Cruz Supporters, Don’t Be Like Lanny

Unless you have been hiding under a rock for the last couple of days, you are aware that the National Enquirer published a story alleging that Republican Presidential candidate Ted Cruz has at least five mistresses. #CruzSexScandal and some other more clever hashtags have been trending like mad on Twitter since then, despite efforts by Twitter to suppress it.  (It falling off the trending list, it not autofilling, etc.)

Watching the reaction of Cruz supporters brought someone to mind. Do Cruz supporters not remember Lanny Davis? For those not old enough to remember poor Lanny, he was the primary Clinton spokesman during the time of the Monica Lewinski scandal. Lanny appeared repeatedly on news programs denying and denouncing the allegation against President Clinton. “The allegations are outrageous. Blah, blah… There is no blue stained dress. Blah, blah… It’s all a vast right-wing conspiracy to smear the President. Blah, blah…” The only problem was that there was a blue stained dress. May I suggest that caution is in order? You don’t want to be like Lanny.

Sex scandals are nothing new, and in the grand scheme of things are rather commonplace. An allegation of a mistress or mistresses is not, on the surface, an outrageous charge. This isn’t the Weekly World News alleging that Cruz father a lovechild with Bigfoot. Guys with options frequently stray, and guys with power often have options. We know this. There is no reason to automatically disbelieve the allegation simply based on its surface plausibility.

If you look at the history of these sort of stories, there are reasons to believe the allegations, at least in part if not in the whole, are credible. It follows an identifiable pattern. People who followed the Twitter storm that broke out after the National Enquirer story appeared will know that Marco Rubio supporters were pushing this story prior to Super Tuesday because they thought it would hurt Cruz and help Rubio, but no media outlet would bite. Even Breitbart allegedly had the story, but chose to sit on it. (We could speculate why, but that is beyond the scope of this article.)  After Rubio dropped out, they stopped pushing the story because they didn’t want to help Donald Trump. Rubio supporters even had a code hashtag for it on Twitter. They called it #TheThing. A major reason the story is superficially credible is because it is one of those open secrets that “everyone” knew,  but the mainstream press didn’t want to run with. After the John Edwards’ adultery story broke, not incidentally by the National Enquirer and the same author as the Cruz story, it came out that his infidelity and the existence of a love child was also an open secret that “everyone” knew. Where there is smoke, there is often fire.

The mistake that many Cruz supporters seem to be making is that they are confusing what they want to be untrue, with reality. Things don’t always work out the way we want them to. An allegation is not false because you want it to be false. It’s not false because you support the guy the allegation is against. It’s not false because you don’t like his opponent. It’s not false because the first media outlet to report it was the National Enquirer. And it most certainly is not false because some of the people involved in the allegation have denied it (sort of) and reacted angrily.

Recent history suggests that alleged political sex scandals often turn out to be true. I could list many, but it would be redundant. Basic caution should dictate that Cruz supporters should at least give the allegations some time to work themselves out before they go to the mat for their guy. To default disbelieve an allegation and stake your credibility on it being untrue because you like the accused is foolish. You don’t personally know Ted Cruz (with a few exceptions). You don’t know what he’s really like behind closed doors. You only know the carefully crafted public persona. I have been really surprised by how quickly people who ought to know better have staked their credibility on these charges being false. Take a deep breath. Actually examine some of the evidence. Let the story work itself out. Don’t be a Lanny.

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