Ted Cruz is really not the person to be lecturing about inappropriate travel plans.

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 03: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) departs from the Senate Chamber following a vote ...
Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images
Time To Log Off

Ted Cruz tried to dunk on Democrats, dunked on his fellow Republican instead

Time to Log Off is a weekly series documenting the many ways our political figures show their whole asses online.

There’s something almost — almost! — commendable about the way Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz absorbs enough embarrassment to kill a lesser man, and is nevertheless able to move forward with whatever he’s doing like he didn’t feel a thing. It’s not “admirable” exactly, in so much as it’s a talent almost always used in the service of some awful, ghoulish conservative plan to screw over poor people, or marginalized people, or both at once. But it’s certainly notable, at the very least. There’s no juvenile stunt too embarrassing or shameless that Ted won’t grin his way through it and act like everything’s hunky dory.

See? Or better yet, take the way Cruz powered straight through a GOP Senate press conference this week, during which he attempted to dunk on Biden administration climate czar John Kerry for flying on a private jet to the COP 26 conference in Scotland. (Admittedly, the conference as a whole hasn’t been doing so great on the optics front.)

“John Kerry has a private jet that has flown dozens of times this past year all around the country,” Cruz opined. "I don't know about you, but I don't have a private jet. I don't believe anyone on this stage has their own private jet.”

Cue the peanut gallery, from which an unidentified voice happily offered that “[Ohio Sen. Rob] Portman does.” Cruz then makes this face — the face of a man who's been kicked in the metaphorical crotch so many times he no longer feels anything but a vague tickle where his dignity used to be:

Screenshot/CSPAN/The Recount

Please, watch the whole sequence. It’s art.

Here we have a classic self-own: Man tries to make a very stupid dunk on an adversary, only to learn in real time that his intended dunk is fundamentally incorrect. Putz.

Now, there are some wrinkles in this story. In a very carefully worded tweet, Portman has since claimed he flies Delta back and forth from Ohio twice a week in coach.

That may indeed be true. But notice Portman (estimated net worth of $14.5 million) does not actually deny owning a private jet — a fact made all the more interesting given the Ohio Republican’s very conspicuous backing of an amendment clarifying a rule that exempted private jet companies from paying a 7.5% “ticket” tax. (Contrary to some of the more hysterical coverage at the time, the companies do still have to pay other taxes.)

More broadly: Is Cruz (with Portman) trying to act like the GOP is somehow the humble, down-to-Earth party, despite the fact that their de facto leader not only has his own gold-plated jumbo jet, but also once drove an entire airline into bankruptcy? C’mon dude.

Regardless, the bigger self-own here is that if anyone should be keeping their yap shut about unnecessary travel, it’s Cancun Cruz — a man who infamously absconded to a Mexican resort while his constituents were literally dying in the middle of a Texas blizzard this past February. Is Cruz really the person who should be lecturing Kerry about what is and isn’t appropriate in terms of extraneous flights?

Of course, none of this fundamentally changes what we know about Ted, his appetite for debasement, or his inability to simply leave well enough alone. But for some reason I keep holding out hope that maybe, just maybe, this time will be the breaking point for him — the moment where he decides that, yup, he’s simply had enough, and it finally is time to log off.