“A pattern of sleaze”: Brutal Cruz attack ad hits Trump over eminent domain in South Carolina

posted at 9:21 pm on February 11, 2016 by Allahpundit

Maybe this helps explain why Trump yanked his own attack ad against Cruz this afternoon. Now, when he’s questioned about this ad from Cruz, he can claim that he tried to elevate the discourse by being nice but the sleazy professional pol — Canadian maniac cronyist pussy that he is — just can’t let go of the nastiness.

Will the ad hurt Trump? Last night I watched Cruz on Megyn Kelly’s show attacking him as a phony conservative and caught myself rolling my eyes at the thought that that’s going to work now after eight months. But I reconsidered. Cruz’s campaign is famously data-intensive; if he thinks there are still votes to be had in South Carolina by questioning Trump’s conservative bona fides, he has a good reason to think so tucked away somewhere in the numbers on his desk. Ditto for this spot, I’m sure. It’s a truism by now that nothing will cost Trump any of his core supporters — and no one understands that more than Trump himself — but there are still true undecideds out there to be won and beyond them plenty of voters who like Trump but remain open to other candidates. That’s who Cruz is aiming at. Trump probably has an absolute floor of 25 percent, but Cruz’s ceiling is higher than that floor. And for what it’s worth, there is reason to believe that ads have already hurt Trump this cycle. His polling dipped in Iowa in September when the Club for Growth began attacking him, although he eventually came back after Ben Carson collapsed. This ad, by the anti-Trump Super PAC Our Principles, ran in Iowa before Trump’s loss to Cruz there and was universally described as highly effective. It has more than half a million views on YouTube as I write this. Even Trump’s not wholly immune from a punchy critique.

One easy criticism of this spot is that eminent domain is a boutique issue, something maybe one in five Americans could define if asked. That’s true, but that’s not the point. The message here isn’t that Trump is abusing an arcane aspect of state power for his personal gain (although that message will be absorbed by dogmatic conservatives), it’s that Trump, for all of his populist bravado, tried to roll over the little guy in the person of Vera Coking to line his pockets. Trump’s critics on the right, like Liam Donovan, have been begging the rest of the field to pursue that line of attack for months. It’s not enough to say Trump isn’t really a conservative, since neither Trump nor his fans care much about that. To claim that he’s not really a populist, though — now you’re hitting him where he lives.

A billionaire real estate developer might make for an odd working class political (anti-)hero, but he has always projected the over the top caricature of what a working stiff might think being rich would be like. And his outer borough accent conveys a disarming familiarity that is impossible to fake.

So how do you chip away at this rapport? You start by shattering the illusion that Trump is a friend of the little guy. To his credit, Trump possesses an uncanny ability to perceive, identify, and harness the wants and needs of the average Joe. The problem is that Trump takes this unique insight into the working class and exploits it for his own gain.

Perhaps the best instance of this is Trump University, his for profit “education” venture that was investigated and later sued by the State of New York, which held Trump personally liable for running an unlicensed school. Personal accounts from former students are damning, describing a boiler-room operation that imparted no real estate knowledge while leaving them deep in debt. One student, a Trump supporter no less, called the school an outright “scam.” These stories, when combined with the slick Trump U pitch video could make for a great opening salvo. The possibilities are limitless, particularly given the mountain of opposition research material that has yet to be uncorked.

The bottom line is that you need to disabuse people of the notion that Trump is on their side. This is a con, and we are the collective mark.

I thought of Trump University too when I watched this ad. I’ll be shocked if Cruz doesn’t have a spot about that already ready to roll, along with one about illegals allegedly taking American construction jobs at some of Trump’s building projects. These are all facets of the same argument, that Trump is happy to screw the blue-collar Americans who are supporting him if he can make a buck doing so. And if you don’t like Cruz’s version of these ads, no worries. You’ll see another version of them in six months from Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders as they go all-out to paint Trump as a Wall Street oligarch turned power-seeking phony populist. The only surprise in Cruz’s ad is that it took a major candidate this long to really unload on him on that point.

Then again, the media being what it is, we’ll probably spend most of the day tomorrow talking about the fact that Team Cruz accidentally cast a porn actress in its new ad hitting Rubio instead of Trump’s eminent domain record. Trump wins again!

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Still waiting on a response, let’s try again:

To those who think using eminent domain to take from one private owner and give to another private owner: What is the limit on it?

Imagine, I see that your house is worth, say, $250,000, and you pay $2500/yr in taxes (just to create random numbers). Maybe I really like your house. Can I go to the government, say “I want that house, and I’ll pay you $2600/yr in taxes, so force them to sell to me at $260,000!”

Should the government be allowed to do that? After all, from their view, I’d be utilizing it better since they’ll get more tax.

If not, what’s the cutoff?

RblDiver on February 12, 2016 at 9:58 AM

RblDiver on February 12, 2016 at 12:03 PM

Again: EMINENT DOMAIN is NOT a presidential matter.

It belongs in the courts !

stenwin77 on February 12, 2016 at 12:03 PM

Well, I don’t think the ranchers would agree with you and Cruz down in Texas who were having their land infringed upon in areas for the border fence…and yes, the pipeline in Texas, that Cruz was fine with. Again, Cruz is for ED or not? He just is beginning to reveal himself like many pols. If it helps me in the polls then I’m for it. I KNOW Trump was seeking to take, via ED, Coking’s place and failed. First off Guccione had tried 13 years earlier. Coking should have sold…but that’s easy for me to say, right?

g2825m on February 12, 2016 at 11:51 AM

Cruz is pro ED and anti Kelo. I am fine with that. I’m sorry some people lose their property to ED, I wish it didn’t have to happen – but there are public needs sometime. A pipeline, where no actual seizure of property happens ranks rather low on my list.

Trump is pro ED and pro Kelo. I am not fine with that.

There is no hypocrisy for Cruz to attack Trump on ED. (Saying ED may not be the proper term – as the real issue there is the Kelo decision – but I’d hardly fault him for it.)

clement on February 12, 2016 at 12:04 PM

All I’ve been saying here is that Cruz is for ED like Trump but just differ on when and where it is to be used.

That’s a fair characterization.

But I mean – it’s in the Constitution. (The Fifth Amendment: ‘nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.’)

Trump explained in the last debate where he would use (and the country has used) ED. That would be for private companies conducting business in the greater good for the American people. Trump is all about JOBS, JOBS, JOBS.

g2825m on February 12, 2016 at 11:36 AM

And if you think that’s a fair way to define “public use,” then you’d be fine with Trump’s understanding.

(Of course, the JOBS, JOBS, JOBS, do not always materialize, as happened after Pfizer decided not to build its complex in New London…)

It’s just that it would be a deucedly strange position for a conservative to hold, given that Kelo v. New London came in for almost universal condemnation from conservatives (and from some liberals, too). Just be clear what the implications of the Kelo understanding of “public use amounts to, and how it limits the right to property – and who benefits from that limitation.

The_Jacobite on February 12, 2016 at 12:06 PM

I have no doubt these primaries will become a really donnybrook of accusations.

No doubt Trump isn’t the perfect candidate. But that begs the question who is? Everyone of them has flip flopped, misled, had amnesia about previous policy positions, and have had some sort of unhappy dealings in real life. That’s especially true in the private sector where screwing up is unforgiving where as if all you’ve ever done is be a politician, then all is always forgiven.

So among the imperfect candidates, the question that comes to my mind is who has the most incentive to become a good President?

I could make a case for each of them, but I have to say that I think Trump would try the hardest because he would have the most to loose.

If Trump really screws up as President, his empire of billions is at risk. If Cuz doesn’t do well, what does he lose? Not much. Ditto Rubio.

But I think Trump’s ego and his desire to achieve is so driven that he will do whatever it takes to be seen as one of the best Presidents in history. If he succeeds, he doubles or triples his current multi-billions.

Trump is not an ideologue like Obama, Sanders, Clinton, or Cruz. He’s more of personality that will move things forward, even if not perfectly, to make progress.

I think he will take his phone and a pen and reverse much of the damage Obama has done with Executive Orders. I think Trump will find a way to fire or isolate non-performers and the corrupt. If necessary, he’ll transfer them to Ft Greely Alaska to count snowflakes and replace them with more qualified people. It may be very difficult to fire people in the government, but there isn’t anything that prevents a President from moving people around or asking for their resignation as they serve at the pleasure of the President.

Anyway, I’ve come to the conclusion that Trump has more to lose as an ineffective President than all of the other combined. For that reason, I think he will be a good President that makes life better for our citizens.

In any event, I’ve stockpiled fifty cases of popcorn which I hope lasts me until the end of March. But I have a reserve 50 cases in self-storage in case the FBI recommends indictment of Hillary. I’m concerned that it may not last an entire 24 hours. Dang, this is getting expensive, but it’s worth the entertainment. Best election cycle I’ve seen in 70 years.

BMF on February 12, 2016 at 12:08 PM

Again: EMINENT DOMAIN is NOT a presidential matter.

It belongs in the courts !

stenwin77 on February 12, 2016 at 12:03 PM

It’s a rather marginal presidential matter of course, but it’s a really big Trump matter because of what he did with it. It speak to his credibility as a populist and it speaks to his general character.

Email management isn’t a presidential matter either.

If you’re a Kelo fan, that’s cool. I find it to be antithetical to the American cause of liberty, but we all put different value on different things. Don’t try to disqualify it as a valid topic for discussion within the context of the race, because it won’t be post-convention, you can bet on that.

Immolate on February 12, 2016 at 12:12 PM

She definitely was experiencing property depreciation, since, according to the Washington Post, “Demolition crews had set fire to her roof, broken windows and smashed up much of the third floor, according to her attorneys.”

Gelsomina on February 12, 2016 at 11:41 AM

Good point.

And if you look at photos at the casino development going up literally on all four sides of her house toward the end (look at the Wiki article on her), well….it’s not surprising that her son did not get more for it in 2014.

The_Jacobite on February 12, 2016 at 12:16 PM

Again: EMINENT DOMAIN is NOT a presidential matter.

It belongs in the courts !

stenwin77 on February 12, 2016 at 12:03 PM

But Kelo was decided by the United States Supreme Court.

And who appoints the justices to the Supreme Court?

And that matters, since 4 justices will be over 80 on Election Day.

What we’ve all been hoping for since 2005 is an opportunity to get a majority of justices of the Supreme Court to overturn Kelo. Would that happen under Ted Cruz? Maybe, if he makes it a litmus test for his nominees. Would it happen under Donald Trump? It seems less likely, if he insists on making it a litmus test for his nominees.

The_Jacobite on February 12, 2016 at 12:21 PM

Yes eminent domain is Important to the growth of the country….but…..It’s MUCH to easy for the rich and connected to abuse it…IT NEEDS SOME WORK, to protect us from “THEM”…..

nonstopca1 on February 12, 2016 at 1:04 PM

But I mean – it’s in the Constitution. (The Fifth Amendment: ‘nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.’)

I always thought the Kelo decision was a result of a perceived loophole in that amendment (“It just bars the taking for public use, but NOT private use!”) and that another amendment was needed to fix this.

TMOverbeck on February 12, 2016 at 1:16 PM

I always thought the Kelo decision was a result of a perceived loophole in that amendment (“It just bars the taking for public use, but NOT private use!”) and that another amendment was needed to fix this.

TMOverbeck on February 12, 2016 at 1:16 PM

The difficulty, at least since the 1950’s, is about what constitutes “public use.” And the federal courts have been steadily adopting an ever broader interpretation of that, culminating with Kelo.

An amendment is not necessarily needed. Some 44 states have adopted more stringent eminent domain statutes, though some are fairly cosmetic. But it matters who becomes president even so, since the president appoints federal judges who will be hearing cases on the constitutionality of these statutes, or appeals in states where statutory protections remain weak.

The_Jacobite on February 12, 2016 at 2:08 PM

That woman looks like a destitute Madeline Not2Bright.
Schadenfreude on February 11, 2016 at 11:31 PM

Your obsession with me is quite amusing…I’m not even on these posts, not even in town, and you can’t keep me out of your head……..
right2bright on February 12, 2016 at 8:35 AM

Your paranoia and narcissism are quite amusing. And unless by some amazing coincidence, your real name is Madeline, your stupidity is quite amusing too.

We have been calling former Secretary of State Madeline Albright “Madeline Not2Bright” long before you ever earned the Not2Bright here at HotAir.

LegendHasIt on February 12, 2016 at 9:10 PM