Good morning Austin:
Jeb Bush endorsed Ted Cruz in a statement released before the sun was up this morning.
“Today, I am endorsing Ted Cruz for President,” said Bush. “Ted is a consistent, principled conservative who has demonstrated the ability to appeal to voters and win primary contests. Washington is broken, and the only way Republicans can hope to win back the White House and put our nation on a better path is to support a nominee who can articulate how conservative policies will help people rise up and reach their full potential.”
Bush continued, “For the sake of our party and country, we must move to overcome the divisiveness and vulgarity Donald Trump has brought into the political arena, or we will certainly lose our chance to defeat the Democratic nominee and reverse President Obama’s failed policies. To win, Republicans need to make this election about proposing solutions to the many challenges we face, and I believe that we should vote for Ted as he will do just that.”
“I’m truly honored to earn Governor Jeb Bush’s support,” said Cruz. “Governor Bush was an extraordinary governor of Florida, and his record of job creation and education innovation left a lasting legacy for millions of Floridians. His endorsement today is further evidence that Republicans are continuing to unite behind our campaign to nominate a proven conservative to defeat Hillary Clinton in November, take back the White House, and ensure a freer and more prosperous America for future generations.”
The former Florida governor’s endorsement follows that of his brother, Neil, who joined Cruz’s finance team earlier this month.
“We need a candidate that can unify the party, work with (House Speaker) Paul Ryan, move a reform-minded agenda forward,” Neil Bush said in a March 16 interview on CNN’s “New Day.” “And Ted Cruz is the only guy in the race to do that.”
Several members of the Bush family have been clear about their distaste of Trump, who has been critical of President George W. Bush’s stewardship of the nation and Jeb Bush’s low-key personality.
In February, the matriarch of the Bush family, former first lady Barbara Bush, told CNN that she’s “sick of him” and that Trump had said “terrible things about women, terrible things about the military.”
And last week, former first lady Laura Bush, George W. Bush’s wife, declined to answer a question from USA Today about whether she would vote for Trump if he were the Republican nominee. She added that it was important for Americans to not be “isolationist and xenophobic,” an apparent reference to Trump’s rhetoric and positions.
It also follows, by five months and a political lifetime ago, what is probably a more genuine Bush Family take on Cruz.
From Politico in October
Inside a sleek Denver condominium, George W. Bush let a hundred donors to his brother’s campaign in on a secret. Of all the rival Republican candidates, there is one who gets under the former president’s skin, whom he views as perhaps Jeb Bush’s most serious rival for the party’s nomination.
It isn’t Donald Trump, whose withering insults have sought to make Jeb pay a political price for his brother’s presidency. It isn’t Marco Rubio, Jeb’s former understudy who now poses a serious threat to his establishment support.
It’s George W. Bush’s former employee — Ted Cruz.
“I just don’t like the guy,” Bush said Sunday night, according to conversations with more than half a dozen donors who attended the event.
But that was then. Now, it appears, Cruz is all that stands between the Republican nomination and the short-fingered vulgarian at the gate and the choice is clear.
Cruz crushed Trump in Utah yesterday, exceeding the 50-percent threshold and winning all 40 delegates.
Apparently Mormons don’t like vulgar.
But Trump thumped Cruz in winner-take-all Arizona, taking all 58 delegates.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich was the also-ran in both states and, between the results and the Jeb! endorsement, Tuesday was good for Cruz because it put an exclamation mark on his efforts to marginalize Kasich as an irrelevancy, a distraction and a spoiler who ought to get out of the way.
The race slows down now.
Next up is the Wisconsin primary on April 5.
Gov. Scott Walker, like Jeb! an early potential front-runner, said, when he got out of the presidential race in September that he was setting an example of clearing the field in the hopes of stopping Trump. It now seems almost certain to me that he will end bestowing a crucial endorsement on Cruz.
After Wisconsin, it’s a two-week build to the April 19 New York primary, where Trump now has a truly huge Trumpian lead. And then, a week later, on April 26, it’s Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.
So April 26 has the potential to be a good day for Kasich. He seems way better suited to those states than Cruz. But, if Kasich doesn’t win – or at least surpass Cruz – in Wisconsin, how does he get there.
Here was Kasich’s campaign fundraising in February.
And here was Cruz’s.
If anyone knows about throwing away money, it’s Jeb Bush, and his endorsement of Cruz suggests Kasich is not a good investment.
So, all in all, while Trump is still the front-runner and favorite, yesterday was a good day for Cruz. Right? Right. And wrong.
Because it also marked a low point in Cruz’s audition to be Trump’s demagogic Mini-Me. From my story.
Sen. Ted Cruz called for law enforcement authorities to “patrol and secure” Muslim neighborhoods in the U.S. in the wake of Tuesday’s terrorist attacks in Brussels.
Cruz, whose hometown of Houston has the largest Muslim population in Texas, didn’t specify what constituted a Muslim neighborhood or what the new law enforcement powers he is calling for would entail — just that “we need to empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized.”
He was quickly assailed for engaging in political demagoguery that could inflame passions and endanger the constitutional liberties of innocent Muslim-Americans.
From Greg Sargent at the Washington Post:
Cruz spokesperson Alice Stewart issued the following statement clarifying Cruz’s initial comments:
We know what is happening with these isolated Muslim neighborhoods in Europe. If we want to prevent it from happening here, it is going to require an empowered, visible law enforcement presence that will both identify problem spots and partner with non-radical Americans who want to protect their homes.
Local, state and federal law enforcement agencies all have divisions that target threats like drugs, gangs, human trafficking, and organized crime. Radical Islamic terrorism is a significant and growing threat in this country, but this administration refuses to recognize it because they are afraid of being labeled “politically incorrect.” In New York City, Mayor de Blasio succumbed to unfounded criticisms and eliminated the efforts of law enforcement to work with Muslim communities to stop radical Islamic terrorism.
Ted Cruz will never allow political correctness to drive decisions about our security. Innocent, peaceful Americans, no matter their faith, deserve to live in safe neighborhoods; that is what law enforcement exists to do, and that includes preventing radical Islamic terror cells from taking root in them. The police should have every tool available to follow leads and take action against those who would do us harm. That is what Cruz is calling for and it is the basic responsibility of our elected leaders — to prioritize the safety of our citizens.
Trump seconded Cruz’s call, but Cruz was denounced by New York City Mayor de Blasio, and, especially, NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton.
From Laura Nahmias at Politico New York
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s remarks in response to the terror attacks in Brussels Tuesday, calling for increased law enforcement patrols of Muslim neighborhoods, are the reason why he won’t be the next president, NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton said at a press conference in Times Square.
Bratton and Mayor Bill de Blasio took turns at the conference criticizing Cruz, who earlier in the day called for “empower[ing] law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized,” and through a spokeswoman criticized de Blasio specifically for “succumb[ing] to unfounded criticisms and eliminat[ing] the efforts of law enforcement to work with Muslim communities to stop radical Islamic terrorism.”
“I just have to say it’s reprehensible. His comments are not about safety and security. It’s demagoguery,” de Blasio said Tuesday, noting that the city’s Police Department includes 900 Muslim-American officers, and saying there are “peace-loving, law-abiding Muslim Americans in neighborhoods all over New York City” who “should be respected like all other members of our community.”
De Blasio called Cruz’s comments “immoral” and “counterproductive,” because they could “alienate thousands and thousands of people and make them feel like they don’t belong in this country, and that’s no good for anyone.”
But the harshest criticism came from Bratton.
“The statements he made today is why he’s not going to become president of this country,” Bratton said. “We don’t need a president that doesn’t respect the values that form the foundation of this country,” he said. “As the mayor mentioned, I have over 900 very dedicated officers in this department, many of whom do double duty, and they serve as active duty members of the U.S. Military in combat, something the senator has never seen,” he said, referring to Cruz’s lack of experience in the U.S. Armed Forces.
“So before he starts denigrating any population, he should take a close look at who he’s denigrating,” Bratton said, adding that “I take great offense” at his characterization of Muslims.
“The senator basically is really out of line with his comments,” Bratton said;
As outrageous as it was, at least Trump’s Muslim ban, was directed at keeping foreign Muslims out of the United States, while Cruz’s comments suggested we must now cast an eye of suspicion on Muslim-Americans as the enemy within, which seemed wrong and counterproductive and to make a hash of the Constitution that Cruz calls, along with the Bible, his Bible.
From Joe Scarborough at MSNBC’s Morning Joe this morning.
What Ted Cruz said yesterday is the exact opposite of what we need to do. It makes us less safe. I won’t even talk about American values. Let’s not talk about American values. Let’s talk about American safety. If we are going to win the war against Islamic terrorism in the United States, if we’re going to make sure we don’t end up looking like Europe, we do that by continuing to do what Americans have done for over 200 years – acccept immigrants into this country and integrate.
Muslim Americans have successfully integrated into this country better than any non-Muslim country in the world. They have pursued the American dream. One percent of Americans are Muslim. Two percent of doctors, I have read, are Muslim Americans. Muslim Americans are entrepreneurs. They are leaders in this country. Ted Cruz could not have it more wrong. I’m not talking about values. I’m not talking about reaching out and touching someone. I’m not talking about teaching the world to sing in perfect harmony. I’m talking bbout beating ISIS. You beat ISIS by having Muslim Americans embrace the American dream.
Gen. MIchael Hayden, former CIA director, added:
We don’t have radicalized communities in the United States. We have some radicalized individuals, but we have it within our ability to create radicalized communities and we have to take every step not to do that.
This was Cruz on Morning Joe back when he opposed Trump’s call for a ban on Muslim immigration.
in a recent First Reading, I looked at Cruz’s neocon national security nexus: Neoconservatives and neoconspiracy-theorists
It appears from yesterday’s call for patrolling Muslim neighborhoods that he is taking the advice of some of the edgier members of his security circle.
One of those members of Cruz’s national security team I didn’t get to his is Clare Lopez, who was the focus this week of People for the American Way’s Right Wing Watch.
Clare Lopez, a member of Sen. Ted Cruz’s recently announced national security advisory team, declared in a recent radio interview that Sen. Joseph McCarthy was “spot-on” in his investigation of communists infiltrating the U.S. government, implying that a similar effort should be made to root out Muslim Brotherhood associates in “the top levels of national security in our government.”
Lopez joined South Carolina radio host Vince Coakley on March 1 to discuss efforts in Congress — led in part by Cruz — to urge the Obama administration to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, which Lopez said misses the point because the real threat from the group is “the subversion, the infiltration, the influence operations.”
“Brotherhood affiliates and associates and those connected to it are the go-to advisers, if not appointees, for the top levels of national security in our government, in this administration for sure, but going back many decades, really, is the program of this Brotherhood,” she claimed.
She compared the situation to the influence of communists before the House Un-American Activities Committee and Sen. McCarthy got involved in rooting out subversives, calling McCarthy’s efforts “spot-on.”
“We can go all the way back, of course, to the time of the Cold War and back to the 1920s, ‘30s, ‘40s when communists, you know, the KGB, infiltrated our government at the very highest levels,” she said. “And then, like now, we were unprepared and in large measure unaware of what was going on, at least until the House Un-American Activities got rolling in the 1950s with Sen. Joseph McCarthy, who absolutely was spot-on in just about everything he said about the levels of infiltration. So we have precedent for this where we were not fully aware of the infiltration occurring at the time.”
Another top Cruz adviser, Frank Gaffney — Lopez’s boss at the Center for Security Policy — has called for the reinstatement of HUAC.
Well, I think pretty clearly, these are the beans, per friend-of-Trump Roger Stone, and they have already been spilled.
Stone’s piece in the Daily Caller, begins:
As the nation says “Goodbye” to Nancy Reagan – a woman widely admired as the quintessential political wife – we pause to ask: Who is Heidi Nelson Cruz?
Watching any Ted Cruz political advertisement featuring his wife and two young daughters, we could easily get the impression that Heidi Nelson Cruz, like Nancy Reagan, is a devoted wife dedicated to making sure she and her husband occupy the White House.
The New York Times in an article published on Jan. 18, described Heidi Cruz as “a political wife,” who had become a force in her husband’s presidential contest, “an all-purpose surrogate and strategist to be deployed as often as possible.”
Heidi is herself a high-powered Bush insider, who served as deputy to National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice before signing on as a Deputy to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick, neocon stalwart and former Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations. Zoellick wired a cushy job for Heidi when she landed at Goldman Sachs as a partner. Goldman would, of course, go on to make a secret $1 million loan to fund Ted’s U.S. Senate campaign while both Cruzes lied about the source of funds being Heidi’s retirement savings.
Yet, investigating more deeply, Ted and Heidi Cruz have had a sometimes troubled relationship punctuated by bouts of physical separation that began when two young Christians on the fringe of protestant evangelicalism met while working on the Bush-Cheney 2000 presidential campaign.