Republican senators start to unite: Anyone but Cruz; Update: I’d support Bernie Sanders over Cruz, says Richard Burr

posted at 4:41 pm on January 21, 2016 by Allahpundit

“Nooooo!” shouts Cruz half-heartedly as he lounges in the briar patch.

“There’s a lot of people who don’t feel he can appeal to people across the board,” [Orrin] Hatch said. “For us to win, we have to appeal the moderates and independents. We can’t just act like that only one point of view is the only way to go. That’s where Ted is going to have some trouble.”…

“An awful lot of us really didn’t like to be targeted as corrupt, establishment bought by the lobby establishment,” [Dan] Coats added. “It sure looks like someone was using it as a way to gain notoriety as the only true conservative in Washington.”…

“I think people are concerned,” [John] Cornyn told CNN. “Because obviously the top of the ticket will have a big bearing on whether we’ll hold a majority of the Senate. We don’t need any headwinds from the top of the ticket. We need some tailwinds.”…

“There’s no doubt he has harmed relationships among people,” said Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, the 2008 GOP presidential nominee. “I would assume that all members would work with the elected president for the good of the country. But there is no doubt there would be strains in the working relationship.”

“I’ve come around a little bit on Trump,” added Hatch, who beat back a tea-party primary challenge in 2012 by running as a true conservative and then promptly voted for the Gang of Eight bill eight months later. It’s not just current senators who are all aboard the Trump train in Iowa either. Check out this nuclear non-endorsement:

Senator Pork also prefers Trump, who’s supposedly going to take a wrecking ball to the Beltway establishment, to Cruz, huh? Go figure.

Given that Cruz’s campaign rests on the idea that the “Washington cartel” hates him, it’s deeply weird to find name-brand members of the “cartel” confirming for the media that they do indeed hate him 10 days before Iowa votes. Instinctively I want to read it as reverse psychology: These are successful politicians, they know how Cruz will exploit this among voters, therefore it must be the case that they secretly favor Cruz over the loose cannon Trump and are doing their part to hand Cruz ammo. But I don’t think that’s what’s happening. Partly I think Gabe Malor is right that this is just people who despise Cruz not being able to restrain themselves from making that plain, even if it hurts their political interests to do so. That’s a pitiful lack of discipline — compare it to Cruz’s strategic restraint in refusing to attack Trump for month after month — but that’s the Occam’s Razor explanation. The other part of it is probably Hatch et al. suspecting that a huge volume of anti-endorsements of Cruz from all directions will push undecideds against him in Iowa, even if they come from the dreaded “establishment.” If you’re trying to decide between Trump and Cruz and you’ve got Sarah Palin and Terry Branstad and half the U.S. Senate telling you that Trump would be better for reasons ranging from “strength” to ethanol to electability to better prospects for bipartisan compromise in Congress, that’s a lot of pressure from different angles pushing you in one direction. Maybe, for Hatch and company, it’s all part of a pie-in-the-sky attempt to rescue Jeb by taking out Cruz early and hoping that Rubio then fades in NH, setting up a “Trump versus Bush” race. Jeb Bush would certainly win that, right?

But don’t miss the forest for the trees here. The fact that “conservative” senators openly prefer a boorish loose cannon with no ideological allegiance to the right like Trump to a guy whose conservatism isn’t in doubt even among the people who hate him proves Cruz’s point of how perverse the GOP leadership’s priorities are. I can understand why a Senate colleague would dislike Cruz and strongly prefer Rubio to him as nominee. But when you’re given a binary choice between someone who reminds you of Tracy Flick but will vote for what you claim to believe and another guy like Trump who’s deeply unpopular among the wider electorate and barely makes a pretense of sharing your principles, the choice should be obvious. How come it isn’t for these people — many of whom, by the way, are moderates on immigration and should in theory be even more appalled by Trump than they are by Cruz?

As for Cruz, he’s doing exactly what you’d expect him to do strategically with all of this. When life hands you establishment lemons, make populist lemonade.

“Donald is publicly bragging about how all the big establishment players are getting behind him, and his criticism of me is he said I went to Washington and actually stood up and fought in Washington and Donald has said, well, the problem he has with me is that I won’t go along to get along in Washington,” the Texas senator said in an interview Wednesday night with Fox News’ Sean Hannity.

“He’ll go along to get along,” Cruz said. “I’ve got to tell you Sean, you know the conservatives across this country, I don’t think the problem with Washington is we haven’t had enough Republicans willing to cut deals with the Democrats.”…

“And the establishment seems to have made a determination Donald Trump’s a guy they can make a deal with who will continue the cronyism and corporate welfare and bailouts for big banks,” he added. “And I think that we’re seeing conservatives getting behind us, and we’re seeing the Washington establishment getting behind Donald Trump, interestingly enough.”

That’s basically what Hatch et al. are telling you. When push comes to shove, they can do business with Trump. I think Cruz is making a small mistake in mentioning “deals” in connection with Trump, though, as that’s something the public likes about him. Trump’s going to turn around and say, “Of course I’ll make deals. And Republicans will get the better of Democrats in every one of them. That’s what the art of the deal is all about.” Cruz should be tying this point back to Trump’s ideological vacuousness by claiming that not only is he going to make deals, he’s going to make bad deals necessarily because he brings no core convictions of his own to the table. His definition of what a “good deal” looks like might not match the right’s, especially after clever old hands like McConnell and Schumer are done maneuvering him. He has weak beliefs so he’s going to get rolled. Cruz could cite Trump’s immigration position as an example. Trump was all for amnesty in 2013 once the border was secured; now he’s supposedly for mass deportation, except that once the media started quizzing him on it, suddenly he was open to letting “the good ones” back in as legal immigrants. That’ll happen ad nauseam in a Trump presidency once aides and pressure groups and congressional centrists all start shoving him in the same direction. They’ll fill in his ideological blanks, possibly in some cases without him even realizing it. Here’s Cruz spokesman Rick Tyler making a point along those lines this morning on CNN.

Update: Well then.

Update: Team Burr strongly denies that he said this.


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Comments

bazil9 on January 21, 2016 at 8:33 PM

Good grief, no. Why oh, why would someone do that?

Cindy Munford on January 21, 2016 at 8:35 PM

I don’t know! I saw it on FB but was busy and didn’t get into it-
Some young guy running for some office in Fl and he admitted it..I was like WTF? I wish I had taken time to read it. I’m sure he is finished.

bazil9 on January 21, 2016 at 8:37 PM

I was just listening to Burr on Hewitt’s show. He unequivocally stated that he never said anything even in jest about backing Sanders over Cruz. The statement was never made. He reiterated that he will support the Republican nominee. Period.

Lime in the Coconut on January 21, 2016 at 8:09 PM

Yeah? I wonder who is spreading the malicious gossip! If it is gossip.

I feel a disturbance in the force. The GOPe doesn’t have a clue as to what’s going on outside of DC. They see that Palin endorses Donald so they think they can come out again st Cruz. I don’t think the endorsement really helped and may have actually hurt.

Vince on January 21, 2016 at 8:38 PM

Good grief, no. Why oh, why would someone do that?

Cindy Munford on January 21, 2016 at 8:35 PM

Thinks they are a vampire?

OmahaConservative on January 21, 2016 at 8:39 PM

Cindy Munford on January 21, 2016 at 8:35 PM

Thinks they are a vampire?

OmahaConservative on January 21, 2016 at 8:39 PM

I think it said it was a Frat prank..still made the news..sure it killed him off.

bazil9 on January 21, 2016 at 8:40 PM

I’d run for office but I have to many skeletons in the closet. lol

bazil9 on January 21, 2016 at 8:43 PM

And the right wouldn’t give me a chance. Oh well.

bazil9 on January 21, 2016 at 8:44 PM

bazil9 on January 21, 2016 at 8:40 PM

Made me look it up – bad – stupid

TheMightyGwen on January 21, 2016 at 8:49 PM

On the scale of moral or legal or optical sins, that’s pretty close to the bottom of the list. He took personal loans,at no special rates,and no special deals, and didn’t report on the FEC form,but did on the Senate disclosure (before election) as well as the the IRS.

Charliecrown on January 21, 2016 at 8:36 PM

Cruz doesn’t do anything without a ton of calculation. He reported it to the Senate, because they all look out for each other. He didn’t report it to the FEC, because they’re an agency in the executive branch and it would have become public.

cimbri on January 21, 2016 at 8:50 PM

bazil9 on January 21, 2016 at 8:44 PM

Well, I’m right, well sorta right :0, and you would have my vote. :)

Barred on January 21, 2016 at 8:51 PM

bazil9 on January 21, 2016 at 8:40 PM

Made me look it up – bad – stupid

TheMightyGwen on January 21, 2016 at 8:49 PM

A Libertarian..maybe it was TBShuemer..lmao
Good find Gwen.
Do I need to tell you Fl is filled with Nuts? Out of state nuts, usually.

bazil9 on January 21, 2016 at 8:52 PM

bazil9 on January 21, 2016 at 8:44 PM

Well, I’m right, well sorta right :0, and you would have my vote. :)

Barred on January 21, 2016 at 8:51 PM

I know its silly..but that meant a lot..thx Barred.
I knew you were a cool lady. :)
I’ll always remember you said that.

bazil9 on January 21, 2016 at 8:54 PM

Barred, I’m a Con with a libertarian streak.

bazil9 on January 21, 2016 at 8:55 PM

bazil9 on January 21, 2016 at 8:52 PM

I like Florida. My grandparents lived in a beautiful place there, I loved visiting them.

I was leaning Trump too but the more I learn about him the less I like him.

TheMightyGwen on January 21, 2016 at 8:57 PM

Barred, are u a Floridian?

bazil9 on January 21, 2016 at 8:57 PM

Orrin Hatch is a slimy ahole. Those morons voted him back again because he ran way right and they fell for ir again. He and McCain are the worst of the lot. Die or retire does not matter to me just GTFO.

jdsbengaltiger on January 21, 2016 at 8:58 PM

TheMightyGwen on January 21, 2016 at 8:57 PM

Where in Fl?

I have mixed feelings on Trump..but I want to
smash the establishment and for now
he is saying what I wanna hear. I am a border hawk.

bazil9 on January 21, 2016 at 8:59 PM

jdsbengaltiger on January 21, 2016 at 8:58 PM

If we had term limits we wouldn’t need to put up
with old slimy geezers running the country.

bazil9 on January 21, 2016 at 9:01 PM

And the right wouldn’t give me a chance. Oh well.

bazil9 on January 21, 2016 at 8:44 PM

Amen sista, and with my potty mouth I would have called McConnell something worse than a liar on the Senate floor. Anything would have def. ended in “er”

melle1228 on January 21, 2016 at 9:03 PM

bazil9 on January 21, 2016 at 8:44 PM

Amen sista, and with my potty mouth I would have called McConnell something worse than a liar on the Senate floor. Anything would have def. ended in “er”

melle1228 on January 21, 2016 at 9:03 PM

LOL-besides my sexuality..I have a mouth..why we are buds,:)

bazil9 on January 21, 2016 at 9:05 PM

bazil9 on January 21, 2016 at 8:59 PM

Sarasota. It was very beautiful. They had a modest house but it was on Sarasota Bay. I can still hear the tropical birds calling out to each other in the early mornings, still see the little sand crabs at low tide.

Yeah, Trump says what I want to hear (when he doesn’t reverse it two days later_. I have an ex-husband who used to tell me what I wanted to hear too. Reality was a bit different though.

TheMightyGwen on January 21, 2016 at 9:05 PM

TheMightyGwen on January 21, 2016 at 9:05 PM

Yeah, Sarasota is lovely.

I hear ya…beware of someone that tells you everything you wanna hear.
I get it.

bazil9 on January 21, 2016 at 9:06 PM

… at least they can fill out an FEC form properly. I Ted was too busy dreaming constitutional things to remember his million in loans.

Sparky5253 on January 21, 2016 at 6:28 PM

He disclosed it in one form and didn’t on another. It was a loan secured by his own financial account. People do this all of the time whether to buy a home, pay tuition or whatever. It doesn’t mean that they are ‘owned’ by the banks. Did you take out a mortgage? If you run for dogcatcher, can we accuse you of being owned by the banks? He has or is paying them back. As far as I know, there is nothing in the public record showing that Ted Cruz ever shafted his creditors by filing for bankruptcy.

Of course, Donald Trump would never take out a loan, sign contracts with contractors or employees or sell shares in one of his companies and then renege on them and walk away…slowly, because his wallet is so heavy that it slows him down.

Do you know the story that I really love about Donald Trump? He wanted to build a golf course in Menie. Some property owners didn’t want to sell. How did The Most Humble and Gracious (PBUH) react? He argued that their land should, basically, be condemned and confiscated because they lived like a bunch of pigs.

In this exclusive clip from the film, Baxter questions Trump about his “bullying” of Scottish locals, including the aforementioned 90-year-old and Michael Forbes, a farmer who refused to sell his land to Trump. The billionaire later called Forbes “an embarrassment to Scotland” who “lives like a pig.”

Fighting Trump (2011) – short documentary on Donald Trump’s Scottish golf development in Menie

Scotland was none too pleased.

If you have even a passing understanding of the politics and popular ideologies of the Scots, you cannot but find it YUGELY ironic that the Scots have demonstrated more respect for private property rights than the Kelo-ised United States…and Trump the Birther luvs him sum eminent domain FOR THE POWERFUL and Kelo.

Lime in the Coconut on January 21, 2016 at 9:09 PM

Funny to hear Levin warning Trump about the costs of attacking Cruz. He thinks Cruz is electable though so his reads aren’t particularly accurate.

Coltrane on January 21, 2016 at 9:25 PM

You cant say these Establishment Republicans don’t know what side of the bread the butter is on. They know that Cruz would make them do their job and make the hard votes. They also know that Trump is the master of the deal and will wheel and deal with the left. In fact the reason that people are so turned off by the Establishment,is statements just like that. We the fly over country know that you would rather have a far left President then a President that wants what is best for the country.

pwb on January 21, 2016 at 9:29 PM

OmahaConservative on January 21, 2016 at 8:39 PM

People are crazy.

Cindy Munford on January 21, 2016 at 9:43 PM

Lime in the Coconut on January 21, 2016 at 9:09 PM

That video is a prime example of why I trust Trump less all the time.

TheMightyGwen on January 21, 2016 at 9:43 PM

The “burn it all down” is just a fantasy Cindy, a pipe dream from moonshine. One has to remember only a small portion of the US electorate is “true conservative” — so good luck on the dream of a Ted Cruz style revolution.

Dan333 on January 21, 2016 at 6:50 PM

The American Revolutionary was only a small portion of America. Most were still loyalists. But it was enough.

njrob on January 21, 2016 at 10:21 PM

bazil9 on January 21, 2016 at 8:57 PM

Born in Fl. Ga. girl now. :)

Barred on January 21, 2016 at 10:59 PM

Trump’s going to build a wall… around DC, to protect all his corrupt lobbyist buddies from small-government conservatives.

Never seen a more obvious con artist.

TallDave on January 21, 2016 at 11:31 PM

Obama wiped his nose with the Constitution after campaigning on upholding our sacred foudning document.

Donald’s already promising to use it on his ass.

TallDave on January 21, 2016 at 11:36 PM

I’d run for office but I have

to many skeletons in the closet. lol

bazil9 on January 21, 2016 at 8:43 PM

Holy shit but no kidding@

It’s one thing to own wrong-doings in front of family and friends; but the MEANESS of our trolls and others; oh Hells NO!

smokeyblonde on January 22, 2016 at 12:22 AM

As for the “Burn It All Down crows ..

The American revolution had only what, 30% approval rate?

smokeyblonde on January 22, 2016 at 12:26 AM

Trump’s going to build a wall… around DC, to protect all his corrupt lobbyist buddies from small-government conservatives.

Never seen a more obvious con artist.

TallDave on January 21, 2016 at 11:31 PM

Sweet! So no current bag limit on libtards?1?

smokeyblonde on January 22, 2016 at 12:27 AM

Trump’s going to build a wall… around DC, to protect all his corrupt lobbyist buddies from small-government conservatives.

Never seen a more obvious con artist.

TallDave on January 21, 2016 at 11:31 PM

It’s amazing that a guy who, by his own admission, has spent his entire adult life cozying up to whoever’s in power and gaming the system has managed to sell himself as a threat to the establishment.

clearbluesky on January 22, 2016 at 2:09 AM

This is the point in the campaign when the long knives come out in an attempt to redress petty grievances.

But long knives are defeated by long bows, and the long bows belong to the conservative movement, not to populists and RINOS. Their ideas are more compatible with going along to get along with their left wing fellow travelers (Bernie Sanders), and have brought us to where we are today.

Only one man stands for the true conservative principles in this political melee, and that man is Ted Cruz. Only he can shoot the arrow that will slay the federal dragon. Everyone else will make it bigger and more enslaving.

Think before you vote.

Voting for Hollywood-ized candidates is what got us Obama. Do we really need eight more years of seeing the President of the United States trading jousts on The View and the Tonight Show, and being piqued beyond belief by people who oppose him?

Stepan on January 22, 2016 at 4:23 AM

Go Ted Cruz

Dollayo on January 22, 2016 at 7:09 AM

Cruz is directly over the target. Look at all that flak coming in.

Bitter Clinger on January 22, 2016 at 7:58 AM

Trump has the entire corrupt political structure trembling and if for no other reason, that’s cause to support him.

rplat on January 22, 2016 at 8:13 AM

I’m glad our Senators are being honest. As a group, they’ve wasted the majority they were given so, now, they want to disparage one of the few bright spots the Senate has had. Fine.

Cruz campaign slogan, “Vote for the conservative Republican and give him a Senate he can work with.” Guys like McCain will, hopefully, lost their primaries and we’ll be a lot closer to a Senate we need in order to cut the deficit, pass budgets, deal with Obamacare, the IRS, and DOJ, and put some conservative judges on the bench. The present group of COngress Critters can’t be trusted to do the right thing.

bflat879 on January 22, 2016 at 8:13 AM

Trump has the entire corrupt political structure trembling and if for no other reason, that’s cause to support him.

rplat on January 22, 2016 at 8:13 AM

Is that why they’re praising his “deal-making” acumen? Because they’re trembling?

LOL.

Bitter Clinger on January 22, 2016 at 8:16 AM

I watched the interview last night with Bozell, Bash and Pavlich. What they said is what I’ve thought all along about DT. I think he’s a bigger narcissist then the current occupant of the WH, if that’s even possible. He’s been making a ‘deal’ with his followers from the beginning and they’ve bought it hook line and sinker. Maybe they should read his book. “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” That’s from the book that’s more popular than DTs.

Kissmygrits on January 22, 2016 at 8:59 AM

He did NOT say he would support or vote for Sanders. I heard him on Hugh Hewitt, and he specifically said that if Trump was the nominee, he would vote for him. He said it is an outright lie, and he never said anything even close to that which could have been misunderstood.

Not a story; just another lie.

californiacitizen on January 22, 2016 at 10:30 AM

More proof you can’t fix the party of stupid. The only choice is to destroy it.

Trump for President, 2016!

earlgrey on January 22, 2016 at 1:41 PM

I emailed Richard Burr’s staff about his supposed anti-Cruz comment, and received a reply stating that the Senator did not say this.

maryo on January 23, 2016 at 2:11 PM