An unseemly aura of dirty tricks hangs over the Ted Cruz campaign. We wrote about his two Iowa deceptions here. Unfortunately, they didn’t end when the campaign moved on. Today, Cruz was forced to fire his communications director, Rick Tyler, after Tyler distributed a video that falsely accused Marco Rubio of denigrating the Bible.
Let’s pause on that for a moment. Does any sane person think that Rubio, casually walking past a group of Cruz staffers, would pause to insult the Bible? Seriously? This is a smear that fails the threshold test of remote plausibility.
But it gets worse. On the very video that the Cruz campaign publicized, you can hear a Cruz staffer call Rubio a “f****** idiot” as Rubio walks by with his young son. This was in the presence of Cruz’s father, the firebrand evangelical Rafael Cruz, who was sitting at the same table. What the senior Cruz made of the exchange, we don’t know. Finally, when the student reporter who posted the fake Rubio video, and who was relied on by the Cruz campaign, was asked about it, he responded with obscenities.
This video tells the story:
— Todd Kron (@Toddkron) February 21, 2016
CNN describes the disgraced Tyler as “a senior aide and one of the Cruz campaign’s first hires in the run-up to his presidential announcement.” Cruz himself said, “This was a grave error of judgment. It turned out the news story he sent around was false but I’ll tell you, even if it was true, we are not a campaign that is going to question the faith of another candidate.” But they did, in a way that was absurdly implausible. Rubio commented:
“I know exactly what I said to that young man. I said, ‘The answer to every question you’ll ever have is in that book,’ and then I pointed to the Book of Proverbs, which he was reading, and then I said ‘Particularly that one,'” Rubio told reporters in Nevada.
Ted Cruz is trying to distance himself from the fiasco, obviously. But one can’t help but wonder: where do Cruz’s staffers get the idea that this sort of tactic is acceptable? Also: has Cruz fired the people who were responsible for the Iowa dirty tricks? Not as far as I know.
Cruz is unquestionably a brilliant guy, but it is reasonable to wonder whether his hunger to be president has clouded his judgment. Tonight there are rumblings from various sources about his campaign being on the ropes. The betting odds apparently suggest that it is now a two-man race between Donald Trump and Marco Rubio. I don’t know about that, but there is no doubt that a cloud hangs over the Cruz campaign. Does Cruz have the character we need in a president? That is, I think, a legitimate question.
As you likely know, I have endorsed Rubio for the Republican presidential nomination. This is partly because he is a nicer, more honest, more normal, less narcissistic guy than Ted Cruz or Donald Trump, and therefore a better candidate. Not to mention, if he wins, a better president.