From Rocky to Cruz

Theodore White attended the Republican convention of 1964 and sat among the Goldwater forces. When Nelson Rockefeller gave his speech condemnig “extremists” of various stripes, White was there. This was of course shortly after Rockefeller’s divorce from his first wife, back in the antediluvian era when divorce was frowned on.

White observed one of the Republican women booing Rockefeller during his speech. She shook her fist at Rockefeller as he spoke and shouted: “You lousy lover.” (I found this account in Garry Wills’s Nixon Agonistes; “lover” appears in italics in Wills’s account.)

If that woman were around the convention floor last night she might have been shouting at Ted Cruz: “You lousy knifer.”

Anyone can understand how Cruz might find himself unable to support Donald Trump, either on grounds of high principle or personal offense. Indeed, Trump is no conservative and Trump’s attacks on Cruz’s wife and father seriously discredit Trump. This morning Cruz cited Trump’s personal offense to hs family; last night it was all high principle. It seems to me that Cruz’s silence would have been preferable in just about every respect to his performance last night.

UPDATE: I should add that John Dickerson does an excellent job retelling the story of the 1964 GOP convention in “Never Goldwater.”

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