Perhaps it’s because I was raised an ostensibly stoic Midwesterner, Or, conversely, maybe I have an overly sensitive soul. Whatever the reason, I often find myself incapable of watching someone embarrass themselves without feeling fundamentally mortified on their behalf. I’d much rather fast forward a movie or flip channels away from a TV show if I know there’s some weapons-grade humiliation coming up. Feh. Who needs it?
There is, however, one major exception I’m willing to make: watching Fox News host Tucker Carlson surf the waves of abject debasement emanating from Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz. That’s something I’ll watch over and over and over again. Which, incidentally, is exactly what I did this morning, after Cruz’s pathetic groveling during Thursday evening’s broadcast.
Following a Wednesday evening excoriation by Carlson for having — in a rare moment of accuracy — referred to the Jan. 6 insurrection as a “terrorist” attack, Cruz high-tailed it over to Fox News on Thursday to kiss the feet of most powerful person in conservative politics today not named Trump. It did not go well.
“The way I phrased things [Wednesday], it was sloppy, and it was frankly dumb,” Cruz whined, which prompted Carlson to immediately exclaim, “I don’t buy that. Woah woah woah woah, I don’t buy that!”
After Carlson talked about how Cruz takes words so super seriously that he couldn’t possibly believe the senator would use the word “terrorist” accidentally, Cruz explained that he really only meant that people who actively assaulted police officers during the insurrection should be called “terrorists.”
“We’ve now had a year of Democrats and the media twisting words and trying to say that all of us are terrorists,” Cruz continued. “In this context, I get why people were angry.”
Really, uh, standing by your convictions, eh Teddy?
Carlson, for his part, was having none of it.
“Hold on, what you just said doesn’t make sense,” he interjected. “If somebody assaults a cop, he should be charged and go to jail, I couldn’t agree more. We’ve said that for years. But that person is still not a terrorist!”
“How many people have been charged with terrorism on Jan. 6?” Carlson continued. “Like, why did you use that word? You’re playing into the other side’s characterization!”
“While thousands of people were standing up to defend this country on Jan. 6, at that exact moment I was standing on the Senate floor, objecting to the election results,” Cruz sniveled at one point, in a particularly ham-fisted attempt to remind viewers that not only was he very sorry for accurately calling the assault on the Capitol a terrorist act, but that he was basically still 100% onboard with the coup from the jump.
The two sparred back and forth a bit more before Cruz imploded completely, claiming that “I used that word in 2020 for the antifa and BLM terrorists who assaulted cops and firebombed police cars, but I agree it was a mistake to use the word yesterday.”
To get a sense of just how badly Cruz knows he fucked up, consider that he followed up his nearly eight-minute on-air grovel-fest with perhaps an even more pathetic series of mea culpa tweets, insisting that “the snippet from yesterday didn’t include my passionate and repeated defense of the patriots and peaceful protesters supporting President Trump.”
“I’m sorry that that 20-second clip led so many to misunderstand what I was saying,” Cruz concluded. Aw Ted, it’s okay. I’m sure you’ll get ‘em next time.