Double standard. Identity politics. Awful journalism. That just about covers Bloomberg’s Mark Halperin’s interview with Ted Cruz.
Ruben Navarrette called it “painful,” “uncomfortable,” and “nauseating.”
The online interview show that Halperin co-hosts on BloombergPolitics.com is called “With All Due Respect.” But there was nothing respectful about the line of questioning. It started off innocently enough with Halperin asking the 2016 GOP presidential candidate about whether he thinks Hispanics will vote for him. He also mentioned a speech that Cruz had given to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and gave Cruz the chance to explain his argument that Republican economic policies help Hispanics.
Nothing wrong with that. But then Halperin made it personal, and the interview careened into a ditch. He told Cruz that people are curious about his “identity.” Then, the host asked a series of questions intended to establish his guest’s Hispanic bona fides. What kind of Cuban food did Cruz like to eat growing up? And what sort of Cuban music does Cruz listen to even now?
I’ve known Ted for more than a decade and I could tell he was uncomfortable. But he played along, listing various kinds of Cuban food and saying that his musical taste veers more toward country.
I kept waiting for Halperin to ask Cruz to play the conga drums like Desi Arnaz while dancing salsa and sipping cafe con leche — all to prove the Republican is really Cuban.
Just when I thought I’d seen the worst, it got even more offensive. Earlier that day, independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, of Vermont, had entered the presidential race. So, Halperin said: “I want to give you the opportunity to directly welcome your colleague Sen. Sanders to the race, and I’d like you to do it, if you would, en español.”
What nerve, treating a U.S. senator like a trained seal! Who does this guy think he is, trying to evaluate how well a Hispanic speaks Spanish? And what does that have to do with being authentic anyway?
You know who, by their own admission, don’t speak espanol well? Housing Secretary Julian Castro and his twin brother, Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, both friends of mine. You could bet Halperin would never put those questions to the Castros because, as Democrats, they’re assumed to be closer to the masses than Cruz is.
Asking Cruz to say something in Spanish is akin to asking a black person to eat watermelon or start dancing.
Fausta Wertz, a proud American conservative of Puerto Rican descent, takes Halperin to the woodshed:
I was born and raised in Puerto Rico, and, if I had $5 for every liberal idiot who looks at me and says “You don’t look Puerto Rican”, etc., because I don’t fit the Liberal template of what a Lateeeno/Lateeena should be like, this blog wouldn’t need to carry ads.
Frankly, by now I expect to consistently encounter discrimination and bigotry from Liberals. It’s in their mindset – identity politics is their lifeblood.
Halperin was likely expecting Desi Arnaz as Ricky Ricardo singing Texas Pete.
Or perhaps Halperin was disappointed Ted didn’t invite him over for cortadito and pastelitos de guayaba. Halperin capped it all off by asking Cruz to “say something in Spanish.”
Cruz is much too polite, but I’m not. Here’s something in Spanish, Halperin,
Bésame el culo.
Rough translation of the above: Kiss my butt.
Haperin’s intent was to expose Cruz as an inauthentic Hispanic. Instead, he exposed himself to be a raging bigot. But he will get a pass from the same groups of activists who would mercilessly hammer anyone on the right who showed such insensitivity and ignorance.
Mark Halperin’s next interview will be with American Indian Graham Greene in which he will ask the actor to perform a war dance.