For some reason, probably due to the intrinsic peculiarity that was Hartlepool in the late-1990s, the corner shop near my Sixth Form College stocked the National Enquirer. It seemed an unnecessary item to be selling alongside the News of the World; we certainly weren’t lacking in tabloids that we needed to import even more tat from abroad, and yet there was something goofily appealing about the National Enquirer when set alongside its British counterparts. It read more like a parody of a tabloid; impossible to be taken seriously by any reader, just there for a giggle, and a publication that, unlike The Sun that could claim “It’s The Sun Wot Won It” in reference to British elections, appeared to have no influence in the corridors of power.
Its ridiculousness was encapsulated by a front cover so over-the-top in its tastelessness that I was compelled to buy a copy to read back in the Sixth Form Common Room. It depicted a skeleton dressed in an ornate ball gown with the unwieldily long – but all the better for it – headline: “Woman excavated from the Titanic looking just as beautiful as she did in 1912.”
That image resurfaced in my head today when the National Enquirer broke their story that Ted Cruz has had extramarital affairs with five women. I know that the Enquirer’s track record on philandering politicians is surprisingly strong (John Edwards, Jesse Jackson, Gary Hart, etc.), but when they’ve sold you Titanic skeleton as a hot news story, you can be forgiven for not thinking of them as the most reliable of news sources – particularly when you’re expected to believe that five women willingly embraced Cruz’s cold, gecko-like skin.
Not that we all wouldn’t be delighted with this election narrative gaining a juicy sex scandal about now; it has been the one component that we’ve been missing, and exposing Cruz’s evangelical piety as hypocrisy would be satisfying.
And, if it turns out to be a complete fabrication, we’re left with a conspiracy narrative over who instigated this story. Cruz has been quick to blame “ratfucker” Trump, but other rumors have linked it the Rubio campaign, and I’ve also seen reports saying Anonymous was threatening Cruz over these revelations.
If, however, the Enquirer is correct, and Ted’s libido, like a bevy of politicians before him, destroys his career, can we have Heidi Cruz take his place for the remainder of the campaign? The Jean Carnahan example shows that we’re willing to let the wife of a politician replace the husband on the ballot in the event of their death, can we not do the same in the event of the death of the husband’s political career?