Tag Archives: Ted Cruz

Beto over The Cruz Missile? Here’s why

OK, so what if I haven’t come up with a pejorative nickname for the guy I want Texans to send to the U.S. Senate. Maybe he’ll earn it if he gets the chance to represent Texas beginning in 2019.

I do know this: I want Beto O’Rourke to defeat Ted Cruz in the race for the Senate. Some recent polling suggests a tight race. Texas Lyceum has it at 2 percent for Cruz, which makes the contest a statistical dead heat.

Yes, I often refer to the Republican incumbent as The Cruz Missile. I do so because I do not think he places Texas’s interests over his own ambition. He was elected in 2012 and immediately could be seen on TV screens, blathering about this or that. The media glommed onto him, much as they have done with other senatorial newcomers, such as Democrats Kamala Harris and Corey Booker.

A senator who doesn’t earn his or her place on the front row of the political chorus automatically makes me suspicious as to his or her motivation.

Thus, Cruz has become The Missile.

I am going to turn my attention to Beto O’Rourke.

The young man’s issues pronouncements do not seem overly radical, which many on the right are likely to characterize them.

He speaks with compassion about immigration, wanting to preserve the Differed Action on Childhood Arrivals provision, giving so-called “Dreamers” a chance to achieve U.S. citizenship rather than rounding them up and deporting them. He wants to fix the Affordable Care Act, not trash it merely because it was authored by President Obama. O’Rourke wants to be true to our veterans; and this veteran thanks him for that. He believes Earth’s climate is changing and wants to invest more — not less — in alternative energy production to protect the atmosphere against carbon-induced warming.

I am acutely aware of the steep hill that towers in front of O’Rourke. He is campaigning as a Democrat in a state that tends to elect Republicans just because they, well, are Republicans. We live in a conservative state populated by conservatives. O’Rourke will need to tell us what he intends to do for Texans if he gets elected to represent us — and our interests.

As I have watched Sen. Cruz for the past six years, I do not yet know whether he understands yet that he works for us and that he must keep his personal ambition under wraps.

My head tells me a lot of things have to go right for O’Rourke for him to win. My heart wishes they do … and believes they will.

***

Take a look at O’Rourke’s platform. You’ll find it here.

If POTUS campaigns for Cruz, here’s a thought

The more I think about it the less likely it appears that Donald John Trump will accept U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s invitation to campaign for Cruz’s re-election bid.

I have this feeling in my gut that the men detest each other.

Trump called Cruz “Lyin’ Ted” during the 2016 GOP presidential campaign. Cruz called Trump an “amoral narcissist” and a “pathological liar.” Trump linked Cruz’s father with the JFK murder in Dallas in 1963. Cruz called Trump out for denigrating his family, including his wife, Heidi.

How can they share a stage together? My view? They can’t.

But if Trump proves me wrong — and that’s always entirely possible, if not likely — he ought to come to Collin County. This is strong Republican county just north of Dallas County. It’s tailor-made for someone of the Cruz Missile’s ilk. I haven’t lived here long enough to get a full reading of the lay of the land, but my hunch is that Trump has a reservoir of popularity here.

What’s more, we have a nice venue just around the corner from where my wife and I live. It’s the Allen Event Center. It seats a lot of folks. It’s a modern facility. It’s within walking distance of our residence.

I so want to attend a Trump political rally. You know, of course, it’s not because I want to cheer his every idiotic utterance. It’s not because I want Ted Cruz to win re-election. No, I plan to support Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke.

My intent is to attend this rally with notebook and pen in hand. I crave additional grist for High Plains Blogger.

Sadly, I fear that it won’t happen.

Maybe I can persuade the president to come this way.

Birtherism falls along racial lines

Now that some of us have raised the “racism” issue as it concerns Donald Trump’s pointed — and quite specific — criticism of African-American political foes, I want to revisit the issue of “birtherism.”

Trump made a lot of noise years ago about whether Barack Obama was qualified to run for president. He based his questions about the lie that Obama was born in Kenya. Therefore, he couldn’t run for president because, according to the U.S. Constitution, Obama wasn’t a “natural-born” citizen of America.

Obama, of course, was born in Hawaii in 1961. He said so at the outset. He finally produced a birth certificate to prove it. That wasn’t good enough for Trump and many others.

Why did Trump and others continue to foment the lie?

Uhh, let me see. Oh, I think it’s race. Obama’s father was a Kenyan. His mother was from Kansas. Dad was black; Mom was white. Get it?

Now, for the other noted “birther” case. It involves U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, the Texas Republican who ran against Trump for the Republican Party presidential nomination in 2016.

Cruz actually was born outside the United States. He was born in Canada. His father is Cuban. His mother is an American.

Sen. Cruz was able to quell the questions with a simple — and generally accepted — interpretation of the Constitution. Since his mother is a U.S. citizen, Baby Ted became a U.S. citizen immediately upon his birth. Therefore, he qualifies as a “natural-born” citizen simply because of his mother’s citizenship.

Hey, that same logic works for the former president, too. His mother was a U.S. citizen, making him an American the moment he came into this wold. Except that wouldn’t fly in the minds of his critics … and that includes the president of the United States.

And all of that presumes he was born somewhere other than the United States! He was born in the U.S.A., but the questions continue to linger even to this day among most Americans who consider themselves to be Republicans.

Is race a factor? Hmm. I believe it is.

O’Rourke might reshape the Texas landscape

Abby Livingston of the Texas Tribune has written a quite insightful story that starts with one of the better ledes I have read in some time.

Livingston writes: It’s the most backhanded of compliments.

U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke‘s campaign for U.S. Senate has caught so much fire throughout the state that the new favorite betting game in Texas politics is “How close can he get to Ted Cruz in November?”

The implication in the question’s phrasing is that O’Rourke’s loss remains a given.

Her essay is tough to read if you’re supporting O’Rourke’s bid to defeat the Cruz Missile.

Here it is.

O’Rourke is raising a lot of money, far more than Cruz. He has embarked on an unusual campaign strategy, conducting town hall meetings and meet-and-greet with voters who live in heavily Republican rural communities.

Cruz is taking this challenge seriously. Moreover, Cruz does have numbers — and history — on his side. Texas comprises many more Republicans than Democrats; and the state has gone more than two decades since the latest time it elected a Democrat to statewide office.

Yes, O’Rourke’s fight faces some potential head winds.

However, before we assign O’Rourke to the political scrap heap, let me offer this brief reminder.

In 2016, American voters managed to elect to the presidency a man who had never sought a public office. He had zero public service experience and zero inclination toward serving the public. He hurled ghastly insults that offended millions of Americans while campaigning for the presidency.

But … Donald Trump won the Electoral College on the strength of 78,000 votes in three key states and, thus, took office as president of the United States.

Against very long odds.

So, have stranger things than Beto O’Rourke winning this fall happened already?

Yes. They have.

Please, Mr. POTUS, campaign for Ted Cruz

I have just heard that U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz has asked Donald J. Trump to campaign for him as he seeks re-election to his Senate seat in Texas.

Do you know what that means … for me? It means that there’s a decent chance I’ll be within easy driving distance of a Trump rally if he agrees to campaign in Texas for the Cruz Missile — who once called Trump an “amoral … pathological liar.”

We live just north of Dallas these days. We’ll be on the road for most of August, but we’ll have a lot of time on our hands after we return from our trip out west.

Oh, how I want the president to come here. I would actually attend a campaign rally for Cruz if it takes place anywhere near Collin County, where we live.

Hey, we live in a gigantic metro area comprising roughly 7.5 million residents. That means that if Trump agrees, he well might come, say, to Dallas or Fort Worth to speak on behalf of Cruz.

I want to attend one of those dog-and-pony shows.

I’m a political junkie. I love campaign rallies. I’ve covered two national presidential nominating conventions — the 1988 GOP convention in New Orleans and the 1992 GOP event in Houston. I attended the 2012 Democratic convention in Charlotte; I had planned to cover it for the Amarillo Globe-News, but I quit that job suddenly just before the start of the convention. I went there with press credentials, but sat in the cheap seats as a spectator.

All of them were a serious blast and I learned so much getting to watch these events up close.

Donald Trump speaking in Texas on behalf of the state’s junior U.S. senator would be a worthwhile event, too.

Do not expect me to flip, to become a Trumpster listening to the president’s ranting and railing, his insult-hurling rhetoric.

As the Houston Chronicle has reported: Cruz is facing a tougher re-election campaign than many first expected. Polls from the last week have shown Cruz holding onto a single-digit lead over (Beto) O’Rourke, a congressman from El Paso who has set records for Democrats fundraising in Texas.

Let me be clear: I do not want Cruz to be re-elected. I am going to support the Democratic challenger, O’Rourke. But I do want the president to come here to give Texans an up-close look at what a buffoon he can be when he launches into one of those unscripted riffs in front of adoring fans.

Please, Mr. President. Come to Texas! Hey, the Metroplex ought to be a big lure.

Senate races decided by differing factors

As I watch the Beto O’Rourke-Ted Cruz race for the U.S. Senate from Texas, I am struck by what is missing in the debate over who Texans should elect.

I am not hearing much chatter on which of these men will do more for Texas.

Will it be Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic congressman from El Paso, or Ted Cruz, the Republican incumbent from Houston? Which of them will work tirelessly on behalf of Texans’ specific needs, wants and desires?

Am I missing something here?

There once was a day when U.S. senatorial clout mattered to the home folks. I want to cite an example from my home state of Oregon.

For years, Oregon was represented by two moderate Republicans: Mark Hatfield and Bob Packwood. They were joined at the hip on many issues. They were linked to each other so closely that we in the media used to refer them as “Sen. Hatwood” or Sen. “Packfield.”

They both attained influential committee chairmanships beginning in 1981 when the GOP took control of the upper congressional chamber after Ronald Reagan’s landslide victory in the 1980 presidential election.

Hatfield and Packwood worked diligently to protect Oregon and Pacific Northwest interests.

Along the way, Sen. Packwood ran into ethical trouble relating to the way he treated women who worked on his staff; Packwood ended up resigning his seat. Sen. Hatfield remained the Boy Scout.

As we look at the current day, in Texas, I don’t hear the kind of chatter about Sen. Cruz or, how well he works with Sen. John Cornyn, the state’s senior U.S. senator. My sense is that the two Texans have a bit of a frosty relationship.

Cruz’s tenure in the Senate seems to have centered on his own future. He ran for president in 2016 and was among the final GOP primary candidates to hang in against the party’s nominee before bowing out.

Cruz’s theme so far appears aimed at ginning up GOP interest to counteract rage from the other side. According to the Texas Tribune: “The biggest challenge I have in this race … is complacency,” Cruz said. “People say all the time, ‘Oh, come on, it’s a Texas re-elect. How could you possibly lose?’ Well, in an ordinary cycle, that might be true. But this is not an ordinary cycle. The far left is filled with anger and rage and we underestimate that anger at our peril.”

O’Rourke has closed a once-gaping deficit to make it a race. I’ll stipulate once again that I am pulling for O’Rourke to defeat Cruz.

I’m just waiting to hear from the challenger — or from the incumbent, for that matter — what they’ll do to help Texans.

Beto and Barack vs. Cruz and The Donald?

Barack H. Obama has issued his first round of Democratic Party endorsements in advance of the midterm election.

Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Beto O’Rourke no doubt was wanting the 44th president to endorse his candidacy against Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz. He didn’t get it.

Some of my Republican-leaning social media acquaintances have reminded me that the ex-president stiffed O’Rourke. I’ll answer them here: The Obama endorsements are likely to be followed by another round prior to the election.

It’s fair to ask: Do these endorsements really matter? Does an endorsement from a president who lost Texas by double digits in 2008 and 2012 pack enough political ummpph to carry Beto O’Rourke across the finish line ahead of the Cruz Missile? That’s problematic at best.

I would pay real money, though, to attend a campaign rally featuring Barack Obama. Now that I live in Collin County, just one county north of Dallas County — which Obama won in his two presidential election bids — there is at least a remote chance he might come here to campaign for Beto.

As for the GOP side, I am wondering about whether Donald Trump will stump for Sen. Cruz. He well might harbor some reticence. Why? Cruz did say some really harsh things about his then-Republican Party primary foe — that would be Trump — back in 2016. He called Trump “amoral,” a “pathological liar” and a guy with zero decency.

Cruz has taken a different tack, naturally, since then. But that other stuff is still out there in the public domain. It provides ample grist for foes to use against Cruz. And against Trump, for that matter.

Media ‘infatuation’ with Beto? Here’s a possible answer

Many conservatives, including those in the media, are wondering about a so-called Texas “media infatuation” with Democratic U.S. senatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke.

The Amarillo Globe-News today took note of that “infatuation” in an editorial. The paper stated: While there is a large degree of media infatuation regarding O’Rourke (precisely why is a good question), at least the duo have agreed to a series of debates.

I might have a possible explanation.

But first, let’s examine whether there is, indeed, an infatuation at play any more than there was one when O’Rourke’s Senate foe, Republican incumbent Ted Cruz, took office in 2013. Cruz became an instant media darling not long after taking his seat. It became apparent to many of us that Cruz’s fixation with the media had more to do with personal ambition than anything he sought to do for the state he was elected to represent.

But the media played along. It became something of a joke that the “most dangerous place in Washington was anywhere between Ted Cruz and a TV camera.”

Now he is running for re-election. The media are giving his opponent plenty of coverage as he barnstorms our vast state.

O’Rourke, a Democratic U.S. representative from El Paso, is conducting plenty of what are called “media events.” He takes part in town hall meetings, he makes speeches, he is taking selfies with fans and supporters in places like Pampa, Perryton, Plainview — where Cruz figures to do well on Election Day.

Does this constitute an “infatuation”? No, it doesn’t. It merely suggests that a candidate is doing his public relations advance work that gets the media interested in the first place.

My former colleagues at the Globe-News need to remember that the Cruz Missile did precisely the same thing six years en route to winning a hotly contested Republican primary and then the general election in 2012.

And it only intensified once the man became a U.S. senator.

One can hope lawn signs portend an upset in the making

AMARILLO, Texas — A friend of mine told me today that she has seen something she thought she’d never see in Amarillo, Texas.

She saw a plethora of lawn signs for a progressive Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate. What’s even more interesting is the neighborhood where she saw them: the tony, leafy, high-end Wolflin Neighborhood, where a lot of old-money Republicans go home at night.

I thought I’d take a look for myself. She is right.

Beto O’Rourke is running for the Senate against Republican Sen. Ted Cruz. O’Rourke, a young House member from way out yonder in the Trans-Pecos region, is challenging Cruz’s bid for a second term.

O’Rourke — who hails from El Paso — has been spending a lot of time conducting town hall meetings with constituents in neighborhoods where one doesn’t find politicians of his ilk.

The friend who told me of the signs in Wolflin is a former journalist. I trusted her assertion because she is known to tell the truth. Still, I wanted to see for myself.

I am not going to predict the lawn sign phenomenon will produce an upset in this year’s midterm election. I quit making such political predictions, given that I have been wrong far more than I am right.

But … Beto O’Rourke’s presence in the rock-ribbed Republican-loving Texas Panhandle suggests to me that he intends to cut his losses here and hope to secure his expected margins in the major metro urban areas where he figures to do well.

If the lawn signs are any indicator, then his strategy may be paying.

I hope that’s the case. However, my hope just cannot force me to predict it will happen. I’m left to squinting hard and firing good karma at the barnstorming challenger in the hope he can take down the Cruz Missile.

Five U.S. Senate race debates? Very good!

Well, shut my mouth and call me flabbergasted.

Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz has pitched a patently capital idea to his Democratic Party challenger, Beto O’Rourke: Five debates on consecutive Fridays between the two candidates for Cruz’s Senate seat.

Very, very good, Sen. Cruz.

You know how I want this contest to turn out. I want O’Rourke to defeat Cruz. There. That’s out there.

However, the incumbent has put forward a thorough airing of the issues that divide the candidates. For that he deserves high praise.

Cruz’s campaign has proposed the following schedule:

  • Aug. 31 in Dallas on “Jobs/Taxes/Federal Regulations/National Economy”
  • Sept. 14 in McAllen on “Immigration/Border Security/Criminal Justice/Supreme Court”
  • Sept. 21 in San Antonio on “Foreign Policy/National Security”
  • Oct. 5 in Houston on “Energy/Trade/Texas Economy”
  • Oct. 12 in Lubbock on “Healthcare/Obamacare”

That about covers it, don’t you think?

The Texas Tribune reported on the Cruz proposal. Read the story here.

That this proposed schedule comes from the incumbent suggests that the race well might be as close as public opinion surveys have indicated over the past several weeks. I lamented just recently that Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has said he has no interest in debating Democratic challenger Mike Collier, which I consider to be a shame.

I want to offer Sen. Cruz — clearly one of my least favorite Senate incumbents — a good word for proposing a series of head-to-head joint appearances with the young man I hope defeats him.