Ted Cruz and Reagan’s Eleventh Commandment

Remember when Ted Cruz refused to criticize Donald Trump over his position that Mexico is sending its worst citizens, including murderers and drug dealers, into the U.S? Cruz explained that he was following Ronald Reagan’s Eleventh Commandment — thou shalt not speak ill of other Republicans (Cruz has spoken ill of fellow Republican Senators such as Mitch McConnell, so he must have been interpreting the Commandment to apply to fellow candidates.) As he put it:

It seems the favorite sport of the Washington media is to encourage some Republicans to attack other Republicans. I ain’t going to do it. I’m not interested in Republican-on-Republican violence.

To my knowledge, Cruz has continued to follow the Eleventh Commandment when it comes to Trump. As far as I know, he has not criticized Trump for his prior support of Canadian style health insurance or for helping to finance the Democratic takeover over Congress in 2008, two name just two of Trump’s vulnerabilities.

But Marco Rubio is a different matter. Cruz has excoriated the Florida Senator for sponsoring amnesty legislation. And now, he is calling Rubio a proponent of “military advernturism” that, he says, has helped Muslim groups. Indeed, he likens Rubio’s foreign policy views to those of Hillary Clinton.

Personally, I don’t believe in Reagan’s Eleventh Commandment. I think Rubio deserves to be attacked in harsh language by other Republican presidential candidates for pushing amnesty legislation. In addition, his foreign policy positions are fair game for candidates who disagree with them.

What I find troubling is Cruz’s selectivity. The Eleventh Commandment apparently protects Trump from Cruz’s fire, but Rubio is subject to the very “Republican-on-Republican violence” the Texas Senator claims to deplore.

Like Trump, Rand Paul seems insulated from attack by Cruz on foreign policy (though he has criticized the Kentucky man for undermining his filibuster on Obamacare). Cruz’s theme on foreign policy/national security policy is that he has staked out a middle ground between the “adverturism” of Rubio and the isolationist tendencies of Paul. But, though disagreeing with Paul on substance, Cruz has expressed his respect for the Kentucky Senator’s national security views. Meanwhile, he compares Rubio to Hillary Clinton.

Cruz’s double standard in this regard fuels my suspicion that he is considerably less principled than he claims to be. It helps me understand why Cruz has been compared to Richard Nixon.