Trump Goes Full McConnell on Cruz

Trumpby C. Edmund Wright   1/21/16
Donald Trump is doubling down again — but this time, his tactic might just backfire. You see, this time, in his attacks on Ted Cruz,Trump is doubling down from the left, and from the establishment position. In short, he’s gone full McConnell on Cruz. He followed up Sunday’s “nasty” comments to Clinton hack George Stephanopolous on ABC with more of the same Monday at a live appearance with relatives of John Wayne.

In the process, he has figuratively flipped the bird to Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin — both of whom have warned Trump that attacking Cruz the same way McConnell or Lindsey Graham or John McCain would is not a smart strategy.

It’s not smart in that it won’t help Trump beat Cruz — which he may well do anyway — and not so smart in that it is taking the focus off of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton — who are the real problems.

Levin has gently chastised Trump on his radio show for a couple of weeks, and backed it up with a Facebook posting offering sharp but “friendly” advice to Trump. Limbaugh, a golfing buddy of Trump’s, was very slow to respond — finally criticizing him for the tactic on Monday’s show at length. I think it’s safe to say that Limbaugh’s chummy relationship with Trump has clouded the perspective of the talk host — who for some 30 years has normally been able to sniff out faux conservatives instantly and ahead of the curve. He is way behind on this one.

Of course, he doesn’t play golf with most of the others. Read into that what you will. I have.

Now for the Trump apologists who will say something snarky and meaningless like “politics ain’t bean bag” — you guys so miss the point. It’s not that Trump is attacking Cruz per se that is so alarming. It’s that he’s attacking Cruz from the left and from the establishment position. These are red flags for anyone really paying attention.

And it’s not that Cruz “can’t take it.” He’s actually handling it very well.

Both Limbaugh and Levin have made these points clear. It’s not so much that Trump is going after Cruz — it’s how and why he’s going after him. Trump has been in the minds of the voters the undisputed champion of fighting the Republican establishment — and yet he has now settled on a strategy of taking establishment talking points — and using them against the one man who has stood up to McConnell and the establishment more than any other in either chamber of Congress.

It’s painful and destructive political irony. Now that Sarah Palin, who has praised Cruz for his filibuster and tough stands in the Senate, has jumped on the Trump train 72 hours into Trump’s full McConnell versus Cruz — it is an astonishing paradox indeed.

What is so amazing is that this is not new with Trump either. And by amazing, I mean so overlooked and/or ignored by long time genuine conservative shows and websites. It’s amazing because none of this was done in secret.

WTFHe has attacked Republicans and conservatives from the left on many issues over many years. Meanwhile, he has cozied up with many leftists and many leftist positions over many years as well. He is clearly a believer that a big powerful government — led by a big powerful chief executive — can do great things. He was all in favor of TARP, the Obama Stimulus, the auto bailouts and others. And recently he has jumped into the tank for ethanol subsidies — which is more big government — and exonerated all Democrats from the Fannie/Freddie-caused economic crisis. And we all know about Kelo.

Now we’re told not to worry about this because Trump is A): fighting the establishment like no one else can; B): has brought more attention to illegal immigration and the border than anyone else; C): has rolled back political correctness 20 years, and D): has shown conservatives how to defeat the media by doubling down on hard truths instead of backing down.

And I’ll be the first to acknowledge all of that, at least to a large degree. And I was perhaps the first to acknowledge this, praising many of these very traits in this April 2011 American Thinker article, in fact. Yes, April of 2011, not 2015. And ironically, it was based on a Trump interview on the Limbaugh Show — demonstrating that I am familiar with the Rush/Trump dynamic.

So I have no problem pointing any of this out. It is what it is, and Trump is who he is. And yes, I support him against every Democrat and most Republicans — but there’s just no indication that he’s a limited government pro liberty guy. There’s plenty of red flags about what he will do and how he will respond to any number of challenges that will face him if he gets the nomination — and of course if he does obtain the keys to the Oval Office — which also could well happen.

Consider: Cruz has challenged him — leading in some Iowa polls and closing the gap in many national polls. And Trump has responded — as he so often has in distant and recent memory — from the left. He said, of Cruz’s criticism of McConnell — that Cruz has a “temperament problem” and doesn’t know how to “curry favor” to get deals done.

There’s no other way to slice that. That’s the full McConnell. That’s also the full McCain — reaching across the aisle. That’s the full Bob Dole — “we gotta pass a bill” mindset. So I pose the question: Is this the revolution that Trump’s supporters are promising us? Do we need another leader who will react from the left?


CEdmundWrightC. Edmund Wright is contributor to StubbornThings, American Thinker, Breitbart, Newsmax TV, Talk Radio Network and author of WTF? How Karl Rove and the Establishment Lost…Again. • (678 views)

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10 Responses to Trump Goes Full McConnell on Cruz

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Rational politics are decided on one question: Can your candidate do no wrong?

    Reading the responses to this article at American Thinker, it seems that Trump has become a popular brand of Kool-Aid. He can do no wrong.

    But he has done wrong. And there is now, more than ever, every reason to believe he is a fully problematic candidate, and not because he makes Rich Lowry or any of the Establishment Republicans cry. It’s because he’s likely Left of Chris Christie.

  2. Timothy Lane says:

    There has always been the question with Trump: how much of what he says does he mean? (Of course, this is true with all politicians, but even more so when what he says now contradicts what he previously said on so many issues.) His readiness to back down without admitting he’s doing that (e.g., attacking Carly Fiorina’s appearance and then saying at a debate that she looks fine) belies his reputation as a destroyer of political correctness. And now he supports the Beltway Bandits against Cruz (and we see reports that they prefer him over Cruz, which may explain his behavior).

    As for Palin, I will mention Rich Galen’s interesting take in an article on Town Hall — he compares her to a mixture of Norma Desmond and Delta Dawn. I like Palin a lot more than her critics, but he does have a point. Part of it is that Palin, like the Tea Party, was a constant target of both liberals and GOP Beltway Bandits. Both have been hurt badly in their reputation because of that.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      A Pulitzer Prize should go to that guy just for coming up with the Norma Desmond/Delta Dawn analogy. I see Palin as sort of Reagan in a dress. Rush is apparently a golfing buddy of Trump’s (which I didn’t know) so there’s a bit of squish here. He’s justifying Trump by saying the definition of “conservatism” is a lot wider than commonly believed and/or that aren’t that many people anymore who are particularly conservative.

      What we’re all tired of is people promising to reform this increasingly Marxist/socialist dependency, hate-America system and then they always find a reason not to. I trust Ted Cruz much more in this regard than Trump. But name the last person who actually significantly cut anything. It might have been Newt Gingrich.

  3. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Here’s a readable article by Richard Miniter: A Plea to Conservative Voices. He sounds like me!

    As proof, we might look at what has happened with our state governments – in a word, nothing.  Because despite all the hoopla about how many governorships and state legislatures Republicans now firmly control, those victories are essentially meaningless.  None of these Republican governments has moved against the extreme left-wing taxpayer-funded mental health establishment or welfare establishment; curbed the absurd explosion of damaging zoning laws, tree commissions, and ridiculous environmental regulation at the local government level; dug out the Democrat endemic voter fraud in their big cities; or squashed taxpayer funded sexual propaganda – a list of conservative reforms that goes on and on, un-attempted, even unmentioned in our Republican-controlled state deliberative bodies.

    That’s not a rationale for just giving up or throwing any old monkey into the ring. But we need to realize that the Republican Party is only marking time. It’s not doing anything. Trump has the support he does because people actually believe he will do something on a few key issues (including immigration). Although Cruz is my first choice, this is a valid and rationale point of view.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      It’s not like the GOP statehouses aren’t doing anything. Several new states have become right-to-work, and West Virginia may soon be joining them. There have been restrictions on abortion, such as those in Texas, and voter ID laws designed to attack one form of vote fraud. Many of them are pushing charter schools and other forms of choice. But there’s a lot to accomplish — and not all of it can be done at the state level.

  4. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I think Dan Flynn has caught the essence of the thing in Whither Conservatism ini the Age of the Donald?

    The only major flaw in this that I can see is he reserves only a few words for the “conservatives” who are against Trump who wish only to hold onto power and privilege. The ideological corruption of National Review, the GOP Establishment, and other elements should be boldly pointed out. We might indeed chide conservative voters for abandoning principle and backing a man who clearly is as liberal as FDR. But that didn’t happen in a vacuum.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      One also has to remember that many Trump supporters are in fact moderate or even liberal, and many are conservative only on specific issues or are willing to sacrifice everything else for that specific issue (such as, most importantly in Trump’s case, immigration — cf. Ann Coulter). “Movement” conservatives are much likelier to support another candidate, such as Cruz. But they also realize what NRO refuses to see, that Trump is hardly any less conservative today than Jeb Bush or John Kasich — and even more so if you believe what he says.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Good point. I do believe a lot of Trump supporters are liberal. I think Dan should have also brought up the point that “conservatives” have adopted to some degree many of the Leftist cultural points which have invaded the culture. It’s hard not to. Fishies swimming in the fishbowl. And if one does desire to gain some ideological reinforcement, well, that shows just how important the corruption of “think tanks” such as National Review is.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        But they also realize what NRO refuses to see, that Trump is hardly any less conservative today than Jeb Bush or John Kasich — and even more so if you believe what he says.

        The core problem for the Republican establishment is one of credibility. Nobody would believe Bush, Kasich, Rubio, et.al. if they came out tomorrow and said they would build a wall, cut off all immigration from Muslim countries until the problem of radical Islam was solved, they would nominate judges who followed the constitution to the Supreme Court, etc., etc., etc.

        I think many regular Republicans actually despise the Republican establishment. This type of emotion cannot be discounted.

        At the moment, the Republican Party has lost all credibility with about 50-70% of it’s members if the polls mean anything. That is a big part of why Trump is ahead.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          Yes. There’s a lot of that I wouldn’t believe if Trump said it either, but that makes him no worse than most of the alternatives. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul are the only ones I’d trust at all in that respect, and Paul is going nowhere (partly because he’s a bit too anti-interventionist even for me), though Carly Fiorina might be worthy of consideration (she at least isn’t a proven betrayer). But she’s doing even worse than Paul.

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