Was the controversy surrounding Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-Texas) Cancun trip actually a refreshing return to normalcy — and a sign that the "age of political scandal" is back in full force?
The authors of Politico's Playbook argued as much after the senator faced heavy criticism for flying to Cancun with his family this week while Texans suffered widespread water and power outages. Images of Cruz traveling to Cancun dominated social media, prompting the senator to express regret over his decision. In the end, there was "something refreshingly normal" about the whole thing, as it was a "kind of throwback to an era when politicians could be embarrassed," Politico's Friday Playbook said.
"The Trump years were dominated by one figure defined by his inability to be shamed and supporters defined by their unwillingness to be outraged by his behavior," the Playbook authors explained. "A lot of observers wondered if the age of political scandal was dead — if partisans on both sides were so defined by hatred of their rival political tribe that they would let their own leaders get away with just about anything."
Then came Cruz's Cancun trip, which generated such widespread outrage that the senator, who returned to Texas, acknowledged Thursday "it was obviously a mistake" and said "in hindsight, I wouldn't have done it." So what did we learn? According to Politico, Cruz "proved that the capacity for embarrassment still exists in American politics."