Article courtesy of Washington Post, written by Jennifer Rubin.
To his credit, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) admits he is not a warm and fuzzy guy. In the town hall before Wisconsin’s primary, he acknowledged, “What I will say is I’m a pretty driven guy. That has pros and cons. I have always been a very driven guy.” In the October GOP debate, he offered, “If you want someone to grab a beer with, I may not be that guy. But if you want someone to drive you home, I will get the job done and I will get you home.”
Now it is true that the most likable candidate usually wins a high-stakes race. George W. Bush beat then-Sen. John Kerry handily on the “want to have a beer with” question. Ronald Reagan was the quintessential likable candidate; as an actor he knew how to engage the audience. But in not every election does the nation or a party pick the most congenial candidate.
Richard Nixon was not likable, but in 1968 he was offering what the country felt it needed. William Schneider wrote in 2000, “Nixon was no more likable in 1968 [than in 1960]. But he won that year because the country was in crisis. So what if he wasn’t such a nice guy? Voters wanted someone who knew what he was doing.”
So perhaps Cruz, as President Obama put it in 2008, needs only be “likable enough.” Frankly, if he wins the nomination, his expected opponent, Hillary Clinton, is herself one of the least likable politicians to run for president. Moreover, while Clinton has become no more likable as the campaign goes on, Cruz, however, has been improving over time. That, in part, is because he is consciously trying to be a unifier in the GOP. He no longer picks fights with popular Republicans and has even given up casting GOP Senate leaders as part of the “Washington cartel.” In addition, like many politicians, his wife and family help soften his image and show him in a different light.