This weekend, Ted Cruz unveiled “Cruz Christmas Classics,” a parody ad in which he reads conservative sendups of traditional Christmas poems to his family. Cruz’s campaign scheduled the ad to air during Saturday Night Live in Iowa, where the Texas senator and presidential hopeful has clinched the lead in recent polls.
Watch it here, and then read our review below it:
The narrator begins:
“Imagine the greatest Christmas stories, told by the senator who once read Green Eggs and Ham from the senate floor.”
The narrator is referring to Cruz’s 2013 attempt to stall a bill that would defund the Affordable Care Act by reading the Dr. Seuss classic, effectively putting the U.S. federal government on the brink of a shutdown with his Republican constituents. Two years later, the irony of his book choice is apparently still lost on Senator Cruz, as Green Eggs and Ham is a book that’s incontestably about the importance of trying things before dismissing them.
Cruz reads to his kids:
“Twas the night before the shutdown, and all through the house, not a bill was stirring, not even to fund a mouse.”
Not a modicum of remorse shows on Cruz’s face as he regales his daughters with the story of the time he and his Republican colleagues did the congressional equivalent of childishly unplugging a Nintendo when your friend is beating you in Mortal Kombat: shutting down the federal government on the cusp of a tantrum and in doing so taking $24 billion out of the U.S. economy. Cruz recalls the shutdown with the longing whimsy one would expect from a man musing over his senior prank in high school.
The narrator goes on to list a few books, such as Rudolph the Underemployed Reindeer. “All of the other reindeer couldn’t afford to hire Rudolph,” Cruz reads. This makes absolutely no sense. First of all, I imagine compensation for services rendered by the reindeer would fall squarely on Santa Claus, the boss. A Subway cashier is not responsible for paying a Subway sandwich artist. Second, he’s the only reindeer capable of navigating fog. Rudolph is indispensable and it would be stupid to hire eight reindeer who weren’t him.
Cruz then moves on to Frosty the Speaker of the House. “Look!” he says. “The Speaker is melting before Congress!” I’m guessing this a slight directed at former Speaker John Boehner. Maybe Paul Ryan. I’m not sure. I’m distracted by these boots.
We then move on to a book called Auditing St. Nick by Lois Lerner, the central figure in the IRS targeting controversy of 2013. “I will audit him here or there, I will audit him anywhere,” Cruz reads aloud. I don’t understand what the problem here is. Santa Claus owns property, employs thousands of elves, and nowhere in Christmas folklore does it suggest he pays, or has ever paid, taxes. It may be a good idea to investigate this.
The Grinch Who Lost Her Emails is next, which I assume is a shot at Hillary Clinton. Cruz’s daughter reads this time. “‘I know just what I’ll do,’ she said with a snicker, ‘I’ll use my own server and no one will be the wiser.'” This is maybe the worst attempt at rhyme I’ve ever seen. “‘I know just what I’ll do,’ she told her advisor, ‘I’ll use my own server and no one will be the wiser.'” There. The syllable count remains asymmetrical, but at least it rhymes now.
“Please read this, daddy,” Cruz’s daughter says as she hands him The Senator Who Saved Christmas.
Unfortunately, we do not hear an excerpt from this book. I assume it tells the story of a junior U.S. Senator who saves Christmas. Christmas, I’m assuming, is a metaphor for the United States in this book. The ladder he’s standing on is a ladder of strength, courage, and well-founded foreign policy. The tree is the highest ranking office in the country and the star Ted Cruz is placing atop it is also Ted Cruz. The ornaments are just ornaments.