Later, Feinstein would tell CNN that she felt Cruz was being “somewhat arrogant,” which seemed like an understatement. Even in an age of political polarization, there apparently is still an unwritten rule against calling someone “a stupendously irritating twit” on national TV....I want to make 5 points, briefly.
Do you think, people, that this [incessant self-reference] is a key to the stupendous impact the Tea Party continues to have on Congress, even now that it’s proved itself to be a loser when it comes to elections? If you combine a lack of a sense of humor with an absence of humility and then stir in a cup of self-righteousness, you are definitely not working on a recipe for cooperative achievement.
1. Somebody get Gail Collins a thesaurus. For "stupendous," try "astonishing." It's got that huffy, aghast tone you seem to be looking for. I know, "stupendous" is tempting because it gives the feeling that you're calling your target stupid, but when you find something "stupendous," you're actually confessing to stupor on your own part, and literally, if you are in a stupor, you are stupid.
2. This woman-defending-woman column ends with a recipe metaphor. Is that good gender politics? It resonates with what I think is Collins's effort to make us see this interplay between 2 U.S. Senators in terms of a man patronizing a woman.
3. Cruz's questions were about the security of our constitutional rights: Why did humor belong in that recipe?
4. Where was this "self-righteousness"? Collins's evidence is that Cruz used the phrases “My... point is," "in my opinion," “I would point out," and "In my view." This phobia about first-person-singular pronouns is silly. It's used against Obama all the time. What does Collins think of all those right-wing bloggers who will inform you about how many times Obama says "I" in a given speech? I'll bet she thinks it's... stupid. I certainly do.
5. Cruz also referred to his role as counsel in Heller (the Supreme Court's biggest 2d Amendment case) — another thing Collins considered self-referential and self-righteous. But Collins began her column building up Dianne Feinstein's stature because of her encounter with the fatally wounded Harvey Milk and George Moscone many years ago. Does personal experience lend weight to political opinion or not? Feinstein said: "I walked in, I saw people shot. I’ve looked at bodies that have been shot with these weapons. I’ve seen the bullets that implode." That's at least as self-referential and self-righteous as Cruz's statement that he was not "unfamiliar" with Heller given that he worked on the case.
ADDED: "A recipe for cooperative achievement." Who ordered the cooperative achievement? At the gun control restaurant, Cruz folds the menu and sips his ice water.