Ted Cruz is locked in a tight battle for his Senate seat with Beto O'Rourke ahead of the midterms in November, and he's been going after the underdog Democrat with attack ads for months. Negativity isn't exactly O'Rourke's thing—he's more of a skateboard-in-a-parking-lot, air-drum-to The-Who kind of guy—so Houston native Richard Linklater stepped in fight back for him, taking a break from auteur cinema to try his hand at making a negative political ad.
The director behind Dazed and Confused, Boyhood, and A Scanner Darkly partnered with the pro-Beto PAC Fire Ted Cruz for the ad, the Dallas Morning News reports. He tapped actor Sonny Carl Davis to reprise his iconic turn as a down-home, no-bullshit Texan in Bernie for the short clip, in which he goes after Cruz over his campaign slogan: "Tough as Texas."
“If somebody called my wife a dog and said my daddy was in on the Kennedy assassination, I wouldn’t be kissing their ass," Davis's character says. "You stick a finger in their chest and give ’em a few choice words. Or you drag their ass out by the woodshed and kick their ass, Ted."
That "somebody" he's alluding to is Donald Trump, who threatened to "spill the beans" on Cruz's wife (whatever that means) and bizarrely suggested that Rafael Cruz helped plot JFK's assassination back in 2016, when the two politicians were competing for the GOP's presidential nomination. After all that, Cruz turned around and glowingly endorsed Trump, and he's continued to staunchly support him ever since—not exactly "tough" behavior from a guy who once called Trump "utterly immoral," a "pathological liar," and a "serial philanderer."
The ad is basically just a revival of Davis's scene in Bernie, when—in the exact same outfit, clutching the same white mug—he spelled out what's what when it comes to the geography of Texas, from the "Dallas snobs" up north to where the "Tex meets the Mex" down south.
"Sonny's character really captures what most Texans understand about Cruz," Marc Stanley, who started Fire Ted Cruz, told the Dallas Morning News. "He's a spineless liar who puts his own ambition ahead of doing his job for the people of Texas."
The Democrats are hoping Stanley's right about that whole "most Texans" thing—O'Rourke's doing surprisingly well in the polls, but he's still down by about six points, according to Real Clear Politics. It'll be a tight race to watch come November, but in the meantime, we can just treat ourselves to Linklater's political ads, which he's slated to release a series of in the coming weeks. Here's to hoping we get to see Jack Black talk shit about Cruz in the next one.
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This article originally appeared on VICE US.