This Tattooed, Shirtless Ted Cruz Photo Is Ted Cruz As You Never, Ever Wanted To See Ted Cruz — PHOTO

For months, Texas Sen. and wannabe president Ted Cruz has been warning U.S. voters about the supposedly dire consequences of the nuclear deal the Obama administration has negotiated with Iran. So it would have been no surprise to Cruz supporters when an email message from the campaign arrived this week, calling for their support as Cruz continued to publicly blast Congress and the White House over the Iran deal. But what might have been a surprise was the prize the campaign offered donors this week: a poster of "Iran's Worst Nightmare," Ted Cruz.

Cruz has certainly been pulling out all the stops in recent months to call attention to the deal, which he says will lead to the deaths of thousands of Israelis. Earlier this year, Cruz told reporters that the pending deal "would make war a certainty," because it would allow Iran to become a nuclear state "without recognizing Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state."

Indeed, the candidate is so against the deal that this week he made a rare public appearance with frontrunner Donald Trump and Sarah Palin in a rally on Capitol Hill, in which they attacked President Obama and his Administration for their negotiations. But few would have predicted that Trump's or Palin's comments would have been the least exciting thing on social media after the rally.

I'm not just talking about a photo of Cruz looking tough or out of character. No, this (hopefully Photoshopped) photo of Cruz ditches his normal tie-and-khaki look for a shirtless, tattooed version that's just ... ridiculous. The word "Cruz" is tattooed across his stomach between two pistols, and there's a massive bald eagle across his chest. On his left arm is the American flag, and on his right is Winston Churchill. A giant rose blooms on his neck, and a cigarette rests in his mouth. The photo is making its rounds on social media as one of the stranger tactics that Cruz has deployed in calling out the Iran deal.

See the pic for yourself:

The image isn't new; it also features prominently on Cruz's fundraising website. Which doesn't make it any less disturbing.

To be fair, Cruz has made lame attempts at humor before. Months ago, he recorded a joke audition for The Simpsons in an attempt to show his softer, more playful side. And who could forget the time he taught us how to cook bacon?

Still, I doubt that even the most ardent Cruz supporters could have seen this one coming.

Image: Ted Cruz