Thursday, December 03, 2015

Rubio Is 5'10" And Cruz Is 5'8"-- Can You Picture A Cage Match?


It's a big if, but if the Republican Party can somehow put on its Big Boy shoes and get rid of Trumpf, the race for their presidential nomination would boil down to a battle we're seeing play out recently between the two right-wing Cuban-Americans, a Texas neo-fascist and an overrated young fogey from Miami. Relative to Trumpf's overt viciousness, it's been a relatively genteel affair, at least superficially, with the 2 camps sticking to battles over immigration, national security and taxes and staying away from childish Trumpf-style personal attacks, bullying and narcissistic-inspired insults. Trump, though, is watching and enjoying, he says.
"I’ve been watching this little debate between Rubio and Cruz, and I loved it because I haven’t been so involved," Trump said on MSNBC. "It’s the one thing I haven’t been involved. Can you believe it? And they seem to be attacking themselves very strongly because somebody wants to be standing to challenge me," he said.
The first clash was over immigration, an obvious weak spot for Rubio because of his work with Chuck Schumer and the Gang of 8 and his subsequent confusing flip-flopping on a comprehensive immigration plan-- in part, his plan which passed the Senate and was never taken up by Boehner because of threats from the Freedom Caucus or Liberty Caucus or whatever the Know Nothings were calling themselves that week. Rubio's bill, which includes a path to citizenship, is considered "amnesty" by hardliners and Cruz decided to exploit that and attack Rubio. If Cruz thought he was going to knock Rubio out of contention with the amnesty charge he must have been shocked when someone with a brain in the Rubio camp came up with a counter-attack, painting Cruz as weak on immigration because he favors-- or at least used to-- work visas for foreign nationals who took less money than American workers. Both camps are attacking and backtracking and making a mess, though few people are paying close attention, while Trumpf still dominates the media coverage of the Republican primary.

Rubio, a neocon and very typical GOP chickenhawk, struck back at Cruz by lumping him in with Rand Paul and with Democrats who want to end unconstitutional wars and unconstitutional domestic spying, both of which Rubio aggressively favors. A secretive, dark-money Rubio super-PAC ran TV spots smearing Cruz and conflating a vote he took on domestic spying and protecting the 4th Amendment with the Paris terror attacks. A Cruz SuperPAC, Courageous Conservatives PAC, which has also attacked Lindsey Graham, struck back at Rubio and pressed every right-wing button in existence:

In an interview with Sahil Kapur for Bloomberg, Cruz made the case that Rubio, on foreign policy, is just Hillary Clinton with pants instead of a pants suit. Cruz told him that "Rubio emphatically supported Hillary Clinton in toppling Qaddafi in Libya. I think that made no sense. Qaddafi was a bad man, he had a horrible human rights record. And yet... he had become a significant ally in fighting radical Islamic terrorism. The terrorist attack that occurred in Benghazi was a direct result of that massive foreign policy blunder."
[Cruz] portrayed himself as a third way between the stalwart, non-interventionist views of Senator Rand Paul and pro-interventionist policies in pursuit of spreading democracy and human rights through the Middle East that Rubio espouses. Cruz's belief is that trying to democratize those societies can be counterproductive and that U.S. military power should be focused narrowly on protecting U.S. interests.

“If you look at President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and for that matter some of the more aggressive Washington neo-cons, they have consistently misperceived the threat of radical Islamic terrorism and have advocated military adventurism that has had the effect of benefiting radical Islamic terrorists,” he said.

On Syria, Cruz inveighed against Rubio and Clinton, Obama's former secretary of state, for supporting a no-fly zone and arming “the so-called moderate rebels.” “I think none of that makes any sense. In my view, we have no dog in the fight of the Syrian civil war,” he said, arguing that Rubio and Clinton “are repeating the very same mistakes they made in Libya. They've demonstrated they've learned nothing.”

“The enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend,” Cruz said. “If the Obama administration and the Washington neo-cons succeed in toppling [Bashar al-] Assad, Syria will be handed over to radical Islamic terrorists. ISIS will rule Syria.”

... Cruz said his decision-making test on military action would be about whether there's a “real threat” to American security. On foreign policy, he said he'll employ a simple test: “How does it keep America safe? If it's keeping America safe, we should do it. If it's making America more vulnerable, we shouldn't do it.”
That brought on another round of acrimonious back-and-forth between the two campaigns that few people are paying much attention to. Next battlefront will be taxes, with Cruz favoring the most reactionary-possible flat tax that favors the wealthy and Rubio trying to seem like he;'s offering working families a little something-- a very little something, but something. For that Cruz is planning to equate him with Clinton-- if not Bernie!

The new Quinnipiac poll, released yesterday, again shows Trumpf leading with 27%. Carson is continuing to sink and fade away and Rubio with 17% and Cruz with 16% are battling it out for who will be left to face Trumpf for real. Cruz leads Rubio with teabaggers (16% to 12%) with white born again evangelicals (24% to 13%) and with very conservative voters (29% to 11%). Rubio crushes Cruz with squishes (41% to 17%).Meanwhile, Christie, who barely registers in recent polling, attacked them both as unprepared to govern.

Although Lindsey Graham's support from GOP voters has consistently been less than 1%, the media still treats him as though he were a serious contender for president-- and never mentions what everyone in DC already knows-- that he's another sad Republican closet case. Today he spoke to several hundred rich Republican Jews and flirted with them coquettishly: "Don't you want me to be at Bibi's side," he lisped. He was on the attack against the other Republicans who have more support from Republican voters than he does. Referring to Ted Cruz and Trumpf, he said, "It’s not about turning out evangelical Christians, it’s about repairing the damage done by incredibly hateful rhetoric driving a wall between us and the fastest-growing demographic in America. It’s about looking Hispanic Americans in the eye and saying, 'We get it, be part of our cause.'" He attacked Trumpf specifically and accused him of "destroying the Republican Party’s chances to win an election that we can’t afford to lose by threatening to deport the mothers of Hispanic voters and likened Trumpf to Hitler: "We’re literally going to round them up, every single one of them including their American children, that’s what the leader of the Republican Party says. That sound familiar?"

His attack on Cruz and Rubio included their no-exceptions-for-rape attitude about abortions. "It’s not because of social issues that we will lose. It’s positions we take regarding social issues that can disconnect us from America at large. If you’re going to tell a woman whose been raped that she has to carry the child of the rapist, you’re going to lose most Americans. Ted Cruz doesn’t have an exception for rape and incest. [If Cruz is the nominee, the election] "will be about rape and if you don’t think that then you just don’t understand what [the Democrats] will do. It will be about the nominee of the Republican Party telling a woman who has been raped, you have to carry the child of the rapist. Good luck with that." He seemed somewhat inebriated while he was talking and fell down a step from the podium.

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