I’m one of those people who think Ted Cruz is not “likable.” In fact, he looks and often sounds like the kind of guy who is so single-minded about succeeding that he would happily climb over the bodies of his former allies to get to the top. Anyone who has gone to law school knows that personality type and shudders when they think of it.
So I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that the Cruz campaign in Iowa would do something like obtain voting data — which is available a matter of public record in Iowa — and then prepare individualized mailings headed “VOTING VIOLATION” and designed to look like official citations from state voting officials. The mailing lists the name of the recipient and the percentage of times they have voted and gives them a “grade,” and — even worse — names the recipient’s neighbors and gives their voting percentages and “grades,” too.
Iowa’s Secretary of State, Paul D. Pate, has strongly criticized the mailing, calling it misleading. “Accusing citizens of Iowa of a ‘voting violation’ based on Iowa caucus participation, or lack thereof, is false representation of an official act,” Mr. Pate said. “There is no such thing as an election violation related to frequency of voting. Any insinuation or statement to the contrary is wrong and I believe it is not in keeping in the spirit of the Iowa caucuses.” The Cruz campaign, for its part, pooh-poohs the issue and says that such a mailing is “common practice,” and Ted Cruz himself said he would “apologize to nobody for using every tool we can to encourage Iowa voters to come out and vote.” (Why does that reaction not surprise me?)
Some people — like the guy who tweeted his mailing, shown above, and declared he was now caucusing for Marco Rubio — have reacted negatively to the mailing, which they think is trying to shame them, in front of their neighbors, into participating in the Iowa caucuses on Monday. I’m not surprised. Such a mailing would piss me off, too, and I vote in every election and therefore presumably should get a good voting “grade.”
I think, for Ted Cruz, this kind of mailing strikes at the deeper issue of just what kind of jerk he seems to be. If Cruz is willing to try to publicly embarrass average people to try to get what he wants, where would he draw the line — if anywhere — if he were elected President? People like to believe they can live their private lives without being put under a microscope or having their actions held up for ridicule by politicians who are already far too intrusive in our everyday affairs. Now Ted Cruz thinks it is okay to try to shame people to their neighbors? If I were an Iowan, it would definitely be something I would think about come caucus time.