Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Republican Debate No. 5 Helps Cruz + Christie

New York Post conservative John Podhoretz provides an excellent analysis of last night’s GOP debate. “Excellent” is a word often reserved for an opinion (or opinion piece) that brings pleasure because it matches one’s own views; Podhoretz’s views on the debate did match mine.

 Podhoretz writes that:
  • [New Jersey Governor Chris] Christie played to his own strengths, talking tough on ISIS and terror while making the key point that the signal responsibility of the president is to keep the citizenry safe. 
  • Christie’s future in the Republican race rests entirely on his ability either to win or place a very strong second in New Hampshire['s primary]. 
  • divisions on foreign policy were stark. [Florida Sen. Marco] Rubio is the hawk of the race, advocating without apology for the use of ground troops against ISIS in Syria. 
  • [Texas Sen. Ted] Cruz . . . called him reckless and hungry for war — and tried to tie Rubio to the ideas of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. 
  • Rubio likely got the better of the foreign-policy fight, but he certainly got the worse of the exchanges over his stance on immigration. 
  • Cruz ripped into the Florida senator for supporting a path to citizenship in the failed immigration-reform bill Rubio co-sponsored in 2013. 
  • Rubio tried to get Cruz to admit he supported a legalization path. . . — Cruz said exactly that during a Senate hearing on May 21, 2013 — but Cruz skillfully used slippery Clintonian language to evade Rubio. . . 
  • Rubio came out a bit bloodied. But that was inevitable. Immigration is his greatest weakness. . . bound to become a major discussion point at some point, and it became so last night. 
  • The person with the most to gain from a successful Cruz assault on Rubio is Christie.
Comment: Cruz not only linked Rubio to Obama and Clinton, he also tied him to New York Sen. Chuck Schumer each time he mentioned the ill-fated 2013 immigration bill, and Schumer is just as unpopular with Republican activists as are Obama and Clinton.  Also, Christie referred  to senators fighting over meaningless bills while governors make decisions--comments aimed at comparing Rubio adversely to Christie.

Cruz hopes to emerge as the only alternative to Trump, and to become acceptable to a GOP majority on that basis. A “bloodied” Rubio helps the Cruz strategy, so Cruz did well along with -- as Podhoretz noted -- Christie.

Rubio is down but not out. Cruz escaped last night from his 2013 effort to give illegal immigrants a path to permanent residency, but the truth is on video, and is beginning to come out. As for Christie, he must beat Rubio in New Hampshire 55 days from now--or else.

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