Is Ted Cruz a Philanderer?

couple under an umbrella

Let’s take a step back before we consider whether or not Ted Cruz is a philanderer.

And this wouldn’t be the first time a “family values” Republican has been exposed as a hypocrite.

The accusations come from the National Enquirer, and Donald Trump knows the publisher well. They were levied in the midst of an escalating war of words between the two candidates. And they seem out of place for Mr. Cruz. He doesn’t seem like the type.

That said, the National Enquirer was right about similar charges it raised for Jonathan Edwards and  Gary Hart. And this wouldn’t be the first time a “family values” Republican has been exposed as a hypocrite.

In the absence of further proof, e.g., a mistress coming forward, we may just have to table the issue for now. On the other hand, this campaign has become so crazy, you never know what might happen next.

I guess we’ll just have to return to secondary issues such as the war on terror and the possible disintegration of the European Union.

On the Democratic side, they’ve been discussing these “minor” issues, and Secretary Clinton has given several policy speeches on the matter, proposing ideas such as an intelligence surge and increasing involvement in the region. She has shown herself to be slightly more interventionist than President Obama, though she praises his reasoned approach to the crisis.

Meanwhile, we’ll let the Republican race continue to devolve into the gutter.

An Entertaining Race for President

theater

 

One thing you can say about the 2016 Republican primaries for President of the United States: it’s entertaining.

Donald Trump may have brought the race for President to new lows, but you must admit he’s been instigated to do so.

Donald Trump may have brought the race for President to new lows, but you must admit he’s been instigated to do so.

Mr. Trump, who defended his manhood in the face of Marco Rubio’s schoolyard taunts, has now been forced to do the same for his wife. And I say kudos to Mr. Trump for his response; he made Ted Cruz pay for that sleazy ad by his Super PAC. How would you feel if your wife’s naked picture was distributed throughout the United States for everyone on the Internet to see?

Ted Cruz’s little bit of theater yesterday, “Stay the hell away from my wife …,” rang hollow because he started the fight, and everyone knows that the lewd photo was distributed with his blessing to run up the score in Utah. Every time his back is to the wall, Mr. Cruz pulls out all stops to save his campaign.

The false rumors about Ben Carson in Iowa, the voting “report card,” even the attempt to tar Marco Rubio when he seemed to show disrespect for the Bible,” these actions show the tactics of a desperate man. And “lyin’ Ted” will say or do anything if he thinks it will improve his chances to win the election.

But it is entertaining.

Traps for Trump

vista of White House

 

The Republican establishment is setting traps for Donald Trump in many ways, some more nefarious than others. These include the use of tricky questions and tactics, and then characterizing his most obvious response.

Yesterday, the anti-Trump forces sunk to a new low. Mr. Trump was asked if he would consider using nuclear weapons against Isis. Of course, this question is unanswerable, on a par with “Do you still beat your wife?”

The use of protestors at Trump rallies, constantly interrupting his speeches at key points, enables the establishment to discourage attendance at his rallies. By making his events seem risky or prone to violence, the establishment can paint him as somehow encouraging violence even though he is completely powerless to stop the interruptions. When your speech has been interrupted three or four times at key moments, anyone would lash out in frustration.

Yesterday, the anti-Trump forces sunk to a new low. Mr. Trump was asked if he would consider using nuclear weapons against Isis. Of course, this question is unanswerable, on a par with “Do you still beat your wife?” There is no response Trump could give without preserving the United States’ strategic deterrence. Then, Trump’s detractors in the television media were able to run a summary at the bottom of the screen, “Trump Mulls the Use of Nuclear Weapons.”

Whether the establishment’s traps will ultimately defeat Mr. Trump remains to be seen, but it may be almost impossible for them to prevent Mr. Trump from reaching 1237. And if they should ultimately prevail, they will smash the Republican Party into a million pieces.

The Banality of Terrorism

crossed weapons with stop sign

Terrorism, no matter how devastating, has an everyday aspect to it. Its destruction knows no boundaries, and its impact affects  young and old alike in a matter-of-fact reality.

We quickly grow accustomed to the bombings and accept them as a cost of being alive in the 21st century.

We quickly grow accustomed to the bombings and accept them as a cost of being alive in the 21st century. Families are torn asunder as babies and young children die horrible deaths or are gruesomely injured. Rehabilitation does little to soften the blow.

As each incident occurs, we grow accustomed or desensitized to the pictures flashing across our television sets, and we quickly relegate them to the back of our minds.

For those who experience terrorism directly, such as yesterday’s suicide bombings in Belgium, life is never the same again. They have been irrevocably scarred through no fault of their own. They just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

As we try to comprehend yet another senseless killing, we try to rationalize the event, as something that occurs somewhere else, far from our daily lives. We continue with the tasks of everyday living, choosing from 10 types of breakfast cereal in the supermarket, or engaging in mindless pleasures.

Israel has learned to live with terrorism, the United States not so much. It will take only one major incident over here, one plot carried about my Isis, to completely change our lives. I hope it never happens, that we destroy Isis before they start to destroy us.

Political Momentum

cresting surf

 

The power of political momentum is often underestimated to the chagrin of the various “stop” movements designed to slow down or displace successful candidates. After a substantial lead in delegates has been achieved, it is nearly impossible to erase it.

Ted Cruz has tried to be clever in his strategy, and his cunning has destroyed him … his attacks on Trump are a day late and a dollar short.

Such a situation is now playing out in both political parties, with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton poised to become their respective parties’ nominees.

Ted Cruz has tried to be clever in his strategy, and his cunning has destroyed him. He thought it was smart to refuse to criticize Donald Trump and just position himself to get Trump’s voters after what he thought was Trump’s inevitable collapse. When Trump didn’t collapse, Cruz waited too long for his negative attacks to have any discernible effect.

If Cruz had joined other Republican candidates in their attacks on Trump, he may have found himself in a different situation today. Instead, his attacks on Trump are “a day late and a dollar short.” Trump’s momentum is well established, and his supporters have become too loyal.

One may make similar observations about Bernie Sanders. His negative attacks on Hillary Clinton only came after she had amassed a formidable lead in delegates after landslide wins in Southern states. His failure to appeal to black voters from the beginning of the campaign doomed him to these Southern losses and helped Mrs. Clinton develop an unstoppable momentum.

Heavyweight Championship

two boxers

There’s no doubt that the contest between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump can be compared to the heavyweight championship of the world. Both candidates have become the presumptive nominees of their respective parties, and the difference in their worldviews is considerable. Throw the Supreme Court into the balance, and you have the potential to determine the course of the nation for decades.

For all those spurned movement conservatives, they will need to grit their teeth and take it.

Hillary Clinton represents the mainstream of the Democratic Party while it is hard to characterize Mr. Trump. I think once he has cleared the GOP primaries, he will stop saying “crazy” things, at least from a policy perspective. With the Presidency hanging in the balance, Mr. Trump knows how to act the part, especially since his audience will have shifted from the base of the Republican Party to the general electorate.

For all those spurned movement conservatives, they will need to grit their teeth and take it. Mr. Trump has been compared to a tsunami, and he knows how to build out from his base to attract new voters. These new voters may not represent orthodox conservatives, but they will be introduced to the conservative worldview for the first time, and his brand of conservatism might actually gain new adherents.

Of course, Mr. Trump will not tow the line on every single issue; he is not a pure conservative. But no one, except perhaps Ted Cruz, can assume that mantle. So the upcoming heavyweight championship will not be predictable. But nothing about Mr. Trump ever really is.

Spoiled Children at Republican Convention

spoiled children

The Republican establishment is acting collectively like spoiled children. They are used to getting their way in Presidential matters; Mitt Romney and John McCain being the most recent examples. But this year, the voters have made up their minds; by an overwhelming majority they have chosen Donald Trump.

Republican leaders had better accept Mr. Trump’s ascendancy, or they really will split their party into a million pieces.

The reaction? Initially, it was a refusal to accept he could become the nominee. When asked whether they would support Mr. Trump as the Republican nominee, the standard formula was to reply that he wouldn’t achieve that goal.

Now that Mr. Trump is rapidly becoming the presumptive nominee, conservatives are holding secret meetings to plot against their members’, that is the voters, selection. If conservatives don’t want full-scale war at their convention, they had better wrap their minds around Trump leading the ticket.

Mr. Trump was only speaking figuratively, but his supporters are so outspoken, there actually would be riots on the floor if they tried to steal a fairly won lead in delegates from him. It would make for very good television, but the media swarming around the convention floor would have no trouble playing up the dramatic moments in all their smoked-filled-room glory.

Republican leaders had better accept Mr. Trump’s ascendancy, or they really will split their party into a million pieces.

Trump Rally Cancellation

meeting attendees

 

Donald Trump was forced to cancel a political rally tonight in Chicago, and it has exacerbated the rift between the conservative and progressive viewpoints in this country to the detriment of all.

If he can successfully navigate these political shoals, he could even make himself more acceptable to the establishment wing of the Party.

Some on the right are starting to point fingers at MoveOn.org in a typical effort to demonize the group, and some on the left are doing the same for Donald Trump, blaming him for the atmosphere permeating his rallies. With one protester punched in the face earlier this week, the situation is only going to escalate in the future.

Neither side is fully correct, and, as usual, the issue is more complex and multi-faceted than it might first appear. Many of the people attending Trump rallies are genuinely interested in hearing what he has to say. They should be commended for their political interest and participation in the democratic process.

Protesters have been genuinely upset at some of the blunt statements by Mr. Trump, often going right to the edge of bigotry, without crossing any red lines. His “telling it like it is” approach does not shy away from observations usually hinted at but never spoken out loud.

One wonders how this will play out in the future. What happens if future Trump rallies are shut down? On the other hand, what if they are held, and real violence breaks out? How do Mr. Trump’s political interests intersect with this new situation?

With Mr. Trump poised to become the nominee of the Republican Party will he try to tamp down the controversy and become less scary for independent voters and the general electorate?

These developments offer a real chance for Mr. Trump to transcend his political base and show responsible leadership. If he can successfully navigate these political shoals, he could even make himself more acceptable to the establishment wing of the Republican Party. The next couple of days will be critical.

Ted Cruz: Hoisted on his own Petard

political convention

 

Theatrical tragedy is often based on a fatal character flaw, a flaw that leads to the downfall of the putative hero. The Republican Presidential primary may provide a classic example of that scenario.

This ego leads to self-destructive behavior responsible for the downfall of many a candidate.

The ego of those running for President of the United States may be described as healthy at best. At worse, it is an all consuming desire based on the candidates high estimation of their own capabilities. This ego leads to self-destructive behavior responsible for the downfall of many a candidate.

Ted Cruz is exhibiting this classic myopia. Blinded by his own self-regard, he is campaigning hard in Florida, and, in the process, he will split the vote with Marco Rubio and deliver a huge winner-take-all bonanza to Donald Trump. Moreover, if Rubio drops out because he lost his own home state, there will be no contested convention, and Mr. Trump will get the nomination.

Ted Cruz’s chances would be improved if he only make a token effort in Florida and Ohio, leaving those states to their favorite sons, Rubio and Kasich. Thus, by denying the states to Trump, Mr. Cruz would be more likely to win. But he seems unable to believe he cannot win the state.

On the other hand, some say that a contested convention would never give the nomination to Ted Cruz because he is a reviled figure among the establishment. So, the theory goes, he has nothing to lose by contesting Florida in case lightning strikes and he does win it. But even then, there are many other states to focus on besides Florida, and Mr. Rubio does not pose any threat to Mr. Cruz. By being in a solid second place, Mr. Cruz is best positioned to win a contested convention.

But Mr. Cruz has opened more than 10 offices in Florida, a waste of resources as well as strategy.

On Second Thought …

silhouette debate

 

The Republican candidates seem somewhat subdued after the debate on Thursday night when things really spiraled out of control, and the topics devolved to the size of their respective sex organs. The person responsible for this debauchery was Marco Rubio, and he paid a price for it.

Ted Cruz may try to lie his way to victory, but he is about to receive undivided attention from Mr. Trump, and we’ve seen what happens when that occurs.

Mr. Rubio was the one who criticized the size of Mr. Trump’s “hands,” saying when a man has small hands, other parts of his body are small, too. That was a bridge too far. It’s okay to make personal attacks, but there still is a line you cannot cross in a Presidential campaign.

Mr. Rubio finished third or fourth in all the contests over the weekend with the exception of Puerto Rico, where he was expected to win handily. The results painted a cumulative picture of a candidate who is unable to even place second, never mind first. It left Rubio hundreds of delegates behind in the overall race, making it unlikely he will find a pathway to actually win a majority of delegates.

Mr. Rubio’s only hope involves a brokered convention, and stealing the nomination from the candidate with a plurality of delegates, most likely Mr. Trump, would result in an open revolt and irreparable schism in the Republican Party.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump continues to win primaries. Despite the onslaught of negative ads and opposition by Mitt Romney, he won Kentucky and Louisiana on Saturday, and at that pace, he is a shoe-in for the nomination. Ted Cruz may try to lie his way to victory, but he is about to receive undivided attention from Mr. Trump, and we’ve seen what happens when that occurs. As Mr. Trump says, you don’t get to hold up the Bible and then lie during your campaign. Surely, there will be retribution for anyone who attempts to do that.