Ted Cruz put on a show when he won the Iowa caucuses. The impression was that of a rookie football player dancing in the end zone after scoring a touchdown. In the NFL, teammates stop an exuberant player from celebrating too long and being penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct. The stage at his victory speech was full of Cruz backers, but nobody stopped him. He danced for 32 minutes.
The advice to rookies from football veterans is when you score, act like you’ve been in the end zone before. Cruz didn't. He claimed the 28 percent of the Republican caucus vote he received sent a message to the world that "morning is coming." Not quite. He likened himself to Ronald Reagan. But he was very un-Reagan.
Cruz relied almostRead more
Des Moines, Iowa
The shorthand understanding of the likely three-man race for the Republican nomination goes something like this.
Donald Trump is the populist outside agitator, running on economic nationalism and against the entire political system. Ted Cruz is the antiestablishment crusader, running on sharp intellect, eager confrontation, and ideological purity. And Marco Rubio is the conventional candidate, running on optimism, easing our anxieties, and repairing old divisions.
Cruz and Trump are often lumped together as “outsiders" or "antiestablishment," manifestations of the anger and frustration of the Republican base.Read more
In the aftermath of the 2012 election, conservatives/Republicans generally split into two camps about where the movement or party needed to head next. One camp thought the key was to do a better job of making the case for conservative principles and policies (and to do a better job of developing specific policies consistent with conservative principles), especially to Main Street Americans, many of whom are blue-collar voters.
This camp was particularly frustrated with Mitt Romney's failure to fight on the issue of Obamacare or to champion a conservative alternative to it, and it argued that Republicans couldn't win national elections without advancing a conservative message that would appeal to the old Reagan Democrats.Read more
Winners and losers from Iowa, ranked:
Ted Cruz: The big winner, obviously. Because Cruz didn’t just stake his campaign on Iowa, he vanquished the ogre. And the win is much more important because Cruz had to take the state back from Trump. Cruz can now legitimately claim to be the Donaldslayer. It also validates his organization, his data operation, and his GOTV plans. All in all, Cruz couldn't have asked for a better night.
Except for one thing: His victory speech was a trainwreck. It was 32 minutes long when Fox cut away from it—the other networks bailed earlier, when Clinton came out to talk.Read more
The Ted Cruz campaign bus got stuck in Iowa mud and needed to be towed.
Time magazine's Phil Elliott caught a picture of the bus and noted,
"Paging the Department of Metaphor? Ted Cruz campaign bus stuck in mud, needs towed.Read more
Watching the Republican debate tonight, I couldn't help but think,
"For of all sad words of tongue or pen, The saddest are these: 'It might have been!'"
What we saw tonight was what the Republican race might have been without Donald Trump. The debate was substantive, the candidates were reasonable, a viewer didn't feel embarrassed to be a Republican, and indeed one felt—at least I felt—that several of the candidates, including the top two, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, would do fine against Hillary Clinton.
Could the consequence of the debate be to begin the deflation of the Trump balloon? I'll grant that I may be indulging in wishful thinking, but I think so.Read more
With Donald Trump skipping the debate to consort with Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum (because he cares so very much about veterans), Ted Cruz had a golden opportunity to make a strong closing pitch to Iowa voters. He missed it.
Cruz started out strong, with a clever line about Trump’s patois. But after that he failed to hammer home the difference between himself and Trump. Instead, he was dragged into debates about foreign policy and budget bills and immigration poison pills. Maybe Iowa voters will absorb the contrast—that Cruz has a grasp of policy and Trump doesn't implicitly. But maybe not.
As a tactical matter, it wasn't a bad performance from Cruz. He held his own against the other six candidates onRead more
Donald Trump may have the media attention, the lead in the national and early-state polls, and increasingly the air of inevitability as the Iowa caucuses approach. But one thing he doesn’t have, says a top advisor for Ted Cruz, is the ability to get enough supporters to caucus on February 1, many for the very first time.
"Senator Cruz will have met personally more people in Iowa than have seen Donald Trump at his events combined," said Rick Tyler, the campaign's communications director, in an interview with THE WEEKLY STANDARD Tuesday. That personal connection with the state's regular GOP caucusgoers, he argues, is the key to winning Iowa's quirky presidential nominating contest.Read more
The latest ad from the leading presidential candidate, Donald Trump, accuses the next best candidate, Ted Cruz, of being "pro-amnesty." Cruz is also labeled "Pro Immigration" in the ad.
"Clear Difference" is the name of the ad.
The 60-second is meant to highlight "Trump Vs Cruz on Immigration," as screen text indicates.
"Trump Will End Illegal Immigration, Trump Will Secure Our Borders," the Trump ad claims.Read more
North Conway, N.H.
Ted Cruz is running late. This is not a good start for the Texas senator, whose campaign has scheduled six events for him today all along New Hampshire’s eastern border. Cruz is in the middle of a five-day tour, rambling down the rural roads in a bus emblazoned with "Cruzin' to Victory" and "Trusted," with the last three letters—T-E-D—in red.
When the bus at last pulls up near the front window of Zeb's Country Store, a charming kitsch and candy shop in this ski-resort town, there's a mixture of excitement and relief among the voters and reporters waiting inside. That dissipates when the next person to walk in isn't Cruz but one of his chief advocates here, formerRead more
With very little warning, the Republican primaries began in earnest at the Charleston debate on January 14, closing out a year of fundraising and polite jockeying. What had once been a field of 17 declared candidates—with 8 or 10 of them being serious, substantive contenders—was, by the end of the night, whittled down to three men, each of whom has drawn a bead on the weaknesses of the others. The months of nice-guy, look-to-the-future optimism are over. It will be three-way siege warfare from here to Cleveland.
Of course, for the moment it looks like a two-way fight. Donald Trump commenced hostilities in the week leading up to the debate by questioning whether Calgary-born Ted Cruz is constitutionally eligibleRead more
This is MSNBC: a primetime interview of a puppet dog smoking a cigar. The exclusive was Lawrence O'Donnell's, who interviewed Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog. The puppet is a creation of comedians Conan O'Brien and Robert Smigel.
The MSNBC guest mocked Ted Cruz, his wife Heidi, Sarah Palin, and of course Donald Trump.
The puppet had attended a Cruz event earlier in the day and said it wanted to ask Cruz this question: "Ted, your wife works for Goldman Sachs, Ted.Read more
The battle between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz has finally begun. A few thoughts on this long-anticipated fight:
(1) The timing is noteworthy. Whereas other candidates—above all Jeb Bush—have been trying, with limited success, to hit Trump for some time, Cruz has held back. Here's why: The decision-making process of primary and caucus voters must dictate the timing; they are only now beginning to engage, so now is the time that attacks can really influence the outcome.
Consider, for instance, the late movements in Iowa in 2012, when Rick Santorum came out of nowhere to defeat Mitt Romney narrowly. Consider also 2008. Even though Mike Huckabee had already broken away by this point, there was still notableRead more
Presidential candidate Donald Trump told ABC's George Stephanopoulos that he'll consider filing a lawsuit against Ted Cruz regarding his U.S. citizenship. Trump made the comments after Stephanopoulos asked whether he'd sue.
"That sounds like a very big case. I'd do the public a big favor," Trump told the ABC host. "It's a good idea. Maybe I'll talk to them about it. I'd like to talk to Ted about it, see how he'd feel about it. Because you know, when I file suits, I file real suits.Read more
A confession: I didn't wake up at 4:00 am here in Israel in order to watch last night's Republican presidential debate. A further confession: I can't say I regret that decision. But it does mean my judgment of the debate, which follows, is based on reading the transcript rather than watching and rather than seeing others' immediate reactions to the debate.
On the other hand, there's perhaps a compensating advantage in a little geographical and temporal distance. It means I'll ignore the theater critic aspects of the evening—"A won this exchange with B," "that was a great comeback by X against Y"—which can seem interesting and important in the immediate aftermath of debate, but usually end up not mattering much overRead more
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