“Hold your friends close and your enemies closer.” That adage is playing out on the Republican side of the presidential race.
For months, Ted Cruz has been loathe to criticize frontrunner Donald Trump, unlike the rest of the GOP candidates. Trump accepted Cruz’s invitation to join him in a Tea Party rally against the Iran nuclear deal on Capitol Hill in August. They shared a laugh during the last debate when Cruz suggested he’d build a wall on the Mexico border “and have Donald Trump pay for it.”
Now, the bloom is off the rose. Trump is now questioning whether Cruz constitutionally qualifies for president since he was born in Canada, albeit to American parents. Cruz shot back, saying Trump has “New York values” in the hopes that plays well with audiences in mostly rural Iowa, where the first votes of the campaign will be cast February 1.
What may not play well in Iowa is a New York Times report that Cruz failed to report a large loan from New York-based bank Goldman Sachs, where his wife works. The loan appears to belie the narrative Cruz has woven that he and his wife liquidated their entire personal net worth to finance his campaign for Senate in 2012.
Although Cruz has won enough support in Iowa to close in on Trump, he’s made many political enemies along the way. This act of political theater will be playing out tonight as the Republicans take the stage for yet another debate.
10 Reasons That Goldman-Sachs Loan is a Nightmare for Ted Cruz
Jennifer Rubin – The Washington Post
He didn’t simply “forget” to file the disclosure; he made up a self-reverential story to go with it. “Liquidate everything” really meant “get a honking-big loan from my wife’s company.” This will underscore his slipperiness on other issues, such as his stance on immigrant legalization. Can we take anything he says at face value? …
Trump is going to have a field day with this one, which is certainly a more solid reason than his birther hooey on which to disqualify Cruz. Cruz has been accusing Trump of embodying “New York values” — whatever those are. But if hiding a big loan from a Wall Street firm tied to the housing crisis isn’t the essence of “New York values,” I am not sure what is. …
Cruz’s campaign is built on the populist, anti-establishment narrative. That is how he won his Senate race in the first place and why it was a good reason for him to conceal the loan at a critical time in that race.
Cruz’s Iowa Game Plan Gets High Marks
Rebecca Berg – Real Clear Politics
[T]he underlying theory of Cruz’s candidacy hinges on his belief that conservative Republicans are sick of settling for a GOP nominee more moderate than themselves.
They’ve done this, he believes, having been convinced by the Mitt Romneys and John McCains of the Republican world that it’s the best way to defeat the Democrats in November. Cruz is telling them what many movement conservatives long to hear: that the most pragmatic approach is also the most principled….
None of this is accidental. Cruz saw in this election cycle, and even earlier than that, what many other Republican candidates did not: that a candidate running farthest to the right would enjoy a wide-open field with the full base behind him —especially in a large field.
How Cruz Supporters Differ from Trump Fans
Albert R. Hunt – Bloomberg View
Ted Cruz and Donald Trump are way ahead in the race to win the Iowa caucuses, perhaps to capture the Republican nomination too. Both appeal to alienated conservative voters who say they’ve had it with the Republican establishment.
Yet their supporters are different. In Iowa, which holds the first presidential contest on Feb. 1, Trump, the New York businessman and reality-TV star, is more popular with those who say they’re most concerned about economics or guns. Senator Cruz, of Texas, does better with voters who are religious conservatives and say they care most about values.
How Ted Cruz Became Ted Cruz
Michael Kruse – Politico
As Cruz climbs to the top of the Republican presidential field, the five-plus years he served as the solicitor general of Texas remain the most important period in his public résumé. They’re the record he ran on when he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2012—and they represent significantly more of his working life than the three years he has served so far in the Senate. They’re also a prime source of fodder for liberal and moderate critics, should be become the Republican presidential nominee….
A Politico review of Cruz’s record as solicitor general shows he used the role in a new and far more ideological way than his predecessors, taking a relatively low-profile job that had traditionally been used mostly to defend the state government and turning it into a stage for pushing national conservative causes.
Ted Cruz is All Alone
Jeet Heer – The New Republic
Hitherto, Cruz has been Trump’s most stalwart defender among his rivals, often speaking of the real estate mogul in terms that sounded as if he were auditioning to be his running mate, rather than running against him. The political rationale behind Cruz’s praise of Trump has been obvious: They are both grazing in the same part of the electorate, among Republicans who are unhappy with the establishment. Cruz has clearly been hoping that Trump’s supporters will eventually turn to Cruz when they decide that Trump is not a viable candidate.
Many Republicans were appalled when Trump trampled on John McCain’s war record, saying, “He’s not a war hero. … He’s a war hero because he was captured. … I like people that weren’t captured.” But Cruz was the rare Republican who avoided condemning Trump. “I recognize that folks in the press love to see Republican-on-Republican violence, so you want me to say something bad about Donald Trump or bad about John McCain or bad about anyone else,” Cruz said. “I’m not going to do it. John McCain is a friend of mine. I respect and admire him and he’s an American hero. And Donald Trump is a friend of mine.”