The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Will Cruz Cruise or Get Trumped?

Posted on | January 15, 2016 | 43 Comments


The battle for Iowa seems to be coming down to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz vs. Donald Trump. Of course, there are likely to be five candidates still in the race after the Feb. 1 Iowa caucuses, but the debate Thursday highlighted the clash between Cruz and Trump:

Donald Trump and Ted Cruz clashed Thursday in their sharpest — and most personal — encounters of the campaign season.
“I guess the bromance is over,” Trump told CNN’s Dana Bash after the debate.
The 2.5-hour event sponsored by Fox Business Network was filled with testy exchanges between the seven candidates on stage. Cruz and Trump are battling for first place in Iowa with less than three weeks until the state’s caucuses, though the businessman has a commanding lead nationally. And with pressure mounting for someone to emerge as an establishment alternative to Trump and Cruz, sparks flew between Marco Rubio and Chris Christie.
The much-anticipated Trump vs. Cruz showdown took a few minutes to materialize — but when it did, it packed a punch.
Cruz forcefully responded to Trump’s accusations that he isn’t eligible to be president because he was born in Canada — a controversy that Trump has only recently embraced.
“Back in September, my friend Donald said he had his lawyers look at this in every which way,” Cruz said. “There was nothing to this birther issue.”
He added: “Since September, the Constitution hasn’t changed. But the poll numbers have.”

Yes, the poll numbers have changed in Iowa, and also nationally. If you look at the Real Clear Politics average, the big story of the 2012 Republican campaign so far has been the collapse of Jeb Bush, who was averaging 17.8% nationally in July, but is now only 4.8%. The Bush campaign has raised more than $24 million, so what happened? To paraphrase the Beatles, money can’t buy Bush love:

Concerns about the impact of money on politics assume that if you buy enough ads you can elect anybody. If that were true, Jeb would be the frontrunner. Instead, he’s running way behind other candidates who, in different ways, have done a better job of addressing voters’ concerns.
It turns out that addressing voters’ concerns is more important than slick TV spots. And that means that the only campaign finance “reform” we need is for candidates (and donors) to quit tossing money at consultants and instead to speak to the American people about what the American people care about.
If nothing else comes from Jeb’s candidacy, that’s a valuable lesson indeed.

(Hat-tip: Instapundit.) Bush is heading toward a humiliating defeat in Iowa — no better than fourth place, and perhaps fifth or sixth — and his highly paid staff should be busy writing an eloquent concession speech: “Spend more time with my family,” blah blah blah. Meanwhile, on the Democrat side, Hillary Clinton may be approaching her own humiliation at the hands of Bernie Sanders:

Hillary Clinton has lost most of her lead over Bernie Sanders in the race to win Iowa’s Democratic presidential caucuses, a new Iowa Poll shows.
Clinton, who has been the favorite all along, now leads Sanders by just 2 percentage points in The Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics poll. That’s down from 9 percentage points a month ago.
Clinton is now the top choice of 42 percent of likely Democratic caucusgoers, compared with Sanders’ 40 percent, the poll finds. The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.

As recently as early November, Clinton had a 30-point lead over Sanders in the RCP average of Iowa polls, but there has been a sharp shift in the past month. In early December, a Quinnipiac poll of Iowa Democrats showed Hillary leading Bernie by 11 points, but the latest Quinnipiac poll in Iowa has Sanders leading 49-44. News flash: People don’t like Hillary Clinton. Her own husband doesn’t like Hillary Clinton.



  • RS

    If Cruz is going to pull ahead, it will be because voters believe he has the gravitas that Trump lacks. Trump’s presence, for all his goofiness, has at least freed up the candidates to be more frank in their criticism of current policies and the direction the country is headed. At least we’ll be spared the phony gentility of a McCain or Romney. Further, Cruz has the bona fides for fighting the Establishment of both parties during his time in the Senate. Trump to this point has no history in that regard.

  • Eternity Matters

    It is hard to believe that Trump is doing so well when he is such an obvious phony and far from a real conservative. He is generally the Republican version of Obama, though Obama was an extreme Leftist while Trump is not an extreme conservative. At best Trump is a centrist.

    Cruz is awesome on many levels. Can you imagine how he’d eviscerate Hillary in a debate?! But Cruz now has the establishment phonies against him. The Chamber of Commerce RINOs would rather have Trump than a real Republican like Cruz. Disgusting.

  • Grandson Of TheGrumpus

    I respectfully disagree, not gravitas, but bombast.

    If Mr.Cruz overtakes Trump there, it will be becase Mr.Trump’s bombastic, often grating manner will have hit the “enough line”.

    I respect both men. I know that “if wishes were fishes, we’d never want for meat” ;~)? , but I REALLY wish that Cruz hadn’t so strongly enable pResident Dingleberry, and had attended that recent bill, which he’d said was so important, he’d co-sponsored to actually vote on it.

    Sure, it might not have encouraged enough others to vote “yea” for the bill to pass, I concede the point— but it would say very positive things about his character.

    Behaviour like a follow-through on his bill would make it easier to live w/his cloture vote on TPP and the companion bill.

    I’m greatly afraid our country is already dead and we’re just watching the autonomic metabolic processes coming to a halt.

    Sorry. I’m not doing so well today, and in addition, my lower back & seat are covered w/wheelchair sores… makes me gloomy.

  • Grandson Of TheGrumpus

    He isn’t a conservative.
    He’s never claimed to be a conservative.
    Therefore, there is no phony-ness involved, and you’re misreading Mr.Trump.

    Mr.Trump is something necessary at this time, and perhaps the only type of person who can pull America back from the middle of falling over the cliff.. Some I have serious doubts a politician— ANY politician, let alone one w/the number of anti-Liberty questionable votes that Mr.Cruz has registered. BTW, as for my feelings on Cruz, see my comment in reply to RS below.

    Mr.Trump isn’t a politician. He’s NOT guided by ideology.
    A bare-knuckled brawler who is also a patriot! And being a patriot, w/a burning love of country, right now, is EXACTLY what we need.

    What we need above all else is a patriot.

  • RS

    I’m greatly afraid our country is already dead and we’re just watching the autonomic metabolic processes coming to a halt.

    I confess to similar thoughts. Alas, I cannot yet completely give up. Personally, I feel the best we can hope for is a “King Josiah”–a brief revival of sorts, followed by the end. I fear for my kids and grandkids, yet to be born.

  • Mike G.

    OT, but thought this was funny and sad at the same time.

    H/T American Digest

  • Eye on the Republic

    Amazing! RSM actually blogged about something other than the tampon harpies! 😉

  • Art Deco

    The cultural profile of the Iowa Democratic Party and the characteristics of the process give Sanders an advantage not captured in polls. Sanders has been leading in New Hampshire for months, even though he doesn’t have much of a geographically derived advantage there – 85% of New Hampshire’s population is outside Vermont media markets.

    A feature of this madcap process would be the abrupt shifts in the preferences of low-information voters in response to primary results elsewhere. In 1984, to take one example, Gary Hart (whose campaign seemed on life support in 1983) managed a respectable place in Iowa and then won six of the next ten contests and splitting the larger states with Walter Mondale 50-50. So, what happens if Sanders beats Hellary in Iowa and New Hampshire? If the LIVs move as quickly as they did in 1984. she could lose South Carolina. There is a non-zero possibility that her campaign would simply electorally implode after that (Jimmy Carter’s six opponents won 10 contests between them in 1976). What’s interesting about that is that there’s reason to believe that Sanders is out to make a splash and neither expects nor wants the job he is seeking.

  • McGehee

    It was Rubio who skipped that vote, not Cruz.

  • Robert What?

    As an aside, I think it is a travesty that basically two states – Iowa and New Hampshire – effectively decide the nominees for the whole country.

  • Finrod Felagund

    What Donald Trump is seems to change with the wind.

    That’s not what we need.

  • Quartermaster

    I seriously doubt a King Josiah would be of any help. The problem is the economic forces that are pent up in FedGov’s debt will be out end. I don’t expect the US to survive. The States will still be around, but I think they will regroup something along the lines presented in the book “The 9 nations of North America.”

  • Quartermaster

    I’ve had the flu all week and understand the gloominess.

  • RS

    The problem is the economic forces that are pent up in FedGov’s debt will be out end.

    See, e.g. Revelation 6:5-6 (KJV):

    5. And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand.

    6. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.

    I have a different hope.

  • Steve White

    From what I read in the MSM, Hilarity thinks that while she might lose by a little bit in Iowa and New Hampshire, she’ll win the South. Her numbers are big there and the theory is that Bernie will crest and then recede.

    What Hilarity and the pundits are forgetting is simple: the numbers in the South will move after the first two contests. People in the South will tune in and see Hilarity as damaged goods. Biden and/or Warren may jump in, or at least openly appear to be thinking about jumping in. When all that happens. Ms. Inevitability will lose her shine.

    It’s been said that Bernie isn’t really running to be President and doesn’t expect to be elected. Recall that Obama thought the same thing in early 2007 — he and everyone figured Hilarity would win (and run against Giuliani), and so he was simply positioning himself for 2012/2016. We saw how that turned out–Bernie perhaps sees the same thing.

    I don’t yet know who the Democratic nominee will be. But I know it won’t be Hilarity.

  • DrGreatCham

    The Gods of the Copybook Headings will either be obeyed…

    …or they will have blood.

  • DrGreatCham

    “his cloture vote on TPP and the companion bill.”

    That completely infuriated me to no end. The one time his supposed intransigence could actually have HELPED the country, and he doubles down on stupid against the advice of his own staff members.

    How can we trust Cruz to run a lemonade stand after he admitted he got rolled in a high-dollar public argument by the Post Turtle of the Senate (TM)?

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  • NeoWayland

    Trump is a crony capitalist. He built his fortune by abusing eminent domain and immigration law, among others.

  • NeoWayland

    I’ll go one step further.

    I want to know why the leadership of the two major parties have not been brought up on RICO charges.

  • DeadMessenger

    Indeed, and when our economy fails, the entire global economy is going to collapse like a house of cards.

    This seems like it might be sooner rather than later.

    So there’s that, and plus I’ve read that Barry is stumping to be King of the World next year when Ban Ki Moon leaves office, plus the possible Gog/Magog thing lining up in the ME, plus the Isaiah 17:1 thing like an accident waiting to happen, I have to ask myself a bunch of questions about the imminence of prophetic fulfillment.

  • DeadMessenger

    Because evil will prevail when good men do nothing.

  • Art Deco

    I think there’s a good chance of rapid movement within the Democratic electorate. OTOH, the Southern states were a very effective Maginot Line for George Bush in 1988 (though he had won New Hampshire after getting shellacked in Iowa).

  • trangbang68

    I was disturbed watching Trump last night, He comes off as a megalomaniac who is incapable of broaching any criticism. This isn’t presidential temperament.
    We already have a whiny, petulant little bit*h in the White House. Do we really need an obnoxious self-absorbed blowhard in his place?

  • trangbang68

    If they slay Broomhilda I’m down with it

  • trangbang68

    Not saying there’s a lot of Bernie love in Dixie but from my anecdotal experience Hillary is pretty widely despised in the South

  • Quartermaster

    He does do that on occasion. Sometimes, however, it’s about the odious Crimson Tide. You have to take the good with the bad.

  • Quartermaster

    The GOP isn’t a conservative party, so he fits right in on that count. It’s a crony capitalist party and has been since its founding. Being a crony capitalist himself, he fits right in.

    The problem for the GOPe “leadership:” is that isn’t “his turn.” The wanted little Jebe! a man who understands the FedGov hog trough the GOPe loves so much. I might be wrong, but what Trump has done during his adult life has had little to no dependence upon the FedGov hog trough, and that makes him even more dangerous than being out of turn.

  • Quartermaster

    Generally they get blood because human nature is pretty much tone deaf.

  • Quartermaster

    I think we are at the point where we will see fulfillment of much prophetic scripture in a very short space of time. I think the land of Magog in Ezekial 38:2 is Russia and the hook has already been put into his jaw. That’s why Putin is in Syria. The presence will grow over the next 18-24 months. Damascus has already been seriously damaged because of the civil war, but it is still a city, so the prophecy of Isaiah 17 has not quite happened.

    Momentous times!

  • Art Deco

    North of 35% of the Democratic primary electorate in the South is black, and they have a pattern of affinities and aversions that it’s difficult for an outsider to make much sense of. Jimmy Carter and Bilge Clinton were flypaper for black votes. By some accounts, George Wallace did not do badly among black voters in late career. OTOH, black voters had a severely negative reaction to Gary Hart and his support in the black population was so low that it could not be polled accurately. I do wonder if whatever stench clung to Gary Hart is clinging to Sanders.

  • Quartermaster

    Indeed. I firmly believe the Church will not be present on the earth during the time the passage describes.

  • Art Deco

    Eugene McCarthy had the same problem as Hart. McCarthy’s enemies in the press (e.g. Eric Sevareid) were flogging the idea at the time that McCarthy knew nothing and cared nothing about blacks.

  • Quartermaster

    I didn’t pay much attention to Gary Hart or Dim party politics during that time. Any idea what was clinging to him? I doubt it was the pic taken on “Monkey Business.”

  • Art Deco

    What? His trip to Bimini with Donna Rice happened in 1987. Hart was not a competitor in 1988, he was a competitor in 1984, when his satyriasis was known only to his family, his staff, and certain reporters.

    (While we’re at it, adultery per se is not going to cost you with black voters. There need to be catalysts which were not present in Hart’s case).

  • Art Deco

    Bush is heading toward a humiliating defeat in Iowa — no better than fourth place, and perhaps fifth or sixth

    The smart money says 5th place, unless Carson’s people are atypically disorganized. Sixth place would be no surprise. There, as elsewhere, Christie has been slowly ascending vis a vis Bush.

  • eyesfrontmen

    If Cruz pulls ahead, it is because he has fooled enough disoriented evangelicals into believing that he supports Trump’s positions.
    Positions that would not even be a part of this race except for the courage, patriotism, and true conservatism of Mr. Trump.
    Without that, we would be talking about the race between !Jebez! and Marco Gang of 8, discussing whose donors have the money to get them the nomination, and whether the Huckester could deliver the evangelical vote to one or the other.
    And Cruz would be sitting with CarlY Fembrat and that guy from NJ.

  • Quartermaster

    So are you saying the stench didn’t hurt Hart politically then? While my attention was directed elsewhere at the time, I seem to remember that he intended to run in ’88.

  • Art Deco

    He won hardly any votes and no delegates in 1988. He ran well in 1984, but ran terribly among black voters then. His zipper problems were not an issue in 1984.

  • Daniel Freeman

    Every major politician is going to score on the dark triad. And they’re all going to score high on ego. So the question is, do you prefer Obama’s emotional depth, or Trump’s empathy?

  • Art Deco

    Every major politician is going to score on the dark triad.


  • Quartermaster

    So, what was the stench to which you referred?

  • Daniel Freeman

    Hey, all you have to do is find one that isn’t high in any of the three. I would have to prove that all score on at least one, which is impossibly burdensome, so I’m going to say it’s on you.