The obverse of “with great power comes great responsibility” is that if you have no power, you have no responsibility.
Or at least that idea proved to be a popular way this week to defend the world’s most famous Cancun daytripper, Ted Cruz.
As Cruz jaunted off to Mexico with his family, perhaps to explore the Mayan ruins of Chichén Itzá, several right-leaning pundits suggested it was a fine time to take a holiday, seeing as how there was nothing the U.S. senator from Texas could possibly do to fix the ruins of his state, which has been reeling from a power crisis all week.
The fact that people think Ted Cruz, a United States Senator, can do anything about a state power grid, even his own, is rather demonstrative of the ignorance of so many people who cover politics. They’d rather performative drama than substance.
— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) February 18, 2021
Ben Shapiro: "It's not a real time crisis that Ted Cruz, the senator from Texas, can do anything about…Do they expect Ted to go there with, like, a blowtorch and start defrosting all of the pipelines?" pic.twitter.com/Y36OWJLsXz
— Jason Campbell (@JasonSCampbell) February 18, 2021
Yes, if only Cruz had any options for helping Texans beyond “do absolutely nothing” and “be an actual superhero.”
While the senator spent the entirety of Tuesday fumbling for a fire extinguisher to put out the scandal engulfing him, Cruz’s nemesis stepped up to offer a glimpse of what actual leadership looks like.
To call whatever energy exists between Cruz and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez a feud or a rivalry would be incredibly flattering to Cruz. Instead, it’s more like this: Cruz frequently hounds AOC on social media to burnish his culture war credentials, while AOC has been vocal about her desire for Cruz to resign, following his role in inciting an insurrection that put her in danger.
Considering this mutual animus, one might think AOC would relish in seeing Cruz embroiled in a scandal that highlights his hypocrisy, fecklessness, and ease with lying. Whether she privately did so or not, the New York representative sent off a single tweet about the scandal, once again urging Cruz to resign, and then she rolled up her sleeves and set to work . . . doing what Cruz was supposed to be doing himself.
Team AOC is launching relief efforts for Texas starting today.
Our first effort is a partnership w/ 5 Texas orgs getting on-the-ground relief to Texans ASAP.
If you’re able, please donate here – it’ll split your contribution to all 5.
????% goes to them.https://t.co/TTIiNimja7
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 18, 2021
By all appearances, she didn’t start raising money for disaster-stricken Texans as a means of undermining Cruz or scoring points with his constituents. One can only guess at her intentions, but it sure looks as though she merely understood the depths of devastation in Texas and decided . . . to do something about it?
Ocasio-Cortez’s actions demonstrated that when your job is ostensibly to make people’s lives better, you find a way to do just that in times of tragedy. One of AOC’s useful strengths in such a situation turned out to be fundraising, and so that’s what she did. If Cruz isn’t working tirelessly to coordinate emergency relief efforts with senior Senator John Cornyn and Texas Governor Greg Abbott, which there is scant evidence of him doing, perhaps he could do a little fundraising himself. (We’ve certainly seen him make cold calls before.)
By 9:17 p.m. on Thursday night, around the time news broke that Cruz may have left his family dog alone in a cold house, AOC had raised a million dollars for the relief effort in Texas. This amount of money is relatively scant compared to what Texans need to make it through this disaster, but it’s a start and it demonstrates initiative and a true grasp of the urgency of the situation.
Perhaps the best way to troll a fellow politician on Twitter is by not trolling them at all, but rather doing their job for them.