An hors d’oeuvre to whet your appetite for this evening from Conservative Review editor Daniel Horowitz:
I'm hearing they might put John Boehner on stage tonight to rebut Cruz. it would complete the freak show full circle.
— Daniel Horowitz (@RMConservative) July 21, 2016
Sending Mr Establishment onstage to do Donald Trump’s bidding in attacking Cruz is as perfect a distillation of this moment politically as I can imagine. It’d make no sense as a way to damage Cruz, who’s made a career out of painting Boehner (and Mitch McConnell) as the embodiment of a corrupt GOP that’s happy to sell out to Democrats in the name of keeping its grip on power. He’d wear the attack as a badge of honor and could use it to paint Trump as having been coopted by “the system” and its top lieutenants before he’s even been sworn in. It also makes no sense insofar as Trump should want tonight’s focus entirely on his own speech. Revisiting the Cruz feud, with a cameo from a major Republican player for extra drama, would give the media something else to talk about tomorrow. It’d be insane.
So yeah, it’s definitely plausible.
Boehner would be totally game, I’d bet. He called Cruz “Lucifer” today, and not for the first time. Imagine the scene if the long-suffering former Speaker, long derided as a RINO by Cruz fans, walked into the scene of his nemesis’s humiliation and was received raucously. It’d be sweet revenge, and Paul Manafort seems to really be into revenge. And if he can’t convince Boehner to do it, why not fly Sarah Palin in and let her dump on Cruz for awhile? To the extent that Palin’s and Cruz’s populist bases overlap somewhat, she might actually damage him a bit. Jim Treacher’s already writing her speech for her: “Ted Cruz told ya to vote yer conscience. [looks at piece of paper, smirks] I’m not seein’ that one on the ballot!” Let’s make this happen, Paul.
I think Manafort will be smart enough to keep the stage a Cruz-free zone tonight so that the party can project unity. Unity, like when Ann Coulter called Cruz a “little bitch” this afternoon. Unity, like when Cruz’s former campaign manager mused this morning that Chris Christie, who called Cruz’s speech “awful” and “selfish,” had turned over his “political testicles” to the Trump campaign long ago. Unity, like RNC spokesman and “My Little Pony” aficionado Sean Spicer being asked whether he agrees that Cruz was a, ahem, “blank-hole” last night and saying, sure, that’s a fair description. Ask yourself when was the last time a paid flack of the national Republican Party called a sitting Republican senator an A-hole on national television and whether that treatment would be extended to literally anyone else. I don’t remember him ever conceding that Trump was an A-hole when he was mocking John McCain’s war service or insulting Heidi Cruz’s looks or farting around with the idea that Raphael Cruz might have been an accomplice to Lee Harvey Oswald. But that’s why they pay Spicer the big bucks, I guess.
If you think the GOP’s divided now, imagine what this party would be like if, against all odds and in light of what happened last night, Cruz came back and won the nomination in 2020. That might be reason enough to vote for the guy.
— CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) July 21, 2016