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Ted Cruz Is Getting Serious

The Texas senator showed some intellectual muscle at last night’s Republican debate.

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The general consensus is that last night’s Republican debate, hosted by Fox Business, was a more substantive and serious affair than its predecessors. That impression may be a sort of optical illusion; the last time the candidates convened, they spent more time debating the moderators, from CNBC, than each other. And it’s a relative assessment, regardless: as long as Donald Trump remains a frontrunner for the nomination, he’ll have a place on stage, and no reasonable adult will likely confuse a Republican debate for a latter-day agora. The evening did, however, offer glimpses of a potentially functional national party, one that includes at least a couple of candidates who can acquit themselves credibly on live television.

No one, I think, had a better night than Ted Cruz, who showed more skill and sanity than his critics may have expected. Had I not covered Cruz prior to this year, I might be skeptical of both qualities too. Up to this point, he has made a relatively subdued impression on stage, and he has made common cause with some of the field’s ridiculous candidates. But his rhetorical talent and capacity for reason are undeniable. The following clip illustrates both:

The question was about entitlement reform, and Cruz’s answer begins with an awkward retread of a joke Marco Rubio made, to more endearing effect, at the CNBC debate. He quickly found his footing, though. His rebuke to Gerard Baker, the moderator—”You misstated what I’ve said on entitlement reform”—frames his answer as anodyne and soundly reasoned, regardless of what the mainstream media would have you believe. Having addressed entitlement reform, Cruz smoothly glossed over the moderator’s momentary digression—Baker had asked Cruz how his proposal would affect future retirees— skipping over a tricky issue in the process, and proceeded to offer his thoughts on immigration.

Cruz had clearly prepared for the question. His comments included a reasonably funny joke at the media’s expense. And though his analysis of the subject was necessarily short, it was shrewdly constructed. He offered a spirited defense of conservatives who oppose immigration, invoking wage effects and the longstanding Westphalian consensus against critics who would charge Republicans with bigotry. At the same time he affirmed that immigration should be understood as an economic issue, and reiterated his personal support, as the son of a legal immigrant, for legal immigration.

There was some sophistry in the answer, to be sure. The Harvard economist George Borjas, who is widely considered authoritative on the question of how immigration affects the American economy, would surely disagree with Cruz’s implication that unauthorized immigrants are the key culprit behind the “economic calamity” millions of native-born workers are facing. Though Cruz was correct to say that not all critics of immigration (or immigration reform) are bigots, he’s going to be in for a rude awakening if he thinks that none of them are, assuming he does manage to bring Trump’s supporters into his fold at some point.

Still, Cruz’s premises are reassuringly sound. Illegal immigration to the United States is, for the most part, an economic phenomenon. As I wrote in August, it’s been ominous to see so many Texas Republicans abandon that sanguine view of the subject lately; I was happy to see Cruz embrace it. It also struck me as auspicious that he corroborated a couple of conservative concerns on the subject. Barack Obama has often cast immigration reform as a moral imperative, and those of us who would like to see Congress pass comprehensive immigration reform would probably agree that America’s approach to immigration has moral implications. But a priori ethics are only going to get us so far. Illegal immigration is an economic issue, not a theological one. The conservative concerns Cruz referenced have moral implications too, and any president who wants to fix the system should be prepared to address them.

Obama took an alternative approach, and as the Fifth Circuit reminded us on Monday, it was a suboptimal one; even if the Supreme Court reverses the Fifth Circuit’s ruling, and allows Obama’s immigration program to be implemented, any presidential program is necessarily less durable than an act of Congress. With his skillful, smart performance last night, Cruz dramatized a political risk that Democrats had no real way of anticipating. If the Supreme Court does agree to take another look at DAPA, it will be early next year, at just about the time the Republican primaries reach fever pitch. Democrats may believe that the president’s executive order was morally defensible and constitutionally kosher. But Cruz, as it happens, has won this kind of argument at the Supreme Court. He can probably win it again in prime time.

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  • When I first met him I got the impression he was another Obama, a lawyer with no experience and we don’t need another pedant in the WH.
    Sen Cruz has impressed me with his intellect and his strategy. As a strategy guy I can see he has a serious shot at the presidency and must be taken seriously by the RNC, the republican insiders and his opposition.
    He will be a refreshing change for all Americans in 2016.
    Democrats know this and will try to burn down America before allowing him to become president. It will get nasty in 2016.

    • roadgeek

      I would actually watch a debate featuring Hillary Clinton and Cruz. Whatever else may be said about him, Cruz is very, very intelligent, and a skilled debater. He’d crush Hillary Clinton on the stage. As a president I think he’s an excellent senator, and he’s hopelessly weak on immigration, but I helped elect him to his current position, and I’ve had few regrets.

      • Erica Grieder

        Politico Magazine asked me and a bunch of other nerds to weigh in on this question last night–which of the candidates would be best equipped to beat Hillary Clinton in general election debates? I think Cruz:

        http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/11/who-can-beat-hillary-clinton-213346

        The only other answer that comes to mind would be Rubio. He’s been very good in these debates. But given the 2008 Democratic primary, there’s at least a known template that Clinton might use on “the Republican Obama”.

        • Unwound

          cruz will never ever be president. he may win the primary. but he has zero chance of taking the general.

          rubio is the on the dems should really be worried about.

          • TravisJSays

            Never say never. An articulate one-term Senator and Harvard law grad who is viewed as ‘extreme’ by ideological opponents can never be President? Really now.

          • Unwound

            Cruz has a constituency exclusively made up of tea partiers/vocal conservatives with zero crossover appeal. at least obama could branch out further than the dem base, and turnout people to the polls.

        • WUSRPH

          You obviously picked on style, not substance. But then perception is always more important that reality in such things.

          • you’re getting Trump and Cruz mixed up. Its ok an obvious rookie mistake.

          • WUSRPH

            She had to pick Cruz (or any of them in fact) solely on style and not on substance….because none of them have any of the latter.

          • what would a 47%er know about substance.

          • Indiana Pearl

            I enjoyed watching Trump’s dismay when Rand Paul schooled him about China’s non-involvement in the TTP. Another GOP “Oops!” moment . . . and Ben Carson thinks China is in Iraq.

            Cruz slipped in the stilleto about “sugar subsidies,” but the audience was too naive too know what he meant.

        • John Johnson

          I’ve got the same feeling about the two. They have the best chance to whip Clinton. I like everything Cruz is telling us except immigration. Still not sure what he is proposing. Deporting 11M sure is not going to work. Serving notice to big banks and Wall Street is a big positive; dumping special interest subsidies another. I would also like to know what happened to the expressed desire to become energy independent that was offered up for decades. Now Big’s want to export while still buying from the Middle East. Doesn’t make sense to me. They are shelling us with convoluted propaganda which doesn’t make any sense if analyzed. Of course, the average American is not going to take the time to do that. They eat whatever fed, if the smell is masked. The Big’s have mastered the technology.

    • WUSRPH

      Keep up the sucking up. He may agree to be photographed with you yet.

      • You believe the Beerman lie….shows how PT knew what he said when he said you can fool some all the time.

        • WUSRPH

          When it comes to believing Beerman or a person like you who consistently, to be polite, sees a truth no one else in the world can see….I’ll go with Beerman every time.

          It is funny it does not show up in the picture(s) of you I have seen, but when it comes to accuracy you certainly remind a lot of us of a little short thin guy with a club foot and a German accent .

          • and I mean all the time.

          • Beerman

            The troll wants to rewrite history. He seems to have forgotten his episode with Cruz’s campaign handlers at Cruz/GOP outing in Ft. Bend County several months ago?

          • Indiana Pearl

            My Ft. Bend contacts are keeping me up to date on Booksie’s MO.

          • Indiana Pearl

            Beerman, can you tell us the story?

          • Beerman

            The troll knows the story….seems it upsets the troll that Cruz doesn’t spend enough time with his supporters….

          • WUSRPH

            He doesn’t care about history….he sees it his way any way.

  • Savvyheat

    When Cruz is nominated and the General debates begin with Hillary (should she avoid indictment), he will take her down methodically with a laser like precision few have seen in public life…it will be a thing of beauty to watch.

    • jammerjim

      I wouldn’t bet on that. Clinton is a lawyer too, and just recently spent a whole day not getting a glove laid on her by a committee full of Republicans. The B team, for sure, but there were several of them.

      • Indiana Pearl

        First in her class at Yale Law.

        • Savvyheat

          Ahhh—The Yaley vs the Princeton/Harvard debating Champion—gotta admit that would be a couple of debates I’d pay to see—no problem!

          • Indiana Pearl

            Castro Brother in the background . . .

        • John Johnson

          She is a liar and law breaker. Anyone supporting her is a rube.

          • Indiana Pearl

            All the GOP candidates are fools or charlatans.

          • Unwound

            So youre voting for Carson then?

      • Savvyheat

        Well I actually did bet $125 on Cruz to win the nomination at Bovada.com back in January when the odds were 44 to 1. Let’s hope I get to collect :o) In terms of Hillary vs Cruz—Let’s agree it would be a Barn Burner! Maybe we’ll get lucky enough to see that…

    • Unwound

      lol

  • jammerjim

    Cruz throws the red meat the base likes. But that right there, no matter how often he manages to to sound reasonable in a debate, will sink him in the general.

  • WUSRPH

    So, he’s a good debater. Almost everyone knew that beforehand. He brags about it enough. HIs playing to the audience works every time. Whether it will work with Putin or with the Congress (a majority of whom already despise him) is another matter.
    The question is are his policies good for the country? Some of his statements—particularly on saving the banks–raise serious questions about judgment. The possibility of the economic disaster he so causally ignores shows a lack of any basic economic sense—assuming that is that he was serious and not just throwing a raw chunk the economically uneducated and uneducatable. Surely, with your background you do not think that was a rational position?
    His past comments about the unconstitutionality of all govt. health programs (including Medicare, Medicaid and the ACA-) from his Senate campaign should also be enough to frighten off many voters. And his eagerness to throw around threats of war with Iran should also give rise to real concerns.
    A good debater. Clearly. But let us hope that the voters make their decision on more than his ability to manipulate words and phrases. On that basis, he wins. On being right for America, he loses.
    P.S. I do not think you will find a single Democrat—including Obama–who would not prefer that immigration be settled with a congressional act. In fact, the President has challenged the Congress to act again and again.
    The problem is that Congress has failed to do so. Even when it came close—with GOP support in the Senate—the House leadership refused to even consider it. Or to even offer its own proposal in place of the Senate bill. It was not even willing to pass one of those bills it loves to pass for political points on other subjects sure that the Senate will kill them. Plus those Republicans who were willing to act were–and continue to be—attacked by the likes of the troll and company. The President felt that something had to be done to move the issue forward. He choose an executive order when Congress could not do anything. Time and the SCOTUS will tell us whether his act was justified and proper. But whether he is upheld or overruled, Obama showed leadership on the subject. Something we have yet to from any of the GOP candidates.
    The sad reality is that, to date none of the Republican candidates, including Cruz for all his verbal skills, has advocated any serious, workable plan on how to handle the more than 11 million illegal aliens in this county. The only one with even a suggestion of specifics is Trump with his “Deportation Force” that raises the specter of nighttime raids and doors being kicked in….. Rubio and Graham were leaders once, but now Rubio runs from his past. As with Cruz, the best they offer is political sound bites.

    • David Gilliland

      Cruz doesn’t believe that consumer protection laws should be enforced by the state – and at one time he was going to run for Texas AG. His policy views are not even slightly mainstream. I suspect he would argue that federal wage and hour laws and child labor laws are unconstitutional. If the media fails to disclose his radicalism, it is a disservice to the profession and to the country generally. He is not a nerdy, conservative, championship debater guy – he is a very intelligent right-wing radical with views very similar to members of the old John Birch Society. I’ll bet the Koch brothers know this.

      • WUSRPH

        He is clearly on record that he believes that ANY federal role in health care is UNCONSTITUTIONAL. That means no Medicare, Medicaid, ACA, numerous other federal programs and probably a good part of Social Security, etc. The man’s view of the constitution is pre-War of 1812, much less the Civil War. He brags about memorizing the Constitution when he was a little boy and being able to recite it word for word. The problem is that he may have memorized the words, but he appears not to have understood them. A parrot can probably do what he did….

  • Rules of Blazon

    I didn’t watch the debate last night. First one I’ve missed.

    From what I hear, it was a non-event because the moderators were afraid to ask any tough questions or followups.

    This means that last night’s debate — and all other GOP debates that follow suit — are unlikely to affect the dynamics of the race at all. Nobody cares unless there’s fireworks or gaffes, and now everyone knows not to watch any more GOP debates because there’s almost surely not going to be anything interesting to see when the moderators do nothing but fluff the candidates.

    To sum: another day passes with Trump in the lead, and that is very much what the foreseeable future looks like.

    Nice job, Republicans!

    • Indiana Pearl

      Like watching “Jeopardy” . . .

    • TravisJSays

      “From what I hear …”

      You heard wrong. It was the most substantive debate this primary season from either party.

      It was substantive in part because the moderators didnt try to insert themselves and let the candidates have time to express themselves. So, for example, Trump bloviating about China on TPP for 2 minutes and then Rand Paul interjecting that, well, China isn’t a party to TPP and is against our deals with their competitors, that punctured Trump more completely than any prior ‘gotcha’ question. ooops! IMHO, this was Trump’s worst debate.

      The commentary in the above article is on-target. Cruz will improve his polling in the wake of this debate. Cruz did the best. Rubio is consistently good and did well. Jeb and Rand Paul did better this time than prior, and Trump and Kasich both overplayed themselves and looked worse for it. In particular though you got substantive differences – military spending, how to deal with illegal immigration, dealing with Putin, entitlements, Dodd-Frank and bailouts, etc. that showed where candidates stand – JMHO.

      • Rules of Blazon

        The most buzz Cruz is getting from the debate is for bungling the five federal agencies he’d get rid of. Rick Perry redux.

        I really don’t see this debate impacting the polls. I think Carson will start to slip after getting pummeled in the press last week, but there’s no obvious reason to expect much movement — up or down– from anyone else.

        • John Johnson

          What a weak retort. You running out of steam?

          • Rules of Blazon

            I’m just not passionate about which of the clowns ends up driving the car. They’re all essentially the same. It’s been somewhat interesting watching the race take shape, but it really seems to be settling in.

          • John Johnson

            Yeah, one of the clowns is going to run against a habitual liar and woman the FBI is going to be taking a closer look at. Can she run if under indictment?

          • Rules of Blazon

            Ask Rick Perry or Ken Paxton.

          • Indiana Pearl

            Bingo!

          • Jed

            wind him up and watch him go.

            wonder how many “WPE’s” in a row we can look forward to …

            two seems like a gimme. shall we go for three?

          • John Johnson

            Hahaha. Good one.

  • WUSRPH

    This is the same man who in his Senate campaign (debate in Houston with the Democratic Candidate) said he believed that ALL federal health related programs were UNCONSTITUTIONAL. That means Medicare, Medicaid, ACA and large parts, if not all, of Social Security.

  • WUSRPH

    One little note….The principle of the Treaty of Westphalia was overturned by the precedents established by League of Nations and again by the International Military Tribunals at Nuremberg and Tokyo and the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but it was a nice try.

  • sagest

    Not sure how you missed this…but let me help you:
    https://www.tedcruz.org/five-for-freedom-summary/

  • Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz was asked to rate the next president

    “U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas): “Off-the-charts brilliant. And you know, liberals make the terrible mistake, including some of my friends and colleagues, of thinking that all conservatives are dumb. And I think one of the reasons that conservatives have been beating liberals in the courts and in public debates is because we underestimate them. Never underestimate Ted Cruz. He is off-the-chart brilliant. I don’t agree with his politics.”

    and the current president

    “There was also the Harvard Law student who couldn’t get into a Dershowitz class despite multiple attempts: Barack Obama.

    “Twice because the computer kept him out,” Dershowitz said. “It wasn’t my fault.””

    Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/columnists/michael_smerconish/20140406_The_Pulse__Dershowitz_and_his_life_at_Harvard_Law.html#T8F8jOAejTTEpHxX.99

    One has to wonder if one had white privilege and the other was denied by the computer because of skin color.

  • Indiana Pearl

    Michael Medved, conservative talk show host:

    “”Ted Cruz had some good lines, as always, but his melodramatic, stagey, preachy delivery undermined him at every turn. He offered oratory more than answers, and bore an uncomforatble and unctious resemblance to a rising televangelist asking for contributions to his ministry.”

    —— Politico

    • TravisJSays

      “Cruz really won tonight. He had just a stellar performance. Every word was memorable. Every line was precisely delivered. His defense of his tax plan was solid.” – Erick Erickson

      [email protected] scores big (hits 98) with ‘I’m tired of being told I’m anti-immigrant. It’s offensive.’ Actually outscores Trump on immigration.” – Frank Luntz

      “I think it goes Cruz, Rubio, Fiorina.” – Bret Baier

      “Cruz is showing why so many insiders think he’ll eventually be in the final two or three when the field winnows” – Chuck Todd

      “I think that is the best moment Ted Cruz had in the debate last night was talking about immigration in the way he did.” – John McCormack

      • Indiana Pearl

        You missed the point.

        I read the whole article. Don’t need to re-post it.

        Not every conservative loves Ted.

        • TravisJSays

          most observers, even those not supporting Ted Cruz, considered his performance in the last two debates quite good.

          • Indiana Pearl

            He talks good, but he’s a dead ringer for Joe McCarthy.

            I was impressed with Rand Paul last night. He is in possession of the info wants to convey and didn’t seem to be making a speech all the time.

          • WUSRPH

            No one questions his skills as a debater. He brags about it enough in his bio ,etc. But there is much more to being a president than knowing how to play to an audience. It helps with TV audiences and some voters who do not dig beneath the surface, but it won’t do him that much good with Putin or with a Congress, most of whose members detest him already. He is eventually going to have to start getting specific and explaining some of his statements. That is when we will find out enough about him to make an informed decision. I only wish one of the questioners had the strength to follow up one of his ducks with “That is all very interesting Sen. Cruz, but would you now answer the question I asked?” (Actually, it would be nice if they did this whenever any of the candidates, including Cruz, clearly ducks answering the question. The studio audience will howl in support of the candidates, but at least the nation can see who is ducking answering the tough ones, assuming they get any such questions. )

          • TravisJSays

            “He is eventually going to have to start getting specific”

            He has, in spades, and this and the rest of your comment is completely meritless. You are talking about a strawman you’ve made and not the real Senator Ted Cruz.

          • WUSRPH

            I have read his campaign site positions. I see few specifics. But we all know the devil is in the details.

            More important is that many of his positions are bad for America. Such as his—self proclaimed in 2012—position that ALL federal spending for health care is UNCONSTITUTIONAL. That means Medicare, Medicaid, ACA and much of Social Security as well as dozens of other programs.

            Similarly, the other night he said he would have let the nation’s financial system collapse on itself if he had been president in 2008.

            These alone…plus his distorted sense of the Constitution…are enough reasons to oppose him by themselves. And that does not even consider his clear inability to work with anyone on anything.

          • Unwound

            So you like working for his campaign then? Pays well?

          • Jed

            is that directed at TravisJ or EricaG?

          • Unwound

            TJ

    • Beerman

      Cruz and his father are “scammers much like a long tradition of cult leaders, televangelist, and other snake-oil salesmen using right-wing ideology as a cash cow.”

  • “The indications of the strength of Cruz’s operation and the shrewdness of his positioning are mounting.

    He had more cash on hand at the end of the third quarter than any other Republican.

    He has major super PAC backing.

    He assessed the anti-establishment mood in the party more accurately than any of the other traditional Republican candidates.

    He reacted to the rise of Trump very deftly for his purposes.

    He has seen a couple of key potential competitors, Scott Walker and Rand Paul, either hit a wall or badly underperform.

    He has a discernible ideological and geographic base.

    He has, relatedly, a path to the nomination that is simple and intuitive (win Iowa, consolidate the right and beat an establishment that might be too fractured and unpopular to prevail this time).

    He lights up pretty much every conservative audience he addresses.

    He is an excellent debater, and he simply doesn’t make tactical or rhetorical mistakes.

    And yet, while many of these qualities are duly noted, he doesn’t really get his due. Why? For a number of reasons.

    The political press corps made up its mind about him — too divisive — as soon as he showed up in Washington, and has never entirely gotten over its dismissive treatment of his campaign.

    Cruz has never mounted a John McCain-style charm offensive with reporters, most of whom, it is safe to say, find him personally off-putting. And he is hated with a burning passion by his party’s own elite.

    The appeal of Cruz’s conservative populism is lost on most reporters and political insiders, who have a natural reflex to roll their eyes at the message and the messenger.

    Cruz is not as interesting as Trump and Carson, and he doesn’t feature in any intrapersonal drama like the Bush-Rubio mentor-mentee showdown. (The rise of Trump also happened to roughly coincide with Cruz’s second-quarter fundraising report, dampening the impact of what was a herald of the robust state of his campaign.)

    Finally, he is graded on a bit of a curve. He routinely performs so well at Republican cattle calls that his standing ovations tend to get discounted.

    Cruz is hardly a cinch. Trump and especially Carson are significant obstacles for him in Iowa. His theory that he will inherit Trump and Carson’s support if the outsiders deflate is too simplistic since both Trump and Carson have appeal across the ideological spectrum of the GOP. So is his schematic of the Republican race as coming down to two candidates, one representing the conservatives (him) and someone representing the moderates.

    Nonetheless, it should be obvious to any fair observer that Cruz is a serious threat for the nomination. Be warned, and get over it.”

    Read more: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/11/get-over-it-ted-cruz-is-a-real-threat-for-the-nomination-213351#ixzz3rHmbLpwn

    The appeal of Cruz’s conservative populism is lost on most reporters and political insiders and democrats , who have a natural reflex to roll their eyes at the message and the messenger.

    Politico

    remember you heard it first from meNerica…….

  • Watch the amazing footage of grandma dodging sniper fire in Bosnia……

    • John Johnson

      What a hoot. The woman is habitual.

      • Indiana Pearl

        Ben Carson says he tried to hit his mother with a hammer.

        Ben Carson said he attempted to stab someone.

        Ben Carson said he was offered a scholarship to West Point.

        We’ll leave out the stuff about the pyramids and space aliens . . .

        • John Johnson

          Who is Ben Carson? Why are you dwelling on him?

          • Indiana Pearl

            He lied.

          • we know one clinton was impeached for lying under oath…..can we get a twofer

          • WUSRPH

            Weapons of mass destruction…

          • but you did because you can’t control yourself…

          • John Johnson

            No, he didn’t. Semantics.

          • WUSRPH

            The pyramids were giant grain elevators?

          • John Johnson

            Really? I didn’t know that. Compare that to “Mrs. Smith, we are going to punish the videographer to the fullest extent of the law for causing the death of your son”….or “what difference does it make?”…or “Yes, Mr. Ambassador, it was an Al Qaeda faction” …or “I have turned over all the emails” …or “None of the emails sent on my private server contained classified information”…or…or…or…

          • WUSRPH

            In fact, according to a report last week, the CIA has found that NONE of the e-mails sent on her private served contained classified information. Some of it became classified LATER, but it was not classified at the time. (The govt. has this habit of after-the-fact classifying things.)

          • John Johnson

            We’ll what is the FBI doing?

          • Indiana Pearl

            Don’t bother him with those pesky details.

          • Indiana Pearl

            You missed the pyramids theory? JJ, where have you been for the last two weeks, watching Fox News?

          • TravisJSays

            And if he keeps it up, and his current rate in 1,000 years he’ll have lied as much as Hillary Clinton has.

          • WUSRPH

            Because he is running substantially ahead of Cruz and the rest of them (except The Donald) in virtually every poll but the Texas GOP primary poll. That means his views (if you can find out what they area) and his clear disregard for facts and total lack of knowledge on most of the issues is IMPORTANT. Of course, it is “still early” and Trump and Carson may fall by the wayside after Iowa and New Hampshire. But what happens it that does not occur? This guy could by YOUR candidate for president…and it is important that the public and you understand what he “is all about”.

          • John Johnson

            Yes, I will…and to call him a liar when he called an appointment to West Point a scholarship instead is disingenuous and weak. I just read a book on the integration of my hometown and found all sorts of quotes and recollections that were debatable from the way I remembered it. Contrast that to Hillary’s chronicled lies with tangible evidence of same, and you have no comparison. That will not stop you from tilting with windmills. It’s what you liberals do.

          • WUSRPH

            If you check you will find that I have never called him a lair. Misinformed, uninformed, unqualified, etc., etc. but not a liar. The very fact that you could consider voting for a man with many, many less qualifications than a president you hate, says something about you.

            Of course, all of us hope you never have to make that ridiculous choice.

            As to not remembering it they way other people did…One reason is because you were a youngster and not exposed to many of the things going on or being said.

            People who claim “you don’t know….I was there” many times turn out to have less knowledge of what was really going on than those who can look at it without the built-in tendency to see it only from their own viewpoint. That is one of the first lessons anyone who studied history (and the tools necessary to write it) discovers very early. (Remember the old fable about the group of blind people trying to describe an elephant by each one touching parts of it.)

            We also discover not to just listen to what a man says (as you are doing with Cruz) but to look beyond that to past statements and positions and/or his refusal to answer. The fact that he deliberately ducked the question on how his changes in entitlements would affect current retirees is a warning to anyone who wants to know what he really believes or intends. But, of course, he always tells it like it is…doesn’t he?

          • John Johnson

            I never said you called him a liar. Others have.

            If he is the GOP nominee, I will vote for him, if Hillary is the Dem nominee.

            I was 16 when we intergrated.

            I have asked specific questions today about Cruz’s positions and how to find out what they are. Go to his website and you have to “sign up” to find out. That stinks. No amnesty? Stupid. Energy? Don’t know. Healthcare? Don’t know. Foreign policy? Don’t know.
            Who am I going to vote for? Don’t know.

          • WUSRPH

            From the sites I have visited and from what he has said…

            Immigration: He says no amnesty…but does not say what is to be done with the 11 million here. At one point in his career he was quoted as saying they all had to go home to their home countries and apply for readmission. SURE that is going to happen. He is not clear on employer sanctions. It is not mentioned. Increase agents “enforce the law” whatever that means. Repeal Obama program.

            Energy: Favored both the Keystone Pipeline and repeal of the crude sale ban. Opposes incentives for green energy. Repeal most environmental regulations.

            Health care: Will repeal ACA (Obamacare). Unclear about what he would do for the millions that had no coverage before it. He Is on record as saying that any federal program in the health area is “unconstitutional”…..That would apply to Medicare, Medicaid, ACA and a bunch of other stuff if he were able to implement his belief. Not likely that could happen.

            Foreign Policy: Says he will junk the Iran deal “the day he takes office”…but that will be nearly two years after it went into effect. Talks tough.

            Taxes: Abolish the IRS and progressive income tax; replace it with a flat tax that has all persons paying the same rate. Results in a major tax cut for the wealthiest and only a little, if any, relief for the lower income groups. Massive increase in the deficit unless matched by equally massive budget cuts. Outlined a program this week to abolish some federal agencies (including consumer protection) and programs which he claims would save $500 billion OVER 10 YEARS.

            Social Security, etc : Raise retirement age, cut benefits for future retirees. No pain to us current. But he ducked a specific question on this at the debate…..At least partial privatization of social security.

            ‘the Bigs’: Repeal Dodd-Frank and consumer protection agency laws. Would have let banks fail….which means he would have stood by while the financial system imploded. Wife is on campaign leave from a major finance firm.

            Most of what you will find on his site or elsewhere will be generalized statements of intent without specifics. But that is to be expected from almost all of them. (Hillary has a few specifics on taxes, etc.)

            As to Carson as a liar—to me “liar” implies a deliberate false statement or deliberate mangling of the truth to deceive (similar to many by the Troll). I do not think Carson is such….He is just badly informed and badly educated on many subjects……Pyramids as grain elevators is a good example. He is also not careful with his language…”Scholarship” to WP, etc.

          • John Johnson

            If what you say manifests itself when he is forced to get more specific, I will not vote for him. No way to break up families who have been here for generations. The patriarchs or matriarchs might have broken the law, but we aided and abetted.
            The Dodd-Franks paperwork and regs are atrocious; get rid of it and reinstitute Glass-Stegall and watch banks squeal. No way to repeal Ocare without a plan. Getting rid of IRS and combining other agencies is good. I’m not interested in unfettered growth and waste by the Pentagon nor in nation building, nor continuing to pump billions into foreign bases. Paul may be more my type of guy.

          • WUSRPH

            CORRECTION:
            Based on Erica’s new post, when Cruz says he is against Amnesty….He apparently does not mean it. He is on record as supporting letting the 11 million stay….the only distinction is that he would not let them have a path to become citizens. But amnesty is amnesty however you describe it.

            This, of course, is a man who always says what he means.

          • John Johnson

            Yep. Clear as mud. Is citizenship “amnesty” or is allowing them to stay “amnesty”? Any overlap? Disingenuous? Misleading? “Semantics”? “No big deal”?

          • Indiana Pearl

            “Liar” was not a word I used, but I question his memory. You call. HRC a liar, but give Ben a pass. Why is that?

          • John Johnson

            Because she is; he’s not. Her’s are document and in black and white. Show me where his are more than hearsay or semantics. He will not be the GOP choice. Much ado about nothing.

          • Indiana Pearl

            Books and films by/about Carson refute your argument. I’m tired of doing your homework.

            You’re right in that he’s unlikely to get the nomination. It IS SOMETHING to be ADO about because it reflects what the lunatic fringe in America finds acceptable as a president.

          • Jed

            the “lunatic fringe” that accounts for almost 30% of our population.

          • Indiana Pearl

            Only 30%?

          • John Johnson

            “Lunatic fringe”? Is that what you are calling those of your ilk? It fits.

          • Jed

            does this mean you don’t understand what quotation marks mean, either?

          • John Johnson

            you can’t get a rise out of me, Jed. You are an angry man stewing way, way over there to the left. There will be a lot more punctuation errors from me, misuse of periods, quotation marks and the like. It will give you something to do. No “thank you” necessary.

          • John Johnson

            Give me tangible evidence and quit using what some hack has written as “proof”. They have copies of emails showing Clinton lied. Got anything like that on Carson. Furthermore, this is moot. He will not be the last man standing on the GOP side.

          • Indiana Pearl

            Those e-mails have been proven false. Unless you’re a Dittohead . . .

          • John Johnson

            Whaast??? The ones to Chelsea and the Egyptian Ambassador?

          • Jed

            if you won’t call him a liar, i will. all these untruths are coming from the uy’s autobiography. his entire life story is made up. wat are these if not lies? he can’t honestly pretend that he’s been talking about this stuff for decades, but he only just now remembered that none of it was true.

            i am not familiar with the “proven” lies from clinton i keep hearing about, but presumably that’s because i get my news from outside my own head.

          • John Johnson

            Semantics.

          • Indiana Pearl

            Retraction: I did say he lied.

          • John Johnson

            How about you just admit that your pick for Prez is a liar and I will concede that Dr. Carson is?

          • Indiana Pearl

            Oh what a dilemma???? “Semantics”? No, convenient memories . . .

          • John Johnson

            Forget I said anything about semantics with respect to Carson. Just answer my question. If I concede that he is a liar, will you acknowledge that Clinton is, too?

          • Indiana Pearl

            What are the consequences if I do?

            Mama didn’t raise an idiot . . .

          • John Johnson

            It just shows that you are capable of objective thinking and not a total ideologue.

          • Indiana Pearl

            HRC lied about being under fire in Bosnia. Neither you nor I know what is in the e-mails. You believe she lied. I am not privy to those e-mails and neither are you, so I’m not willing to jump on that bandwagon.

          • John Johnson

            Catch up, Pearl. They put blown up copies of the emails on the screen in the Senate hearing when she was testifying.

          • Beerman

            JJ/Pearl, name one politician that is not/was not a liar, in some form or fashion, in the history of our country?

          • Indiana Pearl

            You’ve got that right!

          • Indiana Pearl
  • nickthap

    You’ve got to be kidding Erica! That debate was softball city. None of any of the candidates’ answers stand up to any serious scrutiny, including Cruz’s word salad on foreign policy issues.

    • dave in texas

      Of course it was all softballs; the candidates successfully “worked the refs” by complaining that the previous softballs weren’t soft enough.

      • Indiana Pearl

        The Angry White Guys forget that 53% of the elctorate is female. Not one GOP candidyae supports reproductive rightsfor women – not one.

        • John Johnson

          And 100% of your 53% do not support abortions or the mutilation of fetuses. What about this do you not understand? I’ll explain it to you.

          • Indiana Pearl

            You can’t explain what is not true.

          • John Johnson

            OK, let me reduce it down for you…53% of the electorate is female…56% of these 53% are pro-choice, according to you link. No Repub candidate is going to get that 56% of the 53% to vote for them. They aren’t worried about it. Got it?

          • Indiana Pearl

            So you believe all GOP women are pro-life?

            Not doing your homework anymore . . .

          • WUSRPH

            Of course, not all GOP women are anti-choice….but as they have demonstrated in recent elections—including Wendy Davis’—-there pro-life feelings are apparently not strong enough to make them vote for a candidate who does not share their ideological views. But there are too few that make this “single issue” determine how they vote. They vote their pocketbooks, etc. rather than their pro-choice views because they think that that the SCOTUS will protect that position. They may start voting pro-life if and when the SCOTUS switches…but as of now they will worry about that tomorrow. The last time any substantial group of Texas GOP women voted across party lines in Texas was in 1990 when many in places like the Dallas-Ft. Worth suburbs voted for Ann Richards over her “good old boy” semi-sexist GOP opponent…However, they abandoned her in 1994 when the GOP candidate (Bush) did not seem to be as bad on that subject. Wendy thought she could appeal to them….She could not. A few may vote for the “first women president’,…but not enough to change the voting patterns where they live.

          • Indiana Pearl

            See above.

            I’m talking about general election.

          • John Johnson

            Which makes no sense whatsoever.

          • John Johnson

            Thank you for helping me explain.

          • Indiana Pearl

            Texas is not the only state in America. Think ahead, please! Until the GOP modifies its stance on women’s reproductive rights, it will go the waynof the dodo bird:

            http://www.texasobserver.org/rosie-jimenez-abortion-medicaid/

          • Indiana Pearl

            Here’s an informative book about the legal aspects of abortion in America prior to Roe. Until the 1850s, abortion was not criminalized, then physicians pressured legislators to make it a crime. In the 1950s physicians saw the effect of botched abortions and again pressured lawmakers to decriminalize the procedure.

            Who has the chops to read it?

            Before Roe v. Wade: Voices that Shaped the Debate Before the Court’s Ruling (Greenhouse, Siegel, 2015)

          • John Johnson

            Damn, Pearl…the link you brought to the discussion stated that 56% of the 53% of all voting women are pro-choice. It does not say whether or not they are Dem or Repub. You originally threw the 53% of the electorate out there like they were all going to vote Dem because they were all pro-choice. End of discussion.

          • Indiana Pearl

            Over 30% of GOP women are pro-choice. The war on women is going to cost GOP a lot of votes. Several of GOP candidates would deny women the right to choose, even to SAVE HER LIFE?

      • Jed

        the closest the moderators came to asking a real question was when the woman in the middle (name?) opened with a remark that clinton has a better resume than any republican candidate. she was trying to lead into a question about qualifications, why they are(n’t) relevant, etc.

        but the crowd immediately started booing at any non-disparaging mention of clinton, so that was the end of that. all the candidates were visibly relieved that the crowd had spared them the need to respond to reality.

        the whole thing reminds me of dad pitch little league. except these aren’t 6 year olds.

        • Indiana Pearl

          Bread and circus . . .

        • nickthap

          The GOP are not doing themselves any favors by coddling their candidates and their base this way. They’re heading for a major meltdown in 2016, and like 2012 none of them can see it.

  • Cruz is for real, Rubio and Trump? Carson and Firiona VP material.
    Now the race starts, time to start paying attn, and choose our next prez.

  • John Johnson

    Let me get this straight…the WPE announces this very morning that ISIS is “contained”? Can we survive the next 14 months with him at the helm? Will we have openly helped ISIS agents enter the country during this period as refugees while we quibble over social issues? I could go on. We are stupid. Our President is a loon.

  • Beerman

    Oops, forgot about George!