The XX Factor

So What If Ted Cruz’s Wife Doesn’t Agree With All His Politics?

Actually, the fewer people who agree with Ted Cruz, the better.

Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images

The conservative magazine the American Spectator threw a dinner Wednesday night, at which Tea Party rabble-rouser Sen. Ted Cruz reportedly spoke out against the 1 percent’s unreasonable portion of the country’s wealth. The New Republic’s Marc Tracy observes that Cruz’s sentiment would not have been out of place at an Occupy Wall Street rally, which is awkward because Ted Cruz’s wife, Heidi Nelson Cruz, is a managing director at Goldman Sachs. A New York Times profile of HeidiCruz published Thursday describes other potential ideological differences between Cruz and her husband. One of Cruz’s mentors says of the vegetarian former Republican policy aide turned banker, “Nothing in her background remotely approached Ted’s Scalia-like conservatism.”

Democrats, I think unfairly, are using Cruz’s credentials and views to make Ted Cruz’s stances about Obamacare seem hypocritical. Indeed Cruz gets his health coverage through his wife—but he would get serviceable health coverage through the Senate if his wife stayed at home. It’s not necessarily hypocritical to believe that this particular program is bad for the U.S., while also receiving health insurance through one’s job. At the same time, the default would have hurt Goldman Sachs—and arguably Heidi Cruz—dearly. As the Times points out, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein went to the White House during the shutdown to encourage Congress not to default.

You might think Ted Cruz’s principles are wackadoo (and I certainly do), but he does stick to them, and I’m increasingly uncomfortable with the way wives are picked over holding views that are different from their political husbands. (Though Todd Palin got some of this backlash, too, it’s mostly wives.) Laura Bush was pilloried for being pro-gay marriage and pro-choice. Ann Romney got flack for donating $150 to Planned Parenthood in 1994. Anita Perry straying from a “hardline script” about choice got a ridiculous amount of press (though her husband, Gov. Rick Perry, later said she misspoke). 

Wives aren’t actually physical and mental extensions of their husbands. They are, in fact, sentient beings with their own thoughts and opinions. The notion that spouses should agree 100 percent about all of their politics seems to have grown as the country has become more politically divisive, and I don’t think it’s necessarily a good thing. There are many, many reasons to disagree with Cruz on the basis of his own actions and words. Dragging his wife in to make a point is unseemly, and though it doesn’t make me like or agree with him any more, the fact that his wife seems strong and smart is probably the best thing about him.