Rex Huppke: Cruz’s self-promotion pays off in recognition

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A new Rasmussen Reports poll has found that Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is the most influential person in the world!

Well, OK, to be technical, the people polled were given a list of 16 names and two generic options, either “Some other person” or “Not sure.” And the top five on the list are:

Pope Francis (23 percent)

Barack Obama (21 percent)

Some other person (12 percent)

Ted Cruz (11 percent)

Not sure (9 percent)

But as far as any reasonable American patriot is concerned, Cruz is No. 1.

The pope and President Obama are avowed socialists or Marxists or something, and “Some other person” and “Not sure” both sound like communists to me. So they’re all disqualified, making Cruz, the verbose tea party darling No. 1 in the global influence department.

It’s a great honor for a man who has devoted himself to the one thing I and many other Americans hold dear: self-promotion.

Yes, in 2013, Cruz performed a remarkable service by letting everyone in America learn more about a delightful new Republican hero named Ted Cruz. He appeared in front of any TV camera that wasn’t being loaded into the back of a news van and spent hours on conservative talk-radio stations, all while introducing eight whole bills in the U.S. Senate.

Along with working the burgeoning Cruz brand, the proud former-Canadian Texan-American sneering enthusiast gave a memorable 21-hour filibuster-ish speech on the floor of the Senate in September.

The speech — during which Ted Cruz talked a lot about Ted Cruz — was an attempt to defund Obamacare by delaying a Senate vote on an emergency spending bill.

About all Cruz’s speech did was generate some fun Twitter hashtags like StandWithCruz, but the point was never to accomplish anything. It was to Cruz-ify the news cycle and influence conservative members of the House of Representatives to block the Senate’s spending bill and shut the government down.

The House complied, the government shut down for a couple of weeks, Obamacare still got funded and the GOP soon had historically low favorability ratings. And Cruz, the influencer, had become a household name.

Now he ends the year as the No. 1 — or No. 4, if you’re a communist — most influential person in the world, according to Rasmussen’s national survey of 1,000 adults conducted earlier this month.

He beat out people like NSA leaker Edward Snowden (8 percent) without having to steal a single document.

Cruz came in well above Miley Cyrus (2 percent) with nary a twerk and thoroughly bested Kanye West (0 percent) without impregnating a Kardashian.

That’s the kind of accomplishment-without-accomplishing-anything that people like me hope to one day achieve-without-achieving-anything.

Like many Americans in the age of social media, I’m attempting to make myself the center of the universe while exerting as little effort as humanly possible. I tweet, therefore I am, now leave me alone, I’m watching TV.

Cruz’s meteoric rise gives hope to the unmotivated narcissist in all of us. It shows that by being impervious to criticism from the public or their peers and having no fear of losing, anyone can be viewed as an important public figure.

To that end, I took to my Twitter account and sent the following: “America is great, Obamacare is evil, Benghazi was a coverup, please re-tweet this a billion times and make me famous ... StandWithHuppke.”

Then I took a nap.

If Cruz’s influence ranking is to be believed, I should find myself at or near the top of next year’s list.

And if any of those do-something socialist-communist-Marxist types like the pope or the president or “Some other person” try to out-influence me, I’ll just disqualify them again.

Because nobody who gets famous for doing nothing should ever get beat out by somebody who actually did something.

That, in today’s world, would be simply un-American.

REX HUPPKE is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune. This column is distributed by Tribune Content Agency.


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