Appearing as a guest on Wednesday's The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, MSNBC political analyst Jonathan Alter -- also of the Daily Beast -- tried to link GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz to the anti-Obama birther movement to make the Texas Senator appear hypocritical in brushing off Donald Trump's questions about Cruz's qualifications to serve as President.
Alter, who has a history of demonizing Cruz as a "dark and dangerous figure," suggested that Cruz's famous "jump the shark" tweet signaled approval of Trump when birtherism was aimed at President Barack Obama but not when aimed at Cruz himself.
At about 10:23 p.m. ET, Alter posed:
And also, by saying that somehow this story has jumped the shark, that was from Happy Days, right, you know, you got Ron Howard driving the speed boat. ...so, but that show used to be good, so it's sort of like Cruz saying, "Yeah, that charge about being abroad, that was fine when we were making it against Barack Obama, but now, oh, that charge has jumped the shark, and it's not a good TV show anymore."
In reality, as worded, Senator Cruz's pithy tweet could have been interpreted as suggesting Trump's campaign in general has "jumped the shark," while implying nothing about birtherism aimed at Obama. Cruz's tweet:
My response to @realDonaldTrump calling into question my natural-born citizenship?
The MSNBC political analyst and Daily Beast columnist has a history of vilifying the Texas Republican as, several weeks ago, on the December 14, 2015, The Last Word, Alter called Senator Cruz a "dark and dangerous figure" -- likening him to Joseph McCarthy -- and predicted that a race between Cruz and Trump would be like "two scorpions in a bottle." Alter:
And on the other side, you've got somebody like a, you know, a Ted Cruz who, okay, he's not leading Hillary Clinton, but he's within striking distance. He's a dark and dangerous figure in our politics.
We haven't really focused on this because of all of the attention on Donald Trump. But, you know, if you look at Ted Cruz's relatively brief career in American politics, it resembles nothing so much as Joseph McCarthy's career. And what he says is often untrue like Trump. So if we ever have a Trump-Cruz race, it's going to be two scorpions in a bottle all the way to the summer conventions.