I’ll put it out there—I’m rooting for Ted Cruz to win Iowa and New Hampshire and anywhere else he can do damage to Trump before the Joe McCarthy lookalike self-immolates in a bonfire of biofuel, birth certificates, and Goldman Sachs loans.
Cruz, the only GOP candidate to come close to Trump in the polls, is in a bad way. Sarah Palin may have endorsed Trump in gibberish, but popular Iowa Governor Terry Branstad denounced Cruz for opposing ethanol subsidies in plain Iowa greedlish, and constitutional lawyers are raising serious questions about whether the Canadian-born senator is eligible to become president. And now, in a kind of SwiftChurching, accusations are flying that Cruz is a “phony” Christian.
A radio ad by a newly formed outside group called Americans United for Values is going right after Cruz’s supposed firewall, his strength among evangelicals. It starts by suggesting he’s soft on gay marriage. (Apparently, he is.) Via Politico:
“I saw something about Ted Cruz. About how gay marriage wouldn’t be a top priority for him,” a female voice-over says.
“I saw that, too. He said it at a New York fundraiser. He tells them one thing, tells Iowa another,” another female voice-over says.
“I also heard he gives less than 1 percent to charity and church,” one of the female voice-overs says. The commercial also highlights a 2012 report that, between 2006 and 2010, Cruz gave a little more than $44,000—or less than 1 percent of his income—to charity.
“He doesn’t tithe? Isn’t he a millionaire? His wife worked for a big Wall Street bank, right?” another says.
Before the spot concludes, one of the voice-overs calls Cruz “phony.”
Pretty damning. But the truth is that the non-tithing, non-evangelical Trump is even stingier.
Donald likes to brag that he has “a bigger heart than all” his rivals. But, according to a devastating Smoking Gun report, Trump’s eponymous “foundation’s giving amounted to a pitiful .000104 percent of Trump’s net worth.” Next to that, Cruz and his 1 percent look like Mark Zuckerberg.
Trump’s an even bigger phony when it comes to donating to 9/11 heroes, the ones he “used,” as the Huffington Post’s Michael McAuliff tweeted, “as human shields against Ted” when Cruz attacked his “New York values.” A few days ago, Redstate ran a piece, also citing the Smoking Gun, saying:
According to a thorough review, Trump didn’t see fit to give any of those millions of dollars he is always bragging about to help out the men, women, children, cops, firefighters, office workers… hey, let’s just call them New Yorkers, who were killed or who lost someone in the terror of September 11th. In fact, his supposedly philanthropic foundation hasn’t given them a single penny.
(Well, there was one conceivable exception, says Smoking Gun: Trump’s foundation gave $1,000 to a Scientology program that claimed it would detoxify firefighters with a “Purification Rundown” method invented by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.)
When sick and dying first responders begged Trump to support reauthorization of the Zadroga Act that would extend their health benefits, the big-hearted, independent-thinking billionaire refused.
Most of the mainstream media have ignored everything about Trump’s tightfisted 9/11 history. When Buzzfeed quoted Representative Peter King (R-NY) saying, “I give Trump tremendous credit for the way he used 9/11,” and calling Cruz “a fraud and a hypocrite,” Buzzfeed did not suggest that Trump may just be the smoother fraud.
Even Trevor Noah on The Daily Show—where Jon Stewart appeared last month with a surviving 9/11 responder to shame Congress into moving the bill, which they finally did—bought into Trump’s 9/11 fable. “I have to say I’ve never been more impressed with Donald Trump,” Noah said this week, because he made “Ted Cruz look like a dick” over New York values.
Yes, Cruz is a schlong. (And, by the way, Cruz didn’t support the Zadroga bill either, nor did 9/11 free-rider New Jersey governor Chris Christie.) And I get it that the real story about Trump’s slap-down in the last GOP debate was the way the mogul used the terror attack to establish dominance over Cruz, even making him applaud as he was being trumped. But the media is missing a chance to look more deeply at Donald Trump values. He loves 9/11 rescue workers like he “loves” women—viscerally, perhaps, but not enough to actually help them politically.
Meanwhile, Donald has been targeting Ted for being “nasty,” and the sort of person who “nobody likes.”
Republicans loathe Cruz because he’s called out the leadership for never doing what the base wants, even though what they want (like, changing the demographics of the whole country) is impossible. That’s both impolite and impolitic. But if you want nasty, take a look at a piece on Trump’s family in The New York Times, reporting that after a family dispute over his father’s will, “Mr. Trump retaliated by withdrawing the medical benefits critical to his nephew’s infant child.” That bit of cruelty got far, far less play than, say, the one about Mitt Romney’s strapping his dog to the roof of his car. The Times itself buried it toward the end of the story. Even when an appalled John Cassidy in The New Yorker asked, “What Sort of Man is Donald Trump?” the story didn’t really explode in the press, as if it weren’t the droids they were looking for.
Granted, Trump, is more “likable” than Cruz. He has warmth and humor, and can at least mimic the sound of empathy.
That’s why I’m rooting for Cruz. Hillary could beat him with ease, while the Beltway illusion—that she’d trample Trump—is crumbling more every day. The farce is with him.