Monday, November 02, 2015

Toilets May Flush Themselves When Marco Rubio Walks By, But Ted Cruz Will Own The Worthless Nomination


The only poll that I know of that came out after the GOP debate in Boulder, NBC's, indicates to me what I saw during the debate-- not what the mainstream media says I saw-- that Ted Cruz made the biggest impact. In the last NBC poll, Cruz was at 6% among Republican voters. After the debate he was up 4 points to 10%-- a gigantic jump and the most significant movement of the 2 week period. Rubio, who the corporate media immediately crowned the winner, didn't move at all. He had been at 9% and he remained at 9%. Trump was down slightly from 28 to 26%, tied for first place with Ben Carson, who went from 23 to 26%. Fiorina has sunk back into nothingness, down 2 points from 6% to 4% (after having peaked at 11% in mid-September). Jeb was static at 5, Christie and Rand Paul were both static at 2% and Kasich and Huckabee each sank from 3% to 2%. While the media made a big noise about Lindsey Graham winning the kiddie table debate, he was also static... at zero. Bobby Jindal joined him at zero, down from 1%.

When only Republicans who were aware of the debate were asked, "From what you have heard and read, who do you think won or did the best job in the Republican debates?" Cruz did best at 24%, followed by Rubio at 20%, Trump at 17%, and Carson at 15%. And when asked who did the worst, it was Jeb by a mile-- 38%, followed by Trump at 9%, Rand Paul at 6%, and Kasich and Graham tied at 5%. Cruz's campaign took in $772,000 in the first 12 hours after the debate, $1.1 million by evening. So when do Carson and Trump become this year's Herman Cain?
[S]ome Republicans are beginning to wonder how long the Texas senator can sustain his strategy of not taking the offensive against Carson or Trump. The two have liberal positions in their pasts that would be a feeding frenzy for a candidate like Cruz in any other scenario.

"Unless Ted Cruz himself and his campaign or his super PAC decides to let Iowa voters know about where Ben Carson has stood on several public policy issues, they will not know about it," said Jamie Johnson, a social conservative activist from the Hawkeye State who worked on Rick Perry's 2016 presidential campaign. "Senator Cruz has to make a decision: Will he maintain his present campaign strategy in hopes that Ben Carson will fizzle out or fade away and that Donald Trump will continue to drop, or will he be more assertive in going after Carson’s and Trump’s voters?”

For now, the focus is on Cruz's guns-blazing performance Wednesday night, when he tore into CNBC's moderators, saying their questions show why Americans don't trust the media and demanding a more substantive discussion. Inside a focus group convened by veteran GOP pollster Frank Luntz, the moment rated an average of 98 on a 100-point scale among both conservative and moderate participants.

"He had the best reaction of any debate performance that we’ve measured in any campaign-- ever. It’s really that simple," said David Merritt, a managing director at Luntz's polling firm. "He literally almost broke the dials."

...Like their boss, Cruz's surrogates were reluctant to specifically talk about Carson and Trump after the debate. Miller said the attention and coverage Cruz receives from his Boulder performance-- "He will have a really good next couple days"-- may lead more voters to examine his record and see him as the "original outsider."

The debate featured Cruz in a reliable comfort zone: bashing an industry that is loathed by much of the GOP base. On the campaign trial, Cruz's flair for media criticism ranges from the facetious-- he routinely jokes reporters will "check into rehab" when he becomes president-- to categorically dismissive. Stumping earlier this month in Iowa, Cruz flatly told reporters the political preferences of the "mainstream media are not in line with the American people," and in post-debate interviews, he has suggested replacing future moderators with conservative pundits Sean Hannity, Mark Levin and Rush Limbaugh.
The corporate media seems to be firmly behind Rubio as the Republican who can give Hillary the biggest challenge, biggest challenge in terms of how media can gin up enough excitement to profit from the whole shebang. Back in May, the NY Times coverage-- even before Rubio got his unsightly bald spot "take care of"-- was already covering him on a matinee idol level.
They use words like “historic” and “charismatic,” phrases like “great potential” and “million-dollar smile.” They notice audience members moved to tears by an American-dream-come-true success story. When they look at the cold, hard political math, they get uneasy.

...Democrats express concerns not only about whether Mr. Rubio, 43, a son of Cuban immigrants, will win over Hispanic voters, a growing and increasingly important slice of the electorate. They also worry that he would offer a sharp generational contrast to Mrs. Clinton, a fixture in American politics for nearly a quarter-century who will turn 69 before the election.

Just a matter of time
...Steve Schale, the Florida strategist who wrote the “Marco Rubio scares me” blog post, said that when he worked for the Democratic leader of the Florida House of Representatives, his boss, Dan Gelber, had a saying about Mr. Rubio’s effect on crowds, and about his sincerity: “Young women swoon, old women pass out, and toilets flush themselves.”

And Mr. Gelber himself recalled the day in Tallahassee, Fla., in 2008 when he and Mr. Rubio, then the speaker of the State House, gave their farewell speeches. He spoke first, followed by Mr. Rubio, as Mr. Gelber’s wife looked on.

“She’s sitting there weeping,” Mr. Gelber recalled, still incredulous. “And I look up, and I mouth, ‘Are you kidding me?’”

Mr. Gelber praised Mr. Rubio’s ability to use his family’s story to convey compassion for people marginalized by society, but he said he believed, as many Democrats do, that this was disingenuous.

“It’s a little maddening when his policies are so inconsistent with that,” Mr. Gelber said. “My head would explode.”
Trump had a more realistic take on Rubio's looks:

Right from the get-go, I've been dismissive of Rubio, fairly certain that the surly, brainwashed Republican base would eventually recognize Tailgunner Ted Cruz as it's very own candidate. No one could have predicted the rise of Trump and Carson, but those two anti-establishment cartoon characters only reinforce the likelihood that Cruz will be the GOP nominee. They won't last and as they lose strength, the kind of morons attracted to them will find Cruz just what the doctor ordered. The establishment will try it stop him, probably with Rubio-- the governors Jeb, Walker, Kasich, Perry, Christie all having spectacularly failed-- but young women swooning, old women passing out and toilets flushing themselves is not exactly what the angry, frustrated, self-righteous Republican base is looking for this year and all that Singer, Adelson, Rove and Koch money isn't going to trick them into another McCain or Bush or Dole in 2016. As Julie Pace wrote for AP yesterday, Cruz is "casting himself as the conservative the party's right flank has been waiting for-- someone who's both uncompromising and electable."
With the Feb. 1 Iowa caucuses approaching, Cruz aides say they see an opportunity to form a coalition of tea party supporters, evangelicals and libertarians. Cruz is a tea party favorite and aides say he is having some success drawing libertarians unimpressed by Rep. Rand Paul of Kentucky.

Evangelicals, however, are up for grabs, with Cruz and Carson competing for support with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

If Cruz can unite those three voting groups, aides say it would put him in a strong position to go head to head with the candidate that emerges as the choice of the party's more moderate, business-focused wing.

...Beyond Iowa and the other early voting contests, Cruz is focusing significant attention on the Southern states that vote in early March. The campaign sees the conservative-leaning states as fertile ground for the Texas senator and believes victories there would set Cruz on track for the nomination.

The 44-year-old Cruz was elected to the Senate in 2012 and quickly established himself as a thorn in the side of Republican leaders. He was a driving force in the 2013 partial government shutdown and Republican efforts to tie funding the government to starving President Barack Obama's health care law of money. To that end, he conducted a 21-hour filibuster on the Senate floor.

While Cruz has made his share of enemies among establishment Republicans, his willingness to take on his own party is seen as an advantage among voters who believe the GOP leaders compromised too much since taking control of Congress.
My happy ending is that for the very reasons that Cruz is the likely candidate of the delusional Fox News/Hate Talk Radio crowd, he will not just lose the general election, but drag the entire Republican Party down the toilet with him-- with historic losses in the Senate, the House, and in the states.

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At 6:56 AM, Blogger Steve M. said...

I agree with you that the wingnut base saw Cruz, not Rubio, as the most appealing candidate in the debate. But the widespread belief that Carson and Trump will inevitably fade seems supported only by the sense that they just have to, because, well, it would be nuts if they didn't. I think if one fades, the other will rise -- it's just not enough of a fuck-you to the system to vote for Cruz, because he's still part of the system, and Trump and Carson aren't. Cain in 2012 is not a good comparison -- the fuck-you vote four years ago was smaller (not the 60+ percent it is now) and Cain was way too vulnerable on sex issues (which are easy for voters to understand). Carson could be brought down by a sex scandal, but that doesn't seem to be a problem for him. Snake oil peddling won't hurt him. And Trump has scandal Teflon -- the vioters know he's a sinner and don't care. His only weakness seems to be that he's dialed down his demagoguery -- if he goes back to the red meat of the summer, he'll stop his slide (which isn't much of a slide anyway).

Cruz would have won this in the absence of Trump and Carson, but it's true -- he needs to attack them, and he's made a strategic choice not to. That's his downfall.


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