Adding this link at the top because it makes an important point. The “poison pill” defense of Cruz (aside from being an admission that he was lying to voters in 2013) is completely disproven by the fact that Cruz continued to talk about how his amendment allowed for legal status and how it was a good compromise after the Gang of Eight bill failed. Cruz even highlighted polling that showed most Americans support giving legal status to some illegal immigrants. Why would he do that after the Gang of Eight bill had already failed in the House if the amendment and his earlier arguments were just part of a strategic ploy to kill the G of 8 bill? You don’t need to poison something that’s already dead. It’s fairly clear that Cruz was at least open to legalization back then, which is different from his position now and the opposite of what he said on the debate stage.
I understand that Cruz fans feel the need to defend their candidate, but there is a certain level of intellectual honesty that reasonable debates require. Several people have sent me @trscoop ‘s defense of Cruz today as if it is evidence that those accusing Cruz of lying are wrong. Amazingly, Scoop accuses Cruz’s critics of being dishonest while he tries to rewrite history and ignore damning evidence that proves his assertions are false.
Scoop, through Amanda Carpenter’s tweets, is essentially arguing that Cruz’s amendment (which would have effectively granted a path to legalization to millions of illegal immigrants) was simply a poison pill and he never actually supported a path to legalization. This revisionism requires people to ignore hundreds of statements from Cruz to the contrary. Most importantly, Cruz specifically said at the time that his amendment was not a poison pill. Cruz said the objective of his amendment “was not to kill immigration reform but to amend the Gang of Eight bill so that it actually solves the problem rather than making the problem worse.” In another instance, Cruz was asked about the chances of immigration reform succeeding: “I believe that if my amendments were adopted, the bill would pass. My effort in introducing them was to find solution that reflected common ground and fixed the problem.”
That means Scoop’s whole defense is premised on the idea that Ted Cruz was lying to voters in 2013 when he made those statements. I’m not sure why they think the argument that Cruz lied to his supporters in 2013 is a good defense here, but it is the one they are making.
In addition, I happen to know for a fact that Scoop, who is accusing others of intellectual dishonesty for pointing out the truth about Cruz, didn’t believe that the amendment was a poison pill at the time. I know this because I was the one who told Scoop that Cruz supported legalization in 2013 in private Twitter messages, which led to this post by him: http://therightscoop.com/sen-ted-cruz-also-supports-temporary-legalization-status-in-the-immigration-bill/
Another problem with the argument that Cruz never supported a path to legalization is that Cruz has not only spent years hinting at his support for legalization, but he never even suggested otherwise until he recently started pandering to the small group of voters that opposes it. Cruz’s team never asked for a correction from any of the writers that ascribed that position to him.
Example: Ramesh Ponnurru, who is a friend of Cruz’s, wrote about immigration in his Bloomberg column in February of this year. Ramesh suggested Cruz’s position was support for offering “legal status” to many illegal immigrants. I have no doubt that Ramesh (and many other conservative columnists who have suggested the same) would have been happy to correct if Cruz’s office had requested, but they never did.
(Disclosure: I also consider Ramesh to be a friend, but did not discuss this topic with him. I am confident he has a very different view of Cruz than I do.)
This isn’t about Rubio vs. Cruz, it’s about calling out obvious lies. The evidence of Cruz’s dishonesty is overwhelming. If you want specifics, check the links that follow. Almost every intellectually honest person writing about the exchange last night has called out Cruz’s obvious dishonesty. Examples: Guy Benson, Charles Cooke, Jim Geraghty, Jon Ward, Matt Lewis, Megyn Kelly, Brit Hume, and at least a dozen others. You might not like Rubio’s position, but at least he is up front about it.
The bottom line is Cruz said one thing in 2013. He said the exact reverse last night. He was either lying then, or he is lying now. Neither reflects well on him.
Perhaps Cruz’s supporters are fine with being blatantly lied to, but they should stop complaining because the rest of us are not. The inherent assumption in Cruz’s strategy of blatantly lying to people is that voters are either too dumb to notice or don’t care. It’s sleazy and below someone who is running for President. Barack Obama did something similar and Hillary Clinton often lies about things she said on video, but we should expect more from Republican politicians.
P.s. This interview by Bret Baier where Cruz is confronted by his own words from 2013 is brutal:
P.S.S. In case you think lying about something that can clearly be disproven is a rare occurrence with Cruz: https://twitter.com/BenjySarlin/status/677253076517040128