Like many conservatives on this site, I’ve been watching the ongoing debate between Rubio and Cruz on immigration ever since it started and have grown increasingly frustrated with both of them.
They’ve reached the point where they’re basically repeating the same talking points at every debate, resulting in a petty fight that ends with both of them calling each other liars.
Both of them wanna prove they’re right and that the other one is lying, cause clearly only one of them can be telling the truth.
But there has to be a better way to resolve this conflict, and in fact there is.
Up until now Sen. Cruz’s response to Rubio’s accusation that he supported legalization in the past is to loudly proclaim that what Rubio just said is false. Rubio then responds by calling Cruz a liar, and everyone in the audience just wants it to end.
So the next time this comes up, here’s how I think Cruz should handle it:
Rubio: Ted is lying about his support for legalization, and we have the video to prove it, just go to my website and see for yourselves.
Cruz: Marco, people don’t have to go to your website, you know why? Because at the fox news debate in January Megyn Kelly showed everyone the video you’re talking about. During that debate I explained why my amendment was designed to be a poison pill that was meant to defeat your bill.
But what most people didn’t see, unless they watched interviews after the debate, is that Megyn followed up with me on this topic in my interview with her after the debate. I would encourage everyone to go to my website and watch the entire interview.
She said she did a lot of digging and a lot of research on this to find out the truth, and after all that, she came to this conclusion: “I looked back at your record a lot to see, did Ted Cruz really want legalization or didn’t he? I think the record supports you that you did not want it. It does.”
So Marco, do you think Megyn Kelly is a liar too, since she agrees that I’ve never supported legalization?
Marco: Insert talking points here, followed by more accusations of lying.
Cruz: Furthermore, Sen Jeff Sessions has said I’ve been against legalization all along, are you also calling him a liar?
The bottom line is this- For people who aren’t aware of the fight we had over the gang of 8 bill, if you just watch that video for the first time and then compare it to what I’m saying now on immigration, it might appear that I’m contradicting myself. But in fact what I was doing was using the language of the Democrats who wanted to pass the bill. I was calling their bluff.
It’s the same rhetorical tool I used to fight and win battles for religious freedom before the Supreme Court. I think conservative primary voters want a nominee who will be able to effectively debate Hillary Clinton and outsmart her, just as I did in the gang of 8 fight. And you know what? My fellow conservatives and I defeated the bill. We won, the Democrats lost, and if you nominate me, that’s exactly what will happen in the general election against Sec. Clinton.
Marco: Continues to debate the topic
Cruz: I think it’s time we move on from debating what happened in the past and focus on solving the problem for the future. We’ve already had this debate. I think it’s time we look forward and tell the american people how we’re gonna solve the problem of illegal immigration once and for all.
Everyone on this stage is stronger on immigration than Hillary, who wants to grant mass amnesty immediately to everyone already here illegally, so we should be contrasting our position with hers instead of constantly re-litigating the battles of the past.
I know this is a little long for a debate, but there are several townhalls coming up, I believe this week, hosted by CNN, so Cruz would have plenty of time to go in depth and use this line of attack against Rubio then.
He should pivot to talking about his plan for stopping immigration in the future, and avoid getting into the petty fights that have defined this presidential race. If he does that, not only will he win the argument, but he’ll seem more magnanimous and presidential in the process.