Less than 48 hours after its release by the Fire Ted Cruz PAC, an ad titled "Is Ted Cruz 'Tough As Texas'?" has gone viral, closing in on nearly a million views on YouTube alone.
Directed by Houston-based filmmaker Richard Linklater ("Slacker," "Dazed and Confused," "Boyhood," etc.), it's a breath of fresh air for a few reasons: First, it's unlike most of the political attack ads flooding the airwaves and social media these days, in that it's entirely understated (no menacing soundtrack or quick-cut montage of a politician looking shady here). It's perfectly cast. And, well, it's just really funny (particularly at the very end).
In the 30-second ad, an elderly Texas man—Sonny Carl Davis, from Linklater's 2011 film "Bernie"—sits in a coffee shop and says "Somebody left something on my door the other day. It said 'Ted Cruz: Tough as Texas.' He breaks into a laugh and adds, "I mean, come on. If somebody called my wife a dog and said my daddy was in on the Kennedy assassination, I wouldn't be kissing their ass." (He's referencing, of course, things that Donald Trump said in 2016 on the campaign trail.) Davis is obviously getting worked up and at this point his laughter morphs into anger. "You stick a finger in their chest and give 'em a few choice words," he continues. "Or you drag their ass out by the woodshed and kick their ass, Ted."
Finally, Davis leans back in his chair, clutches his coffee mug and says "Come on... Ted"—leaving a gap of a couple seconds between the words and saying the first name of the U.S. Senator from Texas with palpable contempt.
Ted Cruz is, of course, widely despised—famously even by members of his own party—and Linklater's ad neatly captures the essence of Cruz as a sad and fatally compromised political figure.
On YouTube and across social media, by the way, the ad is being shared with a hashtag suggested by the Fire Ted Cruz PAC: #ComeOnTed.