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Ted Cruz’s Katamari Strategy

Results from a straw poll of libertarian Republicans highlight the senator’s shrewdness.

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Even before the 2016 presidential election cycle began, most observers expected the race for the Republican nomination to be a war of attrition—especially compared to the Democratic primary, where Hillary Clinton was expected to enter the race as a nearly prohibitive frontrunner. And so back in March, when Ted Cruz announced his campaign for president, it was easy to infer that Texas’s junior senator would be planning for a long campaign that would leave him as the last candidate standing at the end of the GOP nomination fight. Cruz is shrewd. He wouldn’t have launched a campaign if he couldn’t see a path to victory.

And, for Cruz, the path wasn’t that hard to see. As I wrote then, the early polls didn’t seem auspicious: perhaps 4 percent of primary voters considered him their first choice, and Cruz was not the only candidate likely to compete as a conservative alternative to the party establishment. But several years of Republican infighting in Texas have already shown me that conservatives who oppose the establishment are united by their opposition, not their conservatism. The “Tea Party” is an umbrella term for a number of right-wing factions, which align on certain issues but are philosophically at odds on others. Cruz, unlike any of his likely rivals, had already navigated that tricky terrain, and therefore had a unique advantage. He might not be the first choice for pro-life voters, or for libertarians, but he could easily be the second: Rick Santorum endorsed him in his contested 2012 primary, as did Rand Paul. If he could outlast those candidates, he could have a good chance of rolling up their supporters along the way.

As I wrote in August, Cruz’s strategy became more complicated when Donald Trump barreled into the race and started throwing a temper tantrum, which has now been going on for months. As I noted last month, the strategy had shifted slightly, apparently in response to Trump’s continued popularity: Cruz had started offering occasional criticisms of unnamed “campaign conservatives,” rather than commending Trump while waiting for him to implode, as he had been doing. I continue to think that Cruz’s decision to cozy up to Trump was shockingly risky, in part because it was such a blatantly political calculation and in part because Trump remains the frontrunner, and his well-coddled supporters are comically defensive of their man. Last week, Cruz said that he doesn’t think Trump will be the nominee, and added that he, Cruz, plans to win “the lion’s share” of Trump’s supporters. As you can see in the comments section of the Breitbart story about the incident, many of Trump’s fans were outraged and aggrieved, as if they were somehow under the impression that Cruz, a United States senator who is running for the Republican presidential nomination, is trawling around Iowa looking for a chance to sacrifice his career on this golden altar.

In case there was any doubt, though, Cruz’s stated plans to roll up Trump’s supporters are explicit confirmation of his strategy. The Republican Liberty Caucus straw poll, held this weekend in New Hampshire, brought further confirmation that this is a shrewd strategy. The straw poll included 800 respondents who self-identify as libertarians or members of the Republican Party’s “liberty” wing, and used a methodology called “approval voting”: respondents were asked to name all the candidates they would vote for, rather than just one. Rand Paul won; 57 percent of the straw pollees said that they would vote for him. But Cruz had almost as much support: 51 percent said they would vote for him too. There was a steep drop-off for third place: just 17 percent of the liberty lovers who took part in the weekend’s proceedings said they would vote for Ben Carson. Most of the other candidates registered barely any support at all.

Straw polls, by their nature, are not particularly rigorous. No one should put too much weight on the Republican Liberty Caucus’s straw poll in particular, because one of its implications is that libertarians are too fractious to play a decisive role in presidential elections: Paul is clearly aligned with the libertarian wing of the party, and has made an assiduous effort to court libertarian Republicans, and yet he couldn’t win a supermajority of support among this self-selecting group of supposedly like-minded people.

More significant is that Paul didn’t even emerge from the straw poll as the dispositive leader of this faction. His campaign has been languishing anyway, and he doesn’t have an alternative base of support; if he can’t count on libertarian Republicans, he’s got no base that can keep him alive deep into the primary calendar. Conversely, the Republican Liberty Caucus’s straw poll is great news for Cruz. It’s a clear signal that he can plan on rolling up the lion’s share of Paul’s supporters at some point, as he was no doubt planning to do.

It’s also a signal that we need a nickname for Cruz’s 2016 strategy, because he’s clearly in this campaign for the long haul, and I don’t want to have to summarize his plan every time I write about him. Since he’s a Texan, we could call it the Tumbleweed, but that metaphor would imply that Cruz doesn’t have a focused trajectory, much less an end game. A more apt metaphor comes from the Katamari video games. Cruz is quietly rolling a small, Velcro-covered ball through the campaign, amassing more and more supporters along the way, until sooner or later he may have a boulder big enough to roll right into the general election.

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  • bj1650

    LETS HOPE IT IS TUMBLEWEED AND NOT VELCRO–as you so poetically and usefully imply. This piece is late, on Cruz, and, arguably, derivative of national media analysis. But should help your readers—all that really counts. THANKS, ERICA

    • Erica Grieder

      Thanks for the input. The post above links to an article that was published on March 24th and lays out what Cruz’s strategy would be–and which was also, as it happens, written by me. http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/03/ted-cruz-risky-bet-116346

      • bj1650

        Thanks MUCH for the clarification, link to your POLITICO Magazine piece and clear manifestation of your EARLY insight. Obliged, Barry

  • John Johnson

    Sen. Konni Burton is a Cruz protege. She fawns over him. Several of the elected Tea Party contingency from Tarrant County are ardent Cruz supporters; they are not, however, all in lockstep when it comes to some key issues. Burton, for instance stepped all over Tarrant County, and, more explicitly, Fort Worth and Arlington city leaders, when she wrote an Op/Ed piece unloading on those who would enter into civic/corporate “partnerships” with corporate entries like Facebook, General Motors, the Dallas Cowboys, the Texas Rangers and others. Several have told me that they don’t agree with her on this issue.

    Ted Cruz is smart. When you are even now courting Guam as a potential player down the road, I would suggest that all the bases are being covered and there is a comprehensive plan in place. Your analysis of the Liberty Caucus poll results shows how well he and his group are performing.

    After reading the Rolling Stone piece on the Koch brothers, I am wanting to know just how close Ted Cruz is to these guys.

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/inside-the-koch-brothers-toxic-empire-20140924?page=3

    I will not vote for Fiorina knowing that she might possibly be carrying water for them. This sounds goofy, but after reading the piece, I am scared and angry about what these guys have done, and are capable of doing. The people they have bought off and paid to produce propaganda for them, from the highest level of academia to the highest levels of government, is horrendous.

    It would seem the Koch brothers’ father, who infringed on patents and sold refining equipment and techniques to Stalin, and helped start the John Birch Society, taught his sons well when it comes to cutting corners and buying themselves out of trouble. It also seems that the Koch’s are now using groups like Empower Texans to support candidates like Burton and move them rapidly up the ladder. The fact she fawns all over Cruz makes me wonder if Cruz is not the Koch’s main man.

    • NewWest 123

      Rolling Stone!? Please…. I wouldn’t open anything from these———! It might be an idea to find another source.

    • dave in texas

      Well, now that the Kochs’ previous main man, Scott Walker, is out of the race, you can bet that Senator Cruz is looking to scoop up a big chunk of that Koch cash.

    • PatBryanTX2

      The Koch have a broad media defense network. As you can see by the comments here. Some are from paid operatives. As for their pervasion of politics, please observe: why is the Keystone XL pipeline such an important issue by the Right?
      The Koch Brothers are the main leaseholdders of the Alberta Tar Sands. They own the tarsand liquification facilities. They will build the pipeline. They will own the pipeline. They own the refinery that the sludge will be piped to. They own the tankers that will ship the refined product overseas (which is where it is going) to outlets owned by the Kochs. So the KXL is a device to pump money into the Kochs’ pockets.
      You can tell if your representative is owned by the Kochs. Just look at their position on the KXL.

  • No I didn’t coach her, but Erica really hit it out of the park with this article.
    Cruz is smart and has one foot in the White House.

    • dkg453

      both, I hope!

    • BB53

      If he’s so smart, how come everything that comes out of his mouth is idiocy?

  • Sight2behold

    Not to mention the Liberty Caucus was created to get Paul elected!

    • Meat Fighter

      Cruz really has wide support with activists across the entire spectrum of the conservative movement. Pretty impressive.

      • Bad Blood

        As he is wont to say — he’s the only candidate in 2012 to receive the endorsement of both Ron Paul and Rick Santorum.

        People attack him as divisive, but he has a history (albeit short so far) of being able to build coalitions.

        • Indiana Pearl

          Ancient history . . . He’s burned a lot of bridges.

          • Bad Blood

            Apparently he has enough bridges to raise the funds it’ll take to have staying power and be competitive. You haven’t even seen him try to break out yet.

            He’s building a war chest, building out a ground game, and biding his time.

          • Indiana Pearl

            He has many enemies. How will he govern?

          • Bad Blood

            The bully pulpit of the American presidency is an incredibly powerful tool if wielded correctly. And if (and I’m saying if — not that it’s certain to happen), one is elected by a large margin, that offers a lot of political capital that is hard to ignore.

          • Indiana Pearl

            Let’s ask Obama about that . . .

          • Bad Blood

            Yes, lets. He used his capital to pass ACA without a single Republican vote. A highly polarizing law that played a major role in losing the House in ’10 and Senate in ’14.

            It’s not all his fault, for certain, but he didn’t do himself any favors with that.

          • Indiana Pearl

            It never would have happened otherwise. I wanted single payer, as do many Americans. The current plan is a stepping.

            Since O-Care was implemented, the rapid increase in health care costs has decelerated.

            No more Bush v. Gore, 5-4. It was a putsch and we all sat there and let it happen. Never again!

          • Bad Blood

            Whether or not it would have happened otherwise, that’s what he chose to use his political capital and his majority in both houses of Congress to do.

            And, if I recall correctly, it was promised not that the increase in health care costs would decelerate, but that families would notice a reduction in cost averaging $2,500 a year.

    • Erica Grieder

      ha, I didn’t even catch that. Poor Paul.

      • Bad Blood

        They can both argue about how much support each of them received, but I find it remarkable that over 40% of the Republican Liberty Caucus folks present who cast a ballot did not find Rand Paul acceptable. That’s his home crowd. That’s not good.

        • Erica Grieder

          Cruz is just arguing about who won, I think, to raise awareness of how close the margin was.

          • Bad Blood

            Right, and that makes sense. But what doesn’t make sense is how a movement/org created to support Ron has 4/10 NOT approving of Rand. That’s not good. He should have been 80-90+ one would think.

  • Rules of Blazon

    Here’s the state of the race right now:

    The 3 vanity candidates–Trump, Carson, and Fiorina–collectively are getting 50-60% of the primary vote.

    Bush is in high single digits, trending down; Rubio is also in high singles, trending up; and Cruz is getting mid-singles, like 5%, which he’s been stuck at since the race started.

    All the others have negligible (below 3%) support, and they’re all finished. It’s down to those six.

    At the bottom of those six is Cruz, whose biggest problem is his toxic persona. He only attracts the type of stupid person who responds well to televangelists, and there aren’t nearly enough of those to get him over the top. He won’t win a single state.

    It’s been a remarkably stable race, and Trump is the odds-on favorite. He, and not Cruz, will get the support of the Carson and Fiorina followers when they drop out, and that’s more than enough to win.

    As for the “temper tantrum” Trump has been throwing, it’s substantively the exact same campaign platform being spewed by the rest of his Republican rivals. He’s just better at selling it to the unfortunate souls who inhabit the cesspool that is the Republican electorate.

    • UncleBert

      I’m going to enjoy watching you eat a heaping helping of crow in about 13 months. How do you like it: BAKED, GRILLED, OR FRICASSEED?

    • Roy Lofquist

      The polls are all like garminschniggle. That’s right, nonsense. The response rate for polls is now under 10%. An honest poll would say Trump 3%, Carson 2.5%,… No Comment 91%. Note that Gallup and Pew, the oldest and largest polling firms, are not publishing polls in the primaries and are hinting at not participating in the general.

    • Tim Kinnaman

      You must be one of those Trump supporters mentioned in the article. A little mad that Cruz can stand on his own without Trump perhaps?

      • Bill

        You have exceptionally poor reading and comprehension skills. So you must be one of those Cruz supporters…

        How can you possibly read that person’s comment and come away with any comprehension other than they are a Republican hating liberal?

  • Hajjster

    Just a point on composition, I would have put the katamari reference at the beginning so all the post 30 readers that didn’t understand the Japanese verb katamaru wouldn’t have to wait until the end of the essay to figure it out. Otherwise, I agree, Cruz is going to win unless Trump can keep him at bay for the next 5 months.

  • horatio

    Shrewdness? How about shallow narcissim.

  • Bill

    Sorry, but you destroy any credibility you may have had with statements like “Donald Trump barreled into the race and started throwing a temper tantrum.”

    • Erica Grieder

      Thanks for sharing your views but I’m not accepting criticism in the form of meaningless cliches. “You destroy any credibility you may have had”: https://www.google.com/search?q=you+destroy+any+credibility+you+may+have+had&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8#q=%22destroy+any+credibility+you+may+have+had%22

      • Jed

        or any other form.

        • Erica Grieder

          lol. annoying, isn’t it?

    • Haldave

      But that’s what he’s done. A calculated temper tantrum (e.g., his ridiculous criticism of Megyn Kelly, apparently designed to keep the Donald at the forefront of the news; if that was his strategy, it worked), but a temper tantrum nonetheless.

      • dave in texas

        Just to be pedantic, I don’t see Trump’s behavior as a temper tantrum. It’s all been too calculated. I think we may just differ on the definition of tantrum, though. I always think of a tantrum as being more spontaneous. I see Trump’s campaign more as one long primal scream: LOOK AT ME!!!1!1!11
        However, I do think of the whole tea party “movement” as a temper tantrum, as a spontaneous combustion reaction to the election of Barack Obama.

        • Haldave

          I agree about Trump. He’s been playing the media like a violin. They know it, but they can’t help themselves getting suckered into his game.

        • BB53

          Trump is spontaneous about being an idiot.

  • If dems want to join the discussion, quit attacking Erica for her writing skills.
    if you want to discuss punctuation or how an article shoulda woulda coulda been written you’re at the wrong place. This is a political blog where we discuss politics.
    If you want to question facts or tell her she is flat out wrong as Jed likes to do. She will own you. Venture down that path at your own peril.

    • enp1955

      Not to put too fine a point on it, but I believe your post contains an incomplete sentence. Yes, we discuss politics, but an ability to use the language correctly does enhance the understanding and strengths of your arguments, whether I agree with them or not.

  • Rules of Blazon

    Another thing.

    Cruz has run only one real race: as the lone tea party favorite in a tea party cycle in Texas against a great big Republican establishment doofus. All credit to Cruz for seeing the opportunity, but come on, winning it wasn’t that tough.

    This race is different–much, much different.

    Cruz is undeniably very smart. But he’s not particularly wise, and there’s no reason to believe he’s some brilliant political strategist based on his one Texas primary win.

    Also, especially at the national level, politics requires people skills. Cruz doesn’t seem to realize that, and he sure doesn’t have any. Everyone in Congress–the very people he works with–hates him, and they’re not especially shy about showing it. He’s trying to parlay that antipathy into a selling point–“look at what an outsider I am”–but it hurts him. To win, he will need endorsements–but who wants to go to bat for someone they can’t stand?

    His followers are very devoted, it’s true. But to date he has been unable to grow their numbers. More candidate attrition may give him the best opportunity to do so, but I see nothing at all to suggest he will be able to take advantage of it.

    • Bad Blood

      Running and winning a race in a state where it costs over a million dollars a week to go statewide on TV when you’ve got 1) a limit of $2,500 per donor and 2) an opponent worth over two hundred million dollars who can self-finance isn’t a piece of cake. The path is more visible for the presidential race than it ever was for the Senate race.

      • Rules of Blazon

        You’re absolutely right that Cruz needed to raise a lot of money to become the credible tea party favorite in order to win the Texas race, and that not everyone would have had the ability to pull that off. But once Cruz reached the threshold of viability as a candidate, the race came down to tea party rising star v. establishment doofus, and there was never any doubt what was going to happen.

        As for the presidential race, what “visible path” for Cruz do you see, exactly? Erica’s “calamari strategy” or whatever she called it is neither extant nor plausible. All he’s doing is treading water and praying for a miracle.

        • Bad Blood

          I don’t think this race is all that dissimilar. Yes, there are a lot of candidates in the race now, but that won’t always be the case. Eventually, a lot of those people who want an outsider will, in my opinion, and in the opinion of quite a few other folks, start to coalesce around an “outsider” who actually has some experience in government — under the assumption that they’ll come to realize that this is no time for on-the-job training http://therightscoop.com/chuck-todd-the-ted-cruz-moment-is-coming/

          Perhaps it’ll happen, perhaps it won’t. Time will tell.

          • Rules of Blazon

            So your “visible path” is “maybe this will just happen eventually”? That was pretty much my point about Cruz treading water and praying for a miracle.

            In the meantime, here we are in mid-October, and Donald Trump holds a commanding lead over Cruz and remains in pole position, where he’s been ever since he entered the race. If there’s a plan of any sort to change this dynamic, I must have missed the memo.

          • Bad Blood

            “[M]aybe this will just happen eventually” was not my quote and I laid out some of my reasoning for why. In addition, none of the other top “outsider” candidates have demonstrated they can build a political organization to compete and win. Cruz has endeavored to do so, and largely has. That will start to matter more and more as we get to Iowa, South Carolina, and beyond. While we are getting closer, polls are still largely name ID contests conducted with too small of a sample of likely primary/caucusgoers.

          • Rules of Blazon

            Now you’re falling back on “the polls are wrong/don’t matter.” (And no, I’m not quoting you, just summarizing what you’re saying).

            I’m just not hearing or seeing anything about how Cruz (or anyone else) affirmatively changes–or can change–the dynamics of this race from one in which Trump leads significantly (which is, like it or not, reality) into anything else.

            Maybe a unicorn will slide down the rainbow tomorrow and Cruz will jump on its back and ride triumphantly through the gates of Jerusalem. But I think when we all wake up tomorrow morning–and the morning after, and the next one, and the next, etc.–Trump is still winning and Cruz is still losing. By a lot.

          • Bad Blood

            1) You put it in quotes — that implies you’re quoting me.

            2) And that’s not too far from what I’m saying. Go back in history and look at who was polling where at similar time points in the campaigns.

            3) Dismiss Cruz at your own peril.

          • Jed

            when does trump’s new show air? i’d peg his campaign to end shortly thereafter.

        • Jed

          when i see a list of states that cruz can win (right now not even leading texas?) i’ll start paying attention. unlike dems, republicans do a winner take all distribution of state delegates for the convention (unless they’ve changed that in the past couple years?), so coming in second in a state republican primary gets you diddlysquat.

          looks to me like it’s going to come down to the convention and what the early winners who subsequently drop out do with their otherwise useless delegates. i still say bush gets the nod, though it’s possible that trump, carson, and fiorina hand some delegates to cruz (i don’t think the above analysis gets that far, unless “supporters” meant “delegates,” and i think rand paul may actually be a more natural recipient of some of those delegates if he’s still hanging around).

  • nickthap

    George Will wrote the EXACT same column in the Washington Post a few days ago, Erica. C’mon. What is it with you guys and trying to convince people that Cruz is “shrewd” anyway? Methinks you’re putting lipstick on a pig.

    • Erica Grieder

      Was it about Cruz’s strategy? Asking because I actually wrote that column in March. (See above.)

  • ts gonna be a hoot tonight……CNN is estimating a lower rating for the DNC debate than for the republican debate. They are placing an empty chair on stage for Biden, trying to trick viewers into tuning in. That’s great another empty chair prez.

  • Hard to disagree with logic

    “It seems to me the only principled reason to be a Republican would be to stop, thwart and defeat Leftist ideas you’re opposed to. Therefore, what better standard by which to judge Republican presidential candidates than by who is the most committed to actually defeating the opposition?

    And who might that candidate be in 2016? Well, according to the man from whom much of today’s conservative multimedia empire originates, that candidate is Ted Cruz.

    “If you’re looking for the Republican candidate who is the most steadfastly opposed to liberalism, whose agenda is oriented towards stopping it, thwarting it, and defeating it – it’s Ted Cruz,” Mr. Limbaugh recently said on his popular radio program.”

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/oct/5/steve-deace-rush-limbaugh-right-ted-cruz-most-prin/

    • John Johnson

      Here’s what I want to know about Cruz…what are the specifics? His protege, in Texas Sen. Dist 10, Konni Burton, is FB’ing today talking about returning the U.S. to economic principles revolving around “free market principles and practices”. Does this mean she thinks government should stand back and watch, but not regulate? How about Ted? Anti-trust laws are not being unforced; Wall Street, Big Banking, Big Insurance…Big Everything…is already having their way with us. What is it specifically that Ted is proposing to do? To do away with? Anyone know?

      • Rules of Blazon

        Ted Cruz is proposing to do the exact same thing that every other Republican candidate is proposing to do: take away women’s rights, take away workers’ rights, hurt poor people, start a bunch of wars to be fought by poor people, deport lots of people, and preempt all federal, state and local laws with his warped version of Christianity. For starters. Then it’s on to ending all public education, making sure there are guns everywhere, taking away everyone’s health insurance, etc.

        • Haldave

          As opposed to every one of the Democratic candidates, who want to confiscate private property, tax everyone, glorify jobs but make it impossible for anyone other than the government to start, own or operate businesses that would provide them, confiscate guns, make religious expression of any sort at any place outdoors illegal, and make everyone wards of the state, etc.. Two can play the game of ridiculous hyperbole.

          • Rules of Blazon

            I summarized what Republicans are proposing to do. You, in trying to create a false equivalence, are the only one peddling ridiculous hyperbole.

            Republicans, you have to lie in the bed you made. Your candidates and officeholders churn out nothing but crazy, awful statements every single day. You can choose to own these things, or you can run from them.

            But you can’t pretend they don’t exist, and the “but but but DEMS DO IT TOO” distraction doesn’t work anymore except with journalists.

          • You summarized what dems tell you to say….how hard is that?

        • John Johnson

          OK…we all get it… you are not a big Repub fan. A more rational response was what I was looking for. If you insist on this type of stuff, I will revert back to my old ways and unload on The Worst President Ever by listing all his gross errors, outright lies and outrageous oversights. We can then move on to Reid, Pelosi, Kerry and Hillary. Let’s don’t go there.

          • Rules of Blazon

            I don’t care whether you like it. The fact is that Cruz, Trump, Rubio, Carson, etc. are all proposing, in substance, the exact same things. None has any constructive policy proposals, but all are champing at the bit to destroy public institutions that are vital for society to function, and to take invaluable rights away from millions of people in various ways.

            You understand the damaging stupidity of Konni Burton, so why is it hard for you to grasp that all the GOP presidential candidates are singing out of her hymnal?

          • John Johnson

            Konni Burton is not stupid…nor do I think she is evil. I simply disagree with her on some points.

            How do you know what they are proposing in detail? I guess you are the only one. They haven’t really said.

            I will also suggest that your lumping Trump in with the others is goofy. He is a proponent of reigning in Wall Street and Big Banking. He and Bernie are more closely aligned on some points than any of the other Repub’s are.

          • Jed

            what did he list that isn’t part of the party platform?

            this isn’t he said she said.

            the stuff is right there in writing.

          • John Johnson

            Oh, he lists some categories for discussion, but his statements are exaggerated. Agree or disagree?

          • Jed

            each one of those topics is based on a real life republican imperative.

            would republicans themselves phrase them all exactly that way? no.

          • John Johnson

            When words like “all” are used, it becomes hyperbole and, by definition, is seldom taken seriously.

      • Follow the constitution….wouldn’t that be a change from the last 20 admins?

        • John Johnson

          I would settle for another Teddy Roosevelt, the Pres who saved the middle class in America. It needs saving once again, and it was not accomplished by standing back with no government oversight and letting Big Money and Big Business have their way with us. We need another Square Deal. Of course, the ignorant public, made up of many TP supporters, is splashing in a pot of warm water right now, unaware of what will happen when the heat is turned up underneath them and this “free market principles” stuff comes to fruition.

    • enp1955

      And there would be the problem with the current state of politics. We view it as, “defeating the opposition”, not running the country, governing, or planning for the future.

  • Instant karma dems and well deserved. I’ve said Sen Cruz is not much different than the current prez. He hasn’t much experience, he’s a smooth lawyer, well spoken and smart.
    The difference? He supports and will govern by the constitution.
    Dems will not like that atall…..

  • nickthap

    At least some conservatives recognize the futility of the current national GOP project. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/13/opinion/the-republicans-incompetence-caucus.html?_r=0

    • Rules of Blazon

      That was a great piece. But, if/when Trump is the GOP nominee, David Brooks will change his tune and be full of reasons to vote for Trump over Hillary. It’s what they do.

      • Jed

        david brooks is a buffoon.

        • Indiana Pearl

          The Baggers call him a RINO. At least he had the courage to call this farce what it is — anarchy.

          • Jed

            they don’t like him because he writes for the nytimes.

            i don’t like him because he (a) has made a career out of commenting on made-up sociological trends, and (b) presents himself as a thoughtful moderate, when he is neither.

          • Indiana Pearl

            A couple of years ago, he advocated a “cadets de bonne famille” to run the country, basically an aristocracy.

          • Jed

            he’s always good for the flavor of the month, but never anything that withstands more than 30 seconds of critical thought.

  • Bodhisattva

    I admire Erica’s relentless efforts to make a case for Ted Cruz’s presidency, but I just do not see it. He may win the nomination, but Ted Cruz is an acquired taste, and I don’t think a majority of the American electorate will ever go for him.

  • enp1955

    The most concerning aspect of Cruz is that he puts ideology ahead of governance. Everything is black and white, right or wrong, and there is no room for any middle ground. Even as president, there are over 500 other people that directly participate in lawmaking in this country, but Cruz doesn’t really care. Things are either his way or they are wrong. Heaven help us if he or someone else of such unbending ideology becomes president. Even the sainted Ronald Reagan knew enough to compromise now and then.

    • Indiana Pearl

      He looks exactly like Joe McCarthy. Creepy.

      • enp1955

        Creepier still that he talks a lot like him.

  • John Johnson

    Anyone listening to Bernie last night had to take pause when he pointed out that the banks that were no longer going to be allowed to be in the “too big to fail” category are now larger than ever. His comments about the Big’s virtually controlling everything through bought votes and public perception molded by skewed studies, “reports”, and prognostications they paid to have created, were right on the mark.

  • Erica George Will validates your article

    “Nonvoting whites, especially those without college experience, are among Cruz’s principal targets. His geniality toward Donald Trump reflects the Cruz campaign’s estimate that perhaps one-third of the Trumpkins have not voted in recent elections. If so, Trump is doing downfield blocking for Cruz, beginning the expansion of the 2016 electorate by energizing people whose alienation from politics has made them nonvoters.”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/ted-cruz-calculates-a-path-to-the-nomination/2015/10/09/a5d6d3a6-6dff-11e5-b31c-d80d62b53e28_story.html

    • enp1955

      Nonvoting whites, especially those without college experience, is the group that is suffering from “somebody moved my cheese” syndrome. High paying, lower skilled jobs have largely disappeared, and too many people have become convinced that it is someone else’s fault – “who moved my cheese?”. Some on the far right have taken this mis-placed anger and promised that they can make the world perfect again for this group. Cruz and Trump come to mind. But it’s a scam. The economy is global, the U.S. economy is now more consumer based than production based, service sector jobs will never pay what production jobs paid, and the demand for lower skilled, locale-based jobs will continue to decline with advances in technology. You don’t have to like it, but you can’t deny it. And I can’t see anyone in the Republican party providing any relief, as they are all deeply in the pocket of the very people that took the jobs away in the first place.

      • Lowering taxes and cutting regulations don’t work?
        The things Milton Friedman could learn from you….

        • enp1955

          You might want to read a little closer. Lowering taxes and regulations will not bring back jobs that have been lost to automation and much lower wage countries. A lot of the people without college experience are not earning enough to pay income taxes, so no direct relief there, you can reduce payroll taxes to zero and automation is still cheaper than employees, so no direct relief there. Republicans have tried the idea that lowered taxes produces more government revenue, but that hasn’t worked in the past (or in Kansas currently), so no indirect relief there. And giving more power and money to the people that already have lots of power and money doesn’t help the cited target audience – white nonvoters with no college experience.

          As to old Milt, I’ve spent years writing and selling automation systems designed to eliminate jobs and make it possible for more jobs to be done remotely, and those programs work – they eliminate lower skilled jobs and push them out to cheaper labor sources. In theory, you could regulate that trend, but I doubt Milt would approve.

  • BB53

    I don’t think it’s right, putting a picture of Howdy Doody above a piece on Raffy Cruz…

  • enp1955

    I watched Cruz on Meet the Press today. His arrogance is breathtaking. He not only believes that he is absolutely correct in every opinion, policy and action, he will not even acknowledge that someone else might legitimately hold any different opinion or position.