Conservative media personality Glenn Beck officially endorsed Ted Cruz's presidential bid on Saturday while campaigning with the Texas senator in Iowa. "I am here to announce that I am officially endorsing Ted Cruz," Beck said as he introduced the GOP hopeful in Ankeny.
With so little time remaining before Republicans in Iowa and New Hampshire start the presidential nominating process in earnest, there isn't much the candidates can say that they haven't already said -- so they're turning to high-profile allies to lend a hand.
Last week, we saw Donald Trump celebrating an endorsement from Sarah Palin, and over the weekend, Ted Cruz welcomed support from a conservative media personality of his own.
Right on cue, Trump referred to Beck as a "sad sack" and "a serious loser."
But of particular interest was how Beck endorsed the Texas senator. "I have prayed for the next George Washington," Beck told supporters. "I believe I have found him."
The obvious problem with the praise is that Ted Cruz has nothing at all in common with the nation's first president, but the less obvious problem is that Beck keeps finding the next George Washington.
Salon's Simon Maloy explained this morning, "Who wouldn't want to be the next George Washington? But, unfortunately for Cruz, he's not the only person Beck has pegged as the potential second coming of America's first president. In fact, Cruz is something like the fourth or fifth 'next George Washington' that Beck has identified over the past few years."
Apparently Beck's test for George Washingtons produces an unhelpful number of false positives. In November 2011, for example, not long before the Iowa caucuses, Beck told his audience "[I]f there is one guy out there that is the next George Washington, the only guy that I can think of is Rick Santorum."
Nine months later, Mitt Romney was also George Washington, "a man of true character and honor and decency."
At one point in 2010, even Sarah Palin was apparently in the running for George Washington status. Beck told the former half-term governor, "I have to tell you that every time I bring up your name and somebody says, 'Who's out there?' I answer one of two ways. I'm waiting for George Washington to appear. Then it's usually followed by your name."
Whether Beck's George Washington detector will be more accurate in 2016 remains to be seen, but as Simon Maloy concluded, even if Cruz comes up short, "the next 'next George Washington' is only an election cycle away."