Raw Story notes that Ted Cruz gave a speech over the weekend, and suggests that the senator’s fiery rhetoric ended up scaring a little girl:
“Ted Cruz literally just scared a little girl in NH,” Smith wrote. “‘The world is on fire?!’ she asked, repeating his line on Obama-Clinton foreign policy.”
“The world is on fire,” Cruz replied, turning to face the girl and her mother. “Yes! Your world is on fire!”
Realizing that his rhetoric might have gone too far, the Texas Republican decided to do some damage control.
“But you know what?” he asked. “Your mommy is here and everyone is here to make sure that the world you grow up in is even better.”
In her version, New York Magazine’s Jessica Roy manages to hack up the telling even more:
Ted Cruz’s New Campaign Strategy: Scare Tiny Children
Mommy, why is that mean man yelling at me? a 3-year-old named Julie Trant must have thought to herself on Sunday afternoon, when her parents brought her to a Ted Cruz speech in Barrington, New Hampshire. Forced to sit scarily close to the spittle-spewing angry monster posing as a junior senator from Texas, Julie was understandably confused and scared when Cruz told the crowd, “The whole world is on fire.”
According to the girl’s own mother, this didn’t actually happen as it has been related. Still, lets suppose that it had. Then what? I have my own, fairly pronounced, set of objections to Ted Cruz’s rhetorical style, but the idea that he crossed some line here is dishonest in the extreme. Clearly, Cruz’s critics would like their readers to believe that the man wanted to upset this child — or, perhaps, that the girl’s reaction was in some way illustrative of a regrettable extremism on his part. (Two years ago, Obama suggested smugly that children can spot “bulls**ters.”)
It wasn’t. Adults were talking; a child failed to understand the conversation. Grow up.
In politics, this is exactly how we argue with one another. Always. Each election cycle, the Democratic party’s leading lights take to the airwaves and happily announce that their opponents want to push grandmothers off cliffs. Is that beyond the pale? (“Mommy, do they really want to kill grandma?!”) Whenever there is the slightest hint of a spending cut or a government shutdown, Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnists suggest that if the federal government shuts down for a few days, the country will soon resemble a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Is that going too far? (“Mommy, Maureen Dowd says the country is going to become like the movie Mad Max?!”) Day in, day out, activist groups paint hysterical dystopian pictures, in which women are stripped of the vote and forced to walk barefoot around Kitchen Camp for all eternity. That too much? (“Mommy, am I really going to lose all my rights if Cory Gardner wins?!”)
The gradual disintegration of high-quality American rhetoric has been depressing enough in its own right. Must we demand in addition that our top-flight politicians endeavor to tailor their remarks to the reading comprehension level of your average pre-schooler? This, right here, is why people hate the media.