Ted Cruz Is The Modern-Day Barry Goldwater
If you have been paying attention to the presidential clown-car fight within the Republican Party then without doubt the bitter feud between Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio has made for some interesting reading.
The establishment GOP rightfully detests the antics and blow-hard nature of Cruz and has concluded that he has every chance of performing in 2016 to the same horrifying effect for their party as Barry Goldwater did in 1964. There is only so far a nominee of a party can veer from the middle and still hold any hope of winning. Cruz crossed that Rubicon a very long time ago.
Party regulars around the nation are starting to not only think about who they might actually cast a ballot for in a primary but equally important pick someone who has a chance against Hillary Clinton.
The three candidates who have any chance whatsoever of winning for the GOP consist of Jeb Bush, John Kasich, and Chris Christie. (Rubio is running vice-president.) The professionals in the party know who the potential nominees are, and as such are working to make sure their message about such light-weight thinkers as Cruz get full attention.
Today The Wall Street Journal had as their lead editorial a scornful take on Cruz. (I should note that some of my liberal friends who could not understand the need to deal with Assad forcefully over his use of chemical weapons or insist for a no-fly zone–both of which this blog has endorsed–are very close to Cruz’s position over Syria.) So when I call attention to this editorial it is not for purely partisan reasons that I do so. I also have profound policy differences with Cruz.
“In my view, we have no dog in the fight of the Syrian civil war,” Mr. Cruz said Monday in a Bloomberg interview. “If you look at President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and for that matter some of the more aggressive Washington neo-cons, they have consistently misperceived the threat of radical Islamic terrorism and have advocated military adventurism that has had the effect of benefiting radical Islamic terrorists.”
On Syria Mr. Cruz’s “no dog in the fight” line is a way of doubling down on his 2013 opposition to enforcing a chemical red line in Syria by bombing the Assad regime. That bipartisan failure to enforce President Obama’s red line sent a disastrous signal that U.S. threats were empty and encouraged much of the mayhem that has followed—from Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine to Islamic State’s capture of Mosul. Mr. Rubio also opposed military strikes, but he seems to have learned from the mistake.
U.S. inaction in Syria has strengthened the worst actors there—ISIS and the Nusra Front on the one side; Hezbollah, the Assad regime, Iran and Russia on the other—while creating the refugee crisis Mr. Cruz seems to think is the gravest crisis to U.S. security. Mr. Cruz might want to stop Syrians at the Mexican border, but opposing immigration and refugees is not a foreign policy.
It is two months from the time when Republicans will have to start and demonstrate if they can walk and chew gum at the same time. Can they select a candidate with a set of policy goals that are rooted in a firm foundation but who can also have a chance of winning in the general election?
Or are Republicans content with replaying 1964?