Rivals Call Out Cruz, Rubio for Shifting on Immigration

Republican senator Ted Cruz of Texas speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 26, 2015
Republican senator Ted Cruz of Texas speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 26, 2015 (Gage Skidmore)

Rival contenders for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination called out Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio for shifting their position on immigration on Thursday.

During a debate broadcast by Fox News from Iowa, the state that kicks off the presidential nominating contest next week, Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor, and Rand Paul, a senator from Kentucky, took Cruz and Rubio to task, respectively, for once supporting naturalization for illegal immigrants — and now claiming they never did.

Both senators in fact backed legislation in 2013 that would have boosted border security while simultaneously making it possible for undocumented immigrants to gain legal status and eventually citizenship.

The bill passed with strong support from Democrats and Republicans in the Senate that year, but it was never taken up by the Republican majority in the House of Representatives. Read more “Rivals Call Out Cruz, Rubio for Shifting on Immigration”

Why Republicans Can’t Stand Ted Cruz

Republican senator Ted Cruz of Texas speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 26, 2015
Republican senator Ted Cruz of Texas speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 26, 2015 (Gage Skidmore)

With Ted Cruz seemingly on track to win the Republican Party’s first presidential nominating contest in Iowa next month, party actors are scrambling to signal to voters that they should support anyone but this senator from Texas — perhaps even Donald Trump. Read more “Why Republicans Can’t Stand Ted Cruz”

There is No “Silent Majority” Waiting to Elect Cruz

Republican senator Ted Cruz of Texas gives a speech in front of the United States Capitol in Washington DC, September 9, 2015
Republican senator Ted Cruz of Texas gives a speech in front of the United States Capitol in Washington DC, September 9, 2015 (Elvert Barnes)

Texas senator Ted Cruz is peddling a familiar myth in his quest to become the Republican Party’s presidential nominee: If only conservatives turn out in greater numbers, they can take back the presidency from the Democrats this year.

It is one of those lies the party tells itself; not too dissimilar from the notion that it loses presidential elections when it nominates a Republican who isn’t right-wing enough.

Cruz is prone to making both those arguments and it plays well with his supporters, many of whom are evangelical Christians. Read more “There is No “Silent Majority” Waiting to Elect Cruz”

Republican Criticism of Islamic State Strategy Feckless

Republican senator Marco Rubio of Florida speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 27, 2015
Republican senator Marco Rubio of Florida speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 27, 2015 (Gage Skidmore)

Republican presidential candidates lined up almost unanimously on Tuesday night to condemn Barack Obama’s strategy for defeating the fanatical Islamist group that calls itself the Islamic State.

Ted Cruz, the Texas senator who is ahead in the polls in the first voting state, Iowa, took the Democratic incumbent to task for supposedly letting “political correctness” get in the way of fighting the militants. There is a simple strategy for defeating them, he said during a debate hosted by CNN in Las Vegas: “We win, they lose.”

Which, of course, is not a strategy at all.

Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, both from Florida, were more sophisticated in their criticisms, but only a little. Read more “Republican Criticism of Islamic State Strategy Feckless”

Cruz Moves Up But Still Long Shot in Republican Contest

Republican senator Ted Cruz of Texas gives a speech in front of the United States Capitol in Washington DC, September 9
Republican senator Ted Cruz of Texas gives a speech in front of the United States Capitol in Washington DC, September 9 (Elvert Barnes)

Back in March, this website urged readers to largely ignore Ted Cruz. The first-term Texas senator, we argued, is a political lightweight, more interested in drawing attention to himself than winning the Republican presidential nomination.

That was before Donald Trump.

The divisive property tycoon’s rise in the polls helps Cruz for the simple reason that party actors will prefer anyone over Trump.

The New Yorker is not going to win the nomination. We reported last month that he is already plotting his exit, complaining that the Republican Party has been treating him “unfairly”. In recent days, his supporters have suggested he may stage an independent presidential bid. The only thing that would accomplish is a win for the Democrats.

But Trump probably won’t be quick to admit defeat and the Iowa caucuses are less than two months away. Read more “Cruz Moves Up But Still Long Shot in Republican Contest”

Republicans to America: Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

Republican senator Ted Cruz of Texas speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 26
Republican senator Ted Cruz of Texas speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 26 (Gage Skidmore)

Republican presidential candidates in the United States have seized on a mass shooting in San Bernardino earlier this month to ramp up their war rhetoric.

Carried out by a self-radicalized Muslim couple who were apparently inspired by the Islamic State militant group in the Middle East, the murder of fourteen people in southern California is a vindication for Republicans who have long accused President Barack Obama, the Democrat they hope to succeed, of wavering in the fight against radical Islam. Read more “Republicans to America: Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid”

The Lies Parties Tell Themselves

Republican senator Ted Cruz of Texas speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 26
Republican senator Ted Cruz of Texas speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 26 (Gage Skidmore)

It’s hard to lose an election. Especially for activists and politicians who’ve poured their heart and soul into a campaign.

More so in a two-party democracy like the United Kingdom or the United States where losing really means losing and there’s virtually no chance of ending up in a coalition government.

To cope with the loss, politicos often look for others to blame.

They blame voters who stupidly supported a party that doesn’t really look after their interests. They blame a biased media or the insidious tactics of their opponents.

Sometimes one or all of the above are true. But most of the time, candidates and political parties lose an election because they fell short in a way. Serious parties live up to their failures and set out to do better next time. Read more “The Lies Parties Tell Themselves”

Why We Should Ignore Ted Cruz as Much as Possible

Republican senator Ted Cruz of Texas speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 26
Republican senator Ted Cruz of Texas speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 26 (Gage Skidmore)

If Ted Cruz announces he is running for president on Monday, you won’t read much about it here.

Even if he is serious and not, as The Daily Beast believes, only interested in drawing attention to himself, the first-term senator from Texas is not going to win the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, much less the 2016 election. He is a political lightweight who has managed to alienate just about everyone except the most reactionary of Republican activists with his bluster and sabotage.

Cruz’ McCarthy-esque denunciations of his political opponents don’t suggest he’ll be able to persuade many Democrats to switch parties after two Republican presidential election defeats in a row.

But Cruz doesn’t stop there. If anything, he is more critical of fellow Republicans who imagine they can get away with trying to govern. When Republicans negotiate with President Barack Obama and his party on the debt ceiling, the budget, immigration reform or gun legislation, Cruz calls them spineless and “squishes” for even thinking of compromising.

Such remarks led conservative blogger Jennifer Rubin to call Cruz immature.

It is both self-serving (presuming principles are of no matter to opponents) and lazy in that it is always easy to say “no,” ridicule compromise and remain pristine rather than trying to improve legislation or introduce an alternative.

What exactly, she wonders, has Cruz accomplished during his grand two years in the Senate? If, as Rubin puts it, “yelling at people and voting ‘no’ don’t qualify,” the answer is nothing.

The lack of sophistication extends to Cruz’ thoughts on foreign policy. The American Conservative‘s Daniel Larison points out that Cruz is usually “in lockstep with hardliners when it comes to (wrongly) assessing threats and reliably endorsing the use of force” without displaying the faintest interest in any of the political conditions of the countries he wants to bomb.

The fact that Cruz thinks bombing anyone back to the “stone age” is the right way to combat terrorism shows that he prizes sounding tough and belligerent over giving any thought to the consequences and efficacy of the military action he supports.

Bloomberg’s Mark Halperin nevertheless cautions against writing Cruz off, saying he is “much smarter” in private than “the caricature painted by East Coast media elites” suggests.

If that is the case, it seems rather Cruz had made a caricature of himself.

The Texan is also a “serious organizer with old and new media skills and a strong work ethic,” according to Halperin, who believes that he could come out on top in Iowa, the first caucus state.

Maybe. But Iowan Republicans haven’t been very good at electing presidents lately.

In 2012, Rick Santorum won the Republican caucus in the state. Four years earlier, Mike Huckabee prevailed. Neither was ever a viable general election contender. John McCain came in fourth in 2008; Mitt Romney placed second last time. They went on to win the nomination.

Cruz may command the adoration of ideological zealots who play an outsized role in Republican primaries, but even Halperin knows he lacks all the necessary qualities to become the nominee. Cruz has no concrete agenda, no establishment support, no crossover appeal, seemingly no sense of humor, no concrete signs that he can turn base support into rising poll standing and no general election credibility — whatsoever.

Add to that a tendency to lie or make things up (according to Politifact, barely a fifth of the things Cruz says are actually true or mostly true) and it’s clear we shouldn’t pretend Ted Cruz is anything more than a sideshow.