GOPocrisy — March 10, 2014

How to enjoy Ted Cruz and Rand Paul destroying each other


cruzpaulIf 2012 was the year of the “clown car,” the 2016 GOP presidential primary will be Reservoir Dogs.

And the dogs have already started circling, as two savvy yet vicious politicians recognize the Tea Party is only big enough for one filibusterer.

For the past few years, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul pretended to be friends and kept their divisions mostly private. Cruz opportunistically joined Paul’s drone filibuster. When Paul — like most of America — recognized that a government shutdown would only help Cruz, he leaked his opposition yet stood with the junior Senator from Texas in public.

But recognizing that Senator Rand Paul was about to win the CPAC Straw Poll for the second year in a row, Ted Cruz began trumpeting a subtle attack on Paul he first made to donors last year designed to exploit what could the Kentucky’s senator’s biggest weakness.

“On one side you have the views of John McCain. The other end of the spectrum, you have the views of Rand Paul,” he said. “Now, with respect, my views are very much the views of Ronald Reagan, which I would suggest is a third point on the triangle.”

By pushing Paul to left and humbly exalting how strong the Reagan is in him, Cruz reminds Republican donors of Paul’s father’s non-interventionist foreign policy, which is far more developed and well known than Rand’s nascent attempt to frame himself as a proponent of a sort of non-aggressive soft power, though it’s really just cranky isolationism clouded by some Republican rhetoric.

Paul’s popularity comes entirely from his ability to get Republicans to side with him on libertarian issues they wouldn’t normally embrace because they presented new avenues to attack President Obama. So when the debate becomes forward looking without Obama to bash, Paul will be vulnerable.

But Rand Paul is a gifted right-wing politician bent on the belief that he can expand the appeal of the party while edging Cruz out to win the Tea Partiers and evangelicals who make up about half of GOP primary voters.

On Monday, Paul went on the attack. He published an op-ed in Time where he said, “I wouldn’t let Vladimir Putin get away with it” and simultaneously went into the right-wing sewer of Breitbart to point out something Republicans rarely mention — President Reagan retreated from Lebanon after a bomb killed 241 Marines.

This broadens a Republican foreign policy debate that’s been caught up in a miasma of John McCain listing countries he’d like to invade and Mitt Romney spouting nonsensical boasts about wanting to double the size of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.

This will force Cruz to retaliate. And as anyone knows, Cruz’s attacks are not dependent on reality or logic. He’s spent the last year arguing that the only thing that keeps Obamacare from being repealed are weak Republican leaders, knowing that’s blatantly false.

One thing should be clear: Ted Cruz doesn’t lie because he’s dumb. He lies because he’s brilliant.

(He’s also eligible to run for president, a point Democrats should immediately concede even though Cruz’s citizenship is far murkier than Obama’s because birtherism is inevitably racism.)

Cruz knows that Republicans pick their heroes almost exclusively based on how easily they infuriate Democrats, and he’s as gifted at the art of nurturing grievance as the women who helped make him — Sarah Palin.

Rand Paul aims to build a Republican coalition unlike any that has ever existed. He believes he can bring young people to the Republican Party with a few issues like drug and prison reform while selling evangelicals in a way his father never did using issues like the “worldwide war on Christianity.”

Both men ultimately agree on most everything.

They want to cut government so that it’s small enough to justify the huge tax cuts they imagine. (Though Ted Cruz has wisely not put out a plan explaining that he would immediately privatize and raise the retirement ages for Medicare and Social Security, as Rand Paul has). Both men are with the less than 20 percent of America who believe abortion should be illegal, even in cases of rape and incest.

Defense is the one issue where there is a real fissure between Cruz and Paul and it’s the most combustible issue there is, with shrill screams of “weak” or “warmonger” inevitable. The candidates won’t have to make these charges themselves. As we learned from 2012, the finest work will be done by Super PACs.

Rand Paul and Ted Cruz are in the Senate because of their talent at attacking Republicans. Now that they’ve admitted that they need to destroy each other, GOP politics is about to become interesting again.

In 2012, Newt Gingrich attacked Mitt Romney for being a vulture capitalist. In 2016, we may get Rand Paul calling out his party’s neoconservatism.

This is how Republicans help Democrats win.

[Image by @jonkarl via Twitter]

  • Jason Chilton

    Better they destroy each other than they destroy America.

    Who’s got the popcorn?

    • Colleen Phillips

      Obama’s already done an awesome job of destroying America – he doesn’t need any help from Republicans.

      • Filthy Liar

        Please explain how America is destroyed.

        • judyms9

          He destroyed America by not letting Republicans win the Presidency twice in a row. When they’re not in charge America is automatically destroyed, especially when the Republican wars are ended by the America Destroyer.

        • Colleen Phillips

          1. Added 6 trillion to the National Debt in 4 years after calling Bush “irresponsible” and “unpatriotic” for adding 4 trillion to the debt in 8 years.
          2. Food stamp enrollment up 70% during Obama 1st term. Now 50 million on food stamps & for the first time in history, working age Americans make up the majority.

          3. Workforce participation rate lowest in over 40 years. Unemployment lower because so many have given up looking for work.
          4. 40% of recent college graduates unemployed – millions forced to move back in w/ parents.
          5. Changes to Rules of Engagement under Obama TRIPLE the casualties in Afghanistan war. Ex: My son-in-law and his unit sent out on foot patrol to make friends with the locals and ordered not to shoot anyone. Six in his unit, including him, step on IEDs and have various limbs and body parts blown away. In contrast to their 1st deployment, when they were engaging the enemy in fire fights.

          6. Obama alienates our allies and apologizes to our enemies. His obvious weakness (ala Jimmy Carter) emboldens our enemies, and unrest and conflict break out all over the Middle East. First successful terror attack on U.S. soil since 9/11 (Boston)
          7. 4 Americans, including Ambassador, brutally murdered in Benghazi. For weeks, Obama admin tries to blame attack on anti-Muslim video. Subsequent investigation shows that Obama admin knew attack was preplanned terrorist attack unrelated to video. Prior requests for additional security were denied.

          8. Under Obama, IRS targets conservative groups, and claims targeting was the act of rogue employees in Cincinnati. Investigation shows this to be false. Employees in multiple locations were ordered to do so.
          9. 8 billion tax dollars wasted on bankrupt “green energy” companies.
          10. Draconian regulations from EPA destroying coal industry.
          11. Guts our National Defense, shrinking the Navy to 1910 levels, and slashing military budgets.

          12. Obamacare, his signature legislation, results in millions losing their coverage, millions more see premiums increase, enrollment website is an unqualified disaster, majority of enrollees are Medicaid not paying customers. Estimates of program costs triple. Obama wins Politifact 2013 “Lie of the Year.”
          13. Obama promises transparency, but instead is seen as the most secretive administration ever, according to NYT editor and many other prominent journalists.

          BTW – keep an eye on the market, the only thing that appears to have improved under Obama’s reign. QE to the tune of 50 billion/month artificially props up the market. Corporate America has no confidence – refuses to hire, invest, or expand. Look for high inflation and market plunge during the next few years. They can’t keep printing dollars forever.
          Sorry, “Filthy Liar” – there is so much more, but have to go to work now.

          • A Real Libertarian

            “First successful terror attack on U.S. soil since 9/11 (Boston)”

            What about the Anthrax Mailer? Or the DC Sniper?

            And who took out Bin Laden?

          • Colleen Phillips

            Guess it depends on how you define “terrorist” attack. The Anthrax guy was a mentally ill American, and it was never established that he had any ties to terrorist organizations. His notes, which appeared to be pro-Islam, were really written to include a code expressed in amino acid sequences, and in the D.C. sniper case, his motive really turned out to be that he wanted to kill his ex-wife and cover it up by making it look like part of a larger attack. And yes, Bin Laden was killed during the Obama administration, and it looks like that will turn out to be his sole accomplishment, since everything else he has done has harmed the U.S. and weakened our positions all over the world. His weakness and groveling has emboldened our enemies everywhere. Obama is like the Rodney Dangerfield of the World Stage. Embarrassing!

          • A Real Libertarian



            FYI, Bruce Ivins did it because his targets were pro-choice.

        • Progressive Republican

          Don’t hold your breath waiting for it. Scoring some of her hallucinogens might help, though.

          • wifather2000

            Is a progressive republican one with indoor plumbing?

          • Colleen Phillips

            No, anyone who calls him/her self “Progressive Republican” is a Liberal Troll. And please rock on with your idiotic stereotypes of conservatives as ignorant redneck trailer trash, clinging to their guns and religion. It’s so inanely stupid, it’s hilarious! Count me in! Here Ah yam, doin’ target practice offa mah back po-urch. Hot dang! Ah woke up them coon dogs snoozin’ in the back uh mah ole truck, up on blocks in the front yard!

          • Colleen Phillips

            Wow – I love these screen names. “Filthy Liar” is honest at least. “A Real Libertarian” and “Progressive Republican” though? Come on! Anything but! More likely “Liberal Trolls” as near as I can tell. I don’t play childish games – I am who I say I am.

          • wifather2000

            And who and what are you besides a bloviator?

  • Filthy Liar

    I don’t think the coalition that Paul’s hoping for actually exists. I really don’t think he’s going to be able to reach Millenials by promising to relax on a couple of social issues but clamp down on stuff like abortion. I also think his worship of the free market isn’t a belief shared by sane people.

  • Common Sense

    Technically… Cruz isn’t eligible yet because he still has his Canadian citizenship. My hunch is that the reason he had to hire a team of lawyers to complete what should be a simple 15 minute task via a website… is that his mother was either in Canada far longer than the “automatic American” citizen at birth; they can’t document/verify her residency; or there is an issue with her own American citizenship.

    I’m not going all “birther”, I’m just stating it is a very puzzling delay. To be honest nothing would make me happier than to see Cruz get the nomination because it would undoubtedly result in a landslide victory for the left.

    • Progressive Republican

      I’d rather see Paul get it. He’s [guano]-crazy, but some of his positions might force the Dems closer to real progressivism: something America needs desperately.

    • A Real Libertarian

      “I’m just stating it is a very puzzling delay.”

      No it isn’t.

      Cruz has to go someplace for healthcare if he manages to repeal Obamacare after all.

  • Progressive Republican

    “This is how Republicans help Democrats win.”

    One can only hope.

    Now if we could get a Sanders/Warren ticket going…