Friday, December 18, 2015

No Rubio is not Winning the Immigration Fight He's Having With Cruz

Some in the mainstream press seem to think he is winning

"Marco Rubio Is Robbing Ted Cruz of His Best Weapon."

"The Texas senator’s lies are catching up with him."

"Thanks to Rubio’s prodding, Cruz’s overly cute tricks in 2013 have caught up to him. He now has a choice between being either a flip-flopper on legalization or a liar. Yes, Rubio was and remains more moderate on immigration than Cruz. But Cruz won’t see attacking Rubio’s 2013 record as such a layup anymore."

You don't think that Rubio lies? They are both furiously spinning but the truth here resides with Cruz-Rubio was for the Gang of Eight bill, Cruz wasn't.

But we see a lot of folks in the mainstream press or indeed, liberals themselves claiming that Cruz is being hurt here:

"As the battle rages over whether Sen. Ted Cruz has flip-flopped on immigration, key figures involved in the 2013 reform movement -- including a Republican senator -- expressed skepticism of the account Cruz is giving now."

"It's total bullshit," Frank Sharry, the executive director of the immigrant-rights group America's Voice, said of Cruz's current version of events.

But this is very interesting-how exactly does Sharry know what was in Cruz's head? For this debate is a very murky case of hairsplitting.

But the test of whether or not Rubio is winning is not what Slate, Josh Marshall or Frank Sherry is saying. It's what the base is saying. Right wing radio is pretty much unanimous that Rubio is full of it. And in truth-Rubio is full of it.

Yesterday I talked about how Trump finally said something that got him in trouble with Right wing talk radio-he disparaged Ted Cruz for his Senate tactics that probably make him easily the least popular Senator in the Senate.

But the relationship between that and the base is of course inverse. The more the Establishment hates him, the more popular he is with the base. That was the one time Trump had his knuckles wrapped at least on talk radio.

They really like Ted Cruz on talk radio-they like Trump too but right now Cruz is peaking at least among the hosts-Rush, Howie Carr, Mark Levin.

On talk radio today, nobody is taking Rubio' side. It's not convincing them even if the mainstream press is-I suspect rather hopefully-saying that this is going to weaken his anti immigration bonafides. 

I have to give Rush credit here, he does a good job of framing what is becoming a very pedantic question deep in the weeds.

"Now, the problem is that Ted Cruz now is being accused of revising his remarks, that he didn't intend to say what he said back then. This is where we get deep in the woods over, "Is Cruz really, did he go out and tell people he's for legalization? Oh, my God, wait 'til Cruz's voters find out that he's been lying to 'em about that." That's what they're trying to convince Cruz supporters of. The problem with that is that Cruz's amendment may have ended up as a poison pill, but it may not have started that way. It's dicey. "

I got to give it to Rush-he does a good job of boiling this down. You know how i feel about Chris Christie, but he is right that the Cruz-Rubio hairsplitting ends up sounding like a debate about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

But a lot is at stake here.

"So I'm defending nobody here. I'm trying to cut through all of this noise and get to the essence of this for you. Because it's all over the media, and it's clear that Trump and Cruz are under assault. It's a primary. This is normal. This is what should and does happen, and I am not angry at anybody. I'm just trying to decipher this for you. That's what we do here; we make the complex understandable. And there are some people that would very much like to have you think that Ted Cruz was much more for amnesty or involved in it, because that would take some pressure off other people who actually were."

"Right this is all about protecting Rubio, taking away the sting that he supported amnesty. By the way, Rubio is the least reliable person I can imagine on this or any issue. Because when he ran for the Senate in 2010 he ran as against amnesty and against a path to citizenship. "

Look, obviously, I am a liberal Democrat and I support amnesty, citizenship, etc. But can you think of anyone less reliable on this issue-whether you are pro or anti amnesty? This is why some have argued that in effect Rubio's immigration position is even crueler than Trump's-at least Trump gives some sense of certainty or the worst case scenario-Rubio has a way of neither embracing anything nor ruling anything out.

Here is the question for Frank Sherry: How does he know that Cruz is talking bullshit now? Again, as Rush said, the real question here is about motive. Why did Cruz push forward his 'poison pill bill; in 2013? Did he really hope it would pass or did he intend it to fail all along?

How would Sharry know either way? Ok, so he gave some speeches where he claimed he wanted it to pass. So when you push a poison pill bill you don't call it that at the time, you pretend to be sincere.

Ok, so Cruz was lying then. I never said I don't think Cruz lies. But Rubio's lies in this case go more to crux of the matter here. He was anti-amnesty as a candidate, then he was pro-amnesty in Gang of Eight, now he's against it again.

And here is my gripe. I think that Sharry is doing the same thing as Cruz and Rubio-he's trying to frame this in what he sees as the most politically advantageous way possible.

I have no problem with that. I'm not one of these purists who pretend I want angels who never spin and butter wouldn't melt in their mouths.
Here's my gripe with Sharry and seemingly many other liberals. They seem to want Rubio to be successful here. I think that Sharry is trying to help Rubio in this case. This is why he's saying that he somehow knows what Cruz's real motive in the poison pill bill was. Why? Well as someone who fights for immigrants he is probably horrified at the idea of a Ted Cruz Presidency as well he might be.

But where his error comes in is assuming that Rubio wouldn't be. What many don't seem to get is that it's in the interest of Democrats for the GOPers to nominate the worst Far Right candidates you can imagine. But many seem to do the opposite-they want a relative moderate to win.

Why? First of all, in the entire GOP there are no moderates left. Moderate for Republicans more means moderate in terms of style and packaging rather than substance. Besides, Claire McCaskill's genius was where she deliberately helped Todd Akin be her opponent in 2012.

I'm not even sure Rubio would be better than Cruz on immigration as President. Rubio has shown such elasticity that he's way too risky a bet. Besides, often someone with a more moderate reputation can do something more extreme. Only Nixon could go to China, only Clinton could gut welfare. Maybe because Rubio is an alleged 'moderate' on the extreme wing of anti immigration he would have the capital to do something even more extreme than a known extremist like Cruz.

My point is not that Cruz is a great guy but neither is Rubio by a long shot.

But ok, let's suppose you insist on believing he is just because that's the way he's positioned himself. So let's say that on a scale of terribleness on immigration Cruz is 10 percent worse than Rubio.

But even if Cruz would be 10 percent worse on immigration, Rubio is say 50% more electable. And Rubio is pretty bad too. In this case you'd be taking a risk that Cruz could actually win in preferring him to Rubio but then Rubio is much more likely to win.

So Sharry is kind of playing some multi-dimensional chess in trying to tell us what Cruz really wanted in 2013 but he's still not playing enough dimensions. If he were he'd realize that he should root for Cruz to be successful in destroying Rubio for being pro amnesty.


  1. Jennifer Rubin continues to slam Cruz again today (she's been at it a while, but now she's intensifying it). That's where I 1st read about Cruz lying about his immigration position. Honestly, Rubio didn't come up. She talked about a Fox News interview with Cruz that "made him squirm." She's got a new one today.

    Partially O/T:

    On the subject of immigration and voting rights, I just watched these two: pretty disgusting:

    Especially that 1st one. If you think about it for half a second, it really brings home the danger of an across the board "no Muslims" policy. It also makes you wonder why the Obama administration has actively fought changing some of these bad policies.

    1. I guess this is the interview that Rubin was talking about. It looks like Fox News did make Cruz squirm there a bit.

      It was one of the 1st things that came up when I googled "Cruz immigration."

      Overall I can't imagine this hurting Cruz too much with the right-wing radio crowd.

      O/T: Looking again at that John Oliver bit, and this:

      By all rights we should have Puerto Rico as a state (it'd be the 29th largest in population: bigger than 22 existing states). But then Washington DC is more deserving of statehood than Vermont and Wyoming. And the other Island territories all together don't add up to one Wyoming, but they are about 2/3.

      If I was a multibillionaire asshole, I think I might buy up a huge chunk of Wyoming and pay people to move from Washington DC to there. That's one way to flip a couple of senate seats (and one congressional seat... and maybe even create another congressional seat)! Lol. Shoot, Alaska, N. Dakota and S. Dakota are for the taking too.

    2. Come to think of it, if all of Puerto Rico were to move that could be fun too... I don't know if it would be more fun to move them all to Mississippi, or to split them between Idaho and Montanan. Probably more political impact in the latter, but definitely more fun in the former.

    3. They wouldn't be enough to make the present white population an instant minority in Alabama, but they would still probably be enough to kick Jeff Sessions out of the senate, which would be delectable fun.

      And if they didn't like it, they could all up an move to the now empty non-state of Puerto Rico where they'd be politically neutered. And if they wanted to secede, then good riddance.

    4. Right Fox News is trying to help Rubio. I see that Greg Sargent agrees that the media is being unfair to Cruz.

      But what matters is what Right wing talk radio says not the MSM.

      It's a nice try by Rubio but I don't think it works. He's the one who owns amnesty