Super Tuesday is history. Everybody has something to gloat about. On to the next milestone. But last night something significant has happened. Actually, two significant things happened.
Instead of giving a victory speech, Donald Trump gave a press conference. After some initial remarks, he took questions. And as time went on, he looked more and more comfortable, relaxed, well informed, on point, rational, and competent doing it. He took questions, he answered them in detail, he knew the reporters’ names, … He did not merely repeat excerpts from his stump speeches. He spoke without notes. He was gracious to Ted Cruz, he talked about unifying the GOP and how people across the political and demographic spectrum turned out to vote in the GOP primaries in record-breaking numbers. He exuded confidence and trust.
For the first time ever on TV, you could see him as President. Even his most dogged critics said so.
Ted Cruz gave a standard victory speech. How I wish this had been the Ted Cruz as he was before the vote in Iowa, when he looked into the camera as if he were looking into your eyes, as if you could look into his soul, and you saw a kind, sincere man you could trust with your very life.
Sadly, this was not to be. As he spoke, one could only imagine his nose growing like Pinocchio’s. I’m not talking about the usual silly games with the statistics (“65% of voters rejected Donald Trump”). If he intended to be intellectually honest, he would also have to say that 80% of the voters rejected Cruz, using the numbers from the same election returns. Likewise, he gloated about how his campaign is the only one that has beaten Trump; yes, in Iowa, Texas and Oklahoma. But if you gloat about your victories, then you also have to admit your defeats — NH, SC, and the long list of Super Tuesday states where Trump beat Cruz.
No, the problem is his fondness for repeating misinterpretations (I don’t want to call them lies, but that’s what they are) of Trump’s positions on some the key issues.
Cruz did not call for uniting the GOP; he talked about uniting the opposition to Trump. Not quite the same thing.
He says he is a “proven conservative,” but he recited quotes from FDR and JFK — not RR…!!!
- He said Trump pledged to expand 0bamacare into socialized medicine.
- He said Trump promised to cut deals with Democrats and to continue Washington cronyism and corporate welfare.
- He said Trump funded the Gang of Eight.
- He said Trump supports Planned Parenthood.
- He said Trump promises to compromise with Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer on Supreme Court nominees.
- He said Trump will compromise away our Second Amendment rights.
- He said Trump promises to be neutral between Israel and Palestine.
- He said Trump will keep in place the Iran nuclear deal.
- He said Trump has been part of the Washington corruption for 40 years.
- He said Trump does not mean what he is saying on immigration, that he won’t build the wall and deport illegal aliens.
I know this was just a speech, not an academic paper complete with a full list of references and citations. But anyone who’s paid the least bit of attention to the campaign so far, knows that these are much more than mere distortions of Trump’s positions and record on the issues. I changed my mind and I do call them lies, outright lies, and in some cases stupid lies. These are lies that Ted Cruz does not need to assert and to repeat. The fact that he does, does not speak well for his character or of his evaluation of the people he expect to support him. Surely conservative voters are more intelligent and better informed than to be talked to this way.
Why can’t Ted Cruz stick to the list of conservative positions that he so passionately promotes are the end of this speech:
- Repeal 0bamacare.
- Abolish the IRS.
- Pull back the EPA.
- Stop amnesty, secure the borders.
- Reassert free market principles and constitutional liberties.
- Return to Reagan’s optimism and faith in the American people — “morning in America”
The list is not complete, but is this not a more winning message than the unnecessary distortions of a rival’s positions?