Is Ted Cruz really "Lucifer in the flesh," as House Speaker John Boehner declared earlier this week, or is he merely — as 38 percent voters in Florida are willing to believe — a serial killer? Based on the way his 8-year-old daughter, Caroline, recoils from his touch, we could easily be convinced of either possibility.
At a rally in South Bend, Indiana, Thursday, young Caroline was happy to dance with her sister Catherine, but scampered away in horror when her father attempted to scoop her up in a hug. Such behavior has become a recurring theme on the trail: At a February campaign stop in Iowa, Caroline flicked her dad away when he tried to come in for a kiss, screeching, "Ow, ow, ow!"
It's hard to blame Caroline. If your father subjected you to this woman's singing voice, or divulged embarrassing secrets to the world, like the fact that your first sentence was "I like butter," you'd probably despise him too. The fact that he's Ted Cruz — a person who almost no one in the world likes — is secondary.
As Cruz's former college roommate, Craig Mazin, once put it, "One thing Ted Cruz is really good at: uniting people who otherwise disagree about everything else in a total hatred of Ted Cruz."
To wit, a treasury of people who really, really hate Ted Cruz:
George W. Bush: "I just don't like the guy."
Bob Dole: "I don't know how he's going to deal with Congress. Nobody likes him."
John Boehner: "I have Democrat friends and Republican friends. I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life."
Lindsey Graham: "If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody would convict you."
Peter King: "I hate Ted Cruz, and I think I'll take cyanide if he ever got the nomination."
Donald Trump: "He's a nasty guy. Nobody likes him. Nobody in Congress likes him. Nobody likes him anywhere once they get to know him."
Marco Rubio: "Ted has had a tough week because what's happening now is people are learning more about him."
Rand Paul: "He is pretty much done for and stifled, and it's really because of personal relationships, or lack of personal relationships, and it is a problem."
Chris Christie: "For him to somehow be implying that certain values are more appropriate, more American, depending upon what region of the country you're from, is to me just asinine."
Carly Fiorina (aka, Cruz's hypothetical running mate, as of this week): "Ted Cruz is just like any other politician. ... He says whatever he needs to say to get elected, and then he's going to do as he pleases."
Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer: "Everybody who knows him in the Senate hates him. And I think hate is not an exaggeration."
Conservative columnist Ann Coulter: "Cruz is a sleazy, Rovian liar."
Former Republican staffer John Feehery: "Cruz is an army of one, alienating anybody who is in his path. He advocates losing strategies purely to further his own career at the expense of the party."
Princeton classmate Mikaela Beardsley: "There are not that many people in my life who I can think of who I didn't actually have extensive interactions with who bring up such bad feelings."
Another Princeton dormmate: "He was just sort of an odious figure lurking around."
Princeton roommate Craig Mazin: "Ted Cruz is a nightmare of a human being. I have plenty of problems with his politics, but truthfully his personality is so awful that 99 percent of why I hate him is just his personality. If he agreed with me on every issue, I would hate him only one percent less."
A spokesperson for the Satanic Temple: "It grows tedious when pedophile priests and loathsome politicians are conveniently dismissed as Satanic, even as they spew Biblical verse and prostrate themselves before the cross, recruiting the Christian faithful. Satanists will have nothing to do with them."