How the Party Decides

From TPM:

Staffers on the Senate Intelligence Committee are looking into whether Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) disclosed classified information during the debate, according to the committee chair.

From Marcy Wheeler:

Richard Burr has apparently stated publicly that he’s looking into not Marco Rubio’s serial leaking of classified information, but Ted Cruz’s alleged disclosure of classified information at least night’s debate. That’s particularly curious given that Rubio has gotten privileged access to this information on the Senate Intelligence Committee, whereas Cruz has not

Our very own Tom:

I think as an interested lay observer, that the Party Decides framework is pretty useful way at looking at presidential primaries. And if that basic thesis is true, this is a shining example of how the Party decides. One candidate gets a pass, while the other candidate gets called out and has a bad media cycle or three with minimal party support to validate their bona fides.

If this is the case, then I am trying to figure out the bet. The first part of the bet is simple. Rubio is a favored candidate for the Establishment as everyone in DC thinks Cruz is an asshole. The second part is where I am a bit lost. Is the optimal outcome Trump v Rubio instead of Cruz v. Rubio? It looks like Trump, Cruz, Carson and Fiorina are attractive to one cluster of voters while Rubio and other establishment hopes are attractive to a different set. In the initial knock-out stages, I don’t think there are too many voters in either cluster group whose next best choice is in the other cluster. Is the bet that if the nihilist cluster condenses down to Trump and Trump alone, he’ll max out at 40%?

Still trying to figure this one out.

40 replies
  1. 1
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Is the bet that if the nihilist cluster condenses down to Trump and Trump alone, he’ll max out at 40%?

    That’s it. Or maybe they just really hate Cruz that much.

    ETA: That is, it might not be the result of strategic thinking. It might just be the scorpion being a scorpion.

  2. 2
    Baud says:

    So Cruz and Carson voters go to Rubio over Trump?

  3. 3
    dmsilev says:

    The problem is that Trump and Cruz appeal to different sets of assholes, and the union of those two sets is a majority of the GOP primary electorate.

  4. 4
    Baud says:

    Speaking of assholes (OT)

    Today, FBI director James Comey said that the San Bernardino shooters never talked openly about violent jihadism on social media: “So far, in this investigation we have found no evidence of posting on social media by either of them at that period in time and thereafter reflecting their commitment to jihad or to martyrdom. I’ve seen some reporting on that, and that’s a garble.”

    So where did this notion come from, anyway? The answer is a New York Times story on Sunday headlined “U.S. Visa Process Missed San Bernardino Wife’s Zealotry on Social Media.” It told us that Tashfeen Malik “talked openly” on social media about jihad and that, “Had the authorities found the posts years ago, they might have kept her out of the country.” The story was written by Matt Apuzzo, Michael Schmidt, and Julia Preston.

    Do those names sound familiar? They should. The first two were also the authors of July’s epic fail claiming that Hillary Clinton was the target of a criminal probe over the mishandling of classified information in her private email system. In the end, virtually everything about the story turned out to be wrong. Clinton was not a target. The referral was not criminal. The emails in question had not been classified at the time Clinton saw them.

  5. 5
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Baud: I just retweeted that from Drum.

  6. 6
    Debbie says:

    Can’t wait to hear the soaring rhetoric Cruz will employ to explain this one.

  7. 7
    Baud says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Excellent.

    ETA: I wish I were allowed to be that bad at my job.

  8. 8
  9. 9
    Belafon says:

    If the establishment is targeting Cruz like people are thinking, then the are once again playing by rules of the last war (2012). They do not fully understand what is going on right now.

  10. 10
    amk says:

    @Baud: comey seems to be one of kenyan’s rare fuck ups

  11. 11
    scav says:

    @Baud: If they suffer no consequences, it seems safe to assume that it’s not so much that they are bad at their jobs, but rather that there were, in fact, successful at the task assigned them. Silly old us, for making assumptions about what their jobs at the NYT actually are.

  12. 12
    Fair Economist says:

    I think the establishment thinks that anything that makes it less likely that either Cruz or Trump gets the nomination is a good thing. Trump vs. Cruz is pretty much an ultimate nightmare for them: Trump vs. Rubio or a multiway race would be better, to them.

  13. 13
    Schlemazel says:

    This is good news & not just for John McCain! THe more these ugly twits go after their own the better and Crud is just the guy who will try to even the score. He will not take it well and with any luck will try to cause problems for those he perceives as the enemy & that means other Republicans. He probably can’t do a lot of damage but anything is a good start plus it might cause fault lines to open across the whole cesspool. I hope they go after him HARD.

  14. 14
    Martel says:

    It’s not “The Party”–it’s Hammertime.

    Stage I.a was Jeb’s sparring with Trump last night.

    Stage I.b is the classified information gambit against Cruz.

    (“a” classifications are open attacks, “b” classifications are “dirty tricks” style attacks)


    BTW, overwhelmingly media both MSM and conservative say Jeb was one of he debate winners.

  15. 15
    Fair Economist says:

    Incidentally, Burr is concerned about Cruz leaking classified Intelligence Committee info but Cruz isn’t even on the committee. So even if Cruz did say something classified, somebody else is the real leaker and Cruz may not have even known it was classified.

  16. 16
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Schlemazel: Vicious internecine battles would be a good thing over there.

  17. 17
    Redshift says:

    @scav: At minimum, they’re people who are really bad at judging the reliability of sources.

  18. 18
    Elie says:


    Yeah, he may be a fuck up but on this he seems to be playing it straight in regards to what they know about the couple.

    Dude seems weird to me but I haven’t spent much time digging into his background…

  19. 19
    Debbie says:

    TPM is also reporting that the Committee has stated they won’t be investigating anything said during the debate. Can they just ignore this?

  20. 20
    Elie says:


    What is the problem? He is a liar and a cheat. Not particularly bright. Hmmm — seems a good fit with THA DONALD. Maybe he will grow out his hair and dye it orange…

  21. 21
    Elie says:

    @Fair Economist:

    It just makes me shiver thinking about the limitations of these assholes and if they ever got really near the Presidency. Honestly, are any of them owners of at least an average IQ, sanity and normal human personality development?

  22. 22
    divF says:

    Still trying to figure this one out.

    I’ve given up trying to find the hidden deterministic dynamics that explains the random argle-bargle coming from Team Red. All that’s left is to sit back and root for injuries.

  23. 23
    sdhays says:

    The second part is where I am a bit lost. Is the optimal outcome Trump v Rubio instead of Cruz v. Rubio?

    I think you’re missing one critical ingredient. The last couple of weeks have seen Team Cruz try to present the Canadian as the only guy who can actually unite the party, basically making the play that he should be the establishment choice for anti-Trump. There are already enough establishment candidates splitting that constituency without Cruz dipping into that pool as well. If Cruz’s rise was fueled by Trump’s fall, that would be great, but the establishment in the Party hates Cruz (with good reason) and cannot stand the idea of him becoming “their choice”.

  24. 24
    Thoughtful Today says:

    “GOP [Republican] chair probes if Cruz unveiled classified info during debate.”

    Cruz raised eyebrows during an exchange with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) over the National Security Agency’s surveillance program, when he said that the old program covered “20 or 30 percent of phone numbers” while the new program covers roughly 100 percent.

  25. 25
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Thoughtful Today: It’s been mentioned.

  26. 26
    scav says:

    @Redshift: reliability may not even be anything they worry about in the least, so long as it sells, clicks and buzzes.

  27. 27
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @amk: If he was going with a former Republican DOJ official, he should have gone with Fitzpatrick. At least he was honest.

  28. 28
    Fair Economist says:


    Honestly, are any of them owners of at least an average IQ, sanity and normal human personality development?

    They’re Republican politicians – of course not! Next question, please.

  29. 29
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Fair Economist: He’s on Armed Services and, specifically, the Armed Services’ Subcommittee on Emerging Threats. So he’d have access to a lot of the same stuff.

  30. 30
    J R in WV says:

    Well, Trump doesn’t even know that the world’s security depends upon multiple methods of delivering nuclear weapons – three methods, in fact, long known as the nuclear triad. Some nations only have one or two methods, like Britain and France, But the US and Russia (formerly Soviet Union) have had ICBMs, strategic bombers and submarine launched ICBMs for many years.

    I know this, and I’m a retired country boy. Trump is running for President, and appears to not know anything about geo-political anything. The Russians also have ICBMs on trains that they can move around, and probably truck mounted missiles as well. The Chinese have a nuclear deterrent as well, I’m not as familiar with their methods.

    But the arrogance of Trump to run for commander-in-chief without even knowing what he would be commanding if he won~!!! What an ass.

    And Cruz is perhaps even more arrogant. Rubio isn’t very bright, although he speaks well. I saw Trump making faces while another candidate talked about him, that was pretty funny, on the broadcast news I think.

    We are doomed if a Republican wins the election.

  31. 31
    Ronnie Pudding says:

    @lamh36: @lamh36:
    I got to the part in the article where it said the Pats were 2-0 before realizing you’re pulling up really old stuff. Why?

    Edited: I guess there’s newer info on this

  32. 32
    Adam L Silverman says:


    I don’t think this is really the party decides. The reasons are those given by, among others, Charles Pierce: the Republican Party at the national level has really become symbolic. Neither the House or Senate GOP electoral committees have the ability to effect outcomes with their funding (the Democratic ones appear to be as bad if not worse, but that’s poor leadership not no actual control), and neither does the RNC. There are two many outside the party revenue streams to keep candidates afloat. Essentially, on the GOP side, we’ve seen a deregulation of the electoral mechanisms of the party. This is a combination of the long simmering internal cleavages that have steadily moved the party farther and farther to the right, as well as the unfettered influx of money that resulted from the Citizens United decision. There’s no central GOP control left over the GOP’s constituent parts. As a result I think all of our existing models may either not apply or only partially apply in this election cycle.

  33. 33
    Adam L Silverman says:

    There is also another consideration here: that this is what is called spillage. If, in fact, as Fair Economist suggested, Senator Cruz was told this by someone else and he got on a roll last night and used it to make a point there are a couple of questions that have to be answered:
    1) Did Senator Cruz know it was classified? Specifically, did the person who provided the information make it clear that it was classified?
    If he did not know, then it is spillage. The accidental release of information at the wrong level of security.
    2) If he did know it, did he intentionally repeat it last night or did he just get on the topic and he mentally accessed the info in the heat of the moment and, for all intents and purposes, blurted it out.
    This would be hard to nail down one way or another. Unless there are notes from last night on stage of supporting points to be made or debate prep notes to that effect, there will be almost no way to determine if this was an accidental/unintentional disclosure or a purposeful one. As in Senator Cruz knew the material was classified and stated it to support his position anyway figuring no one would notice.
    3) And, perhaps, the most important question: Did Senator Cruz need to know? If he did not need to know this information, why was he provided it?
    This is where things could get ugly. If he sought out the information, but didn’t need to know it or if someone provided him with it and he didn’t need to know it, then there’s a compartmentalization issue.

  34. 34
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Adam L Silverman: It should also be noted that parliamentary privilege would not apply at a GOP debate. Things he could freely say on the Senate floor might not be so elsewhere.

  35. 35
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Absolutely true. The work exemption all members of Congress have for doing their jobs only apply when they’re doing their jobs. So it may not matter what Senator Burr wants. If someone with real investigative and/or prosecutorial power decides to investigate it as a breach there could be real consequences.

  36. 36
    Redshift says:

    Interesting post over at Washington Monthly looking at the Eisenhower-era Republican platform, and how the conservative half was just as nutty then.

  37. 37
    Joel says:

    Maybe Trump’s their guy? Why not?

  38. 38
    Joel says:

    @Elie: BALLGHAZI!!!!

  39. 39


    I wish I were allowed to be that bad at my job.

    You only say that because you still believe their job is to publish the truth. Once you understand that their job is to publish what their masters want published, regardless of the truth, you’ll understand that they’re good at their jobs.

  40. 40
    Calouste says:

    @Redshift: Eisenhower is the guy who, when asked by Churchill, overthrew the democratically elected government of Iran so a British oil company could keep paying the Iranians half of what the Americans oil companies were paying the Saudis per barrel. Yes, that’s as nuts as it sounds, and that was the supposedly sane head of the party. We’re still dealing with the fall out of that 62 years later.

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