The Myth of Ted Cruz’s Principles

 

flip_flopsThe conservative movement is clearly in a severe, anti-establishment mood. Its origins are easily diagnosed, if not easily treated. It evolved out of the George W. Bush presidency, viewed as a failure by many on the right. After squandering two years of one-party Republican rule in Washington by expanding entitlements and failing to address the long-term drivers of our debt, the groundwork was laid for a new batch of conservatives who would move the party further to the right and put principles ahead of their own quest for power and influence.

So the story goes like this: A group of Washington elites have no desire to move the country’s laws in a conservative direction. Instead, they’re going along and getting along while grasping for ever-more authority. In this version of reality, the Republican leadership, not the Democrats and the majority of the country who voted for them, are responsible for the leftward drift of government institutions.

You might be tempted to mock this view, but there’s strong evidence that indeed, a cunning and ruthless Washington elite uses conservatives for their electoral support — with no intention of pursuing conservatives’ goals. Namely, we have a particular political opportunist, forged in the very cradle of the establishment, who has managed to convince nearly the entirety of the base that he’s the most principled conservative in office.

How can I make such a claim about conservative darling Ted Cruz? I read his book.

The story of Ted Cruz does not begin with his 2012 Senate run. He’s best understood by his time working for the George W. Bush campaign in 2000. He labored tirelessly to become part of the very establishment he would later criticize. In an interview with a Princeton alumni publication in 2000, Cruz said:

“One of the reasons I was so eager to help Bush is the way he has described himself, as a compassionate conservative. That’s how I have always conceived of my own political views.”

Cruz was a very conventional Republican who backed his party, held many moderate positions, and eagerly sought ways to clamber up the ladder of government. In 2004, Cruz contributed to a book titled Reflections on the War on Terror, Defense of the Family, and Revival of the Economy. While many on the right were criticizing Bush for ramping up deficit spending without addressing the long-term drivers of our debt, Cruz wrote that those concerns were overstated. He supported the No Child Left Behind Act, and wrote the following gem:

As President Bush put it in the 2000 campaign, when voters hear “Abolish the Department of Education,” a lot of voters just hear “Abolish Education” and back away.”

Cruz used the same language as Bush on the subject of immigrants: “Americans by choice.” In 2000, he wrote a five-page memo for the campaign urging Bush to secure the border, but show compassion:

“But, at the same time, we need to remember that many of those coming here are coming to feed their families, to have a chance at a better life.”

It can be disorienting the first time you discover just how conventional a politician Cruz is.  In a high school bio, Cruz’s plan and ambition are made clear:

Upon graduation Ted hopes to attend Princeton University and major in Political Science and Economics. From there he wants to attend law school (possibly Harvard) and achieve a successful law practice. He then wants to pursue his real goal – a career in politics. Ted would like to run for various political offices and eventually achieve a strong enough reputation and track record to run for – and win – President of the United States.

Criticizing politicians for ambition can be self-defeating. No good conservative should want that much power, but if no good conservatives seek power, our ideals go unrepresented in government. Reality requires us to tolerate a certain level of ambition from our representatives. Yet even by Washington insider standards, Cruz’s ambition was off-putting.

In his book, A Time for Self-Promotion Truth, Cruz said being passed over for a senior position in the Bush White House after working for the campaign was “a crushing blow.” Cruz was angling for a spot in the White House Counsel’s office under Bush the younger.  When offered a lower position that he’d hoped, Cruz walked away. Former White House spokesman Ari Fleisher (one of the few members of the Bush team who says he likes Cruz) explained the situation:

Ted’s bosses were very put off by him and by how ambitious he was. And that’s why Ted got basically put in an agency very far from the White House during the transition.

Between a cantankerous personality and an ambition so palpable as to scare men who do little but deal with ambition, Cruz found himself outside the GOP establishment. Not outside of it by choice, or because of ideological distance, but because few who dealt with Ted Cruz liked Ted Cruz.

With the insider track to power now closed off, Cruz needed a different path. Conveniently, his exclusion from any position of relevance in the Bush administration turned out to be a boon. As dissatisfaction with the Republican Party and the “establishment” grew, Cruz had an avenue into national government. It merely required him to overhaul his principles.

There is of course nothing inherently wrong with changing one’s views over time. Many life experiences can cause a change of heart and mind. Few will openly admit their transition was prompted by a poll. Ted Cruz is among their ranks.

In A Time for Naked Opportunism Truth, Cruz openly explains his political transition to the hard-right. While exploring the possibility of a Senate run in 2012, Cruz commissioned polls to judge the likelihood of his success and the mood of the electorate:

In our first benchmark poll, we asked a series of questions to assess where I stood compared to Dewhurst. One of those questions would become famous internally in our campaign: Question 10. It asked voters if they would be more or less likely to support me if they knew that “Ted Cruz understands that politicians from both parties have let us down. Cruz is a proven conservative we can trust to provide new leadership in the Senate to reduce the size of government and defend the Constitution.”

Those sentences polled over 80 percent among Republicans in Texas, and were liked by a majority of independents. So was born the Ted Cruz we know today. The man who once laughed off efforts to abolish the Department of Education would come to call for its abolition — not because he had any change of heart, but because it was the way to raise money and win in Texas.

Understanding this helps us make sense of some of the bizarre policy proposals and strategies Cruz has offered over the years. His ambition, and his need to set himself to the right of everyone in politics, help to explain his tenuous relationship with the truth.

Mike Lee joins Cruz in having a perfect 100-percent conservative voting record from Heritage action. The two are often painted as allies in the Senate, true believers acting as a thorn in the side of the RINOs. One can imagine Lee’s shock back in October when he presented a criminal justice reform bill to the judiciary committee, only to have Ted Cruz lie about its contents and impact.

Cruz claimed the bill would lead to 7,000 prisoners being released. He repeatedly referred to violent criminals being let out on the street. Since Cruz graduated from Harvard Law School and argued cases in front of the Supreme Court, we must conclude he can read. Of the two categories of criminals that would have been affected by the bill and might have conceivably gone on to be violent offenders, there were only 3,433 inmates. Of these, many had committed no violent crime, and all faced a review process before their sentences would be reduced. Some violent offences even had their mandatory minimums increased by the law. These facts are readily ascertained when you dig into the issue.

In response, Lee made changes to the bill that would close off these two categories if any potential violent offenders might be released, leaving Cruz no legitimate grievance. Cruz remains opposed to the bill. Ironically, Cruz supported the bill a year ago, when it was significantly more lenient than the current incarnations.

Mike Lee learned the hard way that if Ted Cruz cannot position himself to your right because there is no space there, he will invent it.

Lee is not the only member of the new generation of stalwart conservatives to discover Cruz will lie and shift positions to enhance his own image at the expense of theirs.

In his book, A Time for Talking out of my Rear Truth, Cruz wrote that Rand Paul (90 percent Conservative Action score) let him down on Obamacare when he spoke for a few minutes during Cruz’s 21-hour faux filibuster during the 2013 government shutdown.  He said that Paul seemed intent on bolstering the GOP leadership’s attacks to undermine Cruz’s efforts. “I marveled that Rand had decided not to be with us in this fight.”

Cruz described the anger he and Mike Lee felt when Paul suggested there would have to be compromise to make Obamacare less bad. The trouble for Cruz is that we live in the 21st century, and transcripts of these exchanges exist. There was not an ounce of hostility when Paul and Cruz had their exchange on the Senate floor. The two repeatedly praised each other, and Cruz even said “The question Sen. Rand Paul asked was an excellent question.”

Paul further pointed out that Cruz sent Rand a lovely letter thanking him for his help during the shutdown. Cruz’s book paints a picture of Rand Paul that’s 180 degrees at odds with his own statements about Paul’s efforts at the time. In a recurring theme, we must ask ourselves: Which Ted Cruz was lying?

Was Ted Cruz lying when he repeatedly stated in interviews that he supported the Gang of Eight bill and its amnesty, or is Ted Cruz now lying now when he claims it was a poison pill and he was lying in interview after interview when he said he supported it? It’s a strange poison pill that makes a patient healthier, which Cruz acknowledged his amendment did at the time. (Though to be fair to Cruz, he claims he was lying.)

And a second point to those advocacy groups that are so passionately engaged. In my view if this committee rejects this amendment — and I think everyone here views it as quite likely this committee will choose to reject this amendment —  in my view that decision will make it much much more likely that this entire bill will fail in the House of Representatives. [Emphasis added.] I don’t want immigration reform to fail. I want immigration reform to pass. And so I would urge people of good faith on both sides of the aisle if the objective is to pass common sense immigration reform that secures the borders, that improves legal immigration and that allows those who are here illegally to come in out of the shadows, then we should look for areas of bipartisan agreement and compromise to come together. And this amendment, I believe if this amendment were to pass, the chances of this bill passing into law would increase dramatically. And so I would urge the committee to give it full consideration and to adopt the amendment.

We certainly know Cruz supported amnesty during his time on the Bush campaign. This means his repeated claims during the debates that he never supported legalization do not fly, even if you grant his “I was lying” defense on the Gang of Eight. Which is more likely, that Ted Cruz was always, secretly, a principled immigration hawk despite a mountain of evidence to the contrary, or that he saw an opportunity to position himself to the right of Marco Rubio (94 percent Heritage action rating) and seized the opportunity?

Every time Cruz attacks his fellow Republicans (generally for holding positions that he himself held shortly before), his profile rises among the base, and his fundraising explodes.  Following the shutdown, Cruz’s fundraising doubled from the previous quarter. As Cruz burns his party around him, no new one rises to take its place. His most frequent targets aren’t the moderates of the party, but the true conservatives. As long as Ted Cruz is the only voice in the wilderness fighting the government Leviathan, then only Ted Cruz can be trusted by the base, and only Ted Cruz is worthy of donations and support. Mike Lee was unable to turn his joint support for the shutdown into almost any fundraising. You are either Ted Cruz, or you are the problem in Washington.

How Cruz intends to make any lasting changes in government when his actions so frequently damage the allies he need to enact such change is only an interesting question if you believe that Ted Cruz is acting out of principle, not opportunism in pursuit of the presidency.

Cruz’s sudden conversion to the right-most possible position of any given issue is not seamless. He often miscalibrates, or abandons conservatism entirely to support the more popular position.

When the Trans Pacific Partnership came into focus, many on the right doubted that Barack Obama could share an ideal with them and began to wonder what secrets had been buried in the deal. In reality, every president since perhaps Hoover has taken steps to enlarge free trade. Democratic and Republican administrations alike have always improved our economy by pursuing trade deals with an ever-larger group of countries.

Conservative populists eventually began to speak out against the deal, some out of distrust for Obama, others out of a misguided belief that protectionism helps American workers more than it hurts them. Cruz was naturally there to bend on principle and seize the opportunity. His current stance is that he opposes the deal as it contains secret immigration provisions. Again, we must conclude from Cruz’s legal career that he can read, and therefore know that he is lying. The text of the TPP is readily available. It is based on numerous existing trade deals that the United States already has in place.

A principled conservative would support free trade even when it is unpopular with his base.

Cruz’s position on taxes is even more bizarre. He wishes to abolish the IRS, and repeats this mantra at every campaign stop and every debate where he has the opportunity. Abolishing the IRS is not impossible. The Fair Tax proposal contains a plausible plan for no longer requiring a federal tax collection agency. A national sales tax that replaces all other taxes and uses existing state sales tax collection agencies could plausibly exist without an IRS. If only Cruz had simply copied and pasted this plan as his own.

Cruz has proposed a value-added tax, famous for making taxpaying enormously more complex for corporations and making the tax burden invisible to those who pay it. Aside from the obvious complaints — such a tax will not replace an income tax, but will end up existing alongside it, as in Europe — the complexity of a VAT would almost assuredly require an IRS as large as it is today or larger.

When pressed on this question, Cruz has acknowledged that there will still be an agency that handles tax responsibilities. This reduces Cruz’s promise to one of renaming the agency. This has not stopped Cruz from repeating his abolish-the-IRS mantra to his loyal fan base, who love the way Cruz lies to them.

Ted Cruz is playing a character for an audience of conservatives who feel betrayed by the George W. Bush Administration. There was a time when I overlooked his incessant lying and self-promotion, because his commitment to the role made him a useful vote in the Senate. But you have to wonder how committed he’ll be to the part when Question 10 of his poll is put before the general electorate. It will respond differently from the Texas electorate. Will he flip as quickly as he did to protectionism? If not, will he continue to fundraise by tearing down the people he’ll need as allies if he’s to do things like repeal Obamacare?

We can confidently say that Ted Cruz is driven by ambition, not principle. One might reply that this is true of all politicians. Perhaps, but when did the argument for Ted Cruz become that he is no worse than other politicians? Why should we get into the tank for a political opportunist only because he trashes other political opportunists?

We despise every other politician for talking a good game but failing to get anything done. Why would we exempt Ted Cruz?

Published in Elections, General, Politics
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  1. Marion Evans Inactive
    Marion Evans
    @MarionEvans

    Even if all true, you still have to go with the “least dirty shirt”, no? Who is left who better represents conservatism?

    In addition, if he is indeed more moderate than he claims, it will be a good thing to highlight in the general election when he will need many independents. I suppose at the end every candidate rides to victory on a cloud of ambiguity.

    • #1
  2. Xennady Member
    Xennady
    @

    Hence, Trump.

    • #2
  3. Mike LaRoche Inactive
    Mike LaRoche
    @MikeLaRoche

    “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.” – Oscar Wilde

    • #3
  4. Israel P. Inactive
    Israel P.
    @IsraelP

    As a child, I read a biography of D’israeli and I was surprised to see that he decided to be a Conservative rather that a Liberal because he thought it gave him a better path to power.

    • #4
  5. Mike LaRoche Inactive
    Mike LaRoche
    @MikeLaRoche

    Winston Churchill made a similar calculation earlier in his political career, though he switched from Conservative to Liberal (and then back again, two decades later).

    • #5
  6. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    I thought this was a good post, and I’m with you in thinking, “We’re not looking at Honest Abe, here” — or at least that’s what I concluded when I gave a few minutes’ thought to the “Abolish the IRS” slogan. I was a bit heartened when I watched his best campaign commercial ever:

    But I suspect Reich is pretty gullible.

    I suspect you’re quite right: His MO has been to blame his fellow Republicans rather than blaming Democrats for enacting or tolerating their own legislation, and he’s done this for reasons of personal ambition, and in doing so has probably undermined the GOP’s effort to do the single thing that could actually advance conservative goals: win a presidential election. I don’t think he has much hope of being nominated, and if nominated, I don’t think he has much hope of being elected.

    All that said, if forced to choose among Cruz, Trump, Clinton, and Sanders, obviously, I’d pick Cruz. He’s not a felon; he’s not running on a “Destroy the Economy” platform; and he’s not senile. It sure looks to me as if they’re the only ones who could be nominated, absent some kind of wild card. Mind you, this is the Wild Card election, so I don’t know what will happen. In an ordinary election, your case would be convincing, but if the alternatives are Trump, Clinton, or Sanders … well, Cruz it is. And at this point, I’d feel lucky to have him win.

    • #6
  7. Chris Member
    Chris
    @Chris

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    All that said, if forced to choose among Cruz, Trump, Clinton, and Sanders, obviously, I’d pick Cruz. He’s not a felon; he’s not running on a “Destroy the Economy” platform; and he’s not senile. It sure looks to me as if they’re the only ones who could be nominated, absent some kind of wild card. Mind you, this is the Wild Card election, so I don’t know what will happen. In an ordinary election, your case would be convincing, but if the alternatives are Trump, Clinton, or Sanders … well, Cruz it is. And at this point, I’d feel lucky to have him win.

    This!

    I am on record somewhere in a long ago post arguing that for various reasons we should avoid Cruz as he creeps out my Northeastern relatives (Republican and Democrat) and that even my fellow Texan Republican wife is not enamored with him.  And I put Rob’s proverbial “skin in the game” with not one but two of his rivals.

    That said, I’m with Claire in thinking that “absent some kind of wild card” we have four probable nominees.  Mr. “Not Trump” is not one of them.  Nor is Mr. “Not Cruz”.

    If a major miracle happens and Rubio gets it I’ll vote for him.  If only a minor miracle happens and Cruz gets it I’ll vote for him.  I am not counting on some parting of the Red Sea level miracle for “Mr. or Ms. Should be the Nominee”.

    • #7
  8. Al Kennedy Inactive
    Al Kennedy
    @AlKennedy

    Frank, thanks for a well written post and an excellent argument.

    • #8
  9. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    Nice hit piece. When did you start doing oppos?

    • #9
  10. Leigh Inactive
    Leigh
    @Leigh

    That’s why I voted for Marco Rubio. Because some of that I knew, and more I think I instinctively sensed.

    So… this is not a particularly encouraging thing to wake up to, on a morning when it’s pretty clear that Ted Cruz is the only one who can stop the much-worse looming disaster. I hope the picture is overdrawn.

    But maybe, you know, all those people in Washington, if they hate him so much, should’ve been actually doing something about it?  All those weeks while Cruz and Trump were basically skating free and Marco Rubio was taking fire from all sides?

    I will say this: no politician is trustworthy, and I especially don’t trust Cruz. But he has created the Ted Cruz brand. I don’t know what core principles he has, if any, but on some level he’s going to have to maintain the brand. I’m sure he will make some smooth shifts to the center — and I’m starting to think just maybe he can win — but in Washington he’s going to have promises to try to keep, or it’s going to be a bitter reckoning in four years. I would hope for the Supreme Court.

    And I believe that the people who voted for him are doing so for good reasons, and I believe in a God in heaven…

    • #10
  11. Pilgrim Coolidge
    Pilgrim
    @Pilgrim

    Frank Soto:Why should we get into the tank for a political opportunist only because he trashes other political opportunists?

    We despise every other politician for talking a good game but failing to get anything done. Why would we exempt Ted Cruz?

    Trump

    • #11
  12. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Well written, and stuff I did not know.

    However, it will not change my support. I see it as an argument that Cruz is just as much a poltico as Rubio.

    Wasn’t it John Podhoretz on GLOP moaning “of course he lied, they all lie” about Rubio? In short, every argument, every line that has been trotted out to defend Marco Rubio on the Gang of 8, pretty much can be used for Ted Cruz. So, I find that I am inoculated against this stuff.

    Now, if Ted Cruz saddled up the the KKK, or made fun of the physically disabled, or bragged about his affairs with married women, or did not know what the Nuclear Triad was, I would not vote for him.

    Saying that he is no better than any other politician does not move the needle much for me.

    The biggest thing I don’t like with Cruz is the VAT. I hate the VAT and would not like to see that in place. However, I do not think Congress will pass that for him.

    • #12
  13. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    Way to elevate the discourse.

    A shorter review of the book can be found here.

    • #13
  14. Israel P. Inactive
    Israel P.
    @IsraelP

    Bryan G. Stephens: The biggest thing I don’t like with Cruz is the VAT. I hate the VAT and would not like to see that in place. However, I do not think Congress will pass that for him.

    More than the IRS? Seriously?

    • #14
  15. Ty Hobbs Inactive
    Ty Hobbs
    @TyHobbs

    They’re each flawed. As a conservative I need to consider the most important point: how will this candidate vote? (Or sign, or veto?) I’m staying with Cruz.

    • #15
  16. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    If I learn to do hilarious changes to book titles, can I be a contributor, too?

    • #16
  17. Pat E Inactive
    Pat E
    @PatE

    It was Ralph Waldo Emerson who said “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”, not Oscar Wilde.

    • #17
  18. Mate De Inactive
    Mate De
    @MateDe

    good piece, Could have done without the blatent snarkiness that shows your cards that you have nothing but disdain for the man. If the goal was to change Cruz supporters minds I think because of the snarkiness this will not work, hadn’t for me. remember you catch more flies with honey rather than vinegar.

    Also you could say the same thing as above about most politicians who end up running for president, political positioning and ambition is what gets you there

    • #18
  19. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    genferei:Way to elevate the discourse.

    A shorter review of the book can be found here.

    Interesting contrast. I haven’t read it, although obviously I should. Why do you think you came away with a more positive impression from the book than Frank did?

    • #19
  20. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    genferei: A shorter review of the book can be found here.

    Interesting contrast. I haven’t read it, although obviously I should. Why do you think you came away with a more positive impression from the book than Frank did?

    Perhaps — in part, maybe even in large part — because I was writing in July 2015 before everything heated up. At the time it was all theoretical anyway, everyone knew the GOP had a once-in-several-generations bench depth, and there was an expectation* that we would be discussing competing policy proposals rather than amateur psychological profiles at this stage of the campaign.

    (*) “Expectation” may be overdoing it. In a media culture where news anchors apologize for a graphic with more than a single number the chance of popular discussion of actual, concrete policy was slim. But for  the addicts on Ricochet, one could have hoped…

    • #20
  21. dukenaltum Inactive
    dukenaltum
    @dukenaltum

    This is merely a forlorn hope defense in a rear guard action for an Army that no longer exists.  Rubio et al are dead, time to bury them, say a few kind words and forget about human imperfection in the survivor and defeat Trump then Clinton.

    I would have voted for any Republican in the race except for Trump, Christie, Kasich and Huckabee because where I live I am compelled to live with the wisdom or idiocy of my fellow Republicans in the selection of general election candidate .

    • #21
  22. Columbo Member
    Columbo
    @Columbo

    Basil Fawlty:If I learn to do hilarious changes to book titles, can I be a contributor, too?

    Truth be told … it was quite lame.

    • #22
  23. Freeven Inactive
    Freeven
    @Freeven

    Mate De:good piece, Could have done without the blatent snarkiness that shows your cards that you have nothing but disdain for the man. If the goal was to change Cruz supporters minds I think because of the snarkiness this will not work, hadn’t for me. remember you catch more flies with honey rather than vinegar.

    Funny, a different card metaphor came to my mind as I read the OP: that Frank really overplayed his cards on this one.

    • #23
  24. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    So the politician – or the liar – or the kung fu master – or Donald o’ the Dainty Dukes.

    Ladies and gentlemen, we are euchred.

    • #24
  25. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    Frank Soto:There was a time when I overlooked his incessant lying and self-promotion, because his commitment to the role made him a useful vote in the Senate.

    Well, that time seemed more recent than that. I think of you as too honest to write a post like this otherwise if you already knew.

    …We can confidently say that Ted Cruz is driven by ambition, not principle. One might reply that this is true of all politicians. Perhaps, but when did the argument for Ted Cruz become that he is no worse than other politicians?

    For me, it’s not that Cruz’s ambition is less than other politicians’, but that, venal as it might be, it at least stands a shot of being constrained by his training. As this field guide to Ted Cruz, written by a Texas reporter who’s followed him since 2009, put it,

    In light of his lifelong obsession with the subject [the Constitution], I am reasonably confident that Cruz’s diabolical plans, and thirst for world domination, are ultimately constrained by his own fealty to the supreme law of the land. What’s more, Cruz has specific expertise in the constitutional limits of the office he’s currently aiming for. His arguments against the president’s executive overreach have been backed by unique professional credentials, which actually exceed Obama’s. Both men are graduates of Harvard Law, and have been professors of constitutional law. Cruz is also the person who has successfully argued, at the Supreme Court, that an executive order issued by George W. Bush amounted to an unconstitutional violation of the separation of powers. If Cruz becomes president, he may start to feel differently about executive power, but at least he’s given the subject plenty of thought, and has reflected on the story of Joseph, who was doing well in Egypt, until there came a pharaoh who knew not Joseph.

    The way I see it, the field guide referenced above also explains much of what you wrote about Cruz, though admittedly in kinder language. Cruz really is less of a firebrand than he lets on, but one savvy enough to know that there’s a market for firebrands out there. And perhaps “less of a whackobird than advertised” could be a good thing.

    • #25
  26. She Member
    She
    @She

    Each of these candidates is flawed.  (Ever hear that before?  I just made it up.  It’s good, isn’t it?)

    All that matters most is who you think the enemy is.

    If, like Mitt Romney, you think the enemy is Donald Trump, and you’re just not up for a vulgar flim-flam man as President, you will pick one of the other candidates, even though they are all imperfect; yes, even the guy with the toothy grin and the big ears.

    If, like a sizable number of voters, you think the enemy is “Washington,” and you think the vulgar flim-flam man will somehow bring America home for you again, then you’ll vote for him.

    I am not sure that this divide can be bridged.

    So, who, at this point, has the most to lose in this primary race? Trump, or Not Trump?

    It should be becoming clear that Trump will probably win pluralities in enough states to give him the nomination outright.  This will render nugatory any clever ploys that the Republicans (Karl Rove, Bush donors, etc.), are working on in private to gum up the convention when everyone gets there with no-one having enough votes to win the nomination on the first ballot.

    So, if the Not Trumps want to try the only strategy that might work, they might think about unifying and seeing if they can beat the real flim-flam man, rather than continuing to shred each other into ribbons because they don’t like the type of conservative who keeps coming out on the top of the heap.

    Do I see that happening?  Not on your life.

    Rather, I expect the Republicans will cede the chance to take out Donald Trump themselves, and turn the  job over to the Clintons and the DNC.

    Because the apparently trust them more than they trust their own voters.

    • #26
  27. Columbo Member
    Columbo
    @Columbo

    Frank Soto:We despise every other politician for talking a good game but failing to get anything done. Why would we exempt Ted Cruz?

    tonto

    Who is ‘we’ Kimosabe? Despise?! For talking a good game … really?

    I have a word limit … Let’s look at just three commendable “egregious” Cruz statements:

    “One of the reasons I was so eager to help Bush is the way he has described himself, as a compassionate conservative. That’s how I have always conceived of my own political views.”

    Conservatism is compassionate. However, that doesn’t mean you abandon fiscal sanity.

    As President Bush put it in the 2000 campaign, when voters hear “Abolish the Department of Education,” a lot of voters just hear “Abolish Education” and back away.”

    So … he suggests using less provocative rhetoric in order to accomplish the same great goal [move Ed to the States] … and that’s somehow bad?

    “But, at the same time, we need to remember that many of those coming here are coming to feed their families, to have a chance at a better life.”

    Okay, here’s some of that compassionate conservatism. Yes, LEGAL immigration should be encouraged and improved. It also needs to involve “securing the border”.

    Lastly, here is Eri Fleischer (who likes Cruz) …

    Ted’s bosses were very put off by him and by how ambitious he was. And that’s why Ted got basically put in an agency very far from the White House during the transition.

    HMMMMIt’s not his turn……….?

    • #27
  28. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    Frank Soto:He labored tirelessly to become part of the very establishment he would later criticize. In an interview with a Princeton alumni publication in 2000, Cruz said:

    “One of the reasons I was so eager to help Bush is the way he has described himself, as a compassionate conservative. That’s how I have always conceived of my own political views.”

    Admittedly, I’m over ten years younger than Cruz, and not as into politics, so it’s less pardonable for him to have been taken in by it, but at first I thought “compassionate conservatism” sounded pretty good, too. What I hand in mind was stuff like what IJ does, not what ended up happening.

    Cruz was a very conventional Republican who backed his party, held many moderate positions, and eagerly sought ways to clamber up the ladder of government.

    Not abnormal behavior for an ambitious underling.

    …He supported the No Child Left Behind Act, and wrote the following gem:

    As President Bush put it in the 2000 campaign, when voters hear “Abolish the Department of Education,” a lot of voters just hear “Abolish Education” and back away.”

    Of course a lot of voters are gonna hear that. That remains true even if you’re in favor of abolishing the DoE. Whether you’re in favor of abolishing the DoE or not, this observation is not a lie, nor is a stated desire to abolish the DoE made a lie in light of this observation.

    • #28
  29. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    genferei: everyone knew the GOP had a once-in-several-generations bench depth,

    Talk about pride going before a fall, eh?

    • #29
  30. Tuck Inactive
    Tuck
    @Tuck

    Good post.

    There’s no savior coming in American politics.  If you take it as given that anyone who wants to be President is insane—in one way or another—you’re still left with the current crop to choose from.

    Cruz still seems to be to be the best of the lot.

    • #30
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