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Matt Gaetz Succeeds Ted Cruz as the Most Hated Man in Congress

Matt Gaetz Succeeds Ted Cruz as the Most Hated Man in Congress

<p>Matt Gaetz Succeeds Ted Cruz as the Most Hated Man in Congress</p>

If Matt Gaetz was called out on the House floor, jubilant Republicans would carry the instigator on their shoulders in celebration.

Florida U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz is the most hated man in Congress right now.

He's ousted the speaker against the wishes of the vast majority of his party in the House. They are steamed, to put it mildly. During the debate on the House floor, Gaetz looked like a hyper sadist. The detestation toward him was immensely powerful and palpable. And through his histrionics, he's also supplanted the formerly most hated man in Congress.

That would be Texas Senator Ted Cruz.

For all intents and purposes, he's still the most hated man in the Senate. His reign over both chambers ended today, after nearly a decade. The hate has stretched as far back as 2015, when Foreign Policy ran a story about him, obviously titled “The Most Hated Man in the Senate.” And a New York Magazine article, also in 2015, ran with the title, “Why Everyone (In Congress) Hates Ted Cruz.” There are others — far too many to list here.

Appearing on MSNBC’s Deadline White House last year, respected and mild-mannered former Republican consultant Matt Dowd said, "To know Ted Cruz is to dislike Ted Cruz...Every time I think he can't go lower he goes lower...Cruz represents the Republican Party as good as anybody...he's willing to say or do anything including lying and deceiving.”

I have a friend who has been a top lobbyist on Capitol Hill for over 20 years, I reached out to him and promised him anonymity if he would be frank with me about Ted Cruz and Matt Gaetz.

“He’s just a jerk if you really want me to be honest,” he said about Cruz. “No one likes him, even the other senators, and even ones from the Republican Party. They just can’t stand him.”

Why, I asked.

“Personally, I don’t think he can be trusted, and I think everyone else feels that way. And there’s a running joke that he’d tackle an old lady to get in front of a microphone. That’s part of the problem. He’ll say anything to make himself sound relevant, but then when he’s off camera, he says the opposite. You can trust him about as far as you can throw him.”

Finally, he said, “What I’m telling isn’t breaking news. By this point, Cruz knows nobody likes him, but I don’t think he really gives a shit.”

What about Gaetz?

"I won't go near him. Nothing is worth dealing with him. I'd rather resign than take a meeting with Gaetz. I don't know anyone who would say anything nice about him, and again, I'm not telling you something that's breaking news. And like Cruz, Gaetz knows everyone hates him, but doesn't care."

Cruz has a doppelganger, viscerally, across the Capitol in the House, and that is Gaetz, who had a hissy fit about the fact that former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, no Mother Teresa himself, worked with Democrats on a stop-gap funding measure to avert a government shutdown over the weekend.

According to Salon, “After Gaetz stated that he would look to expel McCarthy from his seat, one House Republican told White House correspondent and Fox anchor Jacqui Heinrich, ‘No one can stand him at this point. A smart guy without morals.’”

Mmm, "smart?" I don't know about that.

Appearing on Face the Nation on Sunday, McCarthy said of Gaetz’s attempt to oust him, "He's more interested in securing TV interviews than doing something.” Prior to this weekend, when a government shutdown looked all but certain, Republican Rep. Mike Lawler, from New York, told CNN that Gaetz was more concerned about his own agenda than avoiding the doomsday of a shutdown.

Those were famous last words by McCarthy and Lawler. Gaetz succeeded in his agenda, as the media surrounded him like moths to his flaming flippancy.

Both Gaetz and Cruz, besides having no morals, are also ethically challenged. The ethics investigations and outside government investigations are too long to list in a column I try to keep to about 1,000 words.

Where to begin with Gaetz? Let’s put it this way, you know that caricature of a spoiled, rich, wildly out-of-control frat boy who thinks rules and laws don’t apply to him? Well, that’s Gaetz, whose parents are wealthy, and who looks and acts the part of an entitled frat boy.

As for Ted Cruz, you know that person who has multiple Ivy League degrees, and who talks down to you like you know nothing, even though you know more than they do? Well, that’s Cruz, who went to Princeton for undergrad and Harvard Law. The know-more-than-you-do Cruz has a perpetual condescending sneer.

Two bloviating boorish boys.

Gaetz even had the gall to call out the fact that Cruz was hated in the Senate – a real case of the pot calling the kettle black. When Cruz went on the Senate floor and called the insurrection of January 6 a “terrorist attack,” Gaetz had this to say, "The establishment will never love you, Ted. You know, you can bend over and bend a knee for them, but they're just not going to love you."

Public service is a dedication to doing good for the greater good. In the cases of Gaetz and Cruz, public service is self-service, where their actions and words are all about their greater good. You could say, yes, but aren’t all politicians like that? To a degree they are, but Gaetz and Cruz go way beyond the self-centered, egotistical nature of politics.

In all his years in the Senate, Ted Cruz has never had a bill signed into law, and Matt Gaetz hasn’t even tried. These two are habitual co-sponsors of bills like not allowing federal funding to organizations that support abortion rights – issues that only have them groveling to the far-right.

In 2017, bizarrely, Cruz and Gaetz introduced a resolution defending Israel, and condemning the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for anti-Israel bias. Clearly, this is of no interest to MAGA. Then again, it was 2017, so with these two, there’s no doubt they’ve switched sides and are firmly anti-Jewish.

Back to my friend saying that he thinks Cruz and Gaetz don't care about people not liking them. Without regard to his popularity, Gaetz went ahead with his threat to kick McCarthy out of the speaker's chair. Putting McCarthy up for a straight up-and-down vote made Republicans look foolish and helpless – nothing wrong with that I suppose. Gaetz looked like the leader of the House for a moment, and wow, just think about what that says about the House Republican caucus.

It was hard to pick a favorite in the fight between Gaetz and McCarthy, two people that you loathe. I just wrote about the stupidity of Speaker McCarthy last week. He’s entirely to blame for having lost his job. He’s the one who changed the rules to allow just one person – in this case Gaetz – to bring up the vacate resolution. How stupid was McCarthy to think that Gaetz wouldn’t pounce?

Speaking of Speakers, in 2016, according to Politico, then Speaker of the House, Republican John Boehner, called Cruz, “lucifer in the flesh.” Here’s how Cruz seethed in response, “If you’re happy with John Boehner as speaker of the House and you want a president like John Boehner, Donald Trump’s your man.”

Well, we all know that Ted ended up slobbering all over Trump. And then, lo and behold, last month Cruz refused to endorse him. “I’m staying out of it (the Republican presidential primary),” he said. There’s waffling, and then there’s chicken and waffles – the latter describes Cruz to a tee.

In Kevin McCarthy, America got a speaker like Donald Trump, so much so that he gave the go-ahead for an impeachment inquiry against Biden -- at the behest of the twice impeached, four times indicted, two times guilty Trump. Not one to think things through — Trump and especially McCarthy, the inquiry is headed for disaster. During the first hearing, the Republicans own witnesses said there wasn’t any evidence to impeach Biden. McCarthy dimly thought the impeachment inquiry would pacify Gaetz and the freedom caucus, and they'd "forget" about impeaching him. Now, McCarthy has been impeached.

Because of the speaker's stupidity, here comes Gaetz. McCarthy didn't stand a chance, and surely his vaunted speakership, which he metaphorically beat up an old lady for, will go down in history as a sure fire loser. With Gaetz and Cruz it's all a vicious circle. No less an authority on losers, Lindsey Graham once said, “If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody would convict you.”

With Graham's logic, if Matt Gaetz was attacked on the House floor tonight, jubilant Republicans would carry the assailant out on their shoulders in celebration.

John Casey is senior editor of The Advocate.

Views expressed in The Advocate’s opinion articles are those of the writers and do not necessarily represent the views of The Advocate or our parent company, equalpride.

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