Obnoxious, but Fun

by Jay Nordlinger

The most obnoxious person in the world is the person who says, “I told you so.” I once had the honor of being Keith Olbermann’s Worst Person in the World. Today, I will be the Most Obnoxious Person in the World.

I was thinking about my old friend Ted Cruz. (Who hasn’t been these days?) And some readers have been sending me e-mails: I feel like a parent at a wedding or something, accepting congratulations.

I first wrote about Ted back in May 2009, when he was running for attorney general of Texas — a position that, in the end, did not come open. (I could get into why: It had to do with Kay Bailey Hutchison’s dithering.) My column was titled “A Great Reaganite Hope.” In it, I sketched out the Ted Cruz Story, and spoke of my experience of him. One of the things I wrote was,

He can talk, really talk. He can speak, really speak. He can debate, really debate. . . . It can be very, very valuable to have someone on your side who can talk.


I went on to say,

. . . he is a fighter: a principled political warrior, never backing down from a fight, unless it is preferable to win another way. Also, you will never run across someone less afraid of the Left. He does not blanch. He does not cower. He does not say, “Oh, please don’t hate me, I’m really not so bad, though I oppose abortion and favor school choice.” He eats the Left for breakfast.


And this is kind of interesting, in light of recent talk about Cruz and Obama, their similarities and differences:

Is he our Obama — a Republican Obama? Well, he is far less slippery than our new president. But there are similarities — especially where communications skills are concerned (although I confess to finding Obama a lot less Periclean than most people do). Plus, Ted has charisma, charm, soul. Many people think Obama possesses these in large measure. To each his own.

Obama certainly rose quickly in American politics, very quickly (alas). Can Ted Cruz do the same? I don’t know, but it would be good for the country.


Ted announced for the Senate on January 19, 2011. He was very much a longshot candidate. He had never really run for office before. (The attorney-general thing was aborted.) It so happened that he and I were in Palo Alto, Calif., that day. We talked late into the night. Earlier in the day, I had a Corner post about him — a personal endorsement. At the end of it, I said,

I will stop gushing and enthusing now. “Pardon my mush,” as a Gershwin lyric goes. I’ve been waiting for Ted to run for office for a long time. Conservatives all across America will come to embrace him, I think — embrace him as a champion. Why not start early? There will be plenty of bandwagoneers later. Check out TedCruz.org. Kick the tires. I’d rather slit my throat than steer you wrong. I’m sure I have not.

You’re welcome!

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