Is Ted Cruz the candidate who won’t get voted off the show?

Senator Ted CruzTed Cruz, with his devotion to the Constitution’s promise of individual liberty based upon inherent rights, is the antithesis of Orwell’s Big Brother.  Nevertheless, there is another Big Brother analogy that comes to mind when I think of Ted Cruz and that may explain his plan to become the Republican candidate for president.

It all begins with my dear friend Don Quixote, who was a big fan of those reality TV shows in which 12 or so people compete in a nicely Darwinian way to be the last person standing at season’s end. His particular favorite was Big Brotherwhich Wikipedia explains as follows:

The premise of the show is that there is a group of people, dubbed as “housemates” or “houseguests”, living together in a specially constructed large house. During their time in the house they are isolated from the outside world and are not commonly aware of outside event or have access to any electronic devices. Contestants are continuously monitored by in-house television cameras as well as personal audio microphones during their entire stay. Each season lasts for about three months, with at least ten contestants entering the house. To win the final cash prize, a contestant must survive periodic (usually weekly) evictions and be the last housemate or houseguest remaining in the compound by the series’ conclusion.

I never watched the show myself, but I loved hearing Don Quixote explain the strategies the various contestants were using in order to win.  One thing that I remember was that the winner was never the early front-runner, or even the mid-season front-runner.  Instead, the winner was the gray man, the one who kept a low profile while everyone else was gunning for that week’s front-runner.  Then, as the field thinned out, the ultimate winner was the one who had been carefully making alliances and playing his allies off against each other.

I keep thinking of that strategy when I see Ted Cruz.  He was the first to declare his candidacy (wasn’t he?), and he’s almost certainly the brightest of the bunch.  He’s also completely committed to a strict conservative ideology, as well as being anything but a shrinking violet.  Nevertheless, he seems to be going out of his way not to make a splash.  He’s kept out of Trump’s line of fire, as well as the missiles that the other candidates and the media are lobbing at Trump, and has been invisible when it comes to challenging either Fiorina or Rubio, both of whom are already being touted as the new conservative darlings to replace Trump’s front-runner status.

Some people are wondering if Cruz is already past his sell-by date or if he’s just not ready to play with the big boys.  I however am wondering if we’re witnessing a deliberate strategy by which Cruz deliberately sidelines himself waiting for the fruit that ripened to early to drop from the tree.

The fact is that, even as Cruz is doing nothing to insert himself in the headlines, he’s softly, softly going around gathering constituents.  He won rave reviews at the Values Voters Summit, but hasn’t been fundraising off of that. Instead, the last email I received from his campaign simply reminded his followers that, if they don’t want him to vanish as Scott Walker did, they need to help fund him some more.

The other thing Cruz did, again with very little fanfare, was to appear on Stephen Colbert’s gig at David Letterman’s old desk.  Two things happened there that I think deserve to be noted.  First, when Colbert’s reliably Leftist audience started booing Cruz after Colbert asked him about gay marriage, Colbert silenced the audience: “However you feel, he is my guest. So please don’t boo him.”  Colbert deserves kudos for that.  I don’t like the man’s politics or his humor, but he did precisely the right thing at that moment.

While the media loved the fact that the audience booed Cruz, with every outlet seeming to hone in on that fact, few media outlets reported what happened a minute or two later.  After Cruz got the chance to state his principles regarding the gay marriage question, he got a sturdy round of applause from that same audience (starting at 2:58):

Cruz: People are fed up. What they want is jobs and economic growth. And, you know, you mentioned before, you know, you said “Cruz, you’re a very conservative guy.” Listen, what I am fighting for are simple principles: Live within our means; stop bankrupting our kids and grand kids, follow the Constitution.

Colbert: And no gay marriage. And no gay marriage. [Scattered cheers.]

Cruz: Well, no actually. Let’s be precise. Under the Constitution, marriage is a question for the states. If you want to change the marriage law —

Colbert: It doesn’t mention marriage in the Constitution.

Cruz: We have had a country for over 200 years —

[Audience interrupts to cheer Colbert.]

Colbert: You may be right, you may be right but it doesn’t mention marriage in the Constitution. You believe that marriage —

Cruz: And that’s exactly why it’s a question for the states because the 10th Amendment says, if it doesn’t mention, it’s a question for the states. That’s in the Bill of Rights. Everything that is not mentioned is left to the states. So if you want to change the marriage laws —

Colbert: I’m asking what you want.

Cruz: I believe in democracy. I believe in democracy and I don’t think we should. . . . [Cut off by booing.]

Colbert: No, no, guys, guys. However you feel, he’s my guest, so please don’t boo him.

Cruz: I don’t think we should entrust governing our society to five unelected lawyers in Washington. Why would you possibly hand over the rights of 320 million Americans to five lawyers in Washington to say “We’re going to decide the rules that govern you.” If you want to win an issue, go to the ballot box and win at the ballot box. That’s the way the Constitution was designed.

[At which point the CBS video clip you see above ended before anyone can hear the sturdy round of applause that Cruz received for his defense of constitutional government.]

Cruz is right on the money there. What he’s saying is, “Yes, I’m conservative but, even if you disagree with my principles on such things as gay marriage, you don’t need to fear my presidency. I follow the Constitution and will return power to the people, where it belongs.”

This is a very appealing, all-American message and one that Cruz is carefully and quietly making in multiple speaking venues.

My guess is that Cruz is playing the Big Brother strategy: He’s letting the current favorites duke it out amongst themselves with a hostile media egging them on, all the while marshaling his ground game by quietly spreading his message and lining up allies. Since I like Cruz’s message — let the Constitution be our guide — I hope I’m right.

The stupidity of Leftist parody when applied to the iron law of economics

Stephen-ColbertMr. Bookworm likes Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. I don’t but, because they’re nattering away on my television, I often find myself watching them anyway.

Colbert, who will soon be filling David Letterman’s vacant chair, has a shtick. His shtick is that he’s a conservative, so his humor ostensibly attacks conservatives at their own game.

What makes Colbert’s shtick fundamentally unfunny, though, is that he has no understanding of conservative ideas or, indeed, of anything at all. His starting point is a parody image of conservatives — hate women, hate minorities, love the evil rich, want to kill everybody with guns.  That’s not funny.  It’s just crude.

Then, his alleged humor attempts to build on this parody, looking at headlines through the stained, warped filter of his politic animus.  The result is something without any intrinsic humor. It only makes people laugh if they’re inclined to laugh at any insult directed to their political opponents, no wit or insight required.

My premise for this post, therefore, is that it’s not funny when ill-informed people try to parody something that they’ve already reduced to a parody.  Working off this premise, I want to introduce you to a video and, even better, its rebuttal.

The video came about when Funny or Die partnered with Kristen Bell (who is the voice for the redhead in Frozen) does a Mary Poppins parody supporting a hugely increased minimum wage. The video’s production values are wonderful. Kristen Bell has a lovely voice to begin with and does a very good Julie Andrews imitation. The melody is a nice, subtle homage of “Spoonful of Sugar,” without simply being a retread. Really, the whole thing is great, except….

Except that the premise is insanely stupid. It accepts blindly that, if the government forces employers to pay people above market rate, everyone (except the evil, abusive employers, of course) will have more money.

The video makes no effort whatsoever to rebut the fact that the iron laws of economics work no matter what DemProgs desire.  If the government forces employers to pay their employees more than the market will bear, employers will just hire fewer people. The result will be that a few people will have more money, although they’ll be expected to do more work for that money. Many small businesses may stagnate, rather than grow, shrinking further the employment pool.  Ultimately, instead of having lots of people employed for low wages, you’ll just have lots of unemployed.

You know why the video makes no effort to work through these problems, of course.  It doesn’t try because it can’t.  In a battle between the iron laws economics and witless Progressivism, the former always wins.  That leaves the latter with nothing more than superficial cuteness (a parody) justifying its simplistic economic demands (the parody piled on the parody).

The problem for conservatives, of course, is that their ideas, while inevitable, require some intelligence to explain and understand.  And, because they’re complex, they require a little time and space.  A short rebuttal to a well-produced video is hard to do.  Reason’s Remy, though, has taken a stab at simplifying the rebuttal, and he’s done a pretty fine job:

So, if your Facebook friends start touting Bell’s Poppins, feel free to tag them with Remy’s Bert.

Friday afternoon round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesThe Taliban has hit Marin County (indirectly).  Marin County is headquarters for Roots of Peace, an admirable charity that seeks to advance agricultural development in poverty-stricken areas.  It has an outpost in Afghanistan, where it seeks to enable the Afghani people to feed themselves.  The Taliban can’t have that kind of thing happening in its country.  It therefore sent off some foot soldiers to attack the Roots of Peace Kabul office, killing a child in the process.  If radical Islam had a cable-TV station, it’s motto would be “All war, all the time.”  One wonders if this will be a bit of reality that mugs that peaceniks who are so self-centered that they cannot envision cultures that have, as their core value, a desire for perpetual warfare.


David Clarke, Milwaukee’s Sheriff, made a splash when he encouraged Milwaukee’s beleaguered citizens to arm themselves:

Police chief get a gun

I think Clarke may have found a kindred spirit in Detroit Police Chief James Craig. During a press conference in which he discussed the rising numbers of homeowners (successfully) using arms to defend themselves, he had this to say:

Detroit Police Chief James Craig said at a press conference last week that in his 37-year career, he’s never seen as many homeowners defending themselves by shooting intruders. Craig told The News in January he felt the crime rate could be lowered if more “good Americans” were armed, because he said criminals would think twice about attacking.

“It does appear more and more Detroiters are becoming empowered,” Craig said. “More and more Detroiters are getting sick of the violence. I know of no other place where I’ve seen this number of justifiable homicides. It’s interesting that these incidents go across gender lines.”

We want more law enforcement like Clarke and Craig, and less like Marin’s Second Amendment-challenged sheriff.


I also want more of this:  An Ebony magazine editor went on a rant against conservative blacks; got called on it; claimed that the person calling her out was a white racist; when she learned that the person calling her out was black apologized for calling him white; and then doubled down on rants that were both anti-conservative black and anti-white.  (That’s not want I want to see more of.  It’s this next thing I like.)  Normally, Republicans would run away screaming from this type of confrontation, leaving the racist Leftist in control of the field.  This time, the RNC demanded an apology . . . and got it.


Speaking of the Left’s racial obsessions:  Any half-sentient being knows that Stephen Colbert’s shtick is that he created a faux-conservative character who is pathologically dumb, racist, sexist, etc., and that Colbert, a marginally-talented generic Leftist, uses this character to claim that all conservatives are pathologically dumb, racist, sexist, etc.  That’s why it’s hysterically funny that, when his show tried to  highlight (non-existent) Republican racism by having his character ostensibly tweet out a crude anti-Asian stereotype, the Asian community got riled and demanded that Colbert be fired for being an anti-Asian racist.  Asians should stop getting their knickers in a twist about stupid TV shows and should start looking at where their real politic interests lie.  (Hint:  It’s not the Democrat Party.)


Leland Yee has been around forever as a fixture in Bay Area politics.  As his name implies, he’s Asian, he’s hard Left, and he represents San Francisco and parts of San Mateo in the California legislature.  Since Sandy Hook, Yee’s been very vocal about being anti-guns.  He also just got indicted for gun running, including trying to sell arms to Islamist groups.  The MSM has been trying hard to ignore his story, as it’s been trying hard to ignore a bunch of other stories about spectacularly corrupt Democrat figures.  Howie Carr therefore serves a useful public service when he calls out the media, the Democrat party, and the crooks.


Speaking of crooks, Harry Reid claims never to have called Republicans liars when it comes to Obamacare, despite footage of him calling Republicans liars because of Obamacare.  There’s some debate on the Right about whether Reid’s gone senile or is just trying out his version of The Big Lie.  My theory is that we’re seeing malignant narcissism in play.  As I’ve said a zillion times before in speaking about Obama, malignant narcissists never “lie” because their needs of the moment always dictate the truth of the moment.  That is, if they need to say it, it must be true.  (It’s nice to be your own God.)


Keith Koffler identifies the four roots of Obama’s disastrous foreign policy.  I agree with him, although I would add a fifth, which is that Obama desperately wants to see America knocked down to size as punishment for her myriad sins.  Perhaps Obama should read the DiploMad, as he explains why Russia, the country before which Obama is now weakly doing obeisance, has always been much worse than America could ever be, both as a protector and an enemy.


Adm. Jeremiah Denton, Jr. has died at 89.  The public learned about Denton during the Vietnam War when, during one of the forced confessions that the North Vietnamese liked to televise to the world, he blinked out a Morse code message — “T-O-R-T-U-R-E” — thereby providing the first proof America had that the Commies were torturing American POWs.  During the same interview, he bravely said he supported his country, a statement that led to more torture.  Denton was also America’s longest-held POW, spending almost 8 years in the Hell that was the Hanoi Hilton, and various related prisons.  During that entire time, he was brutally and repeatedly tortured and he spent four years in solitary confinement (where he was tortured).  My heart bleeds when I read what happened to him.  But Denton came home and he got on with a full, rich life, including six years in the U.S. Senate.  If anyone deserves to Rest In Peace, it is Adm. Denton.


I don’t think much of Stanford.  It’s nothing personal.  I think all the big universities (and most of the small ones) have become intellectually corrupt.  However, Prof. Michael McConnell, at Stanford Law School, has somewhat restored my faith in Stanford by writing one of the clearest analyses I’ve yet seen of the problems facing the government in the Hobby Lobby case.  Of course, law and logic will not sway Ginsberg, Kagan, Sotomayor, and Breyer, all of whom are activists much more concerned with making policy than with applying law.  As happens too often, Anthony Kennedy will cast the deciding vote — a reality that places way too much power in the hands of a man who seems too often to blow, not where the Constitution takes him, but wherever his fancy for the day alights.


And to end on a light note, two more ridiculously funny Kid Snippets, offering an inspired combination of kid wisdom lip synched by some remarkably talented adult actors: