Texas Senator and Tea Party favorite Ted Cruz was in not so rare form, lashing out at CNBC hosts in an effort to avoid tough questions during last night’s Republican debate.
Through a combination of bullying and sleight of hand, Cruz was able to deftly avoid answering questions during last night’s debate, and conservatives rejoiced – themselves falling victim to his deceitful ways.
Faced with a relentlessly tough and substantive question, Cruz skillfully dodged the question by turning things around on the moderators.
“The questions that have been asked so far in this debate illustrate why the American people don’t trust the media,” he said with considerable disgust, adding: “This is not a cage match.”
Cruz went on to lash out at CNBC host Carl Quintanilla, making 5 patently false statements regarding the questions being asked:
1. Donald Trump, are you a comic-book villain?
2. Ben Carson, can you do math?
3. John Kasich, will you insult two people over here?
4. Marco Rubio, why don’t you resign?
5. Jeb Bush, why have your numbers fallen?”
“How about talking about the substantive issues the people care about? … And Carl — Carl, I’m not finished yet,” Cruz said, adding two more lies:
6. The contrast with the Democratic debate, where every fawning question from the media was, “Which of you is more handsome and why?”
7. And let me be clear. Let me be clear. The men and women on this stage have more ideas, more experience, more common sense than every participant in the Democratic debate.
Stating: “And nobody watching at home believed that any of the moderators had any intention of voting in a Republican primary,” Cruz added one final lie:
8. The questions that are being asked shouldn’t be trying to get people to tear into each other. It should be what are your substantive positions…
Analysis: Ted Cruz is a lying liar*
A review of the transcript shows that Donald Trump was not asked whether he was a comic-book villain, rather he was asked a very specific question and was asked why his stated policies sound like “a comic book version of a presidential campaign.”
CNBC Washington Bureau Chief and New York Times columnist John Harwood asked:
HARWOOD: Mr. Trump, you’ve done very well in this campaign so far by promising to build a wall and make another country pay for it. Send 11 million people out of the country. Cut taxes $10 trillion without increasing the deficit. And make Americans better off because your greatness would replace the stupidity and incompetence of others. Let’s be honest. Is this a comic book version of a presidential campaign?
Ben Carson was never asked “can you do math?” – rather, CNBC host Becky Quick asked why the numbers associated with his proposed tax plan failed to add up:
QUICK: Dr. Carson, let’s talk about taxes. You have a flat tax plan of 10 percent flat taxes, and — I’ve looked at it — and this is something that is very appealing to a lot of voters, but I’ve had a really tough time trying to make the math work on this.
If you were took a 10 percent tax, with the numbers right now in total personal income, you’re gonna come in with – bring in – $1.5 trillion. That is less than half of what we bring in right now. And by the way, it’s gonna leave us in a $2 trillion hole.
So what analysis got you to the point where you think this will work?
John Kasich was not asked: “will you insult two people over here?” – instead Harwood asked him about a speech he gave on Tuesday calling his rivals’ proposals “crazy” and “out of touch with reality.” As The New York Times reported, Kasich argued that: “Republicans who proposed abolishing Medicaid and Medicare, imposing a 10 percent flat tax, or deporting millions of people were out of touch with reality.” The New York Times continued, reporting: “Without mentioning anyone by name, Mr. Kasich appeared to be taking aim at Ben Carson and Donald J. Trump, the outsider candidates who have been dominating national and state polls for months.”
HARWOOD: I’m about to ask you about this. That is, you had some very strong words to say yesterday about what’s happening in your party and what you’re hearing from the two gentlemen we’ve just heard from. Would you repeat it?
Similarly, Marco Rubio wasn’t asked why he wouldn’t resign, rather whether it might be more prudent for him to slow down and get a few things done in the Senate before turning his attention towards the presidency:
QUINTANILLA: This one is for Senator Rubio. You’ve been a young man in a hurry ever since you won your first election in your 20s. You’ve had a big accomplishment in the Senate, an immigration bill providing a path to citizenship the conservatives in your party hate, and even you don’t support anymore. Now, you’re skipping more votes than any senator to run for president. Why not slow down, get a few more things done first or least finish what you start?
And Jeb Bush was never asked why his numbers have fallen. Instead he was asked an extremely detailed question about his recent statement that he had better things to do than sit around and be demonized by other people and about his thoughts on former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s remarks about leaving the Republican Party.
HARWOOD: Governor [Bush], the fact that you’re at the fifth lectern tonight shows how far your stock has fallen in this race, despite the big investment your donors have made. You noted recently, after slashing your payroll, that you had better things to do than sit around and be demonized by other people. I wanted to ask you [crosstalk] Ben Bernanke, who was appointed Fed chairman by your brother, recently wrote a book in which he said he no longer considers himself a Republican because the Republican Party has given in to know-nothing-ism. Is that why you’re having a difficult time in this race?
Bernanke, who was appointed by Pres. George W. Bush, wrote on page 432 of his recently published memoir that: “[T]he increasing hostility of the Republicans to the Fed and to me personally troubled me, particularly since I had been appointed by a Republican president who had supported our actions during the crisis. I tried to listen carefully and accept thoughtful criticisms. But it seemed to me that the crisis had helped to radicalize large parts of the Republican Party.”
Arguing that Democrats “suffered their own delusions, especially on the far left,” Bernanke added that he had “lost patience with Republicans’ susceptibility to the know-nothing-ism of the far right. I didn’t leave the Republican Party. I felt that the party left me, I view myself now as a moderate independent, and I think that’s where I’ll stay.”
Although conservative media like Breitbart and Fox News reporting that Cruz Lights Up Stupid Questions or that the Texas Senator Rocked The GOP Debate with a CRUZ MISSILE, Ezra Klein, the Editor-in-Chief for Vox, put it best when he concluded:
Meanwhile, Cruz himself was also asked a substantive question. The moderators asked why he was opposing a bipartisan budget deal that would avert a debt ceiling crisis, a Medicare crisis, and a Social Security Disability Insurance crisis. Rather than answer that question, he attacked the moderators for refusing to ask substantive questions, during which he pretended a slew of unusually substantive questions were trivial political attacks.
Cruz’s strategy was smart, and he was arguably the debate’s big winner. But it bespoke a deeper weakness. Republicans have boxed themselves into some truly bizarre policies — including a set of tax cuts that give so much money to the rich, and blow such huge holes in the deficit, that simply asking about them in any serious way seems like a vicious attack. Assailing the media is a good way to try to dodge those questions for a little while, but it won’t work over the course of a long campaign.
* For the purposes of this article, we only reviewed the first five lies set forth by Cruz in that exchange as the final three are rather obvious to anyone who has been paying any attention to the presidential campaign so far.