Yesterday, I linked to and discussed an article in the Washington Post that found Ted Cruz struggling to win over the Republican establishment. But the New York Times, in an article by Nicholas Confessore and Matt Flegenheimer, contends that GOP donors are “learning to love Ted Cruz.”
The two articles aren’t as inconsistent as one might suppose. The Post focused to a considerable extent on establishment politicians; the Times looks at big donors. In addition, the body of the Times article suggests that big donors are a mixed bag when it comes to Cruz, with few actually learning to love the Texas Senator.
According to the Times, many previously anti-Cruz donors now are taking Cruz’s calls. They are well-advised to do so, since the odds that Cruz will be the Republican nominee have improved considerably.
But taking the Senator’s calls and making large contributions are two different things. The Times makes it clear that, as to the latter act, Cruz still is not having an easy ride.
For one thing, and to state the obvious, there is a serious ideological disconnect between Cruz and many big Republican donors. As the Times puts it, “a wider embrace by donors has. . .been hampered in some quarters by genuine political disagreement between more middle-of-the-road potential donors and Mr. Cruz, a professed conservative purist on economic and social issues.” (Emphasis added)
The Times saw fit to call Cruz a “professed” purist. But its reporting suggests that Cruz is the real thing. For example, one donor was poised to make a big contribution if only Cruz would accept that the earth has warmed. Cruz didn’t bite.
As one would expect, Cruz is faring better with donors whose focus is on Israel, according to the Times. Fred Zeidman — a board member of the Republican Jewish Coalition who previously backed Lindsey Graham and Jeb Bush — is now supporting Cruz. He explained, “there is no more staunch and vocal supporter of the state of Israel than Ted Cruz has been, and it is the primary reason I felt I had to support him.”
The Times says that some big donors are put off by Cruz’s personality. They complain that even in private, he comes of as sanctimonious and unable to present a persona that’s appreciably warmer than what one sees on television.
I’ve heard the latter point raised by in Washington who are no less conservative than Cruz. It may be a valid insight. But at this juncture, it’s not a good reason to withhold support from the man who stands between the abominable Donald Trump and the Republican nomination.
As Mica Mosbacher, a Cruz fund-raiser and wife of the late Robert Mosbacher, Secretary of Commerce under George H.W. Bush, puts it, “[Cruz] might not be the most fun to have a drink at the bar with, but America needs a designated driver.”