RUSH: Mitt Romney is out there ripping into Ted Cruz, and I made the observation that I can’t recall a presidential candidate — losing presidential candidate — ripping presidential candidates in his own party in the next election cycle. I was trying to think, in the modern era, if there was an example of it. I couldn’t think of one. It wasn’t so much trying to think of Reagan’s 11th commandment as I was thinking more about establishment Republican versus upstart Tea Party conservative.
By the way, here’s another thing: I’ve been doing… In the course of show prep, I’ve been doing just a voluminous amount of reading about the divide here between the establishment in Washington, both parties, and the Republican Party, what’s happening with Trump and so forth. Now, I knew! I knew that the Democrats had elevated the Tea Party into being something horrible and giant and bad, negative. I had no idea…
Eh, that’s not quite true. I didn’t fully appreciate the extent to which the Republican Party has enmity for the Tea Party. The Washington establishment treats the Tea Party… They’re genuinely afraid of it. Let me put it this way: They’re genuinely afraid of it because of its size and its power, and the amazing thing about that is the Tea Party is not something about which is organized around an individual. I think this is why they fear it. It is genuinely bottom-up.
It’s an effervescent movement of average, ordinary people fed up with Washington, just totally fed up with government, totally fed up with what government is doing. Peggy Noonan has a piece today, and she says that the Tea Party and others, it’s not hatred for government they have, it’s contempt for government. But the Tea Party is genuinely feared, and it’s genuinely feared because it is thought to be huge, and it’s put the whole Republican establishment on defense.
So, anyway, Ted Cruz “isn’t backing off the tough rhetoric he’s used to describe the Iran nuclear deal, despite criticism leveled by” Mitt Romney yesterday. Cruz “fired back at Romney in a Thursday radio interview… ‘So Mitt Romney’s tweet today said, “Gosh, this rhetoric is not helpful,”‘ Cruz said. ‘John Adams famously said, “Facts are stubborn things.” Describing the actual facts is not using rhetoric; it is called speaking the truth.'” Cruz then fired another fact.
“‘Part of the reason that Mitt Romney got clobbered by Barack Obama is because we all remember that third debate where Barack Obama turned to Mitt and said, “I said the Benghazi attack was terrorism and no one is more upset by Benghazi than I am!” And Mitt, I guess listening to his own advice, said, “Well gosh, I don’t want to use any rhetoric. So OK, never mind. I’ll just kind of rearrange the pencil on the podium here,”‘ Cruz said.” And he’s right! We do remember that debate.
I mean, Romney must have had three, different, slow-pitch curveballs, softballs, just tailor made for grand-slam home runs, and he just didn’t even take a swing at them. Remember that? After the first debate, when Romney just cleaned Obama’s clock, do you remember that? The Democrats and the media were all asking, “What happened to Obama? Oh my God, does he even want to be reelected?” They were scared to death because Romney just made mincemeat.
After that one, it was like it never happened, almost like Romney felt guilty for doing it. Because he went into a defensive mode and did not do anything else that might offend or upset or irritate anybody. And it was clear that the consultants had gotten hold of him. Maybe they didn’t have to. Maybe he believed it himself. But the consultants had gotten a hold of him and said, “Look, you can’t keep criticizing the president. The independents don’t like that! We’re never going to win. We have to show we can cooperate.
“We have to show we can work with the Democrats!” So Romney shut up. But what Cruz’s point is very simple (summarized): “What are you beating up on me for? I’m not the enemy. I’m not the Democrat Party. Why don’t you start talking about them this way? They’re the ones actually doing a deal that’s going to put this country at risk. Why don’t you say that?” Effectively what Cruz is saying is, “I’m not the problem here, Mitt! And this isn’t ‘rhetoric.’ I’m simply citing facts.”
So now people are starting to ask: “Is Cruz following in the Trump mold? Is Trump serving to show the way for other Republicans how to respond?” Well, maybe Trump is, but Cruz doesn’t need to be shown. This is standard operating procedure for Cruz. I mean, it was just two weeks ago that he went to the floor of the Senate and accused the majority leader of lying to him face to face. Now he’s firing back at Romney. But try this headline. Well, it’s not a headline. It’s a paragraph subhead.
“Both Obama and Romney have called Cruz’s remarks inappropriate.” What has Cruz done? He’s “maintained that [Obama] would become a leading state-sponsor of terror if the agreement it struck with Iran makes it past Congress. He and others have argued that Iran would use a windfall from sanctions relief to finance terror abroad.” He has said on that basis alone this deal ought not get done! And then Romney piped up and said in a tweet (paraphrased): “Gosh, this rhetoric isn’t helpful. Gosh, this rhetoric isn’t helpful!”
Cruz fired back: “You’re telling me what’s not helpful? You got clobbered by Obama for a reason! You got clobbered because you backed off. You got clobbered because you didn’t have the guts to keep going.” So this is… I like this, folks. Whatever Trump’s responsible for it or not.