by Bob Cesca
In a desperate bid to further toss the GOP presidential nominating process into complete disarray, Ted Cruz announced his running mate on Wednesday after being completely shut out during the April 26 primaries.
Spoilers. It's Carly Fiorina.
The slippery Texas senator hasn't yet earned half of the delegates needed to secure the nomination, and he trails Donald Trump by 400 delegates, yet he's announcing his running mate, Fiorina, as if he's the presumptive nominee, months in advance of the Republican National Convention in July. Put another way: the Republican Party clown car has logged millions of miles in the past year, but it's not showing any signs of slowing down as Ms. Fiorina is shoehorned back into the car via the passenger-side window.
Like so many Cruz decisions, this one is completely fucked up.
By way of a recap of Cruz's escapades, you might recall how Cruz chose Green Eggs & Ham as appropriate reading material for his anti-Obamacare filibuster, borrowing the "I do not like them..." refrain as a reference to not liking Obamacare. Of course, he completely failed to realize that, in the end, the main character learns to love green eggs and ham.
Cruz also announced last year that he planned to sign up for an Obamacare insurance policy, even though, yeah, he filibustered Obamacare and has famously led the Senate effort to repeal the law. (Months later, he changed his mind and signed up directly through Blue Cross Blue Shield, but still. Odd choice.)
And now, the Fiorina thing.
The big question is this: why?
First of all, why now -- traditionally months before nominees announce their running mates? Secondly, he's not even the nominee and likely won't be. Thirdly, the press -- even the right-wing press -- can't possibly be happy about such a development since it drags the party more deeply into an inescapable quagmire that'll likely end with a Hillary Clinton electoral-vote landslide in November, along with a left-leaning Supreme Court for the foreseeable future.
Ultimately, if Cruz can announce his running mate while registering as a distant second place in the GOP primaries, then, hell, I might as well announce my running mate, too.
Everyone gets a running mate! You get a running mate! And you get a running mate!
Thirdly, and most importantly, why Carly Fiorina?
Presumably, Cruz made this decision as a means of rocket-boosting his increasingly sickly campaign. If this was his goal, he should've chosen a Republican who would've been more pulse-pounding than Fiorina. She barely made a blip while she was a candidate herself and carries only moderate heft within the establishment.
What about Cruz supporter Glenn Beck? Or Duck Dynasty fake-hick Phil Robertson? What about Rand Paul -- or, hell, Ron Paul? Can you imagine the nuclear detonation that would've taken place on social media as disaffected libertarians dusted off their RE-LOVE-LUTION memes and bumper stickers -- relentlessly money-bombing Cruz's website?
If Cruz's decision ultimately came down to choosing a woman, why not go with Michelle Bachmann (we clearly haven't paid enough tithing to the comedy gods)? Or maybe Ann Coulter? Or here's an unconventional yet familiar choice: Laura Bush. Or -- oh good lord -- what about porn star Jenna Jameson, who's a Cruz supporter? It'd certainly help to erase the image of Cruz as a doughy, asexual enemy of dildos.
Instead, Cruz picked... Carly Fiorina.
Set aside the early announcement and the fact that Cruz isn't the nominee, and likely won't be. Perhaps Cruz skipped class on the day when they taught us that running mates are supposed to help a ticket -- not hurt. Fiorina is a name, but she doesn't bring anything to the table. She's never won an election -- ever. She badly lost her bid for the GOP nomination without taking home a single delegate. And she was fired from HP in disgrace after running the company into the ground.
Worse, her favorables are atrocious. According to HuffPost Pollster, Fiorina's favorables are the lowest they've been since October -- hovering around 25 percent. In fact, Fiorina's favorables are lower that Cruz's favorables, which are a tad higher yet still shitty -- around 31 percent.
In other words, Cruz's first executive decision at the presidential level was the choose a drag on his campaign -- an unpopular, controversial running mate who will do nothing but hold him back.
Now, there's one possibility for why Cruz made this otherwise baffling decision. It's possible that Cruz chose Fiorina because he's making an all-out play for California's delegates, and since Fiorina is from California, then perhaps she's the ticket. But, again, it's not like Fiorina was ever elected to anything there. Indeed, she lost her race for U.S. Senate in 2010, and even the former presidential candidates she supported, McCain and Romney, lost their races as well.
It's also possible that Cruz chose Fiorina in order to bait Trump into ridiculing her surgically altered face, making the actual presumptive nominee appear less presidential. But as justifications go, it's a long shot.
At the end of the day, choosing Fiorina and announcing now underscores Ted Cruz's horrendous lack of judgment. Not only is it clear that, like McCain with Palin in 2008, Cruz made a kneejerk choice, but it's a move that Cruz himself likely thought was a brilliant one, chiefly because he's a smarmy megalomaniac. The rest of us, meanwhile -- and even our Republican friends -- are completely stymied by the choice. His running mate selection is a big nothing, other than being a somewhat recognizable name and a face, and, strategically, she adds nothing to his campaign, while only augmenting the mayhem.
Along those lines, good job! There's one group of people who are absolutely thrilled with Cruz's decision, but for the wrong reasons. And that's Democrats like me. The more chaos, the better. Actually, I think he should repeatedly name -- then fire -- a series of running mate choices between now and July. Maybe Trump can name his running mate as well -- namely Meat Loaf.
The real fun has only just started, folks. And the Democratic primaries wrapped up just in time, allowing us to truly savor the big shit show.