“I should have said, ‘You know who can win? You know who can beat Hillary Clinton? Marco Rubio,'” Beck told his national radio audience. “‘I may disagree with him on the Gang of Eight [immigration bill], but there’s about 80% that I do agree with him on, and he’s kind of a politician, but he’s a different kind of politician. He’s a Hispanic, he can win — let’s go for it.’”
What I meant, Beck explained in a post this morning, is that I would have supported Rubio if I was going to support a traditional politician. Beck thought Cruz was something more than that, but he wasn’t. Forced to take a do-over and choose among a field of politicians, he now says he would decline to endorse anyone:
In my opinion, Senator Cruz has one quality that very few people in politics have, that for me was and is more important than all else. Principles. When people would make the argument that Senator Cruz is self-interested or self-aggrandizing or a me-first politician, I would argue with them and defend Senator Cruz as a man of supreme principles with no give and a backbone of steel.
On the other hand, there’s Senator Rubio — a strong conservative, though not AS strong as Cruz. BUT, he is a tremendous politician. He is charismatic, interesting, interested and all those soft qualities that great politicians have.
If I was going to endorse a politician, meaning someone who was conservative/constitutional/libertarian ENOUGH — AND who had an easier path to the White House, I would have endorsed Senator Rubio (someone I could have easily pulled the lever for — as well as others, like Senator Paul and others).
But I did not want to endorse a politician. I never have and never will.
Read it all. Steve Deace, another disappointed Cruz supporter, asked a similar question on Twitter last night: Knowing what you know now, who would you vote for in the primaries? The obvious answer for me is “whoever stood the best chance of beating Trump when my state’s primary was held,” but if he means who would I vote for on the merits, I think I’d end up with Beck in choosing not to vote rather than vote for Cruz. Unlike Beck, I never thought Cruz was an iron man of principle; he’s a hyper-ambitious calculator to the core and always has been. But he’s also a brilliant guy with a talent for organization who would govern as a genuine conservative, I think, which is plenty good enough to justify a vote — usually.
The reason I wouldn’t vote for him again in hindsight isn’t because, a la Beck, he shattered my image of him. It’s more the opposite: He’s the friend with one poisonous quality that keeps inserting itself into your interactions, and you do your best to tolerate it until finally you decide he’s not worth the trouble. Cruz was calculating during the 2013 shutdown, he was calculating for years on legalizing illegals, he was calculating in his bromance last year with Trump, he was calculating in refusing to endorse Trump at the convention, and now he’s being calculating again in endorsing him after all. I could tolerate all of that on grounds that calculating is what politicians do except for the fact that, amid all of these calculations, the guy has been completely insufferable in congratulating himself on how supposedly principled he is. He’s constantly maneuvering yet also constantly trumpeting how steadfast he is. In his own way he’s running a con just like the master con man Trump. But as I say — all of this has been clear for years and I stuck with him. He’s like the friend who keeps asking from time to time if he can borrow money, which annoys you because you know he’s taking advantage of your friendship but you put up with it because he has other good qualities. Then one day he asks again and, for whatever reason, that’s the last straw. The scale between virtue and cynicism tips. No more friendship. That’s where I got to with Cruz. The Mr Principle charade is too ridiculous to keep looking the other way at it. As Beck suggests in the second half of the clip below, Cruz will stand on principle only to the extent that it doesn’t imperil his precious Senate seat. Which sounds a lot like how an establishment politician would behave, doesn’t it?