Our own Ed from SFV met Ted Cruz today. He asked Ted Cruz the second most important question I can think of. (The most important question, of course, would have been: “Do you read the Patterico blog?”) And he got a straight answer. Ed wrote up his experience for us, and what follows is his account. I thank him for writing it up and sharing it with us. — Patterico
I just had a profoundly American experience. I’d like to share some of it with you.
Ted Cruz was in town (South Bend, IN) and the public was more than welcome to come see him. The appearance was planned for the early news window (5 – 6 PM, ET). I decided to not miss this chance and to get there super early so that I might score a front row seat.
I was the first to arrive. Already there was a husband/wife team who were honchoing things with the folks who ran the venue and with local security and police. All I wanted to do was to bring a chair to the entrance to the hall so I could sit for the couple of hours until the event, and be assured of my line position.
They asked if I might be willing to help out a little and I said, “Sure!” So, I became a volunteer for Cruz. It turns out that this gentleman, with his own cash, fronted the campaign some resources and money to help establish a local Cruz campaign office, which had just opened. He’s a retired local policeman and his wife is a PhD in Psychology. They could not have been nicer or more appreciative.
A few minutes later, a very young man from DC, via South Carolina, arrived. He was an actual advance man for the national Cruz campaign. He was very nice and had a very few details he wanted to be sure we handled. The biggie was signage. While he loved that many folks would come out to support Ted with hand-made signs and such, he wanted to make certain that any messaging was well within certain approved parameters. To my knowledge, we had no need to alter or refuse any of the signs which were brought. Pretty basic stuff, eh?
Only a very few minutes before Ted and Carly arrived on site, more national staff appeared, and an obvious Secret Service presence made itself known. I had no interactions with any of these. Well, almost none.
The first thing to do was to figure out how to handle the lines of folks which were sure to develop prior to opening the doors of the hall. You see? It’s the everyday, mundane, that really matters. This wasn’t about high-level concepts or imagery, or highfalutin’ considerations. Or even donating money. It’s just a few folks deciding to help out a little bit, doing a little here, and a little there, to elect a president.
We decided where to place those who had printed off tickets which had been offered the night before. Anyone without such a ticket would be asked to sign in with a name and basic contact info. By NO means was it a requirement to sign in. All were welcome. Full stop. We arranged a couple of tables to facilitate this process. Rocket science, right?
A little while later came about a dozen young, fresh faces asking if they could help out. They were from Notre Dame, St. Mary’s, and Holy Cross College (Yes, the place Rudy first matriculated). The fellas came armed with those fun posters of Ted all tatted up with the cigarette hanging from his mouth, and some more conventional posters, as well. Did we have any tape they could use? Nope. So…we all went on a search for tape. Some was found and they went to town. The long entrance hallway and the environs just outside the hall entrance were soon festooned with Cruz posters.
We had a few of the young college ladies man the tables helping non-ticketed folks sign in, and to go out into the lines which were now growing and ask folks to sign a “Commitment to Ted” card, if they were so inclined. Their energy was very well received by everyone. Go figure, right?
The media started drifting in. We had no specific rules to offer them. There was a stage for them to set up, and an audio multi in which they could plug for direct audio from any speaker’s microphone. I took the chance to chat with the local guy I most respect. I mentioned how Nate Silver of 538 had written that despite the publicly-available poll numbers, he was giving Ted a 53% chance of victory here. [Now up to 58%! — P] He had never heard of this and appreciated the tip. All he knew was that Trump was looking pretty good to win. Well, now he knew otherwise. Because I was there and engaged him.
The doors opened and some care was taken to get various demographics of folks seated so that they might be seen by the cameras. The big concern was what to do with some open areas adjacent to the entranceway Ted and Carly would be using. We quickly confirmed with security that these spaces were meant to be occupied and we made darn sure they were full. Those folks were thrilled that they were assured to be within a very few feet of Ted and Carly. An easy and obvious win-win. But, nobody had really thought that one out in advance. Yet, again, pretty basic, common sense, made it happen.
Oh. Here was my contact with the Secret Service. Apparently, I went through an area which was supposed to have been secured. All I knew, as a brand-spanking new volunteer was that I was to find the local Cruz man so he could seat me. Ooops. An agent was NOT amused. He questioned me aggressively as to how I showed up in his space. I believe he was exasperated that I had so easily, albeit innocently, arrived there. He was going to take me by my elbow and escort me right back to the point I should not have entered. I called out to the local organizer, asking where I was supposed to be. He pointed to a spot. The agent relented, but was sure to escort me there, even if it was the “wrong way” to get there.
I ended up being placed in the very first row behind the stage. Since I had no thought that I was going to be seen on camera, I was dressed down. I looked like a giant blue popsicle. If you see footage from the speeches, you may see me upstage left, behind a big Secret Service dude (different guy).
A high ranking local State Senator came out to emcee. He quickly introduced another local pol who was a preacher. He gave a brief invocation and then led us all in the Pledge of Allegiance. My friends, this was as Norman Rockwell a moment as I have ever experienced. We were then treated to a video of Ted and of Carly. I found it to be inspiring and very well done.
Out came Carly. Her tone was one of gratitude and of awe for America. There was some verbiage attacking DJT and HRC, but her message was decidedly humanizing. She spoke of what it was like to be on the bus with Ted for weeks. She related how when the national championship basketball game was down to Villanova’s final possession, Ted threw down some cash on the table declaring that the Wildcats were going to make the winning basket. They did.
She increased the cadence and urgency in her speech to a rousing conclusion. She brought us to our feet and introduced Ted, Heidi. and their girls. Ted was first with his girls in hand and they stepped up to the stage. I was no more than 10 feet from them as they did. Heidi was right behind. The crowd is cheering wildly and some upbeat music was blaring. I focused on the girls. They were happy, and even started dancing with each other.
Then, Ted went to take the hand of the older one so as to hold it high with him as the crowd was cheering. She resisted, and then looked like she might start crying. A nanny swooped right in and picked her up and took her to the back area behind the curtains. In that moment, I fully felt the pressures and difficulties they must be facing every day. Why should they have to share their Daddy with all these strangers?! Forget laws and politics and governance and ideology. This was basic humanity playing out right in front of me. As much as I appreciate what Ted has been going through, and all the slings and arrows he has endured, it is the sacrifice of his family that I will forever recall.
Ted gave his basic stump speech, adding in a very humorous description of DJT wearing HRC’s blue pantsuit! To my ears, the strongest reaction he got was when he strongly declared his support for Israel. Here, in the middle of Christian Indiana, the most intense feeling was for Israel.
He ended his talk and immediately dove into the front of the audience rope line for pictures, autographs, handshakes, and so on. He gave each person a moment or two and verrrrrrry patiently waited as selfies were being set up. He had two agents, one on either side of him, and a lead campaign staffer right behind him who had a Sharpie pen at the ready when Ted needed it to sign something.
It seemed like forever until he could make his way around to the rear of the stage where I was. Then, oh no! He reversed his course and went right over to some college students who had brought a Holy Cross College sign. He delighted in talking with them. Again, he took a lot of time with them. Eventually, he started making his way around again. As he got closer to me, I was most interested in trying to pick up his vibe. Who was this guy, really? The thing that stood out, from a small distance, was how interested in US he was. An elderly lady was telling him some personal tale of woe, and he could not have been more solicitous. There’s only a few hundred folks who want to shake his hand, but Ted decided she was the important priority. I was later told by national staff that this is how he is at every stop.
So…here he is. I’m going to get a chance to talk to him! STOP. Huh? Oh. A young lady in a wheelchair had been brought up next to where I was standing. Just as Ted was about to grasp my hand, he saw her. (Imagine the sound of metaphorical screeching tires) Ted instantly whirls to the agents, instructing them to make it possible for him to come inside the line to be with her. They did not like this, but grabbed the line up and Ted hunched down under it. I helped him keep his balance. He got close to the profoundly mentally handicapped girl and thanked her for coming to see him. She visibly brightened but did not communicate verbally. Ted got closer and spoke some encouraging…No. Loving, words. Again there was no real response. Ted stayed there, just smiling at her. And he did not move.
Yes, the optics of his visit with the young lady were magnificent. But, I am telling you…that was the last consideration on this man’s mind.
A few seconds in a situation like that can seem like forever. It’s chaotic as heck. Ted had his family waiting for him so they could be together for the rest of the evening (this was the last campaign event for the day). Ted stayed with the wheelchair-bound young lady for at least a full minute altogether. It was a lifetime.
I helped him back up and over to “his” side of the rope and then I took his hand. With all the sincerity I could muster, I said, “Ted, I hope you will, win or lose the election, lead the fight for an Article V Convention.” I had his full attention. He looked me directly in the eye, keeping my hand, with body language indicating congruence with his words, replied that he would fight for “underlying amendments” to get us there. I repeated, “Article V?” He said again, his eyes still locked on mine, with a slight nod of his head, “I’ll fight for necessary underlying amendments.” He was careful to not say the words “Article V.” He did not accept my language by just saying “Yes/No.”
It was entirely clear to me that he had seriously contemplated what I was saying and he gave me a truthful answer. It was not exactly what I wanted to hear. Yet, there is no doubt in my mind that he recognizes the peril the Constitution is in and that it needs a lot of support/strengthening – the type that can happen under Article V.
Then Ted was on to the guy next to me. He stayed in that line until he had DOUBLED BACK across the entirety of the stage, giving everyone their moment or three. I was/am blown away.
Carly had also come back out and was very much the same with everyone. She was every bit as lovely and gracious as you can imagine. I chose to not try to take any of her time/energy. I did revel in the good feeling she was bringing. It could not have been more clear that she feels blessed and that she is still experiencing an afterglow at having been named Ted’s VP choice.
The biggest takeaway for me was Ted’s base HUMILITY. It’s of a sort that is unmistakable. It is genuine. It is from a very deep place within. He is extremely comfortable with who he is and he believes fully in this fight. My goodness, what a man.
With all that I am, I declare those who insist that he is creepy, or arrogant, or egotistical, or speak any number of other epithets as to his character, to be LIARS. Their yelps are not coming from a place of truth, nor of love. Most everything Ted says and does, and his very being, are from the very best place for both.
In the morning, I’ll show up at the nascent campaign office and see if some small thing I can do leads to something like the election of a president.
Ed from SFV