In Cruz's case, the freshman Texas senator has slandered Chuck Hagel by questioning whether the decorated war veteran and nominee for Secretary of Defense was on the payroll (maybe $200,000!) of America's worst enemies, say, Iran and North Korea. He couldn't prove it, but that's part of Cruz's mystical M.O. It would have made more sense if he had accused Hagel of spilling spaghetti sauce on his new necktie or not lowering the toilet seat.
Cruz also tossed in his world-view that Iran praised the Hagel nomination - which it didn't.
The rising star - `Whoops, now I'm saying it - is drawing a lot of attention for being a reincarnation of Red-baiter Joe McCarthy for his questioning of his targets' patriotism. Writing on the New Yorker's blog, Jane Mayer recalled that Cruz, a Harvard law school man as was Obama, once declared in a speech that Obama would have made a "perfect president of Harvard Law School" because there were a dozen Marxists on the faculty.
Well, the GOP has had a series of rising stars that immediately come to mind. Sarah Palin. Tim Pawlenty. Bobby Jindal. And the party ended up with the likes of John McCain and Mitt Romney at the top of the tickets.
So I'll stick with the big Thermador kitchen appliance ad in Smithsonian magazine that says: "Some stars burn brighter than others". It's also true that, conversely, some stars are not very bright at all.