Rubio-ridicule, Cruz-hatred, and ethnicity

As far as I’m concerned, Ted Cruz hasn’t put a foot wrong since he took his Senate seat early last month. In fact, he has been the star of the legislative session to date. You can tell by the fact that he has incurred the ire of Democratic Senators, the MSM, and John McCain.

Today, though, comes a report that Cruz said that some of the attacks on fellow Republican Senator Marco Rubio by Democrats are motivated by race. Such an accusation would be misguided. Rubio is under attack because he’s a rising star in the Republican party. Rubio may be a rising star in part because of his “race” (actually his ethnicity), but this doesn’t mean that the attacks against him are motivated by race.

But on closer examination, Cruz does not appear to have claimed that the attacks on Rubio are motivated by race. Cruz said, “I think Democrats and the media are afraid of Marco Rubio because he is a smart, intelligent, conservative Hispanic, and they are looking for any excuse they can to attack him, because that threatens them.” He added:

It’s not just [that Rubio is] a promising Republican. I think the Democrats view Marco Rubio as a particular threat because of his background, his life story. I think it they believe it is in their interest to inflict as much damage as possible and blow things [such as the drink of water, which Cruz cited specifically] wildly out of proportion.

Cruz gets this exactly right. The motive for the attacks on Rubio is the threat he may pose as a rising star. The Dems would attack him regardless of why he appears to be a rising star. But there’s no doubt that Rubio’s ethnicity is a factor in the perception that he’s someone whose momentum needs to be slowed.

Cruz, though, has come in for stronger attacks from the left than Rubio has. Rubio has been the butt of some water bottle jokes; Cruz has been vilified.

Is Cruz under attack because he’s Hispanic? Not at all, and I assume he doesn’t believe otherwise. Cruz is under attack because he’s outdebating Democrats and making the likes of Chuck Hagel look bad. The Dems are used to dealing with Republicans who don’t forcefully take them on in debate or who, though willing to engage, have difficulty making well thought-out arguments (e.g., John McCain, the ipse dixit king).

Cruz is something new in town, and the Dems don’t like it. But their problem with Cruz has no relation, not even an indirect one, to his ethnicity.