Last week, John wrote that Ted Cruz “crushed Code Pink” in an impromptu debate with its leader Medea Benjamin regarding Iran. He provided video of the confrontation so that readers could judge for themselves.
Code Pink had tried to shout Cruz down during a campaign event. Cruz engaged them and decisively out-debated Benjamin.
A few days later, Dave Weigel of the Washington Post decided to judge the debate. He scored it basically the same as John did.
Cruz “talked about the deal specifically, [Benjamin] talked about the benefits of diplomacy generally,” Weigel reported. He went on to describe Benjamin as a “punching bag.”
Damning the debating ability of the protesters with faint praise, Weigel wrote: “Code Pink protesters did not stutter or falter.” True. It’s difficult to stutter or falter when all you are doing is reciting general talking points.
Weigel also noted that reports of the clash “did not make the rounds on the left [but] went viral on the right.”
A recap of the debate became the top trending story at the Washington Examiner. Washington Free Beacon reporter Adam Kredo, who stood right by Cruz during the debate, reported that the senator “tussled with and shut down a group of left wing activists.”
On the first-generation conservative blog Powerline, it was reported that Cruz had “crushed” Code Pink.
Had Benjamin fared better, Weigel implied, the coverage would have been different.
But having fairly and deftly reported the thumping, Weigel — smug and anti-conservative — could not resist taking a shot at Cruz. “Few Senators,” he sniffed, “would have bothered” to debate Code Pink.
As evidence for this proposition, Weigel recalled that “earlier this year, when a Code Pink heckler interrupted a meeting of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) told the “low-life scum” to exit.”
The comparison is inapt. In McCain’s case, Code Pink was disrupting a Senate hearing. Moreover, the protesters were trying physically to intimidate a witness — 91 year-old Henry Kissinger. Ted Cruz would not have debated Code Pink in these circumstances.
The Cruz-Benjamin debate occurred during a campaign event. The John McCain I traveled with for a weekend in New Hampshire very likely would have debated Benjamin during, say, a town hall meeting.
The Washington Post wants to minimize Cruz’s smack down of Code Pink. But as John said:
[T]ry arguing with leftists in the midst of a howling crowd, while somehow maintaining control over the microphone and the dialogue. . .It isn’t easy to get down in the mud with leftists like Code Pink, and engage them on a rational basis.
Imagine that Hillary Clinton had outdebated a protester at one of her campaign events. Would the Washington Post dismiss this as something “few Senators would have bothered” to do? I don’t think so.
NOTE: The last sentence of this post did not appear in the original version.