Since Tuesday night’s debate, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio have been in a pitched battle over immigration reform, specifically the part where the 12 million undocumented immigrants who are living here now get to pay taxes, and whether they get representation along with that taxation. Weird how Republicans don’t support that. The rift has managed to dominate the aftermath of the debate, and a clear winner in this fight has emerged.
Rubio has been trying to stain Cruz with the libel that he was every bit as barely compassionate as Rubio used to be, and that Cruz supported a pathway to legal status back when Marco supported a path to citizenship. Rubio’s evidence is how sincerely Cruz pushed for an amendment that could have saved the Gang of 8 bill. Here’s Cruz in 2013 earnestly urging his colleagues to forget politics and find a middle ground:
“If the proponents of the bill demonstrate a commitment not to politics, not to campaigning all the time, but to fixing this problem, to finding a middle ground, that would fix the problem, and also allow for those 11 million people here illegally a legal status, with citizenship off the table. I believe that’s the compromise that can pass.”
Cruz later urged his colleagues to pass his amendment expressly so that the comprehensive bill would pass:
The proponents of this bill repeatedly point to as their principal objective to provide a legal status for those who are here illegally to be out of the shadows. This amendment would allow that to happen. If this amendment were to pass, the chances of this bill passing into law would increase dramatically. And so I would urge the committee to give it full consideration and to adopt the amendment.
Cruz’s problem is that he bullshits so skillfully, with the same crinkled sincerity he uses to claim he loves country music because of 9/11, that it’s really hard to walk it back when someone busts him on it like Bret Baier did on Wednesday. Here, Cruz tries to say that he never said he wanted the bill to pass:
Cruz: The fact that I introduced an amendment to remove part of the Gang of Eight bill doesn’t mean I support the Gang of Eight bill. The Gang of Eight bill was a mess.
Baier: That’s not what you said at the time. Yahoo dug up these quotes, saying if this amendment were to pass, the chance of this bill passing into law would increase dramatically, a few weeks later during a debate on the senate floor Cruz repeated his belief that this amendment is the compromise that can pass, and repeated later in Princeton that if my amendment were adopted, this bill would pass.” It sounds like you wanted the bill to pass.
Cruz: Of course I wanted the bill to pass, my amendment to pass.
Baier: You said the bill.
The next day, Cruz abandoned that strategy, and just flat-out said he put forth the amendment to call their bluff:
“I introduced an amendment that made anyone here illegally permanently ineligible for citizenship. That amendment called their bluff. Because it revealed that the proponents of the Gang of Eight were being hypocrites. They were not telling the truth that what they claimed to be interested in was not what they were interested in. What Chuck Schumer and Barack Obama wanted was simple. They wanted millions of new Democratic voters.”
The thing is, in order for you to believe Cruz when he says Schumer and Obama were not telling the truth, he has to get you to believe that he was not telling the truth when he said he wanted to help the immigration bill to pass. Beautiful.
Rubio, meanwhile, just sounds like he’s completely full of shit, like when Dana Bash tried to get him to weigh in on citizenship at the debate. I half expected her to slap on a Jheri Curl wig, pull out a 9 mil on Rubio, shoot him in the leg, and scream “Citizenship, motherf*cker! Do you speak it?”
So you see what the problem is here: Ted Cruz has a sociopath’s ability to get you to utterly believe him when he’s openly full of shit, while Marco Rubio couldn’t get you to believe he’s giving you his real name. If I’m a voter who cares about immigration, and I have to choose between Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, I’m picking Donald Trump.
As bad a night as Trump had Tuesday, these two are creating a contrast in the aftermath that will surely repair any damage he might have suffered. There’s no way either of them can compete with Trump’s utter clarity on immigration. There is no ambiguity to Trump’s position: every single mostly-raping-and-murdering Mexican illegal will be sent packing over his beautiful wall, rounded up by his own personal Aqua Teen Deportation Force. And you know you can trust Trump, because he’s not some shifty Mestizo out of Cuba.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.