in the election (her new running mate being the possible exception) when it comes to brain power.
And yet, it is strange and premature to be talking about what a great vice president Fiorina would be - and I think she’d be a great one - when the person at the top of her purported ticket has little to no chance of becoming the presidential nominee in July.
This does not mean that I don’t want him to be the nominee. I’d take anyone over Trump, at this point, including the barista at my local Starbucks who finally figured out my name is spelled with a “Ch” and not a “K.” The kid clearly has a steep learning curve, but he’s learning. I can’t say the same for Trump.
With Cruz, I know I’ll be getting smart, and, with Fiorina, I know I’ll be getting tough. They would make a formidable team. But the premature announcement looks like a Hail Mary pass made by a kid in the Pop Warner league to his mother. It looks juvenile, amateur and desperate.
Or, it could just be that magical thinking I was talking about, where you steal a crown and start parading around as the winner, despite all the evidence to the contrary. And that just makes you look crazy.
Which doesn’t usually win elections. At least, not up till now.
Flowers is an attorney and a columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News, and can be reached at