Friday, December 18, 2015

The Anatomy of a Lie, Ted Cruz Edition

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX): Lying then or lying now? Er, both?

Ted Cruz, while trying to slither his way to the White House, has run into a wall known as Florida Senator and 2016 rival Marco Rubio (who's floating a backstory nearly as preposterous as Cruz's). Rubio joined a Gang of Eight back in 2013 to cobble together a bipartisan immigration reform bill that included a path to citizenship, something Democratic members of the Gang of Eight insisted upon.

Enter Ted Cruz, who inserts amendments that would limit undocumented workers to a "legal status" that fell short of citizenship but was indeed a form of amnesty. Amnesty has, over the past years, become very much a dirty word. Cruz avoids it like the plague and instead throws it around as a charge to knock rivals down a peg.

The trouble is he was for amnesty back in 2013 with his amendments. Was he lying then or lying now? A case can be made that he did both. William Saleton at Slate explains:
Cruz urged his colleagues “to roll up our sleeves and fix the problem in a humane way,” foreclosing citizenship “but allowing, as this legislation does, a legal status for those who are here illegally. That would be reform that a great many people across this country, both Republican and Democrat, would embrace.” You can watch Cruz’s remarks on his Senate website. He looks sincere.
Trouble was he wasn't sincere. And now that the conservative base of the Republican party see amnesty as anathema to all it stands for, Cruz can't even acknowledge that he was offering amendments to kill off a path to citizenship with an alternative known as "permanent legal status." Again, the trouble was permanent legal status happens to be a form of, yes, amnesty. Oops.

Solution? Admit that his whole gambit was meant to insert a poison pill that Democrats couldn't agree to, thus sabotaging the whole bill.

Get it? He lies to his colleagues back in 2013 that he could accept permanent legal status so that workers in America here illegally could come out of the shadows. Now, when that position has become untenable in 2015, he announces with great flare that he was never in favor of any kind of amnesty. Lying then or lying now?

That's easy: Both are true, true that he's lying in both cases. Will it work? It has in the past for Cruz, why stop now?

Marco Rubio is hellbent on making Cruz pay for this flip-flop. He might yet succeed. The only problem for Rubio is that he was clearly for a path to citizenship for undocumented workers in the bill he crafted with the Gang of Eight. His weak-tea approach to flipping is to say "the American people told us they need a secure border before considering changing the 'status' of undocumented workers." How long would that take? About ten years, or the amount of time for a President Rubio to occupy the White House, win a second term, and then move to greener pastures without giving amnesty to a single Hispanic. Neat trick, if you can pull it off.

Rubio's gambit is based on a lie, as well, the lie that the American people schooled our overly enthusiastic young senator just in time before he actually got his bill through Congress. Now it's "I was never for that." But of course he was.

Who's version of events is the truth? Rubio was for a path to citizenship, and Cruz was for a path to legal status. How do you get out from under that?

Just keep pointing fingers at each other, boys. Did you ever think that you'd both look like lying bastards? That's what you look like to me. But then the game has always been to see what you can get away with. Where Cruz has trouble is with the number of times he's accused others of lying. The junior senator from Texas famously stood on the Senate floor and openly accused his own Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell of lying to the Republican Caucus. Nice trick, Ted!

William Saleton pounds in another nail:
On May 31, in a public discussion with professor Robert George at Princeton University, Cruz repeated his plea. Cruz said Democrats’ insistence on a path to citizenship was a “poison pill” designed to make the immigration bill unacceptable to Republicans. The Democrats’ devious strategy, he alleged, was to make Republicans vote against the bill so that Democrats could use it as a campaign issue. Cruz said his own amendments, by contrast, were offered in good faith: “I want to see common-sense immigration reform pass. But the only way to do so is to find a middle ground.” He told George, “I believe if the amendments I introduced were adopted, that the bill would pass. And my effort in introducing them was to find a solution that reflected common ground and that fixed the problem.”
Okay, truth-telling, sincere Ted Cruz! He wants amnesty! But wait, there's more. Here's Cruz in 2013:
 That outcome means those 11 million remain in the shadows, have no legal status. Whereas, if the proponents of this bill actually demonstrate a commitment not to politics, not to campaigning all the time, but to actually fixing this problem, to finding a middle ground, that would fix the problem and also allow for those 11 million people who are here illegally a legal status with citizenship off the table. I believe that is the compromise that can pass.
Legal status! Sounds like amnesty to me -- and perhaps to anyone within earshot. But, what's that you say, Sen. Cruz, today?
That was 2013. In the two years since, the Republican Party has become even more conservative. Rubio has renounced the 2013 bill, claiming to have “learned” that “the American people” won’t accept a path to legalization until our borders are secure. Cruz, too, has shifted to the right: He now opposes any legal status for undocumented immigrants. But unlike Rubio, Cruz denies having changed his position. Instead, Cruz claims that his own 2013 amendments were insincere.
Cruz’s shift has been documented by the Texas Tribune, National Review, Yahoo Politics,, and many others. A month ago, a Cruz adviser claimed that Cruz had used his amendments to sabotage the bill and kill it in the House. In the Republican presidential debate on Tuesday, Cruz said it was “not accurate” to claim “that I supported legalization. Indeed, I led the fight against [Rubio’s] legalization and amnesty. ... I have never supported legalization.” After the debate, Cruz’s spokesman, Rick Tyler, repeated that Cruz’s 2013 amendment was a “poison pill” and that Cruz “never supported a path to legal status.” And in a Fox News interview with Bret Baier on Wednesday, Cruz said his 2013 amendment was a hostile ploy:
What it doesn’t mean is that I supported the other aspects of the bill, which was a terrible bill. And Bret, you’ve been around Washington long enough. You know how to defeat bad legislation, which is what that amendment did. ... I introduced five amendments, a whole series of amendments. What they did is, they illustrated the hypocrisy of the Democrats. They showed that it was a partisan effort, and they succeeded in defeating the Rubio-Schumer amnesty bill.
Cruz is sticking to his new story. “Let’s have a moment of simple clarity,” he told reporters on Thursday. “I oppose legalization. I always have, and I always will.” He said his 2013 amendment “laid naked the partisanship, the hypocrisy, and the lies” behind the bill. “By exposing the hypocrisy, by exposing their bluff, we won. We defeated amnesty.” Why, then, did Cruz feign sympathy in 2013? Brian Phillips, a Cruz campaign spokesman, has a simple answer: “We were not trying to let on our legislative strategy.”
No wonder colleagues in the Senate hate Ted Cruz so much: He's one slimy bastard, which from his perspective makes him presidential material. Hopefully, the American voter won't buy his line, unless they fall back on "He may be a liar, but he's our liar."

Just so we're clear.

Now another thing becomes clear: Rubio and Cruz, through these shenanigans, have shown their true colors to the Hispanic community you'd think they'd want to court. Could they be gearing up for their Etch-A-Sketch moment? How'd that work for Mitt Romney?

No comments:

Post a Comment