David Brooks in the NYT is the kind of guy who mixes well in sophisticated circles. His gig at the Times depends on being the sort of lap dog Republican the left can live with, one who wiggles in pleasure at being tolerated by the titans of liberalism.
He earns his doggy treat today by criticizing Ted Cruz for not campaigning more like Bush 3. You know, that campaign of joy that has captivated the nation. The one that welcomed acts of love such as illegal immigration. The Bush campaign is a joke, but to Brooks it’s an embarrassment. This was his guy. So you don’t call your own judgment into question, and acknowledge you backed a complete loser. No, you call the guy who’s taking him to the cleaners a “brutal” campaigner.
Since the Republican base, and most of the country, is in a foul and pessimistic mood, why doesn’t Cruz react with a strategy of sunshine and flowers? Because timing. You do that after you’ve won the nomination. You move to the center and promise that happy days are here again. You’d think a guy like Brooks, who seems at least to be well read, would know that. He probably does, but just wanted to kvetch.
I read somewhere that some of the Huckabee and Santorum staffers in Iowa have given up on their guy and are trying to steer people to Rubio rather than Cruz. More sour grapes. Nobody likes losing, but this is really dumb. It won’t work, for one thing.
According to Rebecca Berg of RCP the Cruz Super-Pacs are testing lines of attack against Trump in Iowa. They obviously will pick the ones which seem most promising, and put together some attack ads on those subjects. They’re asking about abortion, but they’re missing the real Trump vulnerability. They should be asking about partial birth abortion, which is what Trump is on record as having supported. Pro-lifers, who are the vast majority of Republican Iowa caucus goers, know full well the difference.
A pro-lifer can understand someone who’s pro-choice. They disagree, but they understand. Partial birth abortions are a whole different ball game. You want to talk brutal, David Brooks? They’re absolutely disgusting. Anyone who could ever support such a procedure is a pro-choice fanatic, with no regard for the beating heart of an innocent life. People who do this are monsters. It’s infanticide, for God’s sake.
The evangelicals of Iowa know all of this quite well. And watching a tape of Trump cavalierly endorsing it would hurt him. That’s what my fingerspitzengefuhl tells me, anyway. Test it, focus group it if you don’t buy in.
Nate Sliver and the gang at 538 are out with their primary predictions. They give Cruz a 50-50 shot in Iowa, which is fair. They give Trump a big edge in New Hampshire, which I think is a mistake. Their whole analysis is based on polls (and endorsements, which may be a counter indicator this year) and nothing else.
I think Cruz wins big in Iowa and has a 50-50 shot in New Hampshire. The schwerpunkt, don’t you know.
Pat Buchanan has a piece out today recalling where Reagan stood 36 years ago today. Down big, I remember it well. Everybody on the campaign knew we could win, but we also knew it would be a close run thing. We wore scars from 1964 and were well aware that the whole thing could go south. But we had a superb candidate and a powerful message, and with a last minute surge the Gipper won it all.
I don’t feel at all like I did in 1980. I think this thing is practically in the bag.
Oh happy days.