I have no idea who on the Cruz campaign keeps telling Cruz to go on Fox this week, but I think he has not done himself many favors. Most every email I’ve gotten or tweet I’ve seen has used the words “disaster” or “awkward” about each of the appearances.
He needs to slow down on this one.
But while Cruz’s critics are piling on him over immigration they are ignoring what a lot of other conservatives are noticing.
Cruz changed his campaign schedule to be in Washington to vote against the omnibus spending bill. Rubio, who made it a campaign issue, did not.
If Cruz’s interviews were a disaster or awkward, Rubio’s statement that not showing up to vote was the same as voting against it was just as bad. It was also very Obama-like, considering how often Obama just showed up and voted present.
Both men were thrown off their games this week. The deep humor in it is that, contrary to spin, it was each man throwing himself off his game. Rubio was confident if he gave a great oration people would ignore him not actually going to fight the legislation he said needed to be fought. Cruz thought if he went on Fox and rhetorically danced, it would go over well.
The reality is that neither side will care what their guy did. But the reality is also that despite the spin and echo chamber on Twitter and with a lot of the talking heads on Fox, Marco Rubio actually hurts himself more. Why? All Cruz has to do is say (1) 9/11 changed things relating to the recently uncovered memo and (2) I was not part of the Rubio-Schumer Gang of Eight.
Rubio must explain why declaring something must be fought and not going to fight it is the same as voting against him in the face of Chris Christie surging forward in New Hampshire and now, I’m told, Iowa.
What all of the people attacking Ted Cruz fail to understand is that the outsiders are showing more grace to their own than the insiders are showing to their own. Jeb flubs, so they pass him up. Rubio flubs, so they flirt with Christie. Cruz did something that would have made illegal people legal but not citizens? “Well, he wasn’t part of the Schumer-Rubio Gang of Eight,” rationalize his supporters.
The normal rules aren’t just not applying to Trump. They’re not applying to anyone. Usually the establishment types circle the wagons while the conservatives eat their own. Because the Establishment is so fearful of a Trump win, they are not circling the wagons. Rubio pledging to fight then pulling an Obama does not help him at a time people are giving Chris Christie another look. The outsiders, however, will give Cruz a pass.