I really like the opening shot of this commercial from Super PAC Pursuing America’s Greatness, which backs Mike Huckabee.

The premise of the spot is that these ladies out at a coffee shop in Iowa decide to take a little break from Bible study to talk about the caucuses. Like, one of them has heard that gay marriage won’t be a top priority for Ted Cruz! He talks one way to donors in New York City and another way to Iowans! And that he doesn’t tithe! A millionaire that brags about his faith all the time doesn’t even tithe! 

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“Just what we need,” one says. “Another phony.” 

“I guess we’ve narrowed down our list,” says the other. “Can’t caucus for Cruz.” 

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Pursuing America’s Greatness is heavily funded by Ronald Cameron of Little Rock, Arkansas, CEO of the agribusiness Mountaire. Cameron has given millions but not enough to invest in professional actors. 

The spot does have some teeth because its target, Cruz, truly does have — as Rand Paul put it last night — an “authenticity problem.” Cruz has the manner of a lecherous carnival barker. His habit of pursing his lips emotively to signal sincerity and his inability to suppress the energetic self love that overcomes him when he hears himself talk — all of this gives normal humans the impression that Ted Cruz is a liar. And this is an especially big problem because Ted Cruz is a liar and the rhetorical style with which he lies turns out to be precisely the same way he talks when he campaigns so passionately about this or that today. This was what was so damaging for Cruz last night when Fox News played past clips of him lying and saying various stuff diametrically opposed to what he was saying during the debate: his delivery in the old clips featured all of the same schmaltzy performative sincerity as his oily delivery on the debate stage. It all sounded the same! So it kind of seemed like he was lying during the debate too, just like he was lying in those clips. I mean, it kind of seems like he’s lying all the time.

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Ted Cruz, in other words, really is a phony — perhaps the phoniest person in the United States of America. This is part of the reason why so many prominent Republicans, such as Huckabee, can’t stand him.