Well, it looks like the Silver Fox from a bottom-ranking Indiana law school just outfoxed those snooty lads from Harvard and Yale!
First, let me say the riots in Washington on Wednesday were surreal, horrific and painful. As I watched the ugliness on TV that day, I kept wondering about how our leaders, particularly the Trump loyalists with presidential aspirations, would rise to the moment.
Permit me to give you my scorecard on who’s ahead among the top GOP contenders for the presidency. In a nutshell: Vice President Mike Pence (grad of the University of Indiana’s Robert H. McKinney School of Law, ranked 122 in U.S. News and World Reports) is creaming Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas (Harvard Law School) and Josh Hawley, R-Missouri (Yale Law School).
Pence managed to come out of four years of sycophancy smelling like a defender of democracy. He did it by jumping off a sinking ship in the nick of time. During the electoral college vote count, he affirmed Joe Biden’s presidential victory, defying Trump’s wishes. Such bravery! It should be a no-brainer to side with the Constitution when you’re the vice president of the United States, but when your boss is Trump, it’s downright heroic.
Then there are those two Golden Boys—Cruz and Hawley—who led the brigade to challenge the electoral college votes. Well, what can I say? Their careers are in the toilet.
Even before the riots, their declarations of fealty to Trump were nauseating, cynical and shameful. They knew they had no basis for challenging the votes, but did so to curry favor with Trump and his base. Did they seriously think that if they sucked up to Trump, he would share his kingdom? Or that one of them could be Trump 2.0?
Trump is hardly my cup of tea, but I suppose he bears the indigenous charms of a feral bully. Cruz? He’s devoid of any charm, even the bad sort. And Hawley? Isn’t he like the kid in class who always tries too hard? (Did you catch that image of him with his fist raised in solidarity with the Trump rioters on his way to the vote count? Lame. And sickening.)
But what tripped up Cruz and Hawley is their alarmingly bad sense of timing—a byproduct, perhaps, of arrogance. While lots of other Trumpsters saw the writing on the wall (Bill Barr, then Pence, among others) and bailed out at the 11th hour, they were still hitching their star to Trump.
What a pathetic spectacle to see them make their wan arguments against confirming the election results before the Senate. Cruz called for an official audit of the election, even if it dragged beyond the inauguration date, citing a poll that showed 39% of Americans believe the election “was rigged”—as if opinion polls legitimize congressional investigations.
And Hawley was equally unconvincing. He objected to the votes in Pennsylvania by stating, “This is the place where those objections are to be heard and dealt with, debated and finally resolved”—as if the court system, which has already dismissed over 60 election challenges brought by Trump, was just a side note. Also unfortunate was that Hawley sent out a fundraising appeal Wednesday morning, just before the rioters took over the Capitol.
Poor Cruz. Poor Hawley. For two brilliant specimen of the legal profession, they’re screwing up their careers royally.
Not to be a killjoy, but I think they should forget the presidency. George Will, writing in The Washington Post, lamented that their terms can’t be immediately terminated: “Until that hygienic outcome is accomplished, from this day forward, everything they say or do or advocate should be disregarded as patent attempts to distract attention from the lurid fact of what they have become. Each will wear a scarlet ‘S’ as a seditionist.”
And I don’t know if they can hold on to their Senate positions. Already, there are calls for them to resign, though I doubt they will.
What’s in their future? Well, they do have stellar resumes and Supreme Court clerkships (Cruz for Justice William Rehnquist and Hawley for Justice John Roberts), so perhaps a job at a firm that can’t get enough former high court clerks, like Jones Day.
Then, again, couldn’t Jones Day do better?