Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz Going After the Libertarian-Hawk Vote

Are there libertarian-leaning Republicans who think Rand Paul is too soft on ISIS?



At National Review, Joel Gehrke reports that the Ted Cruz campaign "thinks it has identified a way to begin" to "pick off enough libertarian votes to hobble Rand Paul." How? By running to the right of Paul on national security:

Perhaps surprisingly, Cruz's [analytics] team discovered that national security is a prominent and growing concern among libertarian voters. "There is a plurality of libertarians whose top issue is national security today," [Cruz campaign director of research and analytics Chris] Wilson says, pegging the figure in the mid-30s. "Now, I doubt that was the case in 2008. It may not have been even in 2012. But today it is." Consequently, he believes that Cruz's support for the USA Freedom Act, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell backed begrudgingly after failing to pass a bill reauthorizing the Patriot Act, hit the sweet spot in terms of appealing to libertarians who dislike the NSA but fear ISIS.

Are libertarian-leaning Republicans really worried that Rand Paul is too soft on ISIS? Color me doubtful. While there's no doubt that Americans as a whole, Republicans especially, are more anxious about national security and more willing to send out American bombers than they were in 2013, hawks in my estimation have been wishful in their thinking that those numbers has made re-palatable notions like pre-emptive war and American boots on the ground in the Middle East. Being worried about ISIS is not the same as endorsing whatever Marco Rubio thinks we should do about the Islamic State. If interventionism was really back in vogue GOP candidates wouldn't have spend a week in mid-May stumbling over the Iraq War.

It's more likely here that analytics are being bent to fit a strategic reality and imperative. Which is to say, Ted Cruz is going after the libertarian vote (in addition to the overlapping Tea Party vote and especially the social conservative bloc), and he is more hawkish than Paul, so he's going to continue heightening the contrasts while looking for positions and rhetoric that don't totally alienate people who distrust the National Security Agency. I'm no Cruz fan, but I'd rather have two of the party's top five or six candidates vying for the libertarian vote than just one.

Reason has written plenty contrasting Rand Paul with Ted Cruz (the hyperlinks under their names go to cover stories on each), including:

* Paul and Cruz Are Running to Clinton's Left on Sentencing Reform, by Jacob Sullum.

* Rand Paul and Ted Cruz Try to Out-Fiscal-Hawk One Another, by me.

* Ted Cruz vs. Rand Paul in Presidential Vids: Do you want a "Blessing" or "a different kind of Republican?", by Nick Gillespie.

* Rand Paul and Ted Cruz: Separated at Birth? Uh, No., by J.D. Tuccille.

NEXT: Today's College Students[*] Aren't Just Politically Correct, They're Tediously Insisting on Didactic Art Too

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  1. You know who else wore a turtleneck?

    1. Turtles?

    2. Me? I have a ribbed grey one that is quite comfortable.

    3. Archer?

    4. Gentiles?

  2. What is a libertarian hawk?

    1. I’m guessing a libertarian who ignores that part of the Constitution that says the President can’t wage war unless Congress declares it.

      1. Speaker Hastert declared that part of the constitution an anacronysm.

        1. Or was that Pelosi?

        2. I certainly don’t think that requiring Congressional approval is an anachronism, but calling it a “declaration of war”, is. Post-WW2, we and other Western countries have distinguished between our dealings with the government of a country and that country’s population. “We have no quarrel with you, only with your rulers.” You may think that’s just cynical rebranding, or you may think it’s a real effort being made, but we don’t say “we’re at war with Country X” anymore. If Congress passes something that’s the same as a declaration of war, but calls it an “authorization to use force”, I don’t see that as a problem — if it’s functionally the same thing.

          1. If Congress passes something that’s the same as a declaration of war, but calls it an “authorization to use force”, I don’t see that as a problem — if it’s functionally the same thing.

            If you are giving authorization to kill people without due process of law, you can fucking damn well stand up to that decision, take full responsibility for it and call it a declaration of war.

            1. I can see your point, but when we say “country X is at war with country Y”, the historical connotation is that while the people of the two countries (hopefully) won’t go out of their way to slaughter civilians on the other side, they’re not going to do much if anything to avoid it, either. Calling it something other than war is a way of saying “we’re not going to go Dresden on you.”

              I agree that declaring that we’re at war with a leader or party or other group would be more honest, but we were not at war with Afghanistan in the same sense that we were at war with Germany and Japan.

              1. 1. There is nothing that requires a declaration of war be between countries.

                2. Targeting civilians is illegal, and is not done…ever.

                1. When I’m in charge I’ll target primarily civilians, since it’d be them that I would have the problem w. In both the long & short run you get your best results targeting those you can do the most damage to w the least effort & least danger to yourself, plus it strikes horror in your enemies & potential enemies. But I’d always say I wasn’t targeting civilians, because it’s fun to lie to them while you’re horrifying them.

          2. You mean our rulers have a problem w your rulers.

        3. Was he touching a teenage boy when he did so?

    2. Hey, Almighty, can you email me?

        1. I actually checked the WHOIS on that, because it wouldn’t have really surprised me had you really registered it in the past couple of days.

          1. So, has anybody figured out where to go when H&R as we know it is destroyed?

            1. Please email me to discuss something totally unrelated.

            2. Somalia?

    3. It’s another bullshit term, like left libertarian, or libertarian moment. IOW, it doesn’t exist.

      1. Oh like libertarian women

    4. What is a libertarian hawk?

      A well-dressed Libertarian who is plotting to take over the world and aggressively leave you alone?

    5. What is a libertarian hawk?


        1. AH. I knew there was something very, very wrong with his moral conscience. That explains it.

    6. What is a libertarian hawk?


  3. So Cruz is trying to corner the Canadian-conservo-libertarian vote?

    Makes sense. Why do we let Canucks run for Prez again?

    1. Maybe that is where the extra 7 states came from?

    2. Paging Cyto, paging Cyto…

  4. Well, there’s Cytotoxic, but unless Cruz is running for President of Canada, I don’t think winning his vote is going to help too much.

    1. I hit submit first, I just have shitty internet.

      1. 3rd is 2nd loser.

        1. You don’t even get steak knives.

    2. And Canada doesn’t have a President. They have a Queen or some shit.

      1. We have had two queens. I know because they put them on the dollar coins.

      2. How is the Shat not on their currency? Tell me that.

        1. He could have been our Dominus et Deus but he went to America to act. Our loss is the world’s gain, however.

          1. There was talk about Governor General Shatner, but nothing has come of it.

    3. Cytotoxic presumably wouldn’t vote for him because of other issues like immigration.

    4. Cyto’s warboner seems to have fallen a little limp as of late.

  5. Let’s see, there’s Cytotoxic, but he’s Canadian and doesn’t count. So, that pretty much just leaves John as the libertarian-ish hawk vote.

    1. John’s not hawkish enough. So it’s only Cyto.

      Me thinks that this new Cruz strategy is a little misguided.

      1. A true libertarian caters to individuals, not collectives. Cruz has chosen a Canadian with impossibly bad taste this election.

  6. Perhaps surprisingly, Cruz’s [analytics] team discovered that national security is a prominent and growing concern among libertarian voters.

    As always, calling out “Issue X” as an issue of “concern” doesn’t tell you which way they are concerned.

    Me, I’m a libertarian, and I’m concerned about national security. Concerned that it is an all-purpose excuse for creeping totalitarianism. Concerned that nobody in DC seems to understand that sometimes we are more secure when we keep our hands to ourselves.

    You know, that kind of concern.

    1. I’m certainly concerned about it, but whether or not we need to completely stop the World Cop role or not, the biggest threat to national security at this moment, by far, is a government that is just barely shackled, if at all, and that spends so much money that disaster is inevitable. When we have a major economic crash, we’re going to lose a good deal of that military supremacy, along with all of the other benefits that being the world’s largest economy has given us. What happens then?

      If I were a war hawk, I’d still vote for Paul, because he’s the only one looking out for the future. Most of the rest will maintain the unsustainable status quo, which is not only dangerous here, it’s also dangerous overseas. Military strategists know that it’s not just about troops and equipment, it’s also about logistics and the ability to maintain a functioning economy to support a war effort.

      1. Military strategists know that it’s not just about troops and equipment, it’s also about logistics and the ability to maintain a functioning economy to support a war effort.

        It’s like none of these candidates have EVER played Civilization.

      2. “Amateurs study tactics, professionals study logistics”

        *shines LG and OD insignia*

  7. Are libertarian-leaning Republicans really worried that Rand Paul is too soft on ISIS? Color me doubtful.

    Me as well. Paul has been saying the right things when challenged about foreign threats versus domestic surveillance. Anyone Cruz “picks off” from Paul on the back of this aren’t the libertarian Republicans, they’re just Republicans, and they’ll vote for someone else entirely.

  8. I just got through reading that HuffPo article about Jerry Seinfeld and I am flabbergasted by how self-deluding that writer is. He keeps talking about how it’s okay to be offensive if you ‘have something to say’ but all the examples he gives are of comedians whose ‘something to say’ is basically progressive talking points.

    So his argument isn’t that you should have something to say, it’s that you should make sure all of your statements are in line with his personal political beliefs. This guy is a moron.

    1. Well the guy’s whole premise is that we live in “a progressive world.” Non-progressive messages cannot exist in a progressive world.

      So sayeth the big boy who can totally buy his own beer after August!

      1. Tolerance means not tolerating intolerance, with intolerance being defined as anything that might offend a progressives fragile emotions.

    2. Offensiveness in service to progressivism is no vice, it’s a virtue.

  9. So the other GOP candidates are going for the SoCon, hawk, Big Gov libertarian vote?

  10. Speaking as a Rand (Ayn)/Heinlein libertarian as opposed to a Rothbard/Rockwell libertarian, I’m not completely happy with Rand Paul’s overall foreign policy stance, but that wouldn’t stop me from voting for him. I don’t want someone who thinks of intervention as “a serious moral adventure”, but neither do I want someone who considers intervention inherently wrong. I want someone who evaluates, on a case-by-case basis, whether intervention is called for, weighing the risks and benefits. Maybe that will result in us never intervening, because it turns out that it’s never worth the cost, but that should be the aggregate result, not a position decided in advance. I don’t want a Patton, but I definitely don’t want a Sheldon Richman.

    And no, I’m not Canadian.

    1. Obama does just that.

      Libya? Low risk, low cost, worthwhile target.
      Pakistan (OBL), High risk, low cost, extremely valuable target.
      Iraq – worthless.
      Syria – High cost, high risk, not worth it.
      Iran – sanctions followed by statesmanship.

      1. Libya – it’s not war, it’s Kinetic Military Action covering our gun running to ISIS in Syria. Also, managed to fuck up and turned a country run by a dictator on a short leash into a haven for terrorists.
        Iraq – left on W’s timetable despite promising to get out in 2009. Also, sending quite a few “advisors” and “trainers” there currently.
        Syria – wanted to stick his dick in, but was shut down by principled guys like Rand Paul and a bunch of obstructionist Republicans. Still managed to ship weapons to the rebels that became ISIS.
        Iran – TBD; but it could be a repeat of Clinton and North Korea.

        Oh, and Mr. Pen/Phone/Disposition Matrix reserves the right to wage war and order assassinations wherever, whenever the mood strikes him, constitution be damned.


    1. And Gregooo (Gregory Smith) and Neal Boortz .

      It’s not really the small of a contingent

  12. Finally- somebody who will stand up to the PEACENAZIS.

  13. Ted Cruz is too concerned with carrying on the Wars on Women, Gays and Drugs to get any Libertarian-types to go his way.

    That’s a shame because I think Cruz and Christie are the best debaters of the bunch who could really make Hillary look bad on a national stage. Christie has the same War on Women, Gays and Drugs concern as Cruz.

    1. Yeah, I agree that Cruz has been targeting the social conservatives, who are anathema to any libertarian, too much to be a play, whether there’s a “conservatarian” group that thinks Rand Paul is too soft on foreign policy or not.

  14. It’s the conservatarian block that Charles Cooke championed:
    Cruz didn’t invent it.
    Rand Paul waffles too much between libertarian non-interventionist orthodoxy and “well, maybe…”. That’s a sign there is something to it.

  15. I run to the right of Paul …. but that would NEVER make me for that idiot Cruz !

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