OWL’S HEAD, Maine — A White House spokesman, speaking anonymously, vigorously denied a rumor that was making the rounds in the nation's capital last week: "It is totally untrue that, when Senator [Ted] Cruz was attending Princeton or Harvard Law School, he was recruited as an undercover agent for the Democratic Party."
The denial came after an article appeared on a little-known blog detailing how Cruz, the Tea Party Republican now famous for his crusade against Obamacare, had been "flipped" in his university days.
A counter-insurgency expert was quoted in the article analyzing the evidence: "It's clear that Cruz is not stupid. Alan Dershowitz, a well-known liberal and one of Cruz's Harvard professors, has attested to his brilliance; and it's a fact he graduated magna cum laude from Harvard.
“And yet, here he instigates a drama that turns the public focus away from Obama's foreign policy fiasco in Syria; that pushes to the back pages the disastrous internet introduction to Obamacare; that makes the hesitant, wavering Obama look not just strong and confident, but incredibly astute politically; and that reduces the Republican Party's popular standing to its lowest level in modern history even while causing serious rifts within the party."
"It's hard to believe," the article concluded, "that such an obvious outcome of the Cruz-led Tea Party defeat wasn't the result of a cleverly thought-out and particularly well-executed plan by the Democrats, using one of their deep underground agents."
Beltway-insider outlet Politico issued a lengthy blow-by-blow describing this month's Republican-engineered US government shutdown and debt ceiling debacle. They quoted a Republican senator, watching the drama unfold: "The president gets up every day and reads the newspapers and thanks God that Ted Cruz is in the Senate."
It's impossible to say, at this point, if the theory is true — and if it is, who would get credit for recruiting Cruz, then grooming him so effectively, and finally releasing him to set the stage for an Obama comeback amid a Republican self-immolation.
A retired undercover CIA employee noted that it could have been money that won over Cruz: "It's unusual, certainly, as that article claims, that Cruz was recruited while still at Princeton or Harvard, but it's not unheard of. Perhaps his student loans were out of sight, and the Democratic agent, sensing his potential — Cruz was after all the national debating champion in his undergraduate days — took a chance. And he's been on the Democratic payroll, a mole lurking in the bowels of the Republican Party, ever since."
A retired FBI agent came up with a more salacious scenario: "Blackmail is the usual vehicle for such spectacular successes. It's possible he was enticed into a sexual encounter and the whole thing was recorded on a hidden video. Likely it was male-on-male sex which of course would be particularly problematic for an up-and-coming Texan Republican Latino."
A Democratic Senate colleague of Cruz would have none of it: "We wish we could claim credit for Cruz's behavior because it's clear he's done more to undermine the Republican Party than anyone since Joe McCarthy, but the truth is he was merely acting on behalf of his Tea Party supporters who, after all that he has done, still give him their unqualified support. That kind of self-destructive brainwashing is beyond the power of even the most manipulative Democrats."
One blogger recalled seeing evidence in one of the top-secret cables released by WikiLeaks from the early days of Obama's presidency that seemed to indirectly reference Cruz's recruitment, but no confirmation of such an email could be found.
Mac Deford is retired after a career as a Foreign Service officer, an international banker, and a museum director. He lives in Owl's Head, Maine and still travels frequently to the Middle East.