FAIL. POLITICO Sees Ted Cruz's Federalism As Dishonesty

Photo by Gage Skidmore on Flickr
Last week I posted on a POLITICO story in which Marco Rubio’s senior advisors were reported as crowing about how they were going to depict Ted Cruz as a “craven insider who lacks authenticity.” The first step in that attack was Cruz’s position on the Gang of Eight amnesty bill pushed by Marco Rubio. This has been argued to the point of exhaustion and I’m not going to revisit it other than to say that the media seem convinced that they carried the day for Rubio and GOP voters disagree with that assessment.

Now we see another planted attack in the POLITICO. This one attacks Ted Cruz for holding a very doctrinaire and long-standing conservative principle: federalism.

In June, Ted Cruz promised on NPR that opposition to gay marriage would be “front and center” in his 2016 campaign.

In July, he said the Supreme Court’s decision allowing same-sex marriage was the “very definition of tyranny” and urged states to ignore the ruling.

But in December, behind closed doors at a big-dollar Manhattan fundraiser, the quickly ascending presidential candidate assured a Republican gay-rights supporter that a Cruz administration would not make fighting same-sex marriage a top priority.

In a recording provided to POLITICO, Cruz answers a flat “No” when asked whether fighting gay marriage is a “top-three priority,” an answer that pleased his socially moderate hosts but could surprise some of his evangelical backers.

Whoa. Does this smell like a “craven insider who lacks authenticity” meme being formed?

A well-known Republican operative not affiliated with a 2016 campaign said by email when sent Cruz’s quote: “Wow. Does this not undermine all of his positions? Abortion, Common Core — all to the states? … Worse, he sounds like a slick D.C. politician — says one thing on the campaign trail and trims his sails with NYC elites. Not supposed to be like that.”

Is that you @RickWilson? It may not be but it certainly sounds like him.

Lets go to the tape, as they say:

Male questioner: “Can I ask you a question? So, I’m a big supporter. And the only issue I really disagree with you about is gay marriage. And I’m curious: Given all the problems that the country’s facing — like ISIS, the growth of government — how big a priority is fighting gay marriage going to be to a Cruz administration?”

Cruz: “My view on gay marriage is that I’m a constitutionalist and marriage is a question for the states. And so I think if someone wants to change the marriage laws of their state, the way to do so is convince your fellow citizens — and change them democratically, rather than five unelected judges. … Being a constitutionalist is integral to my approach to every other issue. So that I’m very devoted to.”

Same questioner: “So would you say it’s like a top-three priority for you — fighting gay marriage?”

Cruz: “No. I would say defending the Constitution is a top priority. And that cuts across the whole spectrum — whether it’s defending [the] First Amendment, defending religious liberty, stopping courts from making public policy issues that are left to the people. …

“I also think the 10th Amendment of the Constitution cuts across a whole lot of issues and can bring people together. People of New York may well resolve the marriage question differently than the people of Florida or Texas or Ohio. … That’s why we have 50 states — to allow a diversity of views. And so that is a core commitment.”

If you are disposed to think of Cruz unfavorably, you will do so. But what Cruz said here is what we’ve been arguing for ever since the site was conceived. Most of us contributors are opposed to homosexual marriage, and all of us are opposed to abortion, but none of us think these are issues that should decided in the courts. Our major objection is the Supreme Court discovering “rights” in the Constitution that not only forbid states from legislating in the areas of infanticide and homosexual marriage but demand that everyone recognize the rightness of those activities.

As to the unnamed GOP consultant, this guy is so out of touch with the general mood of GOP voters that one wonders what he could possibly consult on. What Cruz said undermined none of his positions but, rather, underlined his critique of the problem and the solution. The solution to Common Core is not the get rid f Common Core, but rather to devolve education policy back to the states. If the parents in a state want Common Core, knock yourself out, but don’t make federal grants to school districts dependent upon adopting it. Like most conservatives, I am convinced that if homosexual marriage and abortion were issues before the legislature that I stand a much better than 50-50 chance of prevailing. If New York wants to make gay sex mandatory, I really don’t care.

But we are where we are. What the questioner, to the extent that it was even an honest question, was asking for was more Failure Theater. For a show-fight against homosexual marriage that would accomplish nothing. Like, for instance,

ryan abortion tweet

Cruz’s statement encapsulates what federalism and conservatism are about:

I would say defending the Constitution is a top priority. And that cuts across the whole spectrum — whether it’s defending [the] First Amendment, defending religious liberty, stopping courts from making public policy issues that are left to the people.

What POLITICO wanted was a caricature. They wan[mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ] to swear he was going to undo homosexual marriage. This would play into one meme they always use on conseratives (they are theocrats who want to monitor your bedroom) and into another meme that the Rubio campaign is pushing (Cruz says one thing to one audience and something different to another.) When this does not happen, they try to shoehorn adherence to conservative principles into the “dishonesty” box. This is a sad commentary on the cadre of political journalists that they don’t even understand the issues and language of a movement and politician they are reporting on.