Liz Smith: Gail Collins on Ted Cruz — Be Afraid. Be Very, Very Afraid!

“THERE ARE people on the right and the left who think that if you compromise you’re a coward, you’re a facilitator, you’re an appeaser. People are more interested in fighting with each other than they are in getting the no-brainers done and governing.”

This comes from GOP representative Steven LaTourette of Ohio who is leaving the House because he “just can’t take it anymore.” He is dropping out after nine terms and this is a big loss for America.

MEANWHILE, it appears that the relatively newGail Collins book “As Texas Goes” is more pertinent than ever when it comes to the Lone Star State’s offering a Tea Party favorite (Ted Cruz) who has a great chance of going to the Senate.

Mr. Cruz is a cut spending-shrink-government-repeal-Obamacare-abolish-the-IRS kind of guy.

Columnist Collins notes that he is worried that Democratic financier-philanthropist George Soros is a threat; a man who wants to abolish golf courses. (As usual, Gail is funnily serious!)

You thought Governor Rick Perry and his Lt. Gov.David Dewhurst were far right kind of guys?

Wait till you get a load of the conservative politics of Ted Cruz from Texas.

Cruz is a Cuban-American who went to Harvard Law and memorized the Constitution. He makes both the GOP’s Perry/Dewhurst combined look like pantywaists.

I DON’T believe the readers of this column are the driven-harried types of moviegoers who sit around waiting for boxoffice figures before they buy a movie ticket.

But I confess I was cheered by some statistics that turn up this week in The Hollywood Reporter. The action movie I liked recently was “Battleship” (filmed mostly in beautiful Pearl Harbor) and I was roundly made fun of by my peers because I liked it when the cognoscenti said it didn’t have a chance.

Now I see it ended up grossing $303 million worldwide and it did $65 million domestically. (This means there won’t be a sequel, but who cares? )

Everybody is thrilled that the tres gay “Magic Mike” was such a big hit and the Reporter pronounces as well that “The Amazing Spider-Man” is a success as well. Spider-Man has heart, just as I said it did, and it can go on forever.

When I compare “Spider-Man” to “The Dark Knight Rises” (Batman making no sense) and to “Prometheus” and “The Avengers” — well, I don’t think they can hold a candle to the story of the young man bitten by a spider and spinning his web ever after for good against evil. Wonderful acting by the one and only Andrew Garfield.

THE SINGER Rihanna is on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar for August, looking gorgeous, as usual.

She is only 24, but is right up there in the world of pop icon-hood, giving even the likes of Beyonce and Lady Gaga a run for their money. Gaga herself is only 25, but somehow seems much older. Maybe it’s the outfits.

Rihanna, most notorious for the violent breakup of her relationship with Chris Brown, doesn’t want to be seen as a role model for anybody. When somebody recently tweeted and said: “Rihanna probably is one of the world’s worst role models,” she responded: “There’s no such thing. You are either a role model or not.” (Lot’s of people think it is their business whether or not Rihanna reconciles with Chris Brown, despite the battering she received at his hands. Look, people don’t even want Rihanna to be civil to him. She has pretty much ignored what others think is best for her.)

Although she has a “bad girl” image, this is something of a pose: “Rebellious through my music, in my tattoos, in fashion. Conservative in my love life,” she insists to writer Laura Brown.

How’s that? Rihanna replies, “Well it is pretty much non-existent … when I was in love, I fell so hard. I was really, really in love. And in the blink of an eye, my whole life changed. Everything that I knew was different. I never thought I’d feel that pain again in my life. I’m afraid of feeling it again.”

Millions of men (and women!) would like to help Rihanna get past the pain, but she seems to be doing fine, all on her comparative lonesome. Except — she needs a backside. “I’m losing weight, but not where I want. I want to have a body. I miss my butt. I have an idea of one, but it’s not living up to its full potential right now.” (Although I wouldn’t know a Rihanna song if I heard one, I did see her perform recently on an awards show. Everything she had seemed to be living up to its full potential that night!)

Still, a pancake in the back hasn’t muted her swagger. When she leaves a restaurant with the Harper’s Bazaar writer, she is faced by a swarm of voracious paparazzi. Does she flee? Is she afraid? Is she angry? Not at all. She looks at the madding crowd and shouts, “Kneel, motherfuckers!”

And some of them do.

This column originally appeared on on 8/3/12

10 Responses so far.

  1. avatar Briana Baran says:

    Ted Cruz is a very frightening person, as are all of the Tea Party crowd. But they are not the only face of Texas. A recent poll of the area around Houston shows that the number of Democratic supporters is slowly, but steadily rising. In my suburb alone it is now up to 30%, which may not seem like much to those in Blue States…but is a vast improvement over the single-digit we had only a few months ago. Clearly, the rabidness of the GOP in Texas has begun to force intelligent people to question the price we are paying for allowing the neo-cons to take over.

    I actually had the opportunity to talk to the local head of the Tea Party here in our suburb. I wanted a first hand discussion with someone who was allegedly informed and knowledgeable about the groups aims and views, who could give support and reason for their tenets, and who was actually a rational human being. I wasn’t disappointed, or surprised. By this I mean that she could not give a single rational explanation for the purpose of the Tea Party, other than “to defend OUR (meaning Tea Partiers) money from the 80% of Americans who don’t pay income taxes”. I asked her for a source for her statistics. She said she didn’t have to have a source. I asked her who was supposed to give aid to those who were downsized, injured in accidents, lost their provider through death…and their children. She replied, “The community”. I said, “Well, the ‘community’ pays taxes to help those in desperate straits”. She said, “I mean ‘their’ OWN community”.

    “They? Who is ‘their’ own community? And who would pay for YOU if you became a paraplegic?”

    “I pay my taxes”

    “So do millions of people who have been laid off, disabled, or otherwise prevented from working. But they’re ‘they’…not you. Unless you become ‘them’…and can’t pay your taxes anymore. Then what community is supposed to take care of you when you don’t contribute anymore?”

    She was speechless. She could not back up any of her other statements. I especially love the one about how we’re paying for President Obama’s security, and his family’s, and how he doesn’t drive himself, and we pay his salary. Mmm, that would be true of ALL POTUS, which I was kind enough to point out to her. At that point, she was turning colors. Literally. She told me that I was mean, and un-American. I gently told her that I knew my history better than her, and that the original Tea Party was about taxation without representation, and that HER people were far too well represented in our government currently. Then I thanked her for having validated my original opinions regarding the Tea Baggers, and what the GOP has become. She said that she hoped I was happy.

    I looked her in the eye. “No”, I said, “I am disturbed, and sickened, and feel like vomiting then taking a two-hour shower after talking to you…that’s how filthy you made me feel”.

    No matter how you feel about Obama and his mistakes, please don’t give these people the Presidency.

    • avatar Lila says:

      Oh, Briana. Folks like that have the same mentality as conspiracy theorists. They make the wildest, most convoluted, asinine statements to back up their vague, fearful beliefs. No, not beliefs, exactly… more just a nebulous fear about the future and what’s going to happen to them, and that fear gets directed at the things that are “not-them,” whatever that happens to be. Black people, poor people, immigrants (legal or not), gays, Non-Christians, the very educated, the very wealthy, anyone who has independent thoughts.

      In short, anyone who is not a: middle-class, nondescript, white-bread, not too wealthy, not too poor, not too hoity-toity educated, but just educated enough, American. That was the core image of America for a long time, even if it wasn’t entirely true. Oh, we had our blacks, the southwest has always had Latinos, we had hordes of Chinese immigrants in the 19th century… but those people weren’t what we saw on “Leave It to Beaver” or on the cover of our AAA road atlases; no, the public images were always the smiling Dad and Mom and their two blonde or brown-haired children.

      As our demographics undeniably shift, and as our culture has become a lot more inclusive of women and minorities, and – my God – we have a black man in the White House, folks like this are afraid of losing… um… something. Status, power, their hold on the best parts of our economy and society… probably something they never had to begin with, but subconsciously imagined that they could be part of, because, well, they were white and middle class.

      That never was an automatic pass to anything, but now they can’t even pretend it is anymore. So they are unaccountably afraid and lashing out. Pitiful, really. But you are SO RIGHT: fearful, bigoted people are the most dangerous ones if they ever get their hands on power.

      • avatar Briana Baran says:

        What they want, and I managed to incur a vast amount of rage on this site during the 2008 election for saying so, is An-America-That-Never-Was. A lot of people in our country have a problem with revisionist history. I can name numerous groups who refuse to recognize some terrible truths in order to plead the cases of various Causes.

        But the worst one by far is the Tea Party. Who are mostly middle-to-low income, and are inadvertently destroying themselves and protecting the interests of the exceedingly wealthy with their mad insistence on revisionism, dogmatic rule, denial of civil and human rights, and repudiation of the systems that allow so many of the GOP’s constituents to exist.

    • avatar Baby Snooks says:

      I suspect the Texas Democratic Party is going to do everything they can to discourage Hispanics from voting in Novemer. To avoid a real landsilde for Cruz. That is all most Hispanics will see on the ballot. .

      Texas is no longer red. It is rabid. Reality is reality. 

  2. avatar Briana Baran says:

    BTW, I am well aware that the welfare state is a disaster, that a lot of people happily bilk the system, ride the purple wage, cheat, steal, lie, and do things that are unconscionable. I am no Pollyanna. You know what’s hysterical?

    A vast number of those people vote Republican. Cutting off their noses to spite their faces…or just plain ignorance?

  3. avatar macwoof woof says:

    nice to drop by and see some familiar names. my take on the tea party and americans in general is that Everyone is fed up one way or another but no one can agree on who is to blame and what is to be done. Hell, i am pissed off too: I was expecting Change to mean working towards a greener healthier america and or planet- to be weaned off our addiction to oil and am sorry it is taking so damn long. anyway I share all your sentiments and it is nice reading your posts once again. macwoof

  4. avatar Briana Baran says:

    Hey, macwoof woof, good to hear from you. We might be less dependent on petroleum, especially internal combustion related products, if people would just stop purchasing immense, ridiculous, V8 engine, 9 mpg hwy vehicles to cart around families of three. Three. And for work vehicles for hour and a half commutes….not because they actually haul anything. And dozens of gas powered toys. And two furnaces to heat stupidly huge McMansions. And improve electric cars to actually make them a viable alternative…because the current crop are environmentally and energy-efficiency completely unsound.

    Can you imagine the screams if the government issued an enormous tax on over-sized vehicles? Or on vast, stupidly inefficient houses requiring more than one furnace or AC unit? I would rub my hands in glee. Rusty’s car gets 38 mpg hwy, my new car should match that. We live in Houston and run the A/C as little as possible, and have all Energy Star and High Efficiency appliances…and just one TV. No toys. We recycle.

    Who is to blame? Americans. Some of try very hard to make and be the changes…and some, far too many, don’t give a damn about anything except themselves.

    • avatar Lila says:

      Briana, way to push my buttons. You see SO much of that where we live.

      My personal Lila Award for Most Annoying Commuter in the Pentagon Parking Lot went, for several years, to a giant fire-engine-red dually pickup truck… with NOT A MARK anywhere on it or even in the bed. That truck had never seen so much as a load of firewood. I don’t recall it having a trailer hitch, either. Not only that, but the spaces in those lots are kind of narrow so this jerk made everyone else’s lives more difficult, in addition to burning the equivalent of the entire energy allocation for a small country for his commute.

      And while some soccer moms still drive vans, too many insist on these enormous behemoths with the whiny excuse that “I neeeeed it for my kiiiiids.” As you say – for a family of THREE? Really? “It’s sooooo much saaaafer.” Well, not so much when you drive it with your phone in front of your face, but whatever.

      The McMansions – who knew? Our furnace went out a couple of winters ago. The repair company tech asked “How many units are in your house?” “Huh? What?” It took me a second to realize she was asking if we had more than one HVAC. Um, NO. Really? People have more than one? Yes, amazingly common these days.

      And yep, we live in one of the few remaining quasi-rural, “horsey” areas around here… and sure enough, there’s always someone looking for a place to run their dirt bikes or ATVs (our neighbors are mostly united on this: NOT around here!!). Odd, the owners of said toys generally live in tract neighborhoods. What were they thinking? Ugh.

      • avatar Briana Baran says:

        My neighbor, and very beloved friend, has four kids. During their years at home, she made due with a sensible, smaller minivan, into which she crammed herself, her husband, her own children, often her adult brother, for whom she is the official care-giver,beach gear, a dog and everything (sometimes even a couple of friends). Her husband, who is a long-time sales rep for Conoco, only bought a larger SUV (with a four-cylinder engine) so that he could accommodate 5 grown male clients and gear for rafting and fishing trips. He can now cram the entire fully grown family, plus a dog and grandparents and the brother into it as necessary. All of the children drive sensible, small cars. Fun fact: my neighbors are staunchly Republican, and some of the nicest, most sensible people you could meet, and T. is a dear, very loved friend.

        My cousins, who are all rabid Chicago Democrats, with one exception, drive enormous SUV’s, and live in enormous houses that require two units each for heating and A/C. The exception is liberal, but moderate, he, his wife and children all drive very green cars, and they have a very modest home. All of his children want to work in either medical (not as doctors, but in physical therapy and so forth), or social fields, and give back. His daughters are quiet, funny, beautiful, brilliant young women, and his wife has a wonderful dry wit.

        We were asked if we wanted to install a second A/C unit in our one-story. We instead opted for a far more efficient, high quality unit, and turned up our thermostat. And put in better roof ventilation with a ridge vent instead of turbines. And reduced flow shower heads so that we can take an extra shower without using a lot of water if we need it in the heat. Our power bills went down.

        And yes, it raises the hairs on the back of my neck to see a woman in her shiny, unblemished Navigator (full V8 package, oversize tires, no hitch), with her phone in her face, her child bouncing around the front seat, a “No-Bama” bumper sticker and an icthus on the back, running a stop sign while she chatters and attempts to drink her gigantic Starbucks slop. Both hands engaged, wrist on the wheel, brain shorted out..and a “Baby on Board” warning sign. Don’t get me started on dualies with custom paint jobs and nary a ding or scratch or hitch to mar their laquered surfaces, chromed wheels and polished tires.

        • avatar Lila says:

          Ha! Yeah – somehow we used to manage without SUVs in our lives. On one of the bases where we lived when I was a kid, one of our neighbors had eight kids. I don’t think there was any such thing as minivans yet. They had a station wagon and a sedan, which seemed like a lot in those days; everyone else we knew was a one-car family. The dad drove the sedan most of the time and when the whole family had to go someplace, it was two cars. With 8 kids, it was necessary, and I bet they still got better mileage than one of these dang tanks you see these days.

          Then again, houses were smaller too… and with 8 kids, they took up a whole duplex. My, how the other neighbors did talk about that family.