Usually, when a candidate rises, and the claws come out, those claws tend to be somewhat sharp. As Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz continues to rise in the polls, the attacks coming from other Republican candidates have been shamefully weak. The claws have come out, but I think somebody forgot to sharpen them.
Allow me to preface this by admitting my own bias toward Ted Cruz. I believe that Cruz is the candidate best suited to win the nomination, and defeat Hillary Clinton come November. As such, when attacks come his way, my natural inclination is to defend. But the line between blind defense and thoughtful examination must be drawn. Everyone has bias; it’s not a bad thing. It’s when one uses that bias to defend the indefensible that it becomes a problem.
There are many who simply don’t like Ted Cruz. The reasons vary, but once the decision has been made, nothing can redeem him in their eyes, and anything that can be used against him will be amplified. Such is the case with the Oregon standoff.
The basic rundown of the story is this: As Dwight Hammond and his son Steve face prison for arson, a group led by Ammon Bundy seized part of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. There, they’ve set up a home base, and have told reporters that they plan to stay there for years. The qualm at the heart of the controversy is the federal government’s control of land. Ammon Bundy and his band of followers want the government to relinquish control of the lands they own, and hand them back to the states, and the people.
This story has much deeper roots, but you can google the rest. The point here is that Ted Cruz made a statement calling for an end to the occupation, and people have lost their minds over it.
Cruz said the following Monday:
“Every one of us has a constitutional right to protest, to speak our minds, but we don’t have a constitutional right to use force and violence and to threaten force and violence on others. And so it is our hope that the protesters there will stand down peaceably, that there will not be a violent confrontation.”
On a conservative Facebook page, the comments ran the gamut, with some implying a lack of Constitutional understanding on Cruz’s part:
To imply that Ted Cruz doesn’t know or understand the Constitution is sort of–well, not sort of–completely retarded. This situation has little connection to the Second Amendment, aside from the fact that the men occupying the federal building are in possession of personal arms.
Sure, the claim can be made that the men are utilizing their Second Amendment right to defend what they believe in, but “gun rights” as such are not the central piece of this puzzle–they’re on the periphery. This is a situation in which people believe the federal government has overreached, claiming land that should belong to the states or private entities. Regardless, a substantial portion of the negative comments on social media have tried to make gun rights the central issue, then using that to bash Ted Cruz.
Ted Cruz claims he’s an advocate for the Second Amendment, but when it comes down to it, he flip-flops! Ummm, or he believes that this isn’t the fight in which we should be engaging, and that breaking into a federal building and taking it hostage isn’t the best course of action.
Next, some fell back on the age old “but they did it, too!” argument:
This is the exact same argument the left makes every single time a conservative criticizes Obama for something George W. Bush or Ronald Reagan also did. The left breathlessly shouts “But Bush! But Reagan!” My response is usually “….and?” Yes, the Ferguson protestors and Black Lives Matter (BLM) are agitators who shouldn’t be mollified. No conservative says otherwise. To attempt to justify one bad action by pointing to another is a weak position to take.
Then there were those who slammed Cruz for implying violence and threats of violence on the part of the men occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge:
Here’s what Cruz said:
“…we don’t have a constitutional right to use force and violence and to threaten force and violence on others.”
The men used force to break into a federal building. Ammon Bundy said that if the Feds come in and try to take back the building that legally belongs to the government, they will use force:
“The only violence that, if it comes our way, will be because government is wanting their building back…”
Ryan Bundy allegedly told The Oregonian that “many would be willing to fight–and die, if necessary–to defend what they see as constitutionally protected rights for states, counties and individuals to manage local lands.”
Lastly, the Randbots are using this as a weapon against Cruz because they can.
I doubt they actually believe that what he said was incorrect, considering Rand Paul said something very similar Monday, telling The Washington Post:
“I’m sympathetic to the idea that the large collection of federal lands ought to be turned back to the states and the people, but I think the best way to bring about change is through politics. That’s why I entered the electoral arena. I don’t support any violence or suggestion of violence toward changing policy.”
And it’s widely known that Cruz has long been an advocate of getting the federal government out of land management.
Even The Hill acknowledges it:
“Among the 2016 hopefuls, Cruz has been one of the most vocal advocates for reducing federal land ownership.”
This isn’t about real issues, it’s about hitting Cruz in every way possible, regardless of the ethics of such attacks.
The recent attacks on Cruz have been shockingly weak. From Santorum, Huckabee, Rubio, and Fiorina implying Cruz is a liar, to Paul hitting him for his lack of senate decorum, every angle is being played. The candidates lagging in the polls are trying to find a crack in the concrete into which they can insinuate themselves, and push outward, opening up a gap in Cruz’s defenses. Thus far, it’s been some majorly weak sauce.
Try harder, guys. You’re looking pathetic.