People Magazine is known for its sugary boosting of Democratic celebrities, from helping the Clintons show off Chelsea in 1992 to boosting the Obamas in both election years. In the latest edition, readers can see how People handles conservatives.
There it is, in the table of contents: “Meet Texas Senator Ted Cruz, the Canadian-born conservative Republican at the center of the government shutdown fight.” The headline on page 113 is “Shutdown 2013: Cruz Control.” People’s Sharon Cotliar quickly turns to Cruz’s “swift rise to notoriety” and Joe McCarthy comparisons:
In elected office only 10 months, Cruz may be unique not only for his swift rise to notoriety (has any other legislator prompted a comparison to Joseph McCarthy in fewer than the seven weeks it took Cruz?) But for his optimism in the face of a stand-off over funding the Affordable Care Act.
“Now I don’t think we should have a shutdown,” Cruz, 42, tells PEOPLE from his apartment near Capitol Hill. “But I think we have elevated the debate nationally.” To that end, he allows tht he can share the credit or the blame, depending on your perspective.
There are some typical personal notes on Cruz, his wife Heidi, and his two daughters. There’s some supportive testimony from friends. But unlike an Obama profile, there’s harsh criticism thrown in, as well:
This has won the Tea Party Republican few friends on either side of the aisle. Cruz’s plan, including a 21-hour filibuster during which he compared critics of his tactics to those who refused to fight Nazi Germany “didn’t have a chance to succeed, and he knew it,” says Rep. Pete King, a New York Republican. “He reminds me of the guy who tells other guys to fight while he holds their coats.”
In a show of bipartisan distaste, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Cruz “is like the schoolyard bully...He not only takes the ball home with him, but changes the rules.”
King seems to be slamming Cruz for not serving in the military. This line was used by ABC’s Ted Koppel against Dan Quayle in 1988: “He was very much in favor of the war in Vietnam, and yet, as Jeff has just put it, he leaves this image now of having said ‘Here, I’ll hold your coat, you go and fight in Vietnam, I’m going to join the National Guard rather than go over and fight.” By the way, King served in the Vietnam years in the National Guard, much like Quayle and George W. Bush.
Cotliar also brought the “Canadian-born” into her story, after profiling his father’s emigration from Cuba. “For several years, they lived in Calgary, Canada, where Ted was born.”
Cruz talked of family: “My father would say to me as a kid, ‘Having principled men and women in office is what protects us from tyranny.’ It became a passion for me to want to defend freedom.”