If, like many Americans, your job involves watching a lot of speeches by Ted Cruz, you have grown familiar with the Texas senator's applause lines. Since October 2014, he has honed a list of "conservative agenda" items that can be punctuated with hoots, hollers, and huzzahs at any gathering on the right. Last month, at CPAC, he rattled them off in a friendly Q&A with Sean Hannity.
"Repeal every blasted word of Obamacare."
"Abolish the IRS."
"Take all 125,000 IRS agents and put 'em on our southern border."
Each declaration sparked a roar of applause, acknowledged with a small smile from Cruz.
That was CPAC. Yesterday morning, Cruz entered the less friendly climate of the International Association of Firefighters, for its bipartisan presidential summit. Firefighters' unions are not as solidly Democratic as most labor unions. In 2010, for example, Scott Walker won his first term as Wisconsin's governor with the backing of the Milwaukee Professional Firefighters Association. (Walker was invited to the IAFF summit but skipped it.)
Still, the firefighters assembled to hear from possible presidents gave Cruz one of the coldest receptions he's ever given before a camera. The Now This News crew clipped together the highlights, which include some of the CPAC applause lines.
Nothing. Zip. After the speeches, the firefighters I talked to had a few good things to say about South Carolina Lindsey Graham, who discussed homeland security, and Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who stuck largely to a story about his upbringing. No one had anything good to say about Cruz. "I had to take a shower after listening to that," said Washington state IAFF leader Ricky Walsh.
Of course, Cruz has gotten worse receptions on purpose.