Cruz, Paul perform as well.12:12 PM, Jan 26, 2015 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
Rancho Mirage, California
Three top Republican senators joined top center-right donors Sunday evening for a lively, informal discussion on politics and policy to cap off a weekend that effectively marks the kickoff of the 2016 presidential primary. In oversized white chairs on stage at the Ritz Carlton Rancho Mirage, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio fielded questions for nearly 90 minutes from Jonathan Karl of ABC News, who capably pushed the potential candidates for responses on a wide range of issues.
The discussion came as part of a weekend seminar for wealthy conservatives and libertarians sponsored by Charles and David Koch and was livestreamed by ABC News.
There were few differences between the three senators over the first half of the discussion, which focused largely on domestic policy. On tax policy, none of the three said they would take the deal offered to GOP primary candidates in 2012 – $10 in spending cuts for every $1 of tax hikes. Cruz mocked the premise and suggested that it’s a question that only the media love. Rubio argued that even with the kind of cuts and tax hikes the question assumes, the U.S. government couldn’t “set aside” the looming entitlement crisis. Paul used the session to urge Republicans in Washington to take a bolder approach to tax reform, saying that if the GOP spends its time just fighting for “revenue neutral tax reform” he might as well return to his medical practice in Kentucky.
If the forum was characterized by agreement on domestic policy issues, the stark differences between Paul and Rubio on foreign policy were obvious. Karl asked specifically about Cuba policy and noted that Paul has voiced support for the Obama administration’s new approach. In an argument that echoes Obama’s, Paul argued that it’s time for a change after fifty years of a failed Cuba embargo. As he has before, Paul once again suggested that those who disagree with him are driven primarily by “emotion.” Rubio countered by accusing Paul – and Obama – of misunderstanding the purpose of the embargo, noting that the Castro regime confiscated property of many Americans during the revolution. Cruz, for his part, reinforced Rubio’s arguments and cited his family’s ties to Cuba.
The sharpest differences came during the discussion of Iran. Paul again supported the Obama administration’s case that even talking about additional sanctions could threaten the delicate talks. Invoking Ronald Reagan and the Soviet Union, Paul touted the benefits of talking to your enemies and suggested that Cruz and Rubio were out of step with the Republican icon. Rubio scoffed at the suggestion that triggered sanctions are too tough. The Obama administration, he argued, is too solicitous of the Iranian regime. It’s hard to have serious negotiations with the mullahs, Rubio added, in part because of their apocalyptic views of a world that fails to embrace Islam.
If the first half of the discussion was a draw, Rubio stood out in the discussion of foreign policy and national security. It was clear that he has a command of the issues that far surpasses both Paul and Cruz – a fact that’s perhaps not surprising given Rubio’s service on both the Senate Foreign Relations committee and the Senate Intelligence Committee. Rubio demonstrated a fluency on matters of national security that one might expect from a senator who has been in Washington much longer than four years.
Cruz hasn’t focused on national security issues the way Rubio has, but articulated positions that put him squarely in the mainstream of Republican thinking on those issues, and did so in a way that distinguished him from the views of his friend and frequent ally, Paul.
Paul showed no reluctance embracing the positions of the Obama administration, even before an audience that was very skeptical of the case he made. Both at the forum here and more generally, Paul is offering a less-crazy and more politically saleable version of the non-interventionism championed by his father. While the media have long predicted an emerging non-interventionist wing of the GOP, there did not appear to be many sympathetic to Paul’s case, with audible opposition to his arguments on Cuba and, in particular, on Iran.
4:54 PM, Jan 13, 2015 • By DANIEL HALPER
Ted Cruz released this statement in favor of moving the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to that nation's capital, Jerusalem:
Dec 29, 2014, Vol. 20, No. 16 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
"Ted Cruz, by the way, is not a Harvard man. He’s Princeton,” [Prof. Harvey] Mansfield said. “Just going to Harvard Law School does not make you a Harvard Man. [Tom] Cotton is a Harvard man. [Ben] Sasse is, too. Elise Stefanik is a Harvard woman. The others are mere alumni.” (“Harvard’s Conservative Cabal Takes Congress,” Daily Beast, Dec. 17).
5:28 PM, Dec 15, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
In one final ignominious act of parliamentary genius, outgoing Senate majority leader Harry Reid rolled Republican troublemaker Ted Cruz of Texas over the weekend, robbing the GOP of a chance to stop Democrats in the lame-duck session.
11:47 AM, Dec 5, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
At a Washington, D.C. event hosted by the Foreign Policy Initiative, Senator Ted Cruz defended the use of drones but also expressed some concern. "I'm worried about what I would call video game warfare," said Cruz in response to a question about drones.
11:45 AM, Dec 2, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
An event, sponsored by Concerned Veterans for America and THE WEEKLY STANDARD, featuring Senator Ted Cruz, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, Rep. Tom McClintock, Bill Kristol, and more: "What Should Modern American Foreign Policy Look Like?"
3:27 PM, Nov 20, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Texas senator Ted Cruz took to the Senate floor to speak out against President Obama's executive amnesty. He did so today by quoting at length from Cicero:
7:40 AM, Nov 5, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
In a live interview late last night on CNN, Texas senator Ted Cruz refused to commit to supporting Mitch McConnell for majority leader in the Senate.
"You are now going to be in the majority in the United States Senate," said CNN host Wolf Blitzer. "Quickly, will you support Mitch McConnell as your leader in the United States Senate?"
It’s not easy protecting the Christians of the Middle East. Sep 22, 2014, Vol. 20, No. 02 • By LEE SMITH
Last week, Senator Ted Cruz helped unmask an organization ostensibly founded to protect a Middle East minority. When the Texas legislator, the keynote speaker, asked the gala dinner audience comprising mostly Middle Eastern Christians at the In Defense of Christians conference in Washington to stand with Israel, many hooted and booed him off the stage.
4:28 PM, Jul 18, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
It's still a year and a half before the first presidential primaries of 2016, but Gallup has a new survey out asking Republicans and Democrats about the potential GOP candidates. Analyzing those candidates' familiarity and favorability among Republicans, Gallup has discovered the best known and best liked are former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, Kentucky senator Rand Paul, Wisconsin congressman and 2012 vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, and Texas governor Rick Perry.
9:34 AM, Apr 23, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Texas senator Ted Cruz has endorsed Ben Sasse in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate in Nebraska. From the Sasse campaign announcement:
“I have gotten to know Ben Sasse, and while Nebraskans have good choices, Ben is the strongest conservative voice running for United States Senate,” said Sen. Cruz. “Ben will not be just another vote in the Senate – he will be a leader in the fight to stop the Obama agenda and repeal ObamaCare from day one. We need strong reinforcements like him in the United States Senate.”
Mar 24, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 27 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
Liberal media bias is such a fact of life The Scrapbook can’t get exercised about it every day. But there are two subjects in the news a lot in which the fourth estate’s inability to play fair is never less than appalling: Senator Ted Cruz and abortion. Last week, the Associated Press tried to cover both at the same time, and the results were spectacular. Here is the opening paragraph of Philip Elliott’s dispatch:
The Ted Cruz-Rand Paul foreign policy split. Mar 24, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 27 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
Ted Cruz is not in a fighting mood. The Texas senator is sitting in a booth at the Capital Grille, an upscale restaurant on Pennsylvania Avenue, about halfway between the Capitol, where Cruz works, and the White House, where many suspect he’d like to end up. His jacket is off, his light blue tie is tucked behind his crisp white dress shirt as he casually picks at the salmon filet on the dinner plate in front of him and sips a glass of Pinot Noir.
6:33 PM, Mar 8, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Sarah Palin, inspired by Ted Cruz's reading of Green Eggs and Ham during his filibuster last year, re-wrote the Dr. Seuss classic to whack Uncle Sam at CPAC today: