Long Read: “The Absolutist”

Per Jim Newell at Salon, born-outside-the-US, son-of-an-immigrant-fleeing-violence Ted Cruz has decided to insert himself into the border crisis debate:

“Cruzification” is what happens when the House Republican leadership is prepared to make a relatively realistic opening offer to counter a Senate Democratic proposal, but then Sen. Ted Cruz (you guessed it!) perambulates over to the House side and demands that conservatives there rise up in defiance. Conference support for the opening offer collapses, the leadership is forced to introduce a more right-wing version, and stalemate endures. Most of the country ends up hating Ted Cruz, but his standing among far-right conservatives only increases…

Which reminded me that I meant to post a link to legal alarmist Jeffrey Toobin’s long New Yorker article on Senator Cruz. Through Toobin’s eyes, Cruz comes off as one of those extremely specialized superpredators who thrives in the prey-rich environment just before a catastrophic ecological collapse…

Cruz’s ascendancy reflects the dilemma of the modern Republican Party, because his popularity within the Party is based largely on an act that was reviled in the broader national community. Last fall, Cruz’s strident opposition to Obamacare led in a significant way to the shutdown of the federal government. “It was not a productive enterprise,” John McCain told me. “We needed 67 votes in the Senate to stop Obamacare, and we didn’t have it. It was a fool’s errand, and it hurt the Republican Party and it hurt my state. I think Ted has learned his lesson.” But Cruz has learned no such lesson. As he travels the country, he has hardened his positions, delighting the base of his party but moving farther from the positions of most Americans on most issues. He denies the existence of man-made climate change, opposes comprehensive immigration reform, rejects marriage equality, and, of course, demands the repeal of “every blessed word of Obamacare.” (Cruz gets his own health-care coverage from Goldman Sachs, where his wife is a vice-president.) Cruz has not formally entered the 2016 Presidential race, but he is taking all the customary steps for a prospective candidacy. He has set up political-action committees to raise money, travelled to early primary states, like Iowa and New Hampshire, and campaigned for Republican candidates all over the country. His message, in substance, is that on the issues a Cruz Presidency would be roughly identical to a Sarah Palin Presidency….

Cruz came to the Senate, in 2012, and then to national prominence, through an unusual route. Like many politicians, he is a lawyer, but his legal expertise is of a special kind, which helps explain both his fame and his notoriety. Before he ran for the Senate, Cruz was on his way to becoming one of the most notable appellate advocates in the country. “He was and is the best appellate litigator in the state of Texas,” James Ho, who succeeded Cruz as solicitor general of the state, told me. Trial lawyers, civil or criminal, are often brought into cases when there are compromises to be made; much of their work winds up involving settlements or plea bargains. But appellate litigators, like Cruz, generally appear after the time for truce has passed. Their job is to make their best case and let the chips fall where they may. That is the kind of politician Cruz has become—one who came to Washington not to make a deal but to make a point. Citing Margaret Thatcher, Cruz often puts his approach this way: “First you win the argument, then you win the vote.”…

When Cruz was in his early teens, in Houston, his parents enrolled him in an after-school program run by Rolland Storey, a retired energy executive who wanted to instill the values of the free market in young people. At the Free Enterprise Institute, Storey had his young charges read Milton Friedman, Friedrich Hayek, and other authors revered by conservatives, and then give speeches at Rotary Clubs and similar venues around the state. “They created a spinoff group called the Constitutional Corroborators,” Cruz told me. “And they took five of the students, all of whom had been involved on the free-market side, and we focussed on studying the Constitution. So we’d meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays, for a couple of hours each night, and study the Constitution, read the Federalist Papers, read the Anti-Federalist Papers, read the debates on ratification. And we memorized a shortened mnemonic version of the Constitution.”

I asked for an example.

“TCCNCCPCC PAWN MOMMA RUN,” Cruz said. “Taxes, credit, commerce, naturalization, coinage, counterfeiting, post office, copyright, courts, piracy, Army, war, Navy, militia, money for militia, Washington, D.C., rules, and necessary and proper.”…

Cruz’s facility with constitutional argument draws admiration even from those who do not share his views. “Ted is able to use erudite constitutional analysis with politically appealing slogans—that’s a rare talent,” Walter Dellinger, the former acting Solicitor General in the Clinton Administration, who has debated Cruz, told me. “The only problem is that Ted’s view of the Constitution—based on states’ rights and a narrow scope of federal power—was rejected at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, and then was resurrected by John C. Calhoun, and the Confederates during the Civil War, when it failed again. It’s still around now. I think it’s wrong, but Ted does a very sophisticated version of that view.”

Since taking office, Cruz has had little use for the traditional political norms of the Capitol, as he showed when he signed a fund-raising letter for the Senate Conservatives Fund, which aims to defeat incumbent Republican senators whom it deems unduly moderate. Challenged by his colleagues in the Republican caucus, Cruz vowed to refrain from targeting incumbents. But then it happened again, with the Madison Project, which also supports candidates who challenge Republican incumbents. “It’s time to elect some conservatives who won’t run from a fight!” Cruz wrote, according to Politico. (Cruz says the letter went out without his permission.) Just a few months after Cruz had taken office, McCain was referring to him, in public, as a “wacko bird.” (The insult still stings. Introducing her husband to the delegates at the Republican convention in Fort Worth, Heidi Cruz denied that he was a wacko bird.)…

There are generally two kinds of senators: those who legislate and those who run for President. Cruz’s speech, and its aftermath, locked down his status in the second category. John Cornyn, his Texas colleague, opposed Cruz’s efforts on the shutdown. “Ted is very smart and very articulate and he has a huge following, but the question is whether what he’s doing is going to help us be a majority party,” Cornyn told me. “The great thing about the Senate is that you are a free agent; you can follow your conscience. But if you want to be effective you can’t get your way a hundred per cent of the time. We need to think about the eighty-twenty rule. We need to get back to the idea that it doesn’t always have to be a hundred per cent our way.”…

IMO, Ted Cruz is not a “wacko bird”. He’s the high-IQ, well-educated, penis-gifted version of Sarah Palin — a dedicated grifter who’s working a more sophisticated and deeper-pocketed batch of rubes hungry for a smooth-tongued savior in a tailored suit. He’d accept the Presidency, if it were offered to him on an engraved salver, but I’m not getting the feeling that he wants to do anything so undignified and effortful as to hustle through fifty-odd primaries full of mouthbreathers, doubters and unbelievers. If the American Plutocracy wants a figurehead to adorn the sort of presidency that Faux News complains about whenever a Democrat’s in office — “He just gives pretty speeches at fundraisers and then flies Air Force One off to his elite golf courses!” — Ted’s their man.

I do devoutly hope that Ted Cruz continues to make the right if-I-were-to-run noises, though, because every media mention he gets is stealing political oxygen from Rick “2016, It’s My Turn Now” Santorum. I don’t think Senator Sanctorum can win the presidency, either, but the more he and Cruz go bonehead-to-swelled-head, the better chance that the “independent” low-info voters will realize just how toxic the modern GOP really is.

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231 replies
  1. 1
    Woodrowfan says:

    Cruz, like his father, is a true-believing fanatic, the type of men who happily shove “undesirables” into gas chambers and think they’re righteous. He’s more than just a grifter. He is, in brief, evil.

  2. 2
    Mnemosyne says:

    They were interviewing Cruz on NPR the other day and I was surprised at how hard they were pushing him on his “pull the ladder up” views on immigration, especially his insistence that we need to end family reunification … you know, the very thing that allowed Cruz’s mother to immigrate with his father (as I understand the story, that is).

    Christ, what an asshole.

  3. 3
    Tim C. says:

    What’s the reason some people think he’s a grifter as opposed to an ambitious power seeker? I’ve heard that before, but unlike Palin, these not quite so obvious a clue that he’ll never actually run for president. I actually think he’s a stronger candidate than Santorum, though that’s like saying I’d rather have smallpox than Ebola.

  4. 4

    @Tim C.: FWIW, he seems like an ambitious power seeker and a true believer to me.

  5. 5

    @Mnemosyne: Does he want to change the immigration policy with respect to Cuba? Or are they still going to be more equal than any other immigrant?

  6. 6
    White Trash Liberal says:

    Cruz terrifies me. He has that blend of McCarthy and Nixon with the pungent aroma of fanaticism where he believes what he says while he says it and not one second longer. A cypher, a showman and a buzzword dispenser.

    I predict him to be a formidable foe and the likely GOP nominee.

  7. 7
    Josie says:

    @Woodrowfan: I agree. I don’t think he is a grifter. I think he and his father believe he is sent by God to save us from the evils of liberalism. He doesn’t have a clue how hard it is to run for president or how terribly unpopular he will be in the long run. He is in the bubble that is the Republican party of Texas. I wish I could be there to see his fall from grace (similar to the reality that bit Romney in the ass).

  8. 8
    Mnemosyne says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    He dodged the question, but it sounded as though he was open to changing the policy. Which makes sense because, from what I’ve heard, a lot of the old-line Cuban immigrants want to shut that door because the “wrong” (ie black and brown) Cubans are immigrating now, not the “proper” Spanish-descended ones.

  9. 9
    Baud says:

    I think he’ll run because, well, they all will.

    Of all the likely plausible front-runners, however, he’s the only one I can think of how hasn’t shown how he can appeal to anyone besides the rabid base.

  10. 10
    efgoldman says:

    What I wonder is, if Weeping Cheetoh had any Cheeze balls, he could actually, you know, count the number of dead-ender, mouth-breather, slobbering nihilists in his caucus, and figure out a way to get things passed without them. I mean, he’s the damned speaker, and he has a majority “leadership team” that’s supposedly beholden to him, and this “counting” is not only supposed to be their job, they’re supposed to enforce it.
    Honest to FSM, some reporter, somewhere, has to ask him if there’s ever been a weaker, less effective speaker in history.
    As for Tailgunner Ted, he’s a Senator, he doesn’t belong on the House side without an invitation, and a real speaker would cut him off at the knees by publicly stopping some pet project and taking it out of a bill.
    But hot damn, I hope Tailgunner runs for preznit. The freak flag won’t fly high enough!

  11. 11
    Ruckus says:

    @White Trash Liberal:

    He has that blend of McCarthy and Nixon with the pungent aroma of fanaticism where he believes what he says while he says it and not one second longer. A cypher, a showman and a buzzword dispenser.

    This sounds about right. And if he was just a little better at it I’d bet he could gain some pretty good traction with the wingnuts, who’d like a Joe McCarthy/Nixon doll to tell them what they want to hear.

  12. 12
    Tommy says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: There are many on the right that I don’t think they believe half the stuff they say. They just know if they say the right thing to their base they can get elected and sell books. But as you said I tend to think Cruz believes what he says and that scares the heck out of me.

  13. 13
    KG says:

    I’m not getting the feeling that he wants to do anything so undignified and effortful as to hustle through fifty-odd primaries full of mouthbreathers, doubters and unbelievers

    Fifty-odd primaries? Please, the GOP nomination in 2016, like in all other years, will be decided by about the fifth primary. Iowa and New Hampshire will cut the field from 15 (or so) to five, South Carolina (and probably Nevada) will send at least two more home, and depending on the calendar the race will be effectively over before Super Tuesday.

  14. 14

    @White Trash Liberal: Luckily for us he has a whiny voice and face only a mother could love, plus he oozes smug.

    ETA: He may be golden with the base but I don’t see any appeal to the broader electorate.

  15. 15
    efgoldman says:

    @White Trash Liberal:

    I predict him to be a formidable foe

    Nope. The presidential electorate won’t stand for that level of open racism, xenophobia, mendacity, ignorance, and fanaticism.
    And yes, I know we voted for Bush one-and-a-half times. Hate the bastard as much as I did, compared to Tailgunner, he’s a centrist wonk.
    Also, it’s impossible anymore to grab a nomination from the true believers and then “run to the center.” It isn’t 1968. Everything Cruz ever said will be out there.
    And a lot of Republicans will (already do) have the shivs out for him.

  16. 16
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Baud:

    …he’s the only one I can think of how hasn’t shown how he can appeal to anyone besides the rabid base.

    He’s strong and wrong, personified…. Remember Bill Clinton’s warning.

  17. 17

    @Mnemosyne: How exactly does he want change family reunification. Restrict it to the spouse and children under 18?

  18. 18
    Jeffro says:

    @White Trash Liberal: I agree with you – it will be him vs Paul at the end, and Paul’s isolationism will tip the neocons over to Cruz.

    Fortunately for us, the Palin comparisons are 100% accurate. If the Dem campaign points this out (and points it out well, and often), then it’ll help push the middle 10% of the country back towards the Ds, and the Republic will be safe for another 4 years.

    Side note: Cruz will pick a female VP every bit as firebreathingly red-meat, right-wing as he is. Who’s that one running on her experience castrating bulls, again??

  19. 19
    Tommy says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: His smugness is what I can’t stand. I think I am right most of the time but I hold out the chance I am not. When I hear him speak on any topic I don’t think he has ever considered he might not be right. With that said I am about the most non-violent person you’ll ever encounter but I want to punch him in the face.

  20. 20
    Cassidy says:

    He’ll run because he wants the power and recognition of beating the blah’s party.

  21. 21

    @efgoldman: I agree with you. He is not going to play well beyond the 27%.

  22. 22
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    What is chances long term in a state that is supposedly going purple? Gone in 2018 or 2024?
    Also how long will the Wall St wing of the GOP puts up with this nonsense(like kicking Thad Cochran in the balls), and cuts his nuts off or is that pie in the sky?

  23. 23
    Tim C. says:

    @efgoldman: yeah, but the Republicans who hate him are beholden to the same primary voters that will love him. Those actually running against him will probably get a pass, but anyone from inside the GOP who isn’t running and tries to kneecap him will pay big time. Santorum is pretty vile too, Cruz doesn’t come across as angry the way the former senator from Pennsylvania does. And it think it will be one of those two.

  24. 24
    Mnemosyne says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    He didn’t really answer, unfortunately — just kind of weaseled around the edges. But it sounded as though he wanted to end family reunification altogether. Each family member would have to apply separately on their own. Which is, of course, completely unworkable, especially when it comes to spouses and children, but no one ever accused Cruz of having workable ideas.

  25. 25
    Baud says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    Meh. That doesn’t appeal outside the base unless the Dem candidate is especially weak, especially not the way the electorate will look in 2016. Maybe he’ll pretend to moderate at some point, but he hasn’t started that lie yet (unlike, say, Rand).

  26. 26
    Tim C. says:

    @Mr Stagger Lee: How can the big money boys do that anymore? citizens united means the crazies can all find a pet …. Or become the pet of a billionaire with an open wallet. The GOP establishment is pretty impotent these days.

  27. 27
    Chris T. says:

    He has learned his lesson, which is: the more he’s “agin” whatever “lib-bruhls” are for, the more power he (personally) gains.

  28. 28

    @Mnemosyne: Only single people need apply for a green card, then. Is that the plan of the so called party of family values? That doesn’t make any sense. Does he also want to eliminate legal immigration?

  29. 29
    Corner Stone says:

    @White Trash Liberal:

    I predict him to be a formidable foe and the likely GOP nominee.

    That’s because you’re stupid.
    Jeb or Mitt / 2016

  30. 30
    jharp says:

    Ted Cruz is a fucking asshole (on purpose) who has no intentions of governing.

    I truly wonder what is next for him. A Palin tour?

  31. 31

    I blogged about this issue last week. If you ask me, nothing will happen on immigration in the Congress. This issue is designed to give the base something to get their hate on, same as the pointless lawsuit against Obama.

  32. 32

    @Corner Stone: Your pizzas sound delicious. So, how do you make the dough?

  33. 33
    elmo says:

    Stephen King wrote a book about this guy once.

  34. 34
    JPL says:

    Why not just lock Cruz in a room with Secretary of Defense Hagel and see how long it takes before Cruz looses that swagger?

  35. 35
    Suffern ACE says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: the preference is for immigrants to stop having sex and reproducing. Just like the old days when we banned the Asians from bringing wives and marrying outside their race.

  36. 36
    El Caganer says:

    @Corner Stone: I dunno. I think WTL is correct that Cruz will get the nomination. Whether or not he’ll get anything beyond the 27% Wingnut Line is another story. I think he has a very good shot, but I’m also an extreme lefty who sees things through very bright-red glasses, so my sense of perspective is a bit skewed.

  37. 37
    Tommy says:

    @JPL: I have some issues with Hillary but kind of hope she runs. Her time as the First Lady. In the Senate. As Sec of State. She is battle tested and knows the hate that will come at her and she’ll fight back. I’d prefer somebody more liberal, like Warren, but I fear they don’t realize what will happen when the right amps it up to a 15 on a scale of 1-10.

  38. 38
    Scott S. says:

    I really don’t think he’s as smart as everyone says. If he were smart, he wouldn’t have tied himself so tightly and irretrievably to a dwindling bunch of nobodies like the teabaggers. They may get headlines, yes, but everyone hates them. A smart candidate would be able to connect to the teabaggers but leave enough space to allow some connection to the non-lunatics. But Cruz is all nutbag, all the time. He’s not smart. He’s dumb as hell.

  39. 39
    Corner Stone says:

    @El Caganer: Cruz has less chance in 2016 than Santorum did in 2012.
    It’s not even conceivable.

  40. 40
    Corner Stone says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: I keep it really simple because I don’t bake that much. Just AP flour, salt, baking powder, eggs and a splash or two of water. All depending on how much you need.
    I just make enough for me + a left overs session.

  41. 41

    @Scott S.: The whole government shut-down stunt was not exactly evidence of being smart, either.

  42. 42
    Tommy says:

    @Corner Stone: I hope you are right but I am not so sure. My parents are moderate Republicans that can’t stand Cruz. But my brother married into this huge family of teabaggers. I actually like them. Really nice people unless you get them onto any political topic and then they just go off the rails. I mean they think there are death panels in the ACA. Obama is a Muslim that wasn’t born in the United States. Just crazy stuff. So over the top that my father, who NEVER talks politics, has jumped into the conversation to say, “wait, wait, that isn’t right.”

  43. 43
    Roger Moore says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:
    One thing that you didn’t comment on is how the anti-immigrant environment plays into the hands of the employers who hire them. One of the big advantages of hiring illegal immigrants is that you can threaten them with la migra any time they get too uppity in asking for safe working conditions or a living wage. If we really want to make employers too scared to hire illegal immigrants, we should offer green cards as an inducement for workers to report their employers for immigration violations.

  44. 44
    White Trash Liberal says:

    @Corner Stone:

    LOL @ Jeb or Mitt.

    The base is going to get their dream monster. Not Jeb, because the party is erasing Bush from history. Not Mitt because he has loser stink.

  45. 45
    Ruckus says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    no one ever accused Cruz of having workable ideas.

    That may be his claim to fame with the base. They seem to want whatever church they attend to set all the rules and collect all the money and all of his “ideas” would destroy the government, thereby allowing this to happen. The 27% would love that. He has no workable ideas on purpose.

    ETA Or he’s really just an idiot. Maybe both, that’s not out of the range of possibility.

  46. 46
    WaterGirl says:

    @Scott S.: A person can be book smart but not street smart or politically smart.

  47. 47

    @Roger Moore: I didn’t comment on it directly and you are right of course, but I did say that if the GOP really wanted to curb illegal immigration they would prosecute the employers who use migrant labor rather than demonizing the workers who do the backbreaking work.

  48. 48

    @Suffern ACE: Do they also have to have an I stitched on their clothes so that they can be easily identified?

  49. 49
    askew says:

    @Tommy:

    I’d like someone who gets something done not wastes time in useless fights with Republicans that accomplish nothing.

  50. 50
    Tommy says:

    @Ruckus: They want to break government. There is no other way to say it. In another comment I said my brother married into a far, far right family. They yell about government 24/7. They get upset at me when I note most of them work for the darn Federal government.

  51. 51
    Corner Stone says:

    @White Trash Liberal: What would you like to bet, to the charity of choice, that it is not Cruz in 2016?

  52. 52
    Josie says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: That has always been the case and no politician will support legislation to punish employers because the employers are large companies who give the politicians money. It is that simple. I live on the border and have seen the buses that Tyson and others send to areas near the international bridge to pick up workers to transport them to southern states so they can work for slave wages.

  53. 53
    Corner Stone says:

    @Tommy: They are a small fraction of the Republican body politic, and a tiny fraction of the national body politic as a whole.

  54. 54
    Not Adding Much to the Community says:

    @Corner Stone: So, do you like pie?

  55. 55
    Roger Moore says:

    @askew:

    I’d like someone who gets something done not wastes time in useless fights with Republicans that accomplish nothing.

    Do you want a pony with that? As long as the Republicans control, or can effectively block action in, either house of Congress, the President will be forced to engage in fights with the Republicans in order to accomplish anything.

  56. 56
    mai naem says:

    I think there’s too many people on this thread who discount Cruz. I think there’s plenty of old farts and white people in this country who are scared of the browning of this country who would vote for RWNJ like Cruz. Put that together with a bunch of disaffected people who think that Obama hasn’t really done much for them and that the Dems are just about as bad as the GOP and, voila, President Cruz.

  57. 57
    Anoniminous says:

    Cruz doesn’t have broad support within the GOP, he doesn’t have the ties to the Corporate GOP to raise the money, nor does he have the chops to organize a national campaign. He’s strictly second tier.

  58. 58
    Corner Stone says:

    @Not Adding Much to the Community: Yes, but chocolate pie is my favorite. Don’t let that bastard cleek lie to you about rhubarb or some other ghastly nonsense!

  59. 59
    Roger Moore says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:
    Sure, but I’m not willing to take the employers at their word when they claim they want a path to legalize their workers. At best that’s their fallback position if they can’t keep the present situation, which works great for them. More likely, they know perfectly well that nothing is going to happen, so they pretend to want immigration reform for PR reasons while working behind the scenes to sabotage it.

  60. 60
    Tommy says:

    @Corner Stone: I hope you are right but I am not so sure. I see polls saying it is around 27% of the population. But I work for myself. Most of my clients are pretty far right. All the family members I deal with, not my parents are far right. It seems outside of me being here they are all the people I interact with on a daily basis. They seem to be a much larger percentage of the population then the polls indicate.

  61. 61
    Tommy says:

    @Roger Moore: LOL. I can’t get that mad at Obama cause he can’t get anything through Congress. Obama could come out with a bill to give every American a gun and Congress would find a way not to support it and say he was against the NRA. Outside of naming a Post Office he can’t get anything done. He can come their way 90% and that still isn’t good enough. I don’t often make excuses for people but I do here.

  62. 62
    Corner Stone says:

    @Tommy: I am surrounded by wingnuts. If I went with that it would be the availability heuristic.
    I don’t waste time with that kind of nonsense.

  63. 63
    Anoniminous says:

    @Tommy:

    This will give you a better sense of the political typology.

  64. 64
    MattF says:

    The Toobin profile is definitely worth reading. One interesting thing is that Cruz has been fast-tracked from early days– Republicans have talent spotters and he was spotted. You all may mock Young Republicans to your heart’s content, but there’s method there and Ted Cruz is the payoff.

    As for Cruz himself, he’s a demagogue and a dangerous, real one. The idea that he’s following his bliss politically is just silly. He seeks power, he’s getting it, and that’s too bad for the rest of us and for the country.

  65. 65
    Tommy says:

    @Anoniminous: Very, very interesting. I like to think I pay attention to this stuff and not seen that poll. Lots of info to digest.

  66. 66
    Ruckus says:

    @Josie:
    They tried back, what was it 30ish yrs ago(take a guess as to the president) to make the employers responsible for checking if everyone was legal to be employed. Even as an small business employer it was a major pain in the ass and basically unworkable. Of course they had no no real enforcement nor punishment for employers who did hire illegals but they took action!

  67. 67
    burnspbesq says:

    @Mr Stagger Lee:

    Also how long will the Wall St wing of the GOP puts up with this nonsense

    If he has Wichita (the Kochs) and Las Vegas (Sheldon Adelson), he doesn’t need Wall Street. And he’ll gladly fuck the private equity guys because they didn’t invite him to the right parties at Harvard. Rafael is definitely the type who has a long memory and a thirst for revenge.

  68. 68
    KG says:

    Cruz is running fourth (at best) in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. Rand Paul, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, and Mike Huckabee all poll better than Cruz in those states. Cruz’s poll numbers are in line with Rubio, Perry, and the other also rans in the early states. He’s in single digits in the national polls, while most of the others I’ve named are at least in double digits.

    Also, let’s not forget that the GOP doesn’t traditionally nominate a first time candidate. Bush in 2000 was an anomaly for a lot of reasons.

    If I were to put money on it, I’d still say Huckabee if he runs.

  69. 69
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    At the Free Enterprise Institute, Storey had his young charges read Milton Friedman, Friedrich Hayek, and other authors revered by conservatives

    No Adam Smith, I note.

    Damn socialist.

  70. 70
    burnspbesq says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Jeb or Mitt / 2016

    If that’s your actual position, as opposed to trolling for fun and profit, you have no business calling anyone else “stupid.”

  71. 71
    KG says:

    @burnspbesq: it’s not that stupid… the base would get behind Mitt on a “see Mitt was right” type campaign. They’d mostly be talking to themselves, but they’d believe it because these are the same people who are blaming a supposed ammo shortage on Obama trying to take their guns even though he hasn’t and it’s really just because they are buying even more ammo than before.

    And as I said above, Jeb is actually polling well in most of the early states and the national polls. He’ll win Florida, he’s leading in Iowa, and he’ll be competitive in New Hampshire and likely South Carolina. Couple that with the establishment ties that he’ll have (as a Bush) that most of the Tea Party buffoons will be running against, and that makes Super Tuesday a lot easier for him.

  72. 72
    Anoniminous says:

    @Tommy:

    Pew Research Center’s website is worth checking every month or so. Their findings don’t get a lot of media attention.

  73. 73
    Roger Moore says:

    @burnspbesq:
    Sure, but who, then? The thing about the Republican primaries is that there don’t seem to be any decent candidates; ever person who’s mentioned even vaguely seriously as a candidate has glaring holes that seem to doom them. Yet somebody is going to win. It’s either going to be somebody who looks implausibly bad today or somebody we aren’t thinking about.

  74. 74
    Corner Stone says:

    @burnspbesq: Put it down counselor. I’ll take those against the field, even up. How much?

  75. 75
    askew says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Do you want a pony with that? As long as the Republicans control, or can effectively block action in, either house of Congress, the President will be forced to engage in fights with the Republicans in order to accomplish anything.

    I don’t need a pony. I have a president right now that was able to get more done in his first term than any president since LBJ. I knew when I voted for him in the primaries in 2008 that he’d be able to be effective based on his accomplishments as Senator and in IL State House.

    Hillary has no history of getting anything done in her career. But, she “fights Republicans” so people are giddy over her potential presidency. I don’t see much to get excited about. Useless fighting didn’t get healthcare done, DADT repealed, ended Iraq War, etc.

  76. 76
    Tommy says:

    @KG: I think it is Rand Paul. I recall in 2008 when his father ran. I drove from Illinois to Eastern Tennessee for a hiking trip. Now it was mostly rural areas but I could count on a few hands the yard signs I saw for everybody not named Paul. It seemed every yard had a Ron Paul sign.

    I say that cause IMHO in the primaries he will mobilize. And to some extent that is all that matters if as many Republicans run as I think they will.

    I don’t think he has any chance in the general election, but getting the votes to get there, well I think he can do it.

  77. 77
    White Trash Liberal says:

    @Corner Stone:

    100 dollars. 500 if Jeb or Mitt get the nom. 500 happy dollars because those two d bags have no national chance.

  78. 78
    Cassidy says:

    Everyone has forgotten about Nikki Haley.

  79. 79
    efgoldman says:

    @mai naem:

    I think there’s plenty of old farts and white people in this country who are scared of the browning of this country who would vote for RWNJ like Cruz. Put that together with a bunch of disaffected people who think that Obama hasn’t really done much for them and that the Dems are just about as bad as the GOP and, voila, President Cruz.

    Tailgunner Ted actually has to campaign for the damned job. Just like RMoney couldn’t disguise his essential 1-percent-ness and disdain for the electorate (not that he had a lot of help), and Snowbillie couldn’t disguise her essential vacuity, Tailgunner won’t be able to disguise his extremism, fanaticism, and smug superiority.
    And that’s if he gets the nomination. @Anoniminous: is right as far as that goes.

  80. 80
    KG says:

    @Tommy: Paul’s definitely in the mix if he wants it. But I have a feeling he won’t do well in the debates – not from a policy standpoint (relatively speaking, he’ll touch most of the G(OP)-spots) but from the eye test. On stage next to the other candidates, he won’t look like a president and I think that will hurt him.

    I still keep coming back to Huckabee. He’s run before so he can claim next in line status. He has executive experience, which they’ll love. He’s been on Fox New everyday for 8 years. He’s southern and vocally (conservatively) Christian. He has a crazy/dumb tax plan. He checks all the boxes.

  81. 81
    Roger Moore says:

    @Cassidy:

    Everyone has forgotten about Nikki Haley.

    Including the people who would have to vote for her.

  82. 82
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Woodrowfan: This sums up Cruz nicely.

    You eliminate these types before they eliminate you. “Christian” Dominionists are utterly evil.

  83. 83
    askew says:

    @KG:

    I still keep coming back to Huckabee. He’s run before so he can claim next in line status. He has executive experience, which they’ll love. He’s been on Fox New everyday for 8 years. He’s southern and vocally (conservatively) Christian. He has a crazy/dumb tax plan. He checks all the boxes.

    Huckabee has that pardon problem. He pardoned someone who went on to kill 4 cops in Washington State. I don’t see how he doesn’t get destroyed on that alone.

  84. 84
    White Trash Liberal says:

    @KG:

    Wayne DuMond sinks Huckabee. Not gonna happen.

  85. 85
    MattF says:

    @KG: Huckabee has enough on-the-record nuttiness that the ‘folksy charm’ gambit won’t work. He’s checked all the boxes, but that’s not a good thing– attractive until you take a closer look.

  86. 86
    currants says:

    @Corner Stone: eggs in pizza dough? Huh.

  87. 87
    Tommy says:

    @KG: I don’t normally comment on the appearance of somebody. To each their own and I am not close to perfect. But I tend to think you are onto something. I think it is his hair. Does he have a perm? If I advised him I’d tell him to change that yesterday.

  88. 88
    Corner Stone says:

    @currants: I said I don’t bake much.

  89. 89
    Cassidy says:

    @Roger Moore: Eh, they’re simple people who will back anyone. Put someone attractive with a vagina on stage to compete against the “old hag” Hillary and they’ll think they have a winner.

  90. 90
    Corner Stone says:

    @White Trash Liberal: Great. Let’s mark it here, then. If Cole or MM or another FP wants to hold the up money I’ll be happy to send it along.

  91. 91
    James E. Powell says:

    @burnspbesq:

    The Republicans with whom I work, who consider it their duty to give me summaries of everything they hear on FOX and Rush, have assured me not only that Jeb will be the nominee, but that he is a great candidate who will be a great president. I have the impression that they really believe it.

  92. 92
    FlipYrWhig says:

    I don’t see that Cruz is so brilliant and erudite. He seems like exactly the kind of guy who _thinks_ he’s brilliant and has been _told_ he’s brilliant and special his whole life and that the reason why the other kids never liked him was that they were just jealous. But listen to him speak, even at the height of his enthusiasm. It’s like he’s counting off the pauses and gestures and facial expressions. Point, two three. Raise eyebrow, two, three. Downward glancing smirk, two, three. Pivot on heel and walk right, two, three. Robotic.

    I know someone who knew him in debate circles in college who said that he was impressive and would win awards and all that. He doesn’t seem impressive to me at all. He seems like someone who practiced all the things that judges like. He’s like a technically accurate figure skater with no soul. And that’s the thing he’s BEST at. If not for that, he’s a hateful, rabid, puffed-up little shit who think he’s special. No one likes that kind of person. It exudes from every pore.

  93. 93
    efgoldman says:

    @askew:

    Huckabee has that pardon problem. He pardoned someone who went on to kill 4 cops in Washington State. I don’t see how he doesn’t get destroyed on that alone.

    T’would be a nice piece of irony, for those of us of a certain age, for the Dem nominee to run on “the other guy is soft on crime.”

  94. 94
    White Trash Liberal says:

    @Corner Stone

    Some good can come from our mutual e-loathing!

  95. 95
    efgoldman says:

    @James E. Powell:

    I have the impression that they really believe it.

    Because the unskewed polls tell them so, no doubt.

  96. 96
    KG says:

    @askew: it came up in 2004 and didn’t sink him then, he’ll be able to play it off as old news and throw out the spin “they can’t argue with my policies today, so they’re going to distract you with things that happened decades ago” and I’m sure he’ll find a way to blame the system in Arkansas.

    @MattF: I’m talking about the nomination, not the general. The nuttiness is a feature not a bug for Iowa, South Carolina, and Florida GOP voters.

  97. 97
    Corner Stone says:

    @White Trash Liberal: It would be a waste of my energy to loathe you.
    You’re just stupid.
    But if that moves money into Star of Hope, then so be it.

  98. 98
    WaterGirl says:

    @FlipYrWhig: I don’t see women voting for Cruz. The creep factor is strong in Cruz, I think it hurts him if he runs.

    Of course, he did get elected to the senate in Texas, so who knows?

  99. 99
    Anoniminous says:

    If this is accurate* the top two candidates are Paul and Bush. But both are barely in the double digits which suggest to me the polling reflects little more than name recognition.

    * and I wouldn’t bet the ranch considering the polling firms … I mean … Zogby???

  100. 100
    Cassidy says:

    Of course, he did get elected to the senate in Texas, so who knows?

    It’s Texas. Does it need more of an explanation?

  101. 101
    KG says:

    @Tommy: in real life, I don’t much care what people look like either. But in politics, your look matters. Prior to the recall in California, you’d never see Arnold wearing a tie unless he was at an awards show, once he announced though, he was in a three piece suit all the time. Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinch never had a chance to win, not because their policy proposals would occasionally be batshit crazy, but because neither of them “looked like a president.” It’s the same reason high ranking military officers become instant contenders, they look like a president. Looks matter in politics a lot more than people realize, especially for president – the average American is going to see the president’s face almost daily on the evening news or on cable news.

  102. 102
    efgoldman says:

    @WaterGirl:

    Of course, he did get elected to the senate in Texas, so who knows?

    He got 56%.
    Of the fewer than 50% of eligible voters who turned out.
    So he got 28% of eligible voters.
    Pretty close to the nominal 27% figure of wackiness, no?
    (And I understand that low turnout is a chronic problem in TX. That’s why the people who predict it goes purple soon aren’t taken really seriously.)

  103. 103
    James E. Powell says:

    @efgoldman:

    Because the unskewed polls tell them so, no doubt.

    I think it’s more a product of their wishful thinking. When Christie’s stock began to fall, they looked around and saw a room filled with Santorum, Bachmann, and the people who love them. They have no one else.

    Cruz the individual doesn’t scare me, but Cruz one of many lunatics who consistently get uncritical press/media coverage to mainstream their extreme policy positions.

  104. 104
    askew says:

    @efgoldman:

    T’would be a nice piece of irony, for those of us of a certain age, for the Dem nominee to run on “the other guy is soft on crime.”

    I would love that.

  105. 105
    KG says:

    @Anoniminous: here’s the wikipedia composite. Paul, Bush, Huckabee, and Christie.

  106. 106
    efgoldman says:

    @KG:

    It’s the same reason high ranking military officers become instant contenders, they look like a president.

    Of course, the last one even to get the nomination was Ike, a real national hero, and that will have been 64 years (for his second term) before the next presidential election.

  107. 107
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Also, I had been thinking their nominee would be Scott Walker, but if Cruz runs he’ll carve up that airhead with debate-club tactics. I think it might be Paul Ryan, who gets to run on youth and “earnestness” and “seriousness” and who might be self-confident enough to shrug off Cruz’s shtick.

  108. 108
    Anoniminous says:

    @KG:

    For me Huckabee is past his sell-by date. I can’t give a rational argument. It just feels like his brand of southern folksy Christianist bullshit is passe in the GOP of 2014 – 2016.

    ETA: thanks for the composite.

  109. 109
    askew says:

    @WaterGirl:

    @FlipYrWhig: I don’t see women voting for Cruz. The creep factor is strong in Cruz, I think it hurts him if he runs.

    Of course, he did get elected to the senate in Texas, so who knows?

    He has the same smarm factor Edwards has.

  110. 110
    KG says:

    @efgoldman: of course, not saying any of them are actually good politicians (or dumb enough to want the job). But the GOP would have gladly given Powell the nomination in ’96 or ’00 if he wanted it. And Wesley Clark was taken seriously for five minutes before he opened his mouth.

  111. 111
    El Caganer says:

    2014 is a bit early for predictions, particularly for a political party like the Republican, with lunatics constantly crawling out of the woodwork. A lot of things can happen that can upset everybody’s apple cart – just as an example, what happens if we get into a shooting war (let’s not even consider a nuclear one) with Russia over Ukraine? Obviously that would have some effect on elections here, but who can even venture a guess what that effect would be? I like playing the guessing games, but I think it would be really tough to accurately predict even the top 5 Republican candidates.

  112. 112
    askew says:

    @KG:

    @askew: it came up in 2004 and didn’t sink him then, he’ll be able to play it off as old news and throw out the spin “they can’t argue with my policies today, so they’re going to distract you with things that happened decades ago” and I’m sure he’ll find a way to blame the system in Arkansas.

    That was the pardon of the rapist. This pardon was for Maurice Clemmons who killed 4 cops in 2009 a much, much bigger deal to Republicans. It also establishes a pattern of Huckabee’s poor judgment on pardons.

  113. 113
    Seth Owen says:

    Don’t underestimate Cruz. Without getting all Godwin on folks, Cruz is exactly the sort that should be taken very, very seriously. He is terrifying.

  114. 114
    Corner Stone says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    I had been thinking their nominee would be Scott Walker,

    Good God. He has even less draw than Huntsman or Pawlenty, if that’s possible.
    Who could ever even consider Walker as a possible choice?

  115. 115
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @askew: “Unctuous” is a great word for both of those people. But I think Edwards was phony when it came for what he stands for; and Cruz doesn’t have any of that mismatch between who he is and what he stands for. What they have in common is that sense that everything is too rehearsed. Cruz has over-rehearsed how to present his actual self, and Edwards over-rehearsed how to bullshit.

  116. 116
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @El Caganer:

    A lot of things can happen that can upset everybody’s apple cart – just as an example, what happens if we get into a shooting war (let’s not even consider a nuclear one) with Russia over Ukraine?

    A shooting war with Russia over Ukraine is about as likely as an invasion by lizard people.

  117. 117
    WaterGirl says:

    @askew: John Edwards? I was never an Edwards fan, but he didn’t have the creepy factor like Cruz does. I thought he was a fake and kind of slimy, maybe kind of sleazy, but that’s different than the creep factor.

  118. 118
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Corner Stone: He’s a total zero with no personality who might be able to be everyone’s third choice, plus he has Koch money.

  119. 119
    Corner Stone says:

    @Seth Owen: To who?

  120. 120
    Anoniminous says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Walker has to get re-elected or his national career is over. Polling has been 48 Walker, 45 Burke since Oct of 2013. And for a sitting Governor a 27% Favorable is deadly. He may pull it out but, at the moment, I think not.

  121. 121
    Corner Stone says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    He’s a total zero with no personality who might be able to be everyone’s third choice,

    = WIN!

  122. 122
    efgoldman says:

    @WaterGirl:

    I don’t see women voting for Cruz. The creep factor is strong in Cruz, I think it hurts him if he runs.

    Yeah, nobody’s touched on this. The gender and racial/ethnic gaps any GOBP candidate faces are really formidable, so much so that it’s almost impossible for them to reach 270 EVs. Take all the Northeast for the Dems, all of the West coast, a bunch of the Midwest, plus likely FL and VA. The GOBP map LOOKS overwhelming, but all those Western big states are empty.
    I think most of the rest of the Confederacy (NC possibly excepted) is lost for another generation, possibly two, so we’ll not see a 47-49 state wipeout in our lifetimes, but then there’s no predicting the AA and Latino GOTV operation in direct counter-reaction to GOBP voter suppression. Ask Kay, people really get pissed off about that.

  123. 123
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Corner Stone: it could be one of those weird elections where their party likes Cruz over Paul, Paul over Huckabee, and Huckabee over Cruz, until they all knock each other out and some cipher gets it. Like how all the interesting Democrats nuked each other in 2004 and we ended up with Kerry.

  124. 124
    askew says:

    @WaterGirl:

    I saw him give a speech in 2004 and smarm is the only word I can think of to describe him. He just radiated it. Cruz gives me the same feeling. I both feel like they have a much uglier side we don’t see in public. It was confirmed with Edwards. I wouldn’t be surprised if we found out the same with Cruz.

  125. 125
    efgoldman says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    I had been thinking their nominee would be Scott Walker

    First he has to get re-elected (no sure thing) and then stay unidicted (ditto).
    Plus he and the Granny Starver may be the two most boring speakers in national politics.

  126. 126
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Anoniminous: They are basically tied right now.

  127. 127
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Corner Stone: I didn’t say he was a good or exciting candidate. To the contrary, decidedly. But I can see him being the last one standing after all the more interesting candidates beat each other up and make themselves toxic to everyone else’s supporters.

    Anyway, because of what Anoniminous said, I don’t think that’s going to happen anymore. My hunch is Ryan.

  128. 128
    James E. Powell says:

    Is there any chance that North Carolina could retreat from madness? This guy ought to be part of some Democrat’s TV ads.

    A Democratic victory there would be most welcome.

  129. 129
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @efgoldman: have the Republicans ever had an exciting speaker? Other than Reagan?

  130. 130
    Violet says:

    @WaterGirl: Heh. Here we are talking about the creep factor again. That kind of day I guess. I agree–Edwards was slimy. Cruz is creepy. There’s a difference.

  131. 131
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @efgoldman: I mean, Romney, terrible. McCain, terrible. All Bushes, terrible. Dole, terrible. Ford, Nixon, terrible. I don’t remember Goldwater.

  132. 132
    James E. Powell says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    I’ve been saying Kasich for a while now, but I think Ryan is overtaking him for the time being. I wouldn’t rule out Kasich, but Ryan has already won the Republican Most Adored by the Village Award.

    And it would kind of fit with that Republican “his turn” thing that they seem to do without necessarily intending it.

  133. 133
    Anoniminous says:

    @efgoldman:

    People keep talking up South Carolina as a swinger.

    Agree with your national analysis. To win the Presidency the GOP has to win Ohio, Florida, and Virginia. I don’t see how they do it.

  134. 134
    Comrade Luke says:

    I don’t get why people would be the least bit worried about Cruz.

    The presidential elections are a finely tuned machine, driven by corporate money. There’s no way the establishment lets a guy like Cruz, who would get absolutely destroyed in the general election, out of the primaries. At this point, your short list is: Jeb, Ryan, someone we haven’t heard of yet, and Romney as a last resort.

    The only ones to be concerned with are #1 and #3 on that list.

    ETA: #3 is the one to be terrified about, assuming they can find someone who has very little back history or voting record to attack.

  135. 135
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Comrade Luke: Re: unknowns, I keep flashing onto the earlier idea (aired by efgoldman) about some military guy or something like that, especially if foreign policy stuff continues to be important. But I have no idea who fits the bill. Petraeus shit the bed twice over. Anyone else?

  136. 136
    Violet says:

    @James E. Powell: Santorum also has a claim on the His Turn spot. Ryan is just too…lost puppy-ish. Plus he’s a House Representative, not a Senator or Governor. I think the only Representative to be elected President was James Garfield. That’s been awhile. The role just doesn’t have the gravitas somehow.

  137. 137
    Anoniminous says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    That is good news. Looks like he has max’ed his vote while Burke is steadily adding to hers. If he is pulling this kind of crap in July his internal polling must really suck.

  138. 138
    Violet says:

    @FlipYrWhig: McChrystal? The Republicans might like him because he didn’t like what Obama was doing. That’s about all it takes for Republicans to like someone.

  139. 139
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @FlipYrWhig: None that come to mind.

  140. 140
    askew says:

    @Violet:

    @James E. Powell: Santorum also has a claim on the His Turn spot. Ryan is just too…lost puppy-ish. Plus he’s a House Representative, not a Senator or Governor. I think the only Representative to be elected President was James Garfield. That’s been awhile. The role just doesn’t have the gravitas somehow.

    With the way Biden schooled Ryan in their debate, I just don’t see how he makes it past the debates with Cruz. He can outwit Rubio obviously, but Cruz and Paul should have no problems making him look like a complete moron.

  141. 141
    Comrade Luke says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Military is all I can think of, off the top of my head, but to be honest I don’t know much about their bench in swing states. They might go for a Nikki Haley as a VP to counter Hillary as Prez, but other than that I have no idea.

    For as much as they suck all the air out of the room media-wise, they don’t have much to draw on that can win at the national level. That said, I think it’s possible that the Republicans as a whole have changed their tactics a bit, to focus on state elections and judicial appointments. And they might have more success with that.

    They have a lock on the house for probably the next decade, so they know that they can block things at the national level. Time to move down ticket. My fear is that Democrats are yet again a step behind here.

  142. 142
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Violet: I don’t think McChrystal has the necessary charisma.

  143. 143
    Violet says:

    @askew: No kidding, but it will have been three or four years since the Biden debate, so he might have a little more experience. His go-to mannerism is to duck his head slightly and look up. That’s what makes him look really young and like a little kid or lost puppy. He’s going to need extensive coaching to get over that and project confidence.

  144. 144
    efgoldman says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    have the Republicans ever had an exciting speaker?

    @FlipYrWhig:

    I don’t remember Goldwater.

    People forget, Nixon was an excellent retail politician. He suffered by comparison to JFK.
    Goldwater was exciting for the wrong reasons; ditto Spiro Agnew. They could both get a crowd wound up.
    From JFK (or certainly RFK) to Obama, though, the Dems didn’t have any real stemwinders, either.
    But Walker and Ryan, as someone noted above, make Pawlenty and Daniels look like Lincoln or FDR.

  145. 145
    efgoldman says:

    @Anoniminous:

    People keep talking up South Carolina as a swinger.

    What? Which SC is that? The one between NC and GA? That SC?
    I think they’d surer fire on Fort Sumter again.

  146. 146
    efgoldman says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Petraeus shit the bed twice over. Anyone else?

    Stonewall Jackson or JEB Stuart would fit the bill nicely. Zombie Marse Robert if they need a “moderate.”

  147. 147
    ⚽️ Martin says:

    @efgoldman:

    Nope. The presidential electorate won’t stand for that level of open racism, xenophobia, mendacity, ignorance, and fanaticism.

    Cruz is a competition debater. He can take any position and sell it convincingly. Whether he’s smart enough to take the right position is yet to be seen, but if he can get the pulse of the electorate, he’ll be a handful.

  148. 148
    CONGRATULATIONS! says:

    He’s the Cuban Glenn Beck. And will end the same way. Y’all getting worked up over nothing.

  149. 149
    🚸 Martin says:

    emoji

  150. 150
    Corner Stone says:

    ;⚽️ Martin: Cruz is a competition debater.

    And *so* many people just LOVE that!!

  151. 151
    askew says:

    @Violet:

    @askew: No kidding, but it will have been three or four years since the Biden debate, so he might have a little more experience. His go-to mannerism is to duck his head slightly and look up. That’s what makes him look really young and like a little kid or lost puppy. He’s going to need extensive coaching to get over that and project confidence.

    That’s the same look George Clooney used during his ER days. Soderbergh finally broke him of the habit during Out of Sight. Maybe Ryan should hire Soderbergh?

  152. 152
    Anoniminous says:

    @efgoldman:

    Seems daft to me but .. Yup. That’s what they say.

  153. 153
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @⚽️ Martin: He is a giant dork. He cannot escape that.

  154. 154
    burnspbesq says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Put it down counselor. I’ll take those against the field, even up. How much?

    C-note. Make your check payable to the ACLU.

  155. 155
    Emerald says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    I don’t remember Goldwater.

    I was only about 12, but I was a good little Republican girl and very interested in all this political stuff. My family was all for Goldwater. If I’d been a few years older I would have been a Goldwater Girl right along with Hillary. I recall him as an excellent speaker, certainly the best of the bunch you mentioned.

    Later in life he changed quite a lot–spoke out as pro-gay, pro-abortion rights, etc. etc. By the time he died he was close to being a Democrat when it came to his positions. Smart man, and he had actual honor. He’s the one who told Nixon the game was up, and Nixon listened.

  156. 156
    Corner Stone says:

    @burnspbesq: Great! Make yours out to Star of Hope.

  157. 157
    Violet says:

    @askew: Maybe. But George Clooney was sexy when he did it in “E.R.” Paul Ryan just looks like the Eddie Munster version of a lost puppy. It’s not cute and it’s not sexy. It looks like he’s begging for your approval. It’s pathetic.

    Maybe Soderbergh could fix that habit for him but he’s still got to replace it with something. That something is confidence and Ryan doesn’t really have that. I just don’t see how Ryan can be the GOP Presidential nominee. His resume is too thin and he’s lacking experience and confidence. In today’s GOP he’s going to get eaten alive.

  158. 158
    Violet says:

    @Corner Stone: What are you betting on?

  159. 159
    Corner Stone says:

    @Violet: I’m taking Jeb or Mitt as the GOP 2016 nominee against the field for $100 even up to charity against garbage time burnspbesq.

  160. 160
    Suffern ACE says:

    @CONGRATULATIONS!: cruz is going to found a satellite TV station and give soccer balls to kids?

  161. 161
    burnspbesq says:

    It’s interesting that we’re all assuming there will be a Presidential election in 2016. I wonder how many wingnuts sincerely believe that there won’t be, because Obama will have installed himself as Generalissimo ElPresidentePorVida before then.

  162. 162
    catclub says:

    @Roger Moore:

    we should offer green cards as an inducement for workers to report their employers for immigration violations.

    Employment violations.

  163. 163
    Violet says:

    @Corner Stone: I can’t believe it could be Mitt. I’ll agree Jeb! has a chance, though. Who’s burnspbesq betting on?

  164. 164
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): you laugh at the lizard people, buy why does Russia have space geckos and we don’t. There is a lizard gap.

  165. 165
    Palli Davis says:

    @WaterGirl:
    Rote smart…those HS extra=curricular sessions had nothing to do with learning to think, contemplate, conceive & transform ideas. Just the equivalent of a team learning plays in the locker room away from the field of life.

  166. 166
    catclub says:

    @Comrade Luke:

    assuming they can find someone who has very little back history or voting record to attack.

    I talked up Jon Thune as suitably bland in 2012. He went nowhere then, No idea if he has started seeing a president in the mirror.

  167. 167
    WaterGirl says:

    @Violet: I find myself wondering if the creep detector is more highly developed in females than it is in males. That would make sense, I think, in terms of survival.

    Now that I think of it, I recently had a discussion about the creepy thing with my best friend (male). We were watching the last 2 episodes of Orphan Black but I don’t recall which particular character we were talking about. He said something about this character being attractive, and I said no, that guy is creepy, and he said yeah, he’s creepy, but he’s attractive, too.

    And I thought, no, that’s really not possible. Creepy precludes attractive. I don’t know a single women who would think that someone creepy was also attractive.

  168. 168
    catclub says:

    @WaterGirl: Of course, by that logic he never gets elected to the Senate in the first place.

  169. 169
    Palli Davis says:

    @⚽️ Martin: Do you really think he could take a “liberal” side of a debate…convincingly?
    I don’t see any acting skills for empathy, open mindedness and respect for other perspectives.

  170. 170
    Anne Laurie says:

    @KG:

    I still keep coming back to Huckabee. He’s run before so he can claim next in line status. He has executive experience, which they’ll love. He’s been on Fox New everyday for 8 years. He’s southern and vocally (conservatively) Christian. He has a crazy/dumb tax plan. He checks all the boxes.

    One of the sites I read regularly — The New Republic, I think? — had an interview with Pastor Huckabee recently. He said, essentially, that his Fox News gig had finally given him the chance to live the life he’d always dreamed about ($3million ‘vacation home’ in Florida, private jet clauses for his high-dollar speaking gigs), and he wasn’t going to risk losing that unless he was sure he’d win. (Phrased as Christianist pap along the lines of “As a humble man I would prefer to stay with this lifestyle, but perhaps God has a different plan for me.”) The reporter interpreted this as “If Hillary runs, I stay on the media sidelines”….

  171. 171
    WaterGirl says:

    @Comrade Luke: All you need is one rich benefactor like Sheldon Adelson and then it doesn’t matter what the rest of corporate money or the party thinks of you.

  172. 172
    catclub says:

    @Anne Laurie: 1) Huckabee knows he was blackballed by the establishment GOP money. And would be again. He signed tax increase bills in Arkansas.
    2) Lots of skeletons in that parole closet.

    No way.

  173. 173
    Yatsuno says:

    @burnspbesq: No no no. He establishes the Islamic Caliphate of North America & invades Canada. Keep yer wingnut thoughts correct here!

  174. 174
    WaterGirl says:

    I offer these photos of Paul Ryan. How can anyone possibly take him seriously?

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....57452.html

  175. 175
    askew says:

    @Violet:

    I don’t think Ryan has a chance in hell of getting the nod. I’d say Kasich and Walker are the two frontrunners if they win re-election. I expect Christie to run as well. I think Governors have a much better chance of getting the nod than Senators or Reps.

  176. 176
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @Emerald: Goldwater’s son was my congresscritter growing up.

  177. 177
    Violet says:

    @WaterGirl: I’m sure there are women out there who are attracted to creepy but there has to be charisma to go with the creep. In general you’re right though. Women don’t find creepy attractive.

  178. 178
    WaterGirl says:

    @Violet: Looking for Mr. Goodbar?

  179. 179
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @askew: I don’t think that either Walker or Kasich has a chance at the nomination.

  180. 180
    WaterGirl says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): Thank god for that!

    They all scare me. I was so certain that Reagan couldn’t get elected once, let alone twice, and I got burned on that one. Totally blind-sided, twice.

  181. 181
    Violet says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): No way Walker can get the nomination. I don’t know enough about Kasich and how he interacts to have an opinion there.

  182. 182
    Anne Laurie says:

    @WaterGirl:

    The creep factor is strong in Cruz, I think it hurts him if he runs.

    I was an Edwards supporter, because he was the only one talking about inequality, even though a good friend said Edwards gave off the vibe of a good ol’ boy who’d slap your back at the barbeque just before he tried to seduce your wife.

    On that metric, I wouldn’t leave Ted Cruz alone with a two-year-old boy. Or a moderately submissive dog. I agree that he just gives off a waaay creepy vibe…

  183. 183
    Violet says:

    @Anne Laurie: We know Ted Cruz’s dad is creepy. Ted Cruz gives off the vibe of someone who was abused who then turns into an abuser. Feel like his type of abuse would be physical abuse–hitting the kids under the guise of “discipline”, probably beating the dog. That kind of thing.

  184. 184
    James E. Powell says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    Do you think Kasich can’t win the nomination or can’t win the general?

    What do you think eliminates him?

  185. 185
    Chris says:

    He’d accept the Presidency, if it were offered to him on an engraved salver, but I’m not getting the feeling that he wants to do anything so undignified and effortful as to hustle through fifty-odd primaries full of mouthbreathers, doubters and unbelievers.

    This is the sense I got from Romney throughout his campaign. That he really didn’t want to be there – he wanted to be president, but really didn’t like having to put himself on display for the peons, catering to their whims, and pretending to care about their yawn-inducing problems, and shouldn’t have to do it for an office that he was essentially entitled to.

  186. 186
    Chris says:

    @Seth Owen:

    Don’t underestimate Cruz. Without getting all Godwin on folks, Cruz is exactly the sort that should be taken very, very seriously. He is terrifying.

    All Republican candidates should be taken seriously. Not to put too fine a point on it, but 47% of the voting public for them in the last election – one in which I think most of us here agree that their candidate was shittastic, and ours was pretty much the best that could be hoped for.

    With a few glitches in the system (an unmotivated Democratic base, a scandal that actually catches on, a vote suppression here or there), I can easily see them winning an election – they’re nowhere close to the serious remission Republicans were in after Roosevelt, or Democrats after Reagan. Not yet, at least. And whoever wins, even if he’s not a bona fide psycho like Cruz, will be beholden enough to those who are that he might as well be.

  187. 187
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @efgoldman:

    he could actually, you know, count the number of dead-ender, mouth-breather, slobbering nihilists in his caucus, and figure out a way to get things passed without them.

    Why do people think Boehner has any interest in passing legislation? He’s very effective at his goals. They aren’t yours. That doesn’t make him ineffective – it makes him a highly effective saboteur.

  188. 188
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Tommy:

    I hope you are right but I am not so sure. My parents are moderate Republicans that can’t stand Cruz. But my brother married into this huge family of teabaggers. I actually like them. Really nice people unless you get them onto any political topic and then they just go off the rails. I mean they think there are death panels in the ACA. Obama is a Muslim that wasn’t born in the United States. Just crazy stuff. So over the top that my father, who NEVER talks politics, has jumped into the conversation to say, “wait, wait, that isn’t right.”

    This doesn’t exactly establish Cruz as a formidable candidate. If you’re trying to use reverse psychology on Republicans, save the effort. The crazies will vote crazy and the establishment Republicans will vote establishment. Establishment Republicans will be smart enough to coordinate their efforts and settle on one candidate quickly. That person will have the advantage of several alternatives to split the crazy vote, because each crazy needs only one billionaire to stay in the game. At any rate, Cruz as the Republican nominee would lead to a Goldwater-level thrashing.

    tl; dr: backpfeifengesicht.

  189. 189
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Chris: My main worry now, with the world situation heating up in about half a dozen ways, is that some international crisis turns 2016 into a fear-motivated foreign-policy election. Americans still fundamentally think of the Republicans as the Strong Daddy Party, and the polling suggests that the memory of the Bush administration is already fading, or else people are actually nostalgic for his general belligerence.

    One major blow-up to make people scared and long for a macho warmonger, and any Republican doofus could be a lock for the presidency; and I’m afraid it probably goes double if the Democratic nominee is a woman.

  190. 190
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Tommy:

    “I live in a rather special world. I only know one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are I don’t know. They’re outside my ken. But sometimes when I’m in a theater I can feel them.”

  191. 191
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @burnspbesq: Pray tell how a divided right prevails against Jeb if he pulls in the money that he can?

  192. 192
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Tommy:

    I think it is Rand Paul. I recall in 2008 when his father ran. I drove from Illinois to Eastern Tennessee for a hiking trip. Now it was mostly rural areas but I could count on a few hands the yard signs I saw for everybody not named Paul. It seemed every yard had a Ron Paul sign.

    Who was the 2008 nominee again? Signs don’t vote.

  193. 193
    Pattonbt says:

    Again, quick question, is Cruz even eligible for president? He wasn’t born in the US. Not trying to be funny, just curious.

  194. 194
    Nutella says:

    Cruz is so horrible that I never thought I’d find anything to like about him, but I do appreciate his not going along with the standard political establishment protection of all incumbents and hope it gets more publicity.

    It is a clue when you’re wondering whether he’s a True Believer or just an ambitious pol. An ambitious pol would have quietly gone along with protecting the establishment.

  195. 195
    Kay says:

    Cruz won’t be the nominee. Conservatives love the safety net as much as liberals do, but for different reasons.
    Rand Paul is now promoting federal civil rights protections and Paul Ryan sounds like Jack Kemp. They’re moving towards the center as 2016 approaches.
    A lot of very powerful people are doing just fine in this country, thank you very much.
    They aren’t going to hire a revolutionary.

  196. 196
    Nutella says:

    @Pattonbt:

    He wasn’t born in the US.

    Neither was McCain and nobody said a word about it. McCain had a stronger case for being native-born than Cruz does because of the military angle but I think everyone will ignore it.

  197. 197
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @James E. Powell: Can’t win the nomination. The GOP base wants a crazy, IMO; I don’t think that Kasich can pull that off throughout the primary season. Plus, he has the stink of Wall Street ( he was working for Lehmann Bros when it collapsed in 2008) without having Romney money. He also has no form- the GOP likes to take the next guy in line. That isn’t him. Finally, there is nothing special about him to overcome the other things I listed.

  198. 198
    Original Lee says:

    I still go by the “next in line” theory. By that measure, Santorum will be the nominee (if he chooses to run). Here are the numbers from before the Republican Party Convention.

  199. 199
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Pattonbt: @Nutella: Short answer: Yes, he is eligible. There is legislation defining “natural born citizen” status. Cruz easily falls within that definition as it stood at the time of his birth.

  200. 200
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name):

    The GOP base wants a crazy

    And they will accept what’s put in front of them, as they did in 2008 and 2012. With several extreme candidates from which to choose, the likelihood of any one of them surviving the primaries is greatly diminished – especially under the Republican system.

  201. 201
    WaterGirl says:

    @Anne Laurie: Excellent descriptions of both Edwards and Cruz. Just excellent.

  202. 202
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Nutella:

    Neither was McCain and nobody said a word about it.

    Plenty of people raised it and it never went anywhere because the premise is wrong. Both his parents were American citizens so he clearly was a natural born citizen, even putting aside that he was born on land that belonged to the United States at the time.

  203. 203
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Bobby Thomson: Yes, they will. OTOH, Kasich doesn’t have anything that will make him stand out as a non-crazy. I don’t see the big money adopting him from among the small pool of non-crazies. He isn’t someone who engenders enthusiasm. He is a Tim Pawlenty type. People will talk a bit about him, but he won’t go anywhere.

  204. 204
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Pattonbt: Cruz is eligible to be President, because he was born a US citizen: he gets it through parentage rather than location of birth.

    The reason that discussions of Barack Obama’s eligibility usually concentrate on his location of birth, rather than his mother being a citizen, is not that location of birth is the only important thing; rather, it has to do with involved technicalities of the citizenship law in effect at the time that don’t apply to Cruz.

    If you’re born in the US, it’s quite unambiguous that you’re born a citizen; the only wrinkle has to do with unusual places like embassy grounds. If you’re born outside the US to a US citizen mother and a foreign-national father, there are additional US residency requirements for the mother, which have changed over time, and which Obama’s mother could not have satisfied in 1961 because she was not old enough. But Obama was born in the US, so none of that actually applies to him; he’s a natural-born citizen regardless.

    In Cruz’s case, it’s pretty clear that his mother satisfied the residency requirements.

  205. 205
    Lurking Canadian says:

    @Chris: Between Mrs Romney griping in public that people ought to stop criticizing her husband, and the official line that Trip, Chauncey and Crazy-eyes were “serving their country” by working on their Dad’s campaign, they weren’t very subtle about it, either.

  206. 206
    Chris says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    That’s one pretty good example of something that could go wrong.

    It regularly blows my mind how deeply ingrained these narratives are, despite all evidence to the contrary and despite how loudly the facts speak for themselves. Had this conversation last spring with a professor who was a fairly in-your-face liberal most of the time –

    “You know, I hate to say this, but at times like this [Ukraine crisis] I wonder if this would still have happened under Bush…”
    “It did happen under Bush.”
    ::blank stare::
    “Georgia, 2009?”
    “Ohhhhh, that’s true!”

  207. 207
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Matt McIrvin: …Oh, and it matters whether your parents were legally married, as well.

    I’ve seen one of the birthers who claim Obama was born in Kenya start crowing about how his parents’ marriage might have been illegitimate, apparently not realizing that that particular detail would make Obama a natural-born US citizen no matter where he was born.

  208. 208
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Chris: 2008.

    But any horrible thing that happened in 2008 gets retroactively added to the Obama administration anyway, just like Clinton gets the period leading up to 9/11 and also Ruby Ridge.

    The Republican narrative about the 2008 financial crisis is that it was the market reacting to the imminent election of Obama. Given that, it isn’t much of a stretch to claim that Putin was doing the same thing. (He just couldn’t wait!!)

  209. 209
    Chris says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    Really, it’s not the fault of poor black people buying houses anymore?

    (I really wish they’d make up their minds on who’s to blame for the state of the economy – poor/unemployed/homeless/wev people, or Obama).

  210. 210
    Another Holocene Human (now with new computer) says:

    @Roger Moore:

    If we really want to make employers too scared to hire illegal immigrants, we should offer green cards as an inducement for workers to report their employers for immigration violations.

    Now that’s change I can believe in. I could kiss you right now, Roger Moore!

  211. 211
    Another Holocene Human (now with new computer) says:

    @mai naem:

    Put that together with a bunch of disaffected people who think that Obama hasn’t really done much for them and that the Dems are just about as bad as the GOP and, voila, President Cruz.

    Rand is making a play for the disaffected, and some of the suckers are falling for it, but will Cruz really be able to make that play? How stupid will the Dems have to be not to remind voters at every turn who shut down the government and tried to default on America’s debts?

    And I know the Democratic Party can be really, really stupid but this kind of defies logic. So far Cruz has shown no interest or aptitude in trolling naive libertarians or white disaffected lefties. And nobody is posting pro-Cruz items on boards where lots of Dem electoral ground troops hang out.

  212. 212
    Another Holocene Human (now with new computer) says:

    @Tommy: WHITE WHITE WHITE WHITE WHITE WHITE, Tommy. WHITE WHITE WHITE WHITE.

    Look at Romney’s #s with white people.

    And you’re in rural Southern IL, right? The part partially settled by White Southerners. Much like Southern IN but Chicago is much larger than Gary or South Bend.

  213. 213
    Another Holocene Human (now with new computer) says:

    @WaterGirl: Yeah. He had that fake politician smile/hair, like Mike Haridopoulos for those who follow Florida politics, where you think he’s a used car policy salesman and either gay or having an affair. And, ding ding ding, both of them were having affairs.

    But Cruz gives off American Psycho vibes. Way, way scarier.

  214. 214
    Another Holocene Human (now with new computer) says:

    @efgoldman:

    I think most of the rest of the Confederacy (NC possibly excepted) is lost for another generation, possibly two, so we’ll not see a 47-49 state wipeout in our lifetimes, but then there’s no predicting the AA and Latino GOTV operation in direct counter-reaction to GOBP voter suppression. Ask Kay, people really get pissed off about that.

    Don’t discount GA. Atlanta, baby. The margin by which the GOP holds power in GA is razor thin. GA is interesting in that the state level and national level party changeover is likely to happen at the same time whereas that D–>R Southern Strategy flipover happens in stages over decades.

  215. 215
    Another Holocene Human (now with new computer) says:

    @James E. Powell: He refused to do any D campaign ads.

    I think he is in the “bargaining” stage with the Republican party. He is one of those rare, but not unheard of local Republicans who won with the support of Black voters in the South. It’s an increasingly viable playbook since Southern Dem parties tend to run limousine liberals for local elections and AA voters in smaller Southern towns are dominated by the working class and the indigent. In my county there’s open warfare right now between the Black and White factions in the local D party. IMO the whites are in a bubble of their own creating and don’t understand why they are losing every election and the black leadership is a combination of seriously self-interested sorts and wannabe activists who don’t know how to get along with people to build coalitions. A long lack of broad political involvement is diminishing the community’s potential vote and created the perfect opening for a savvy GOP politician. IDK what’s going to happen but until the two communities can overcome the social barriers and start working together nothing is going to change.

  216. 216
    Death Panel Truck says:

    The Flying Spaghetti Monster doesn’t love us enough to make Cruz the GOP nominee. He’s a fucking lunatic, and at least 60 percent of the electorate would know that before casting their ballots in 2016.

  217. 217
    Seanly says:

    @Woodrowfan:

    Total agreement with this comment.

  218. 218
    Seanly says:

    Salon has another article about Cruz that says we shouldn’t keep saying he’s smart.

    If the loveliest trick of the devil is to convince you he doesn’t exist, the most incontestably brilliant trick of Ted Cruz is to convince you of his incontestable brilliance. There’s no need to keep falling for it.

    One of the things about Cruz is that a college roommate says he still believes the same things that he does now. No one with half a brain can go 10, 20, 30 years without changing positions. I know that’s now some valued hallmark of our American politicians, but I actual value someone who can evaluate new evidence and experience and change their views.

  219. 219
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Chris: Oh, yeah, the menace of equal-opportunity housing laws. I’ve definitely seen that one too.

    But it’s all the same, right? Obama equals Clinton equals affirmative action, and probably fiat money too…

  220. 220
    Palli Davis says:

    @Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name): Kasich has that Napoleon/mafia look and speak. Different creepy and certainly not charismatic

  221. 221
    J R in WV says:

    @efgoldman:

    Remember, for Generals, it helps if you clearly won your war.

    Ike is the last general who could point at the smoking ruins of Nazi Germany and the radioactive ruins of Imperial Japan and say “We won that war!” Since then:

    Korea – still at war,
    Vietnam, withdrew/lost
    Lisbon – blew up the Marines
    Persian Gulf – well, OK, we kinda won that
    Afganistan – still fighting, won’t ever look like we won
    Iraq – withdrew/lost

    I’m leaving out Panama and Granada, those were comic opera wars. I left out Bay of Pigs too.

    But where are you gonna get a winner General president out of that mess?

  222. 222
    StringOnAStick says:

    @Seanly: His not changing any ideas in 10, 20 or 30 years is proof of Cruz’s heavy fundy mindset. That, and the fact that his preacher father has basically been telling him he’s the anointed one sent by God to save the US is just icing on the crazy cake.

  223. 223
    Cervantes says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    have the Republicans ever had an exciting speaker? Other than Reagan?

    Newt Gingrich would be heart-broken to find you’ve overlooked him.

  224. 224
    Citizen Alan says:

    @KG:

    I still keep coming back to Huckabee. He’s run before so he can claim next in line status. He has executive experience, which they’ll love. He’s been on Fox New everyday for 8 years. He’s southern and vocally (conservatively) Christian. He has a crazy/dumb tax plan. He checks all the boxes.

    I fear Huckabee more than any other potential nominee. He is truly frightening in his ability to make monstrous policies sound reasonable when he presents them in his warm, soothing “compassionate preacher” voice. If I were more religious, I would give serious thought to the possibility that Mike Huckabee might be the Antichrist. Certainly, he’s already a High Priest of Mammon even if his own uber-religious followers are too dense to see it.

  225. 225
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Citizen Alan:

    Even with our incredibly neglectful media, Huckabee is never going to be able to explain away why he approved Maurice Clemmons for parole. He might be able to wave away Wayne Dumond as a product of Clinton Derangement Syndrome, but he has no way to explain why he thought it was a good idea to let Clemmons out.

  226. 226
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @J R in WV: Curiously, it looked for a while like David Petraeus was turning into an untouchable hero general for presiding over some apparent progress in Iraq, but he had a sex scandal which probably keeps him from being a viable candidate.

  227. 227
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Citizen Alan: Ted Cruz looks like a sanctimonious git who needs a slap in the face even in still photos. Huckabee doesn’t. That’s a big difference.

  228. 228
    VOR says:

    @Seanly: Remember, Cruz is the guy who failed to understand the message of “Green Eggs and Ham”, a book written for children! Clearly he has some cognitive blind spots.

  229. 229
    Rasputin's Evil Twin says:

    @White Trash Liberal: Ah, someone else has noticed he looks like a bad cross between Tailgunner Joe and Tricky Dick. No doubt he’s learned all the wrong lessons from them both.

  230. 230
    Jeffro says:

    Cruz/Haley, Cruz/castrater…I’m telling y’all, that will be the ticket…

  231. 231
    Jebediah, RBG says:

    @Cassidy:

    Everyone has forgotten about Nikki Haley.

    I think that’s Nikki Haley’s problem…

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