Days of Change

Dirty Enough | February 4, 2016

The GOP presidential field has narrowed to a group of serious candidates and a few who have no chance but haven’t dropped out yet. Cruz, Trump, Rubio and Carson had some showing in Iowa. Bush will still have access to money, John Kasich and Chris Christie may do well in New Hampshire. Jim Gilmore and Carly Fiorina have no chance, even though Carly is fighting to get in the next debate.

Donald Trump is the perpetual motion machine of campaigning. His burn rate is low and he could cut himself a check any time he needs to. Either Rubio or Bush will make it in the next month, they basically fill the same slot. Carson can do well with Christians, but he has little else going for him. There’s only one slot that Kasich, Christie, and Fiorina have to fight to win. Then there’s Ted Cruz.

With Rand Paul out of the race, Ted Cruz is the last veteran Tea Party politician with credibility left. Rubio has morphed into an establishment candidate and Donald Trump is more representative of a Tea Party rally speaker from 2009. Cruz has tried to fight for limited government in the Senate, which is a weak position for a single individual against a large majority who like the deal making as is. Cruz is also a social conservative.

Back when I looked at the field, I liked Scott Walker the best. He’s a Tea Party governor who used his office to break the public union stranglehold over city and state budgets. He also stood up for social values in office. I like governors for president, and he was the most effective of the bunch. It seems the people who answer polls did not agree. Walker dropped out, urged the party to fight against the Trump surge and ended up over $1 million in campaign debt.

I’m not sure I count myself as a Cruz supporter, but he seems to be the Senate version of a Scott Walker. The most negative thing about him right now is that his campaign might have been too aggressive in winning the Iowa caucuses. First of all, let’s look at the polling before the caucus.

Business executive Trump leads with 31% while Cruz has 24%, giving Trump a larger margin over the Texas senator than he had a week ago. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has 17% and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson has 8%.

The day before the caucus, Cruz was at 24% and was at 28% after. However, Carson was actually lower before the caucus. The more interesting numbers are Trump falling 7% below expectations and Rubio rising 6%. Given that data, the Microsoft conspiracy, where the Rubio donor and caucus app creator fudged the results, is more plausible.

I’d rather see underhanded tactics behind the scenes than Donald Trump on stage eviscerating someone who may be the nominee and end up getting that repeated in a DNC campaign ad. From what I’ve seen, if the Cruz campaign is dirty, it is just dirty enough to win. Clean campaigns (see John McCain) lose, especially against dirty Democrats. We’re not talking about ballot box stuffing or the South Carolina incident from 2000. If floating a rumor about a candidate who has no chance is as bad as it gets, I have no problem.

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