Why Romney and Bush want Cruz to mumble like they do
Mitt Romney is in love with Ted Cruz. So is Jeb Bush. They both must be, or else why would they care enough to offer advice to Ted Cruz in his campaign to become president?
Appearing on the Chad Hasty Show on radio station KFYO in Lubbock, Texas, Cruz condemned both Romney and Bush "[for] talking about 'now take it easy guys you don't really need to oppose this Iranian nuclear deal quite so forcefully.'"
According to Cruz, both are members of the Washington foreign policy establishment and are unwilling to oppose the deal with sufficient vigor.
Earlier this week, Cruz told a roundtable that "if this [Iran nuclear] deal is consummated, it will make the Obama administration the world's leading financier of radical Islamic terrorism," referring to the sanctions relief provided in the deal in exchange for curbs on the Iranian nuclear program.
Hasty asked Cruz about a tweet written by Romney in response to the Texas senator's comments, saying Cruz "is way over the line on the Obama terrorism charge," and that his rhetoric "[h]urts the cause."
Cruz said Romney hurt his chances in the 2012 presidential election by making the same mistake as Bush: toning down his attacks on Obama. Cruz pointed to a moment during a presidential debate when Obama insisted that he had called the 2012 Benghazi attack terrorism immediately, even though many conservatives believe he was slow to identify the attack as an act of terror.
When Obama fired back at Romney in the debate, in Cruz's retelling, the former Massachusetts governor responded, "I'll just kind of rearrange the pencil on the podium here," rather than engaging vigorously with the president.
So what is this really about? Obviously neither Romney nor Bush cares about Ted Cruz. They are worried that he is damaging the Republican brand.
The pot is calling the kettle black! How ironic is that?
Romney and Bush have the same view of the American political electorate: there are conservatives, who are presumed to be loyal voters and don't need to be catered to; there are liberals, who support the Democrats; and then there is the vast, moderate middle, and this is the group Republicans must appeal to. In Romney's and Bush's view, this mushy middle is turned off by direct attacks on Democrats. They believe that such attacks don't look "grown up" and that the tone turns off people.
That's the strategy Romney employed in 2012, and he used it to great success to win nearly two thirds of the number of electoral votes Barack Obama got. He wants to share the secret of that success with Ted Cruz. Instead of being embarrassed, and hiding in a corner somewhere for losing what should have been an easy victory over an imperial president presiding over a disastrous economy, Romney is the senior sage dispensing advice and hemlock in equal amounts.
But Ted Cruz doesn't believe in that. He thinks an election is won by drawing clear contrasts. He believes that so-called moderates aren't looking for a soft-spoken candidate who is just a bit less Democratic than the Democrats. Even moderates are looking for a candidate with a strong vision to believe in. The only difference is that conservatives already believe in the vision; moderates could believe in the vision, if they were presented a compelling argument for it. That's where Romney failed (without understanding why, evidently) and where Ted Cruz and people like him are trying to succeed.
This article was produced by NewsMachete.com, the conservative news site.