Seated next to Dana Perino—a humorless bombshell who also avoids the bias of passion—Gutfeld delights in pushing her buttons. Honestly, it’s like watching the Joker try to make Batman laugh. Brilliant one moment, playful the next, Gutfeld is a mischievous child operating a level higher than all those around him.
But for two days (March 23rd and 24th), Gutfeld did something I’ve never seen him do: He lost it. Swept up in his feelings over a GOP candidate, Gutfeld became petty and obsessed, like a preacher stuck on the same topic for months.
“So what difference does this make to us?” you might ask. I’ll address that at the end, but for now, please bear with me as I walk through Greg Gutfeld’s surprising meltdown—which I’ve abbreviated as much as possible. It all started after Ted Cruz announced his candidacy for president, when co-host Eric Bolling mentioned he was the first to put Cruz on Fox News. Gutfeld chimed in:
GUTFELD: “So we blame you.”
No biggie—Gutfeld’s supposed to add snark. But later, co-host Kimberly Guilfoyle asked his opinion:
GUTFELD: “The only person who didn’t know Ted Cruz was running was Ted Cruz. We’ve known about this—he has been running for years. The problem I have is, is he running for himself or running for the country? Republicans have had their fill of attention-seeking vessels who are looking for a talk show or looking for something else. The problem with the Republican candidates is that we want vision and they want television.”
Ummmm…what? Cruz is seeking his own show? According to what evidence? Moments later, after Guilfoyle praised Cruz for clearly laying out his goals and objectives, Gutfeld resumed:
GUTFELD: “Yes, and they are unrealistic. Let’s talk about having a leader with vision who can actually accomplish things around the edges, and push an agenda forward with vision. Just saying you’re gonna do ‘this, this, and this’ is not enough. You gotta actually have a plan.”
Ummmm…no plan? Cruz was giving a speech, not a policy briefing. But Gutfeld wasn’t finished. After Juan Williams presented his liberal take (fairly and dispassionately, I might add), he turned to Gutfeld and asked about concerns over Cruz’s motives being more self-seeking than visionary:
GUTFELD: “I feel this has always been about Ted Cruz.”
Guilfoyle expressed shock. As did I.
The next day, after “The Five” had apparently received criticism behind the scenes and on social media, Greg pressed even harder. He began by actually insulting Cruz’s hour-long interview the night before with Sean Hannity (a colleague of Gutfeld’s):
GUTFELD: “Did you see Ted Cruz’s campaign commercial last night? It pre-empted Hannity.”
Gutfeld then embarked on a hyper-defensive rant, whining about people getting angry if he doesn’t back their “horse” in the race. Lacking his trademark wit, he lectured Conservatives for seeking only the most Conservative candidate, not the most “winnable” (a fair criticism). His next comments, however, would later prove to be, well, less than sincere:
GUTFELD: “What guarantees a loss is not holding your candidate to the fire. You gotta battle-test that guy; you gotta be hard on him. You gotta be hard on him from the outset, you gotta tell him—people don’t want to tell Ted Cruz what his flaws are. They should!”
On their own, these words are fine. But the fixation Gutfeld soon displayed removed any credibility from his claim of wanting to help Cruz. For starters, Gutfeld actually pounced on Dana Perino for saying Cruz had a good first day:
GUTFELD: “But it wasn’t his first day, Dana! Let’s be honest. He’s been running!”
How does that matter, Greg? Little by little, Gutfeld’s train was starting to derail.
When the topic shifted to Chris Christie, Gutfeld started discussing the importance of someone advising Christie to lose weight. But then, angrily—and needlessly—he brought it back to Cruz:
GUTFELD: “This is the point. It hurts feelings! And the only way you’re gonna win is if somebody hurts your feelings and tells you, ‘Look, you gotta learn to be a better speaker.’ Ted Cruz needs to learn to be a better speaker, in my opinion.”
Huh? Where did that come from? Another Cruz reference? And he’s not a good speaker? Since when?
Hastily, Bolling changed the topic back to Christie; but after the break, Gutfeld wouldn’t be denied. Though the topic had switched to Hillary Clinton’s pathetic jokes about her email scandal, Gutfeld used EVEN THIS to work his way back to Cruz:
GUTFELD: “It’s not a litmus test, but a ‘Just Win’ test: A candidate that not only appeals to the partisan, but the general population. Someone who doesn’t just ignite, but unites—which is why, at this point it’s not enough to be right, people, you need to be persuasively right. Demanding that someone agrees with you is the surest way to make sure that that never happens. A charm offensive without the charm…is just offensive.”
Guilfoyle then noted the obvious—that Gutfeld was still talking about Ted Cruz (and in an unrelated segment on the second day, no less!)—so Gutfeld, at long last, confessed his personal bias:
GUTFELD: “His problem is reverse Obama. Obama sounds good but has an empty message. Cruz has a message, but his voice grates on me. It’s a personal thing.”
A Message to Greg Gutfeld
I wish I could tell Gutfeld what I think of his tantrum:
So Greg, Ted Cruz is seeking the presidency because he wants a talk show? Then may I assume you work on talk shows as a cunning path to the White House? Of course! It all makes sense now!
Yes Greg, I’m pretty sure Ted expects to be vetted! In fact, we’re all going to vet Ted Cruz, right guys? That’s right; let’s all help Greg vet Ted! Won’t that be nice? Friendship clap for Greg, everyone!
Greg, over the last two days, you revealed more than just an exposed nerve. You revealed a medical condition; a rare form of “Ted Cruz Tourette’s,” in which the afflicted blurts angry Ted Cruz comments amid unrelated topics. Don’t worry, Greg. You’re never alone. John McCain has it, too.
Greg, by the close of your second Ted-bashing show, here’s how I envisioned you:
“Gotta vet Cruz, right? Am I right? (sweat pours down Greg’s face) I’m not fixating! I’m vetting! Vetting, I tell you! It’s for the greater good! Follow me my children—follow me to freedom! (then, through squinted eyes) So who’s Ted really helping…the country, or himself?! What’s his game? Sure, he acts all…all…Constitutiony! But what’s he really up to, hmmmm??? I gotta leave right now…gotta go write in my journal...got some things to sort out…”
Greg, you had me at “Hello,” but you lost me at “this has always been about Ted Cruz.” Seek help, sir.
A Message to the Conservative Movement
Folks, this is why we Conservatives can’t have nice things—like oh, say, the White House. We eat our own. We fixate. For the past few years, I’ve watched people claiming to be “objective” and “strategic” become seething volcanos of rage—showering lava and ash over any Republicans straying from their views. Though we admit the Democrats pose a clear and present danger to America’s future (and present), we’re too busy cat-fighting to defeat the dogs.
What do I think of Ted Cruz? I think he’s a patriot. I think he’d be a PHENOMINAL president. While I question whether he’d win a general election, that’s not because of him, but because of us—we Conservatives have simply failed to curb America’s leftward slide since Reagan. We haven’t learned how to reach people. We haven’t prepared the American field for harvest, and demanding a purist candidate do it for us is terribly unfair. Could Cruz win? Possibly; he’s that good. But there are probably a couple stronger options for swaying all these voters we’ve neglected.
As for Greg Gutfeld, I still admire him. He’s without question the most gifted personality in all of cable news—not just on Fox. Gutfeld’s a wonder; a sensation. And usually, he’s also the one exposing our blind spots, not wallowing in them. Watching Gutfeld fall prey to rage—the rage around which he normally dances in impish delight—serves as a wakeup call to my limited mind.
For if Greg Gutfeld could run so far off the rails, what’s stopping the rest of us?