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Presidential Horse Race 2016: Rubio and Trump consummate bromance over the word “liar”

For months, pundits were fond of advancing the theory that Ted Cruz and Donald Trump had some sort of unspoken deal to refrain from attacking each other. Of course, the media largely blamed Cruz at the time for his refusal to try and dent the frontrunner, accusing him of naked self-interest at the expense of the party as a whole.

But now that the Trump/Cruz détente has devolved into a full-scale rhetorical shooting war, no one seems to Trump and Rubionotice there’s precious little criticism going back-and-forth between Trump and third-place candidate Marco Rubio these days.

Why the media double standard?

For the past month or so, both Rubio and Trump have made heavy use of the word “liar” in reference to Cruz. On Tuesday, Trump even said Cruz is hiding behind the Bible in telling tall tales. Jonathan Easley of The Hill reports The Donald said at a rally, “I think he’s going to go down. I think a guy can’t be — I’m a Christian — but you know Ted holds up the Bible and then he lies about so many things.”

What a classy guy, that Trump.

Meanwhile, Marco “Roboto” is doing much of the same dirty work. If he can’t win on substance, Marco shouts “liar!” and the press lets him get away with it. Tal Kopan of CNN reports, “On Sunday (in an interview with CNN's Dana Bash), Rubio accused the Texas senator of false attacks over same-sex marriage, Planned Parenthood, immigration, campaign tactics and more.

“’There's no other way to describe that -- it's a lie. When you say something that's not true, it's called a lie. That's the definition of it.’”

I guess Rick Santorum wasn’t lying when he admitted he couldn’t think of a single thing Rubio’s accomplished in the Senate (if you recall, this is what triggered Chris Christie’s “25-second speech” attack against Marco). Why aren’t we talking about that issue anymore?

Trump’s and Rubio’s liberal usage of “liar” is a concocted strategy on both of their parts to implant doubt in people’s minds about Cruz. Trump sees Ted as his biggest threat. Likewise, Rubio can’t crawl up to a one-on-one with Trump without eliminating Cruz first.

Should Rubio eventually succeed in taking down Cruz, just wait for the things Trump’s going to say about him at that time. Turnabout is fair play, for sure. “Liar” will be considered kind.

If Cruz is somehow eliminated, it becomes the establishment’s dream – another election without a conservative in the race.

I think it’s about time someone called out Trump and Rubio on their unspoken “bromance” conspiracy to bash Cruz as a liar.

Let me be the first.

Cruz Super PAC fueled ground game provides model for the future

For those of us who live outside the first few voting states, we get precious little information about the campaign behind the scenes. Polls give us a temporary snapshot of the horse race at any given moment, but don’t provide much depth. Sometimes they’re relatively accurate as they were in New Hampshire and other times they’re not as was the case in Iowa.

National news always highlights the sensational, and in the 2016 cycle that’s resulted in seeing more than our share of Donald Trump (statistics prove it).

The hot-tempered New York businessman and reality TV star knows how to manipulate the media. This week’s tirade against Ted Cruz and the RNC coupled with a threat to sue Cruz is just the latest example of Trump’s grandstanding that attracts reporters like bears to honey.

Trump is great for a headline, which draws readers both pro and con. His people love to read about him and his detractors are just as anxious to see something that proves their view that he’s a noxious gas bag.

But beyond the soundbites and news clips, what Ted Cruz’s supporters are achieving this year in terms of organizing and mobilizing ground operations is truly trailblazing. When all the Trump hot air eventually fades from the scene, Cruz’s “army” will still be there. Even if Ted doesn’t end up with the nomination, the precedent he’s setting for conservatives is inspiring.

In doing so, Cruz’s Super PAC, Keep the Promise, is running a data-driven door-knocking operation that’s unmatched in the Palmetto State – or anywhere else. Whereas Super PACs have traditionally stuck to sponsoring TV ads, Cruz’s is using its money to reach out to real voters and persuade them to back Cruz.

Betsy Woodruff of The Daily Beast reports, “[Keep the Promise] has blithely tossed the traditional super PAC playbook to the winds. In fact, they’ve taken on typical campaign operations: gathering voter data, targeting likely Cruz supporters, and knocking on thousands of doors to get out the vote.

“The super PAC has had upwards of 250 people canvassing the state, targeting the homes of persuadable Republican voters. Thus far, they estimate they’ve knocked on more than 93,000 doors. And by Election Day, they’re shooting to have knocked on 100,000. In any given week, they say, 100 to 150 individual people spend eight-hour days doing the door-knocking. And most of them get paid.”

As a side note, Newt Gingrich won the 2012 South Carolina Republican primary with just over 243,000 votes, which came out to be 40.4% of the total. With a record turnout expected in South Carolina this Saturday, the winner will likely need significantly more votes. Ground game matters.

With the Cruz operation humming along, it’s no wonder Donald Trump goes out of his way in every debate to blast the Super PACs (as does his fellow purveyor of voter antipathy, Bernie Sanders). He doesn’t have one and they’re putting him way behind in the race to turnout voters.

Woodruff also reported that Trump’s volunteer operation is going around South Carolina in RV’s performing mostly marketing functions while Cruz’s is “smart” and targets not only individuals, but the issues they care about.

This data deficit is certainly part of the reason why Trump must keep his people motivated with a fresh shot of bombastic sensationalism every few days. The Donald clearly sees Cruz as the biggest threat to his winning the Republican nod, so expect the insults and recriminations to continue at a fever pitch as time goes on.

People who have been involved with campaigns for a long time are in agreement that they haven’t seen anything like Cruz’s operation this year. Eric Erickson of The Resurgent writes, “I have seen the data from the Ted Cruz Super PAC Army. Not only that, I’ve seen data from Cruz’s own army. It is amazing and impressive. The number of people they have connected with on the ground, converted, and are prepared to mobilize is one of the most impressive feats in modern Republican politics.

“I don’t mean that hyperbolically. I mean that seriously. The Democrats are always far better organized with ground games while the GOP has offset inferior ground games with advertisements and robocalls. The Cruz camp is going toe to toe with Democratic operations.”

Of course, polls continue to favor Trump by wide margins in South Carolina. We also had hints that Cruz’s vaunted ground operation was going to help him over-perform in New Hampshire – but it arguably didn’t happen.

South Carolina’s demographics and heavy evangelical Christian make-up put it as much closer to Iowa than New Hampshire, so you have to figure Ted’s got a good chance to do well there. But polls are polls.

The Cruz operation is clearly making a difference in South Carolina. Whether it will be enough to overcome the two-pronged attack of Trump’s celebrity sensationalism (and frenzied Trump angry mob) and pro-establishment smear campaign is another question.

We’ll know the answer on Saturday.

Need a laugh? Jeb thinks Trump is afraid of him

Recently we’ve seen a different side of Jeb Bush in debates and on the campaign trail. Make no mistake, Jeb’s still the same content-free establishment suit he’s always been, but he’s also put a much more positive spin on his reason for running this year.

In other words, Jeb’s come a long way from that disastrous altercation with Marco Rubio in October’s CNBC debate.

Last Saturday’s heated exchanges with Donald Trump even made Jeb look like a sympathetic character. But that doesn’t mean the other candidates are starting to take him seriously again. Apparently Jeb doesn’t interpret it the same way.

Nick Gass of Politico reports Bush said Tuesday in an interview with "CBS This Morning," “’I’m his (Trump’s) primary target, and I’m doing so poor in the polls, according to everybody, right? Well, why is that? Why is he going after me each and every day?’ the former governor of Florida asked rhetorically. ‘It’s because he fears me, because I’m the only guy standing up to him. I think he is not going to be the conservative party’s nominee.’”

Two things: First, the Republican Party has many conservatives, but it’s not the “conservative party” no matter how hard Jeb wishes it were. Second, it’s funny that Jeb Bush should claim Donald Trump is scared of him because the New Yorker basically kicked his candidacy into overdrive by using the former Florida governor’s face as a launching pad.

Far from fear, Trump relishes the frequent opportunities to jab at Jeb because it only serves to put more distance between him and the stuffy Republican old guard, something that’s proven to be a huge benefit in this year’s presidential race.

Trump keeps up the pressure on Jeb simply because he’s an easy target and it gets Trump’s name in the news, not because The Donald thinks Bush is a threat.

What better way to say “I’m not part of the establishment” than continuing to attack the Republican elites’ figurehead?

Not only that, but in attacking Jeb, Trump actually gets a two-for-the-price-of-one, since he can criticize George W. Bush from a distance without any blowback from the former president himself.

By continuing to make Jeb Bush a central part of his campaign, Trump is acting the coward more than anything else. Bush’s negatives are comparable or higher than Trump’s, so there’s no risk in picking on Jeb.

The Donald isn’t afraid of Jeb…he’s simply an opportunist taking full advantage of a candidate who’s still around only because the establishment allows it. How brave is that?

Coburn sets record straight on Trump tweet attacking Cruz

Finally today, with so much talk of “liar” lately, it’s time to point the finger at Trump for one of his many untruths.

Al Weaver of the Washington Examiner reports, “As part of his never-ending criticism of Cruz, Trump's Twitter feed retweeted and pushed a quote ostensibly from (former Oklahoma Senator Tom) Coburn criticizing Cruz as ‘one of the most dishonest people’ in Washington. Coburn never said this...

“’It's an absolute fabrication. I've never said that, period,’ Coburn told the Examiner. ‘It's unfortunate he would use my name to say something dishonest. It's a total fabrication.’”

Trump seems to have a hard time separating fact from fiction while calling other people liars. I think that’s called an agenda.

The truth eventually reaches the surface. I think where Trump is concerned, there’re going to be an awful lot of bubbles rising up in the weeks to come.

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I have serious problems with trump for Pres.(see my posts on Trump & Cruz on my Facebook timeline and At this time in our history; my choice is the renowned Dr. Carson.
This man knows who to call on for every and any situation that arises.
Dr. Carson started his Sat. debate with ...thanking the ...moderators for recognizing that he is far more than just "THE" surgeon.
Thank You.