With three successive polls propelling him into the RCP polling average lead in Iowa, Ted Cruz has gotten to the Donald. When Dr. Carson had the lead, Trump started making cracks about his religion. Iowans value niceness, and this cost Trump. Now he says Cruz is a bit of a maniac in the Senate, lacking the needed temperament. It hardly needs stating, but for irreligious Donald Trump to impugn Ben Carson’s religion, and now the Wild Man of American Politics to talk of another’s instability — this is beyond parody.
It will represent an opportunity cost to Trump. Don’t look for him to slip much in the polls. He’s got a bit of a cult going. The gold plate DMR poll by Iowa wizard Ann Selzer didn’t show him going down. He went up a couple. But he is in the process of destroying any opportunity to go up any further. He’s putting in a ceiling. If you’re not on board the Trump Train, you probably never will be.
I never for one minute thought Trump would win the nomination, and the events of the last few days have fortified my conviction. The peak in Trump enthusiasm among the press has just occurred. There’s always that one guy who buys at the very top of the market.
The one guy Cruz needs to watch out for is Mitch McConnell. Mitch is in a position to mess with him, and he will. He already has. He finds out when Cruz is scheduled for a big appearance, and then schedules a vote that Cruz can’t miss. And any vote that McConnell might think would hurt Cruz will be scheduled. Anything that hurts Rubio won’t be voted on.
Cruz needs to be very careful with the budget omnibus bill that’s being worked out. McConnnell and Ryan will try to set him up somehow. In fact, I’m sure one of the considerations of what goes into the omnibus, and what stays out, is based on whether it would hurt or help Cruz. That’s how these guys think. Virtually the entire Congressional Republican leadership, House and Senate, will try to come up with some legislative maneuver which puts Cruz in a pickle. It may be a vote on NSA spying. Who knows? Cruz has proven to me is that he’s a brilliant guy. He wouldn’t have a chance if he wasn’t.
I’ve got Cruz’s book, A Time for Truth, to read over the holidays. I’ll learn a few things. If he pulls this off, it will be the political master stroke of my lifetime. Not that he’s a first term Senator. Rather, this is all part of a plan that he conceived when he ran for the Senate in 2012. He figured the whole thing out. How to get the notoriety, and the money, and the organization, and put a top notch national campaign in place, and all the while put himself in a position, politically, to win. I can’t think of anybody that’s pulled that off. Even if you don’t like him, you have to be impressed.
This bodes well for his administration. He knows what he’s doing. He doesn’t make mistakes. The lack of executive experience shouldn’t be too much of a problem for him. You can hire people to do that stuff. He”ll have bigger fish to fry.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. I’m a buyer on Selzer’s poll. Cruz has got some momentum going. I doubt anything changes much between now and the new year, when the race really begins. Cruz has the lead. Who can catch him, and how?
Rubio’s got the best shot, calling him out as a neoisolationist. Two bright, articulate guys, having a substantive discussion about serious issues of national security?