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Ted Cruz Is The Modern-Day Barry Goldwater

December 3, 2015

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?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 5, 2015 10:46 AM

    Thanks for your great comment.

    Our military missions are important, as we are the world’s super-power. We have interests to deal with, and also a desire to see our values proven to others in times of need.

    I will address (in short order) the points you raise.

    Had President Obama taken the military action he promised after the ‘red line’ remark—dealing with Assad’s chemical weapons use–and not waited to see if he could find some common understanding in Congress I do feel that the dynamics would be different in Syria. I have supported troops from both the Middle East and also from the U.S. and allies to be on the ground to stop Daesh. But let us not forget the result we have today is in part an outcome for our lack of resolve.. I have called for and strongly support a no-fly zone, aid to the rebel groups that the CIA– long before Daesh showed up—wanted to have our backing. I also think the Kurds should have been armed and supported in a more robust fashion.

    The reason I was an early supporter of stronger action in Syria was the civil war that was clearly growing and needed to end with Assad’s removal for 1) basic humane reasons and 2) to allow for the most credible out-growth of that uprising to take control. The rebels were not going away, and had justification for their actions.

    I agree with you that the lack of follow-up in the most aggressive ways possible following the fall of Libya’s government—as an example– has allowed for chaos. But it need not have been that way—and I fault the Obama Administration for that result.

    In Egypt we should have insisted on allowing the duly elected government to stay in power. Starting real electoral governing is a messy process. I fully understand the larger role that Egypt has come to play over the decades but at some point we play to the future and what better illustration to the Islamic world that to say we too think you have the ability self-govern and we are prepared to work to give you the chance. In the end we endorsed the military coup.

    I strongly supported the Arab Spring as it is vital the people in this entire region fully understand our government is not indifferent to their needs, or more interested in autocratic government at their expense. Too long, that view, and for very solid reasons that history fully shows, has held sway.

    We do not get to set the outcomes around the globe—as I know you realize—but we must be in the mix to help shape that outcome—and that is where I believe you and I differ.

    As to paying the price—we agree. I have not only called for the use of power where I felt it was needed, but also called on our government to raise the needed revenue to pay the costs.

    I also think—given your comment—it worth noting that in Iraq a positioning of troops akin to what is placed in South Korea would be a wise investment. Iraq was never meant to be a nation and war is costly—a buffer zone between the sides—(Biden’s long-held view of the partition of Iraq being my model) makes sense from a geo-political view and also from a financial aspect.

  2. Solly permalink
    December 4, 2015 11:30 PM

    Kind of a weak analogy Deke, if the only similarities you see is that Cruz is too far to the right, which you think makes him seem like Barry Goldwater who will lose a general election. Actually the foreign policy you advocate is more Goldwater than Cruz’.
    ”The region is best served by allowing the aspirations for more freedoms to take root. The United States can best serve the interest of the Middle East by fostering a developing sense of democratic ideals, no matter how slim and weak in infancy, so to allow the possibility of more progressive governments down the road.
    I am not shy about the use of military force for the right reasons. Never using the military to make the world a better place, or defending democratic ideals is not a wise mind-set. Therefore when it comes to assisting those who aspire to higher callings as a society such as in Libya, and there are clear-cut military goals, and a means to achieve it, I think the only rational thing to do is support it.” DR on CP
    I believe you’ve also advocated, beyond a no-fly zone and airstrikes, a la Lindsay Graham and John McCain, ground troops in Syria and Iraq.
    It harkens back to the JFK/LBJ/HHH/Scoop Jackson/George W. Bush tact that we will “we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” Nice speech. The problem is, “we” don’t do any of that. Future generations pay the credit card bill for the wars we refuse to tax ourselves for. Patriots, immigrants, those who join the military because of a bad economy or bad breaks fight the wars. “We” say thanks for your service or buy them a drink in the airport or send them excess Halloween candy and pat ourselves on the back. “We” don’t want to pay the price. “We” don’t send the kids of the rich and powerful to war. “We” can’t be the world’s policeman. Will “we” make room on our blogs and newscasts when the first captured U.S. service member is beheaded or burned in a cage?
    Actually, I have no use for Ted Cruz. Physically, rhetorically and characteristically he reminds me of Joe McCarthy. But on this topic, “in my heart I know he’s right.”
    A description of his remarks to the Republican Jewish Coalition:
    “But in a clear break from Rubio and other Republican national security hawks, Cruz suggested the United States would be safer with Assad continuing in his role as Syrian president, just as the world would have been safer had Middle East dictators not been toppled in Libya, Egypt and Iraq.
    “Toppling a government and allowing radical Islamic terrorists to take over a nation is not benefiting our national security interests,” Cruz said.”
    How’s that Arab Spring thang working out for ya Deke?

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