HOUSTON, Texas – Former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli penned the following op-ed in Conservative Review. See excerpts below and read the full op-ed here.
What Do Donald Trump and Marco Rubio Have in Common?
At first, you’d think very little. One is a crony capitalist who has added conservative vocab words to his big government nationalist rhetoric; the other is a senator who came to power as part of the Tea Party wave, but chose to join the establishment upon his arrival in Washington. One wears the mantel of rage, the other purports to be an electable, “nice” conservative.
But an unlikely alliance between two candidates has formed: both Trump and Rubio have joined forces in personal attacks on Ted Cruz’s character.
The voters have clearly framed the race in terms of who can best stand up to the Washington Cartel — a term that rightly describes how our political system has been rigged in favor of the politically correct and connected, but contrary to the Constitution. Because the record shows Trump and Rubio have both worked with, not against, the political corruption in both parties, any distinctions either could draw with Senator Cruz on policy wouldn’t help them with the primary electorate. This leaves one dangerously desperate weapon at their disposal: character attacks.
Bizarrely, Trump has threatened to sue Cruz over advertising that shows Trump’s own public words supporting partial birth abortion, his sister, a Clinton-appointed judge who struck down New Jersey’s partial birth abortion bill as irrational who Trump has spoken of as a good judge, and Trump’s massive monetary contributions to Democrats.
Trump thus resorts to name-calling: “nasty,” “unlikable,” “unhinged” and “dishonest,” he hurls at Cruz, all while threatening to use his inherited wealth to bully and sue — just as he has his entire life.
For Rubio’s part, he has taken to accusing Ted Cruz of “doing anything it takes to win,” including lying. He has ceased even trying to engage Cruz on policy, let alone making an effort to correct the record about his support of the Gang of Eight bill, his statement following Obergefel that same-sex marriage was the law of the land, or his refusal to support Cruz’s attempt to meaningfully strip funding from Planned Parenthood by sending Obama a budget without it.
Like Trump, Rubio hurls insults; but he does not naturally wear the mantel of Trump-esque insult hurling.
While Cruz was fighting against the Rubio-Schumer Gang of Eight immigration bill, including with amendments that would eliminate citizenship-granting provisions, Rubio was a sponsor of the bill. Now Rubio refuses to list that bill — which passed the Senate with a few Republicans and overwhelming support from Democrats — among his sparse list of accomplishments.
But both the media and other Republican leaders have refused to ref the two-on-one hit job on Cruz’s character. That’s because ultimately, it is the Washington Cartel that has been and remains willing to use any tactic to protect its power. Cruz represents the most successful, well-organized, well-funded, inspiring, disciplined, and savvy assault on its power since the Reagan revolution, and so they step back and wash their hands because they know Ted Cruz is the greatest threat to the Washington status quo they’ve ever faced.
But they step back in fear. Every time they see 5,000 conservative activists gather to listen to Cruz and cheer, they are afraid. The continued gathering of movement conservatives and liberty-minded Republicans to Ted Cruz is a mortal threat to both Trump and Rubio, and so they attack. But because they cannot go toe-to-toe with Ted on issues, they make personal attacks. It’s the oldest trick in the book. This is what doing Washington’s dirty work looks like folks, and we must overcome it for the sake of America.
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