There’s an assumption among casual consumers of politics that establishment Republicans loathe Donald Trump. Not really true. Yes, they worry about what Trump might do downballot to the GOP if he is the nominee. But most view him with some mix of puzzlement and fascination. The Republican establishment saves its actual hatred for one man and one man only: Ted Cruz.
Witness Terry Branstad, the four-term governor of Iowa and, without question, the face of the Republican establishment in the state. On Tuesday,he told reporters that he wants to see Cruz beaten in the Iowa caucuses in 13 days — a remarkable admission by a sitting incumbent of such long standing.
Yes, I know that Branstad’s reason for opposing Cruz is that the Texas senator opposes the Renewable Fuel Standard — a key provision for Iowa’s ethanol industry. (Cruz says he supports ethanol and biofuels generally but opposes all subsidies and mandates for the energy industry.) And yes, I know thatBranstad’s son is spearheading a group promoting biofuels and making sure the presidential candidates address the issue.
Even so, it is an amazing testament to how widely disliked Cruz is by the party establishment that Branstad is willing to go on the record against him this close to the caucuses. Normally, if Branstad really didn’t like a candidate he would either a) make that known to influential grass-roots folks and donors and let it be or b) endorse some other candidate. Branstad is saying, in essence: You can support whoever you want. But make sure it’s not Ted Cruz. To single out Cruz in that way speaks to a level of personal animus that is somewhat remarkable for politicians at this level.
This is the second time in recent weeks that Branstad has made his feelings clear about Cruz. After Trump raised questions about whether Cruz, who was born in Canada, is eligible to be president, Branstad provided this decidedly non-committal quote: “When you run for president of the United States, any question is fair game. So let the people decide.” Branstad was far from the only establishment pol willing to form a strange alliance with Trump — and against Cruz — on the citizenship issue. John McCain, with whom Cruz has regularly feuded, was quick to offer up a quote that helped stoke the controversy too.
What’s not debatable is the Republican establishment’s outright contempt for Cruz. What’s less clear — at least to me — is what effect, if any, it will have on Cruz’s chances in Iowa or anywhere else. Branstad is popular, no question. But Cruz will paint him as simply part of the very establishment that has screwed things up — in Washington and in Iowa — for years.
With the popularity of congress this can only help, he seemed to be the only one to believe that if you run on an issue you should actually try to keep your promise. These clownsters really cant believe we dont trust them anymore.
I wonder how much harm the GOP is doing to itself with this never-ending-civil-war-within-its-ranks between the “GOP Establishment” and the “tea-Party.” Does the phrase “United-We-Stand, Divided-We-Fall” mean nothing to the Grand Old Party?
As a candidate, Hillary is so fundamentally flawed that the best thing that she has going for her is the lingering popularity of her naughty spouse, and her only real opposition is a cantankerous socialist, yet the GOP, with so much already going against the Dems, seems poised to give away the election by nominating one kook or the other against its better judgment. The polls have discounted the chances of the rational Republican contenders, and I see no reason to disbelieve them.
See what comes from pandering to your worst margins? Now BOTH parties are stumbling forward in a bizarrely awkward footrace to see which one of them gets to burn the Constitution first!
We reap what we sow.
The control freak GOP elites should learn to get out of the way of the front runners let the people choose the candidate their meddling lost us 2 elections. I believe they would rather see Hillary in the oval office than work to save the Republic. Same old corrupt business as usual.