Is Senator Ted Cruz Most Hardball Campaigner Since Nixon?

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Marco Rubio, left, and Ted Cruz take part in the presidential debates at the Reagan Library on Sept. 16, 2015 in Simi Valley, Calif. (Justin Sullivan, Getty Images)

New Orleans   There are a long list of things that can be said about Republican Texas Senator Ted Cruz, many of them darned close to scary, but I have to admit one thing that has become increasingly clear about him: he plays hardball! His strike zone is high and hot towards the head with wickedly sneaky curves. If Marco Rubio has proven himself to be an immature, vacuous, empty suit, Ted Cruz is a take no-prisoners, win-at-all-cost, knife-in-the-back, sucker puncher the likes of which we may not have seen since Richard Nixon with campaign tactics reminiscent of George Bush the First’s dirty trickster, Lee Atwater.

The evidence is overwhelming.

In Iowa there was the well-publicized flyer his campaign put out in the caucuses to his evangelical hordes at the 11th hour saying that Dr. Ben Carson, another wacko, religious zealot had dropped out of the race, helping pave his way to first place in the caucuses there.

In Nevada, on the eve of the their caucuses he had to ask his communications director to walk the plank for him because they were putting out a video that his opponent Rubio was “dismissing the Bible” in some fashion, once again trying to stoke up his hardcore religious base out there in the desert and the Sodom and Gomorrah wilderness. On his “ends justify the means” moral compass, he came in 3rd there because he was caught in such an un-Christian act.

In Florida,which is likely the last stand for Marco Rubio in his winner-take-all home state where Donald Trump is still leading, although Cruz has virtually no chance at winning a single delegate and registering more than a token showing, he’s spending money and time in the run-up, even exploiting his own Cuban and Hispanic heritage for the first time, solely to pull votes away from Rubio and force him out of the race. In a brilliant tactical move he suddenly opened ten offices throughout Florida compared to Rubio’s five to up the ante. Talk about political hardball! No chance to win, helping the frontrunner Trump to potentially take the huge prize of all the delegates in order to try and reduce the players in the race.

This guy specializes in scorched earth tactics. This path to victory is Desolation Row. Remember, friends and neighbors, the original Cruz strategy was to buddy up to Trump in the early stages of the campaign and give him a bye from any harsh treatment. Cruz still has a light glove for Trump, as evidenced once again by his masterful tactics in Florida.

Senator Unpopular who even scares his colleagues in the Senate with his tactics, just to remind you, he tried to shut the entire government down with his quixotic attempt to try and force President Obama to ditch the Affordable Care Act, has shrewdly calculated that the only way he can win the nomination is to appear to be a more reasonable alternative to an even more frightening buffoon. He figures if the choice is Trump or Cruz, the devil or the deep blue sea, he’s got a good shot at being the deep blue sea, whether they like it or not.

This is one dangerous dude! He doesn’t make the Rubio mistakes, he’s a master of throwing the rock and hiding the hand. He’s willing to bring down the country, the Republican Party, and about anything else to have a chance to win. Every race for him is win at all cost, winner take call, the ends justify the means, and every pitch a behind the back of the head beanball.

When we have to hope for Mr. I’ll Negotiate to beat Mr. Crash-and-Burn, we know we’re out of our league and in serious trouble!

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Please enjoy Mount Moriah’s Baby Blue.  Thanks to KABF.

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Trump May Be Bad for Republicans but End Up Good for America

872ee2250d2a46388bd09dc64a242d79-be9e180507fc4bb49a3125bb6f926a08-2New Orleans   The Republicans are going after the mogul, Donald Trump, hot and heavy now. They’re hitting him both high and low….in fact very low, though the lower they go, the better he seems to like it and the more some people like him.

Fox News seems to have invited him to a butt-whipping in the Michigan debate, the last one before the next big round of primaries. They seem to be fascinated that he flip-flops, basically proving that big time developers selling castles in the sky, are exactly the same as politicians selling candy cane versions of the past and sugar plum fantasies about the future, just as the rest of us had always known. Did it matter? Not much.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio seems beaten, bruised, and out of his element. He’s pulled his expenditures and campaigns back from Ohio to make a last stand in Florida where he has already indicated he is forfeiting his Senate seat and Trump is still leading by 7 to 10%. Texas Senator Ted Cruz and the Donald himself are running all over Louisiana seeing this as another ruby-red state where they might Duke it out. Yes, that was a pun!

Reportedly, big donors talked to both of these boys before the debate and encouraged them to keep the gloves on with each other, hang tough, and go after Trump in a desperate hope to have an once-in-a-lifetime brokered convention. An even richer brew is being concocted by some pols and donors for a third-party bid. Zombie-Romney came back from the political graveyard to take some solid shots at Trump’s unacceptability. There is starting to be serious discussion and debate about whether a Trump candidate might shift control of the U.S. Senate to the Democrats. Who says election years are ever boring?

The bottom line is that Donald Trump, now the current and seemingly on-going frontrunner for the Republican nomination for President is driving the Republicans totally crazy from precinct chairs on up to the Speaker of the House. Many focus on his xenophobic, racist, misogynist comments as if they are somehow aberrant, rather than just a clearer expression of the dog whistles and guttural roars that have built the Republican Party state by state for the last number of decades. His flirtation with the KKK and his dilatory handling of David Duke, the former grand pooh-bah of the white sheet wannabes may have come too far over the line even for the Republican Party.

Is it too much to hope that there might be a direct ratio working in the Trump candidacy that allows us to believe that there might be a direct proportionality between how bad Trump is for Republicans and how good he might be for America. Like it or not, if his crazy campaign and demagoguery either forces the Republicans to move to the mainstream or, even better, splits the party in two, separating the fringe freaks from the middle-righters, all of us as true patriots will owe Trump our deepest thanks for his service to the sanity of our politics in coming years.

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Rooting for Trump?

promoNew Orleans   Nevada results are in with Hillary Clinton edging Bernie Sanders by 5 percentage points, but perhaps more tellingly leveraging huge support from African-Americans to put a stake through the heart of his campaign. A coming romp for Clinton in South Carolina could end everything but the shouting. Donald Trump rolled the field in the Republican primary in South Carolina with Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio in a cage match for second place. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush suspended his campaign failing to have ever caught traction after a last gasp in Carolina.

An analysis of Bush has some tilting towards Ohio Governor Kasich with a trickle here and there to others, but not enough to threaten Trump. Florida’s rich haul will presumably go to Rubio just as Texas will go to Cruz. Nothing seems to be settling in any way that seems comforting for the Republican establishment, and it looks even worse for the rest of us. While Rubio tries to position himself as the more moderate, establishment candidate now, parsing his positions it is hard to find much substantive difference between him and Cruz on the issues. Perhaps his style is a little less combative, and he delivers the punch with a smile, but the pain is the same on one issue after another.

Even as the Clinton train builds steam and starts to pull away, it’s hard to feel confident in her as a campaigner and sense any increased passion for her candidacy. Increasingly, I find myself secretly rooting for Donald Trump, thinking he might be the easiest candidate for Hillary to beat in the general election. And, if not Trump, give me Cruz, since he has more negatives than Clinton and, if anything, is even stiffer on the campaign trail. I’m very scared that Rubio could beat Clinton. The Republican faithful and true believers might find it off-putting as Cruz labels him the “Republican Obama,” but it’s just that concept that makes me worry that he just might be exactly that, the Republican Obama who could come out of nowhere and beat Clinton to the White House.

Even rooting secretly for Trump, it’s still hard to believe that in the long march through the primaries he won’t still self-destruct, but so far he seems impervious to catastrophes that fell normal candidates. He’s also a question mark for many. His positions have bounced back and forth on all kinds of issues, so it’s possible to hope he’s not as much as a hater as the others whose records are clearer, and imagine people voting for him to send their own protest message to the party and the world.

The hard truth to get around is that as long as the Republicans have multiple candidates in the list, Trump can win with his 30% and let the rest live or die at 20% support. A two horse race like we find in Clinton-Sanders makes it harder for the candidate challenging the status quo in the party. Super-delegates from the ranks of the party electeds and big whoops are numerous and though the majority remain uncommitted, Clinton has a couple of hundred committed and at last count Sanders had less than ten on his side of the ledger.

It’s hard not to get the feeling that this year’s election cycle is going to be scary all the way down the line.

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