It was clear to me weeks ago, even before Marco Rubio threw in the towel, that the G.O.P. was getting ready to cuddle with Ted Cruz.
But I never expected a love quite like this to bloom.
It’s a singularly tortured love, one that grits its teeth, girds its loins and pines for a contested convention.
It’s hate worn down into resignation, disgust repurposed as calculation. Stopping a ludicrous billionaire means submitting to a loathsome senator. And so they submit, one chastened and aghast Republican leader after another, murmuring sweet nothings about Cruz that are really sour somethings about Donald Trump.
Will they still respect themselves in the morning?
I’m not sure we’ve ever witnessed a capitulation this grudging, a cynicism this grotesque, a reversal of regard this fraudulent and flat-out hilarious. While politics is an impure arena in which yesterday’s enemies routinely become tomorrow’s allies, the transmogrification of Cruz goes beyond that, proving that in the right circumstances, with the right motivation, you can see just about anyone in a newly flattering light.
Frank Bruni, “Lose With Cruz: A Love Story”, The New York Times (27 March 2016), SR3.