Election 2016

David Brooks Is Right About Ted Cruz's 'Brutalism' & Negativity

What is the Texas senator *for*, other than defending Kim Davis for refusing to do her job as a public employee?


New York Times columnist David Brooks comes in for his share of lumps around these parts, but his latest column is, I think, dead-on. "The Brutalism of Ted Cruz" lays out the essential appeal of the Texan while also sketching the problems with his entire worldview.

Traditionally, candidates who have attracted strong evangelical support have in part emphasized the need to lend a helping hand to the economically stressed and the least fortunate among us. Such candidates include George W. Bush, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum.

But Cruz's speeches are marked by what you might call pagan brutalism. There is not a hint of compassion, gentleness and mercy. Instead, his speeches are marked by a long list of enemies, and vows to crush, shred, destroy, bomb them. When he is speaking in a church the contrast between the setting and the emotional tone he sets is jarring….

there's no variation in Cruz's rhetorical tone. As is the wont of inauthentic speakers, everything is described as a maximum existential threat.

Amen, Brother Brooks, amen. 

Even Donald Trump, who is no stranger to stupefyingly overblown and extreme rhetoric, at least promises a better world in which we—and by which he means him alone—will "make America great again." Trump is fuzzy on exactly how he'll manage that, but he at least nods to a positive program that he will implement through sheer personality and art-of-deal-making.

Contrast that with Cruz, who is hugely reminiscent rhetorically of Sen. Joe McCarthy, who was always babbling on with faux-precision about the exact number of this or that national security threat while trash-talking everybody from Harry Truman to George Marshall. What was McCarthy for, other than constantly whipping up panic and fear?

What is Cruz for, other than standing with Kim Davis, the one government employee a hardcore conservative could laud for gold-bricking on the public payroll?

Pretty much alone among my Reason colleagues, I enjoyed Cruz's "extended speech" against Obamacare in the fall of 2013 because it was a statement against coercion. But don't kid yourself that Cruz has a positive plan to replace Obamacare, not to mention Medicare, with a free-market system of health-care and entitlements.

Cruz simply can't make a positive statement about anything. As Brooks notes,

Cruz lays down an atmosphere of apocalyptic fear. America is heading off "the cliff to oblivion." After one Democratic debate he said, "We're seeing our freedoms taken away every day, and last night was an audition for who would wear the jackboot most vigorously."

And don't mistake Cruz's definitive statements about the end of this or that freedom for adherence to principles.

Brooks notes that he is more than willing to flip on issues that are supposedly really important to him and conservatives, such as immigration and trade. I'd add federalism to that list, too. Now that he realizes even Republicans are in favor of legalizing weed via state law, he's pretending as if he always pushed that line. But two years ago, Cruz told Reason that among the many sins of Emperor Obama was his willingness to pick and choose what federal drug laws he enforces:

"I will say one thing that's been dismaying about the Obama administration," he continues. "The Obama administration's approach to drug policy is to simply announce that across the country, it is going to stop enforcing certain drug laws. Now, that may or may not be a good policy, but I would suggest that should concern anyone—it should even concern libertarians who support that policy outcome—because the idea that the president simply says criminal laws that are on the books, we're going to ignore [them]. That is a very dangerous precedent."

Obama, says Cruz, picks and chooses what laws to follow in a way that is unprecedented in U.S. history.

For video of that, go here.

Brooks concludes

The best conservatism balances support for free markets with a Judeo-Christian spirit of charity, compassion and solidarity. Cruz replaces this spirit with Spartan belligerence. He sows bitterness, influences his followers to lose all sense of proportion and teaches them to answer hate with hate…. Evangelicals and other conservatives…have won elections as happy and hopeful warriors. Ted Cruz's brutal, fear-driven, apocalypse-based approach is the antithesis of that.

Full Brooks here.

It's far from clear to me whether evangelicals have really added that much that is good and generous to American politics over the years. Certainly since their entrance into politics with the rise of the Moral Majority, they have mostly worked as a prudish, reactionary force that disses free-market capitalism, biomedical advances, legalization of drugs and gay marriage, and the general flattening of traditional hierarchies that are meaningful to libertarians and most Americans.

But Brooks is right that Cruz's cramped and negative view of politics is no way forward. It might play well in Iowa and among what remains of the Religious Right. But that's a quarantined population that is the political equivalent of the Shakers: doomed to extinction by an inability to produce the next generation. At least since the Silent Generation, every succeeding cohort of Americans is increasingly secular and the culture-war mutterings of Ted Cruz aren't going to reverse that in the country at large. If he wants to do more than plow the Repblican Party deeper into a hostile relationship with an increasingly libertarian future in which individuals will be more and more able to create the worlds they want to live in, he really needs to change direction.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about Cruz's disjuncture with libertarians for The Daily Beast, noting that even apart from his anti-libertarian positions of immigration, trade, war, abortion, drugs, and more, it was the "apocalyptic extremity of his rhetoric [that] is off-putting." Read more here.

NEXT: Prediction: Obama's Last SOTU Address Won't Really Be That Different from the Others

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  1. I imagine Cruz breaks out that seductive come-hither look on all the people he ties to the pommel horse in his basement.

    1. “Mmm, you know you want a piece a’ this Teddy Bear.”

      “Agh! Why won’t i pass out?!?”

    2. “Would you fuck me? I’d fuck me. I’d fuck me hard.”

      1. ? Goodbye lu-unch… ?

  2. Traditionally, candidates who have attracted strong evangelical support have in part emphasized the need to lend a helping hand to the economically stressed and the least fortunate among us.

    Oh, yeah, there’s no way libertarians should have any truck with a politician who isn’t just in love with income and wealth distribution.

    C’mon Nick, show us on the doll where Ted Cruz touched you.

    1. Cruz isn’t in love with the welfare state. He just hooks up with it when he’s drunk and doesn’t stay the night.

      1. Well, as long as he’s not passing any of its social diseases on to me, have at it, Ted.

      2. Since every President since Johnson has maintained a full time submissive relationship with the welfare state, Cruz would be one hell of an improvement.

        Why are you trying to convince everyone to vote for Cruz Hugh?

        1. John, Nick just wants to emit the proper signals to the likes of Brooks, who, in my view, is far nastier and far less likeable than Senator Cruz.

          1. No kidding. Brooks is a total asshole.

          2. What I was wondering was how Brooks would know about the “setting” in a church when his entry into one would, probably, bring down the proverbial lightning strike.

        2. Amen to that.

          There is not a hint of compassion, gentleness and mercy.

          Good. It’s not the job of politicians to be compassionate and merciful – unless you are a socialist politician and want more socialism and more power for yourself. Which, ironically, is neither of those things.

          As is the wont of inauthentic speakers, everything is described as a maximum existential threat.

          So, every politician since the dawn of man? This is fucking news? Crawl out from under The Jacket, Nick.

          1. Next Nick is going to tell us that Cruz is making promises that likely won’t be passed by Congress. I mean a President promising things that will be difficult to deliver. The nerve of that guy. No candidate for President has ever stooped that low.

    2. That’s David Brooks making a descriptive statement about successful evangelical candidates.

      1. Quiet you! Don’t talk out of turn during the two minutes hate against GIllespie!

        1. Not hate, Hugh. Ridicule. Gillespie has gotten himself so worked into a lather about Ted Cruz that he’s willing to endorse a criticism of the guy that, from a libertarian stance, should pretty much count as a positive feature.

      2. And what’s the title of this article? “David Brooks Is Right About Ted Cruz’s “Brutalism” & Negativity” That sounds like an endorsement where I come from.

      3. “Amen, Brother Brooks, amen.”

        Gillespie seems to be in full throated agreement with that quote.

        1. And it is a descriptive statement. Is Brooks wrong?

          Brooks is not addressing libertarians.

          It’s an introductory statement that sets up Brooks’s argument against Cruz. It is not the thesis or the centerpiece of Brooks’s complaint, which is what Nick is agreeing with (as evidenced by his several paragraphs of commentary on Cruz’s negativity, not Cruz’s insufficient charity or whatever).

          1. It is not “wrong” since it is a matter of opinion. It is, however, an utterly stupid and irrelevant reason to object to someone’s candidacy for President. As Restoras explains well above; it is compassionate and nice politicians who got us into this mess. More “compassion and mercy” and nice guys are not going to get us out of it.

      4. Being an evangelical, myself, I have a problem with a secular government being used by any religious group. Honest (not necessarily Godly) men are needed to run government. But, it seems as that is not a prerogative in today’s society. (Cruz reminds me of the con man, Mr Haney, off of the TV show Green Acres”) Separation of church from the state is such that government should be unable to demand that we ignore our personal faith. It is what the first amendment is all about. But, the entire problem in Kentucky could have been solved, if politicians had been willing to get on the ball and fix the laws that were interfering with the county offices running smoothly. But, the first amendment also provides that none of us can be forced to believe as any certain denomination wants. We have free will and free choice. And, we have that within a secular government! I don’t want a bunch of “holier than thou” “Christians” (or Muslims) deciding that we should look more like a theocracy than a republic! That includes Baptists, Pentecostals, and any other denomination that has such aspirations! It ia what bothers me when I see people “courting the evangelical vote” Being brought up Catholic, I wondered how the became evangelical with Santorum’s candidacy, the last time around. Being free from that “cult”, I don’t want to be controlled by any other. We are too religiously diverse to have a theocracy! One that would work, anyway!

    3. This. Cruz is the most libertarian candidate that has ever any chance of winning.

      Nick why don’t you just admit that you are fine with letting perfect get in the way of good.

      How’s the cock tail circuit going for you these days Nick ?

      This is a disgusting article.

  3. I just assume everyone in Kentucky looks like those two with Cruz in the middle pic.

  4. There is not a hint of compassion, gentleness and mercy.

    IOW, he’s not giving the right “socially liberal” signals. The government that he wants to head is not, and never has been, in the business of compassion, gentleness or mercy.

    Government is not reason, it is not eloquence ? it is force. Like fire it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.

    Maybe he understands the essential nature of government, and that’s why he only talks about what governments actually do, not the fog of propaganda that they spew to obscure what they actually do.

    1. Funny, I thought the essential nature of government was to take care of its citizens by showering them with Obama Bucks.

    2. Nick is looking for a “Compassionate Conservative”.

      1. That’s what Brooks is looking for. Nick just wants to be invited to the good COCKTAIL PARTIEZ11!111!!!!!!!

    3. GWB voters were “socially liberal”?

    4. Exactly right and well said, RC.

      Compassionate government = a government that takes care of you from cradle-to-grave (well, not really but they pretend to be able to do that). What’s that you say? It takes forceful confiscation of private property to pretend to do that? Well, hey You Didn’t Build That, really, did you?

      Yeah, totally libertarian

      1. “Compassionate Conservative” is another way to say “Progressive”.

        This is why there’s not that much of a difference between Bush’s two terms and Obama’s two terms.

  5. a free-market system of health-care and entitlements.

    does not compute

    1. Real entitlements. I am entitled to the proceeds from my 401k when I retire. I’m entitled to insurance payouts if I kept up with my premiums.

      1. It threw me for a loop since Gillespie has come out in favor of the “state-assisted social safety net” in years past. So he might actually have meant it in one of two ways.

      2. “I’m entitled to insurance payouts if I kept up with my premiums.”

        You mean if you make all your contributions to the Federal Insurance Contribution Act (FICA)?

        Yet many, here, consider those payouts to be a form of welfare, while the SCOTUS has said you aren’t entitled to them, at all.

  6. Are we to assume that Mr. Brooks disapproves of the creases in Mr. Cruz’s trousers?

    1. I think Brooks would concede that, while Cruz may well be “clean, bright, and articulate,” his trousers — and his entire wardrobe — is a case study for the TV show “What Not to Wear.”

      1. I think you’re right, but Gilmore has the final word on these matters.

        1. Only for jackets.

          1. Gilmore has done competent work on neckties as well as jackets.

            1. Gilmore’s fashion reviews were the best part of The Independents.

  7. The problem is that we have three candidates in the entire race that even give lip service to limited government: Paul, Cruz, and Johnson. Only Cruz looks to have a chance of winning.

    1. I think Cruz gives more than lip service. And that is why everyone is Washington hates his guts. I hear people like Nick and other beltway writers talk about how everyone hates Cruz and how mean and nasty he is and I can’t figure out why they think that is bad.

      Does Nick actually think that any President is going to reduce the size and scope of government by being nice and not making enemies out of all of the people who benefit from that giant government?

      1. “I don’t know why people think being mean and nasty is bad.” So mystery, such confusion.

        1. Nikki,

          Again, do you honestly think that any President could reduce the size and scope of government without being pretty nasty to the people who benefit from that government? Do you think these people are just going to cheerfully give up their perks and power?

          Have you lost your mind?

          1. Just because a person who advocates for reducing government will be painted as “mean and nasty” does not mean that a person who is portrayed as “mean and nasty” will reduce government.

            Consider the man who was the Democratic Party’s favorite Republican Senator until late 2007, John McCain. Absolutely vicious little asshole; not a fan of limited government.

            As far as Cruz goes, I don’t like him for the same reason I despise Scalia. Both are intelligent men who are excellent at coming up with rationalizations for what they emotionally want to be true, and seem to lack the humility to ask “am I making a mistake?”

            1. Sure, Cruz might not mean it. But the fact that he is mean and nasty and willing to offend people in Washington means that if he might mean and has the kind of personality necessary to do it.

              If you don’t think Cruz is serious, fine. Show me some evidence to that effect. But the fact that he is arrogant and mean and doesn’t give a fuck what people in Washington think about him is not a criticism in this context. It is an endorsement.

              1. If you don’t think Cruz is serious, fine. Show me some evidence to that effect.

                Well, for one, he believes the U.S. military needs rebuilding. And he wants the country to “fiercely defend” allies like Saudi Arabia – whose monarchs have been paying the salaries of wahabist imams who preach for jihad against the west for generations now.

                It’s delusional. The U.S. has a massive edge on equipment, men and material on any individual country out there.

                And continuing the U.S. involvement in the middle east guarantees that the U.S. will need to have an expansive security apparatus here at home with all the intrusions inherent to it. That apparatus already has its tentacles in out banking records, our electronic communications etc.

                And to what purpose? To prop up a vicious bunch of savages that still execute women for practicing sorcery in their fight with another vicious bunch of savages that execute men for homosexuality?

                He claims, like numerous Republicans before him, that he will abolish the EPA, the IRS etc. But he has no legislative plan to do that.

                So here’s what I expect would happen if Cruz got into power, the institutions he has targeted for elimination will have their growth curtailed by a few percentage points. In the meantime, defense spending will skyrocket, and the U.S. govt’s debt will continue to soar, until rising rates force some sort of crisis.

                He’s just a bullshit artist. A good one.. but a BS artist nonetheless.

                1. IT is funny. You say he is a hawk and everyone at NRO is convinced he is a dove who is going to kill the military.

                  Do you know what his actual proposals on military spending are? And moreover, even if they are not to your liking, how does that outweigh the many things he proposes that are or should be?

                2. I certainly agree on the foreign policy side of things, but in regards to his legislative plan to abolish the EPA and IRS, it doesn’t really matter that he doesn’t have one. I don’t recall the last time that an election time policy position paper was actually enacted by that candidate once in office. I wouldn’t be surprised if no president in history ever managed to fulfill it as written.

                  I’m not saying that he won’t be a reneger about abolishing those departments, just that the lack of any specifics about the means to those ends will necessarily give you any indication.

                3. Pleasen more smokescreening about fighter jetz? Entitlements are the existential threat to the country but we don’t talk about that. The EPA and the IRS are fully weaponized but instead we talk about fighter jetz. It’s like worrying about a stove top grease fire while your roof is in conflagration.

              2. While they may share the “arrogant and mean” characteristic, tarran cannot say, about McCain, that he “doesn’t give a fuck what people in Washington think about him”.
                Cruz, however seems to revel in it.
                Go Ted!

          2. The Cologne affair discombobulated one of her thought sprockets. She’ll be fine in a while.

        2. But, John’s made pretty clear that he believes that taking a stand on shrinking the size and scope of government is what is seen as being mean and nasty. Well, if that’s the case, libertarians should root for the meanest, nastiest, son of bitch that turns up.

          1. What else could it be Bill? How is Cruz “mean and nasty” other than he seems to piss off a whole lot of people who work in, around and benefit government? Did I miss the stories about Ted Cruz being a slum lord who evicts tenants even when they pay their rent? Or how he runs a dog fighting ring or beats his wife?

            The only evidence I have seen of Ted being “mean and nasty” is the whining of how he won’t play ball and go along with the way things are done in Washington. How exactly any Libertarian could view that as a bad thing boggles my mind.

            1. John, it’s best not to get too testy when somebody’s basically agreeing with you and supporting something you said.

              Although I do think some of the criticism of Cruz as “mean and nasty” is that he’s called out fellow Republicans for being full of shit. Again, that’s hardly something that libertarians ought to be in line to denounce.

              1. My apologies Bill. I understand what you said and agree with you. I did not mean for that post to sound testy. I meant the first sentence to be a rhetorical question.

                Sorry I wasn’t more careful with my language.

                1. Not a problem. I hope my response wasn’t mean and nasty.

                  1. *mean and nastily narrows gaze*

                    1. *Gillespie shits pants*

        3. Meh. He is still someone I would consider voting for. Most of the consternation about how mean and nasty he is comes from the fact that he wants to cut spending and the shutdown. I mean that’s like the equivalent of drowning kittens to some people these days.

          1. Still not sure how he got saddled with the blame for “the shutdown”, since the bill that defunded 0blamocare originated in the House of Representatives, over which he has zero control.

            He may have been a big supporter of the idea but if Boehner didn’t want to see a shutdown, he wouldn’t have sent the bill, with that provision, on to the Senate and Ted couldn’t have forced him to.

        4. Getting anything done in DC means being divisive, Nikki. That should be obvious.

          Now, can we go back to talking about how fucking divisive is that asshole Obama? He’s actually going to agitate for policies in tonight’s SOTU! He has really done irreparable harm to the office.

          1. If it is the case that Cruz intends to enact policies that are wrong or that you find objectionable, then it is perfectly appropriate to not like the guy and not support his candidacy. Not supporting him because “he is just a big meany” is, however, pretty stupid. Any President who actually tries to curb the size and scope of the federal government is going to be incredibly divisive and viewed by all of the “right people” in Washington as Satan incarnate.

    2. “The problem is that we have three candidates in the entire race that even give lip service to limited government…Only Cruz looks to have a chance of winning.”



      1. Cruz is far from a perfect candidate, but as far as GOP hopefuls go, what’s the alternative, unless Paul makes an unexpected splash? We have two major party candidates who think government has some limits. That’s it, but it’s more than we’ve had in a long while. Can we wait any longer for major reform, especially of the economic variety? I don’t think so.

  8. Brooks notes that he is more than willing to flip on issues that are supposedly really important to him and conservatives, such as immigration and trade. I’d add federalism to that list, too. Now that he realizes even Republicans are in favor of legalizing weed via state law, he’s pretending as if he always pushed that line. But two years ago, Cruz told Reason that among the many sins of Emperor Obama was his willingness to pick and choose what federal drug laws he enforces:

    “I will say one thing that’s been dismaying about the Obama administration,” he continues. “The Obama administration’s approach to drug policy is to simply announce that across the country, it is going to stop enforcing certain drug laws. Now, that may or may not be a good policy, but I would suggest that should concern anyone – it should even concern libertarians who support that policy outcome – because the idea that the president simply says criminal laws that are on the books, we’re going to ignore [them]. That is a very dangerous precedent.”

    Obama, says Cruz, picks and chooses what laws to follow in a way that is unprecedented in U.S. history.

    I don’t see how these views are inconsistent.

    1. I mean you can support federalism and rule of law, right? Cruz’s position is that it’s not the federal gov. place to decide which laws to enforce, can be consistent with letting states pick and choose their position on drugs. I don’t view his criticism of Obama an endorsement or an attack on the drug trade, he’s merely pointing out Obama’s hypocrisy on the issue and the dangerous precedent Obama is setting.

      1. It can’t be consistent because the federal drug laws preempt the state laws. I think a President could, consistent with the Constitution interpret the existing drug laws to conform to a sane view of federal powers, as in “I will only enforce the ban on importing drugs and only prosecute drug crimes in federal court where there is a clear interstate nexus meaning the actual transactions are across state lines”. I do not believe that a President could consistent with his duty to uphold the law choose to just ignore the federal drug laws.

        1. “I do not believe that a President could consistent with his duty to uphold the law choose to just ignore the federal drug laws.”

          0blama did with DOMA, which had the Constitutional support of Article 4, Section 1.

          Congress passed that law to prescribe the Manner in which the Acts, Records and Proceedings of the States, with respect to their “Full Faith and Credit”, shall be proved, and the Effect thereof, when it came to laws about marriage.

          It was, wholly, within their power to decree that the states shall decide issues of marriage and that other states need not provide full faith and credit to those laws, nor did the federal government.

          The overturning of that was another shameful act by the SCOTUS.

      2. Right. I don’t think those positions contradict each other at all. He was making a pretty reasonable argument I hear people make about other laws all the time.

    2. Since when did commitment to the rule of law stop being consistent with Libertarianism? If the cost of making marginal gains against the drug war is setting the precedent that the President is free to enforce only those laws he chooses, that is a bargain Libertarians would do well to decline.

      1. Too many libertarians have not shown themselves to care much about long-term adverse results, as long as they can point to a short-term gain of some kind.

        There’s a speech somewhere about the devil and a bunch of forests being cut down . . . .

        1. And a Roman General who had some experience with victories that were not worth the price of obtaining them.

          1. Or maybe king Pyrrhus of Epirus.

            1. You’ve scored some kind of Parthian shot on John.

            2. He was Italian. Close enough.

              1. I think he was Greek. Epirus isn’t in Italy, anyway.

            3. Roman, Greek, what’s the difference? They’re all just a bunch of ancient Mediterraneans.

              1. With their superior cuisine. That’s the real reason they won.

    3. Cruz’s point there isn’t wrong except that I’d say it’s wrong ON THE SUBJECT OF DRUG LAWS. He’s right that presidents shouldn’t be allowed to pick and choose what laws he follows, provided those laws are legitimate and have been put into place through constitutional processes.

      I think drug laws are illegitimate because they’re totally unconstitutional. Banning alcohol needed a constitutional amendment, but for some reason federally banning drugs could be done through normal legislation despite the federal government not having any such power constitutionally.

      A president refusing to enforce national drug laws is actually adhering to the constitution since that issue should be left up to the states. You give an oath to uphold the constitution, not to obey the legislature when they behave unconstitutionally, so I personally think all presidents are bound by their oath of office to refuse to enforce laws not based on the constitution.

      1. good point.

      2. Do they not also swear to faithfully enforce the laws of the country ?

        1. The supreme law of the country is the constitution.

          Enforcing anything that conflicts with the constitution is against the law.

  9. We have a multi trillion dollar government that is beyond any bounds the founders intended it to be. And Nick thinks that the problem here is Ted Cruz is “too negative”? Is this some kind of a joke?

    1. “Mean” words were said; pants were shat.

    2. It’s a problem to the extent that he doesn’t have a sense of proportion, which is the half of Brooks’ piece that’s correct.

      1. How so? What about him “lacks proportion”?

        1. Here’s the opening to Brooks’ piece:

          In 1997, Michael Wayne Haley was arrested after stealing a calculator from Walmart. This was a crime that merited a maximum two-year prison term. But prosecutors incorrectly applied a habitual offender law. Neither the judge nor the defense lawyer caught the error and Haley was sentenced to 16 years.

          Eventually, the mistake came to light and Haley tried to fix it. Ted Cruz was solicitor general of Texas at the time. Instead of just letting Haley go for time served, Cruz took the case to the Supreme Court to keep Haley in prison for the full 16 years.

          Some justices were skeptical. “Is there some rule that you can’t confess error in your state?” Justice Anthony Kennedy asked. The court system did finally let Haley out of prison, after six years.

          The case reveals something interesting about Cruz’s character. Ted Cruz is now running strongly among evangelical voters, especially in Iowa. But in his career and public presentation Cruz is a stranger to most of what would generally be considered the Christian virtues: humility, mercy, compassion and grace. Cruz’s behavior in the Haley case is almost the dictionary definition of pharisaism: an overzealous application of the letter of the law in a way that violates the spirit of the law, as well as fairness and mercy.

          1. Do you not give people the oportunity to grow ?

            Read about Cruz’s tenure at the FTC as see if he has the makings of a leader.

            Or you could vote Trump or Hilliary or just not vote, that’s you option.

            We are going to have a new President whether you help select him/her or not.

          2. Cruz believes in the rule of law. That is a shitty law but Cruz’s opinion was that it wasn’t his job not to enforce it. I disagree with him. But it was the people who passed the law who are fault there more than Cruz. Bad laws being enforced are the price we pay for having a rule of law.

            1. But look at how many, here, advocate the completely un-republican and un-democratic exercise of “jury nullification”.
              “The Rule of One” is a common ideology within REASON’s readership.

        2. I don’t want a “living constitution” type, but I also don’t want someone who exercises their discretion to the limits. With a few exceptions, most of what I hear from Cruz makes me think he’ll go the full monty on everything he does. I’m probably just projecting, but I’m sure you’ve met types like Cruz, John: enough-is-enough binary world crusaders who take every bit of power they get and use it to the max.

          Maybe it’s just his rhetoric; I don’t actually know that much about his record.

          1. I think that is a fair criticism but hardly a reason to disqualify him given his shown commitment to small government.

  10. Why is Kim Davis wearing her jammies in every picture?

    1. Seems someone’s some sort of sartorial supremacist.

      1. Certainly seems such, sometimes.

    2. There is a certain type of woman from a certain racial and socioeconomic background – typically, though not exclusively, located in the southern half of the United States – for whom such is considered acceptable “goin’ out” attire.

      1. LOL, but Davis is doing it for modesty.

        1. Well it’s working. I’ve never been so not turned on in all my life.

          1. Meanwhile, Jesus has never been so revved up.

            1. Jes?s, the Dominican checkout guy at the Walmart? He’s aiming to be Mr. Davis no. 5?

              1. He’d have no chance – she’d never touch a Catholic.

                1. Shows how much you know – Jes?s is Pentecostal.

                    1. To be fair, Jes?sland just doesn’t produce that many evangelicals.

      2. Citizen X, how dare you imply that the tastes and mores of our honest yeoman class is worth anything less than our solemn respect and lionization in truck commercials?

        1. I guess i am just a cocktail-swilling coastal elitist at heart, Hugh.

            1. Damn, sorry, HM. I have got to stop drinking at lunchtime.

    3. Can we talk about the hat and overalls? I mean jesus christ.

      1. I assumed he was going for a redneck Raiden look. Finish him! = Get ‘er done!

        1. Brilliant!

  11. Oh, no–Gillespie’s babbling about Cruz again. Will someone wipe the drool off his chin–and get someone in here to check him–his diaper probably needs changing.

    1. The Jacket could be deteriorating, it may need a new host.

  12. What’s he for? GOD, goddamnit!

    I kind of wish I lived in his fever dreams, though:

    In campaign ads and speeches in Iowa, Cruz has warned of a Supreme Court intolerant of religious freedom and expression.

    “We will see Ten Commandments monuments all over this country torn down, because a radical Supreme Court says we cannot acknowledge the Ten Commandments,” Cruz said in a speech last week in Rock Rapids. “If Hillary Clinton is elected president, we will see a radical Supreme Court ordering veterans’ memorials to be taken down all over this country. We are just steps away from the chisels coming out in Arlington, to remove crosses and stars of David from the tombstones of our fallen soldiers.”

    1. Oh my god that would be amazing.

      1. Oh my god

        You blaspheme against Science! BURN THE APOSTATE!

    2. yeah, that isn’t going to happen.

      1. Next thing Cruz is going to tell us that grade schools will stop having Christmas pageants and Nuns will be forced to buy birth control. Everyone knows that stuff is just paranoia.

        1. First it’s totally not going to happen outside the paranoid fever dreams of the Radical Right…

          then sooner or later it becomes a self-evidently just policy which only the Radical Right would oppose.

      2. Kinda like how there was no way the Marines were going to adopt gender-neutral titles, or whatever proggy PC gibberish just got shoved down their throats?

        1. Or gay marriage was going to end the culture wars and wouldn’t be followed by laws forcing government buildings and business owners to allow men to use the women’s restrooms.

          1. Or it would never be used to punish Christian bakers with $100K+ fines because they don’t want to participate in a gay wedding by providing a cake.

          2. Or Catholic high schools that do not receive any government money being forced to re-hire openly gay food service managers.

            As for the lack of positivity mantra, what is not to like about a brutal commitment to honoring freedom of association?

            What is negative about championing the reduction in the size and scope of the federal government?

    3. “”If Hillary Clinton is elected president, we will see a radical Supreme Court ordering veterans’ memorials to be taken down all over this country. We are just steps away from the chisels coming out in Arlington, to remove crosses and stars of David from the tombstones of our fallen soldiers.””

      LOL, Cruz sure does know how to throw out red meat to the SoCons. He left out how horrible it is that we let Muslim judges take their oaths on Korans though, and recently conservatives have been assuring me this is just terrible.

      1. Yeah, I watched his interview with Jake Tapper on Sunday and he seemed so normal, like he’s getting ready for the general, talking about taxes and Obamacare instead of Jesus. But he’s still fully cray-cray for socon consumption. Puke.

    4. Look, if you’re going bottom lane you choose a strong support. If you’re top lane you go tanky. If you’re somewhere in the middle you find a jungler. Cruz chose the evangelical role, and this is the playstyle.

      1. Gonna be a tough lane matchup. Trump’s engage counters Cruz’s poke. Cruz’s poke beats Rubio’s sustain, though.

    5. What amazes me is how some people seem to take the batshit crazy stuff that comes out of politician’s mouths at face value when it’s a politician from the wrong TEAM, yet when one from their TEAM says something just as stupid and/ or crazy it’s “Oh, he was just pandering to [insert TEAM faction here].”

      In all likelihood Cruz is pandering to SOCONZ here. I doubt he actually believes that Hillary’s election would literally lead to veteran’s memorials being taken down, but he does seem to believe that there’s enough voters within the Republican base who do believe that to make it worth his while to pander to them. If chemtrail theorists were a large enough portion of the base he’d probably promise to put a stop to that too.

      1. Oh, no doubt.

  13. What is the Texas senator *for*, other than defending Kim Davis for refusing to do her job as a public employee?

    Pretty sure he is for the 2nd Amendment.

    1. As a staunch supporter of 2nd amendment rights, even I say that ain’t enough.

  14. Nick,
    You are unhinged. /Jeb!

  15. Full Brooks here.

    You never go full Brooks.

    1. The guy doesn’t even respect threading.

    2. You do if you are Nick Gillespie!

  16. Unless I missed it, but didn’t Brooks also make a reference to Satan? I noticed a disturbingly lack of hate for Brooks here. COME ON PEOPLE.


    Brooks is the faux-conservative gimp-nerd for the left-wing.

    NYT liberal 1: Good job, Dave. Here’s your Scooby snack. Now get the fuck outta here.

    NYT liberal 2: Scooby snack?

    NYT liberal 1: I don’t have the heart to tell him they’re rice crackers.

    1. Yes, He and David Corn called Cruz “Satanic” on NPR the other day. No shit.


      1. Nick goes with ‘pagan brutalism’.

    2. Brooks is awful– as the 2nd member of NPR’s Itinerant Liberal Minstrels.

  17. Is it just the signalling that gets Nick’s panties in a bunch over Cruz? Too much time in DC? Too long as a libertarian that says “crazy” stuff on news shows, but everyone likes because he has a jacket and is really nice despite his craziness?

    In case you are wondering Nick, here is what Cruz actually seems to believe in – less government. A very nasty brutal idea in a city of parasites that thrives off the ever growing federal budget.


    1. Look, he isn’t Gary Johnson, ergo he is disqualified from endorsement, which is fine, since your vote matters not

  18. Cruz is auditioning for the Jack Johnson roll, ceding the John Jackson role to Rubio and Bush.

    “It’s time for someone who has the courage to stand up and say, I’m against those things that everybody hates!

  19. Well, that wasn’t a very subtle attempt at character assassination.

    Look, Cruz isn’t a libertarian. If that’s your point, congrats, you’re dead on.

    He bugs me, but he’s vastly better than ceding the country to someone who thinks Obama didn’t expand government enough.

    1. This. If it comes down to Cruz vs Shrillary, or Cruz vs “The BERN”, then I’ll probably vote for Johnson while hoping Cruz wins (since Johnson won’t).

      1. Ahem. Why waste your vote, when we already have the best creature possible running for the job?

        Freddy and the Biped 2016!!!!

        1. Heh, that’s awesome. I guess I’ll be making a write-in vote.

          1. I call your attention to his position on immigration – definitely not open borders and worthy of John’s approval:

            Under my administration, you wait your turn. You learn a few basic commands. You get checked for worms, rabies, distemper, parvo, fleas, and ticks. Then, if everything checks out, and my people assure me you’re not an asshole, I let you in and you assimilate. You don’t bitch about “this breed having it better than that breed.” You don’t bark at the moon, you don’t terrorize the cat, and you don’t drag your ass across other peoples carpet. In short, you go to work and get along. Or, we cut your balls off. (Trust me, you don’t want that, but it happens. All the time.)

            Point is, I don’t care about your pedigree. This is a country of mutts, and as long as you’ve been properly vetted, I don’t care where you’re from or what you look like or what Master you worship. Just remember ? my job as President, first and foremost, is to protect the mutts who are already here. So if you show up growling and snarling and foaming at the mouth, you’re gonna have a long wait.

            1. And apparently Libertarians are now single issue immigration voters. You really are the pot, ass sex and Mexicans caricature. That is too bad because you are a lot smarter than that.

      2. Exactly. Cruz is not a libertarian. He would be if nominated, however, the closest thing to an actual Libertarian to achieve a major party nomination since Goldwater.

        Four years ago the GOP nominated Mitt Romney and nominated John McCain four years before that. If this year the GOP were to nominate Cruz, wouldn’t that be the biggest shift by any party towards the Libertarian small government position in living memory or at least in 50+ years?

        Cocktail parties and virtue signaling allegations aside, I can’t for the life of me understand why Reason and Gillespie in particular have such a hard on about bashing Cruz. Is he perfect or a Libertarian? Hell no. But no one who has a chance in hell at the nomination is.

        1. Because they are socially liberal and fiscally, um, let me get back to you on that.

          1. Many people, who call themselves libertarians, are just cheapskate SJW’s.

  20. “Cruz simply can’t make a positive statement about anything.”

    And one of the pictures accompanying the article is a positive statement: “Praise God Kim Davis [has] been released!”

    Celebrating a person’s release from prison isn’t positive?

    Ah, but Kim Davis is an un-person, a redneck Sky Daddy bleever who dresses funny. So expressing sympathy for her getting out of prison…that’s not positive, it’s “Satanic”!

    “…Kim Davis, the one government employee a hardcore conservative could laud for gold-bricking on the public payroll?”

    Look, if you want to say that Supreme Court decisions are the law of the land and must be obeyed, say so (and accept the consequences of your position – eg, that rural sheriffs in New York must enforce Ne York’s gun control laws if the Supreme Court upholds them, and that officials must assist in taking away people’s homes to give them to Pfizer, which the Supreme Court has specifically approved).

    But please don’t concern-troll about the taxpayers, since not only was Kim Davis elected by those taxpayers, an overwhelming majority of Kentuckians endorsed the same definition of marriage she endorsed, and prohibited public officials from adopting any other definition.

    So if anything, her “crime” is standing with the taxpayers against the tax-consuming Supreme Court.

    1. a redneck Sky Daddy bleever who dresses funny…

      You are saying it more subtly than Nick.

  21. ‘Pretty much alone among my Reason colleagues, I enjoyed Cruz’s “extended speech” against Obamacare in the fall of 2013 …’
    Interesting comment on the Reason staff.

    1. Something something… “den of COZMOZ” mumble mumble… “COCKTAIL PARTIEZ…”

    2. Always seemed odd that Reason staffers were in DC, NYC, and LA.

      I think they ought to be in places like New Hampshire, Kansas City, and Dallas. They would meet a more diverse crowd and have a better understanding on a lot of issues. Certainly would be less of the liberal contamination that causes the kind of crap I just read in this article.

      1. Is it just me or does Nick seem to be getting worse?

        Maybe we need to do an intervention.

        1. Hey, at least this time he didn’t pull his dick out and start chasing millenials again. Remember what happened last time.

  22. Harry Truman has not received nearly his due of trash-talking. A crummy President who stumbled into an unnecessary war and almost lost the thing.

    1. He had the right letter after his name, and served as VP for Saint Franklin, so he gets a pass.

  23. As a militant pagan, Cruz’s brand of satanism intrigues me.

    1. I’m pretty sure the Satanists have a newsletter, but I won’t look for it now.

  24. David Brooks…isnt he the fake conservative that once called for a dictatorship in the US? Or do I have the wrong guy?

    1. Brooks is a fake conservative, but I think you may be thinking of Thomas Friedman, if you’re thinking of the guy with a hard-on for Chinese style one party rule.

      1. No, how could I forget hat one.

        I vaguely recall Brooks making statements that amounted to “what we need is a strong man” with no reference to other countries. Maybe it was in regarding tossing the constitution. I will google around.

        1. Ah. Calling for a dictatorship. That was it.


  25. Does anyone ever bother to take a good look at what a politician they agree with is saying and wonder if they’re being played?

  26. “But that’s a quarantined population that is the political equivalent of the Shakers: doomed to extinction by an inability to produce the next generation.””

    Uh, no, you’re thinking of people like Nikki. Biologically, at least, the next generation is largely being produced by religious people. In some cases, by very unpleasantly religious people.

    1. must fill that quiver for the holy war.

  27. “There is not a hint of compassion, gentleness and mercy.”

    Fuck mercy. Fuck compassion. Fuck gentleness. Most of all fuck David Brooks.

    Paul, Amash, and Cruz are the only politicians I know of in the last…uh, my lifetime, who stood up and made full throated defenses of civil liberties, and they did it when everyone else, including the majority of the public, were against them. That says a hell of a lot to me.

    The current POS in chief made full on attacks on the freedom of speech, of religion, of association, and of the second amendment. His party is the one who talk the loudest about compassion, mercy and gentleness. The rest of the GOP candidates are just guys trying to get their turn at the trough to bale money and toss it to their cronies. I don’t hear any of them defending the constitution either. I bet half of them know less than Obumbles about what it even says, which means half of nothing.

    I really don’t see anyone standing up much for principle. I get the strong feeling half the writers here are just playing team not-the-other-team.

    Again, fuck David Brooks.

    1. Afuckingmen. Gillespie’s way off base here but, then again, Brooks’ eloquence can sway anyone.

      1. Its Brooks tightly creased pants.

        1. No, it’s the subtle, sly smile, the arched eyebrows, and the twinkle in his eye.

          Each time I penetrates the dense intellectual thicket of the New York Times, I find David Brooks staring back at me with the knowing expression of a young girl who, perhaps, knows too much about her father.

    2. Well put, Suthenboy.

    3. Very well said, Suthenboy.

    4. Amen. Suthenboy needs a Youtube channel.

  28. It is the thoughtful man with the courage to stand up for what is right even when no one else will that history remembers. Those are the people that shape us, the ones who make the world a better place.

    Cemeteries are filled with politicians, pundits and intellectuals that no one remembers. Nameless, voiceless ghosts from cocktail parties past.

  29. But Cruz’s speeches are marked by what you might call pagan brutalism.

    No, you wouldn’t. No one would call anything this guy says pagan anything.

    Does David Brooks know what pagan means?

    1. People who don’t worship the State?

      1. I worship a number of gods and goddesses. But NEVER the fucking state. And my gods don’t ask me to kneel. They ask me to man the fuck up and take care of my own family’s business.

  30. Except on abortion, David Brooks is the sort of anti-libertarian conservative. (Abortion is probably the one issue i would tend to agree with him on.) No he isn’t a full on proggie. He is worse. He compares himself to Edmund Burke and Alexander Hamilton. He is against drug legalization at all (even state laws allowing MJ use). He was for gay marriage, but not because of freedom. He is totally against freedom of sexual association. He thinks EVERYBODY should have to suck it up and get married. He is against civilian ownership of guns for the most part. Basically, the poster child for the “Ordered liberty” crowd. Free-markets are great, but we need more “sensible” regulations. Too big too fail, etc.
    He is a communitarian conservative. Much more Russell Kirk, than Goldwater.

    1. “Ordered liberty”. And Jumbo shrimp?

  31. Canadians are far more dangerous than militant islam. Seriously. (E.g. Frum, Gopnick, Atwood)

  32. People who use overheated rhetoric are worse than Adam Lanza.

  33. When has David Brooks been right about, well anything really?

    Seriously Nick?

  34. Rand will not win. Gary Johnson no chance. The only one who has a chance of getting at least the nomination is cruz. He is hell lot better than any one running for president.

  35. We have this discussion from time to time in business. Competence vs being nice. To get things done, you can’t be an asshole to people, abrasiveness for its own sake isn’t going to earn your co-workers cooperation. But the person determined to grow sales, or lower expenses or control inventory generally upsets the status quo and that pisses some people off. But if the business improves, I’ll take competence over someone who is everybody’s pal, but never moves the dial. It usually turns out the people who think someone is abrasive are the ones standing in the way of progress. OTOH, you also have people that piss everyone off and look at that as proof they are a “change agent”. Well no, your’re just an asshole.

    With Cruz, I sense that he is sincere in wanting to change things and that is perceived as “not nice”.

  36. David Brooks, LOL.


    That first encounter is still vivid in Brooks’s mind. “I remember distinctly an image of?we were sitting on his couches, and I was looking at his pant leg and his perfectly creased pant,” Brooks says, “and I’m thinking, a) he’s going to be president and b) he’ll be a very good president.”

  37. What is Ted Cruz for?

    Why, Brooks and Gillespie have not heard of Google. In about 30 seconds, I was able to find out what Ted Cruz is for. It’s really sinister!

    Ted Cruz’s web site

    1. For heavens sake, he called for Sound Money!
      He may only be a distant cousin to libertarianism, but if he is half of a binary choice, I’ll bite.
      I stand with Rand. but if not Rand, then the guy who put the fear of god (sound money, not supernaturalism) into the debate has my interest.

    2. That’s sort of the catch, though.

      As we learned when Obama campaigned against executive overreach, foreign adventurism, and civil liberties abuses, first-term senators running for president are against all the things you dislike and none of those things you’re for. Even governors will do that (FDR famously criticized Hoover for the latter’s interventionism), but at least they have a track record we can check to see how crazy or dictatorial they’ve been. Not so with a young senator, particularly one who’s had his eyes on the prize from the moment he entered office and voted accordingly.

  38. I’ve always wanted to see David Brooks make a guest appearance on “Kicked in the Nuts”.

  39. We all know David Brooks is an asshat who basically stands for his own wealthy peers, but no real political ideals.

    Despite the messenger’s lack of credibility he brings up an important point. Cruz simply does not have a positive vision. Any smart conservative talks about the fact that it’s better for people to have decent paying jobs than government handouts. A *lot*! The fact that Trump does a better job of conveying that message probably has nearly as much to do with his enduring success as his over the top jingoism.

  40. What is Cruz for, other than standing with Kim Davis, the one government employee a hardcore conservative could laud for gold-bricking on the public payroll?

    you make some wild and false accusations in this one sentence. First Kim Davis steadfastlyh upheld both the Kewntucy and US Constitutioins by her refusal. She was NNOT “gold bricking” at all., Not putting her signature on a document signifying her support and agreement with an abomination, in violation of these two Constitutions, is not”gold bricking” t all. Please note, as well, she was willing to issue the documents, but sans her signature indicating approval and support. The governor at that time refused a simple executive order that would change that, and she’d have been fine with all that. Note the new governor issued that executive order days after being sworn in. Fixed. She was hired to do certain things, none of which violated her conscience or her faith. Once the SCOTUS emitted that spew of sewage effluent in their “opinion”, she was suddenly in a position where part of her duties were radically changed… clear and strong and unacceptable violation of her faith and conscience. SHe refused.

    1. She did NOT stand for office as cleark to do that. NO “religious accomodation” was offered, as was forced upon the trucking company whose two moslem drivers refused to deliver booze, and quit… considering themselves “violated’… the main differences being that the drivers signed on to that position KNOWING beer might sometimes be in the trailer attached to their power units. Further, their “faith” does not prohibit them bieng NEAR alcohol, but only USING it. They never had to touch even the sealed cases of the stuff. No, warehouse operators were to remove the palletised beer with forklifts whle the mozzie drivers knelt on their prayer rugs. No contamination there.

  41. This is the kind of crap that Nick would’ve have said about Barry Goldwater. Goldwater sounded “angry” also. Nowhere is there any mention of the fact that Cruz’s tax plan is one of the best; shouldn’t that merit some applause? Problem is we’ve been listening to far too many sweet sounding politicians promise good things and then they deliver NOTHING. Someone needs to sound angry. Herbert Walker Bush sounded really reasonable; look what we got from him with regard to economic reform. Not a damned thing.

    Read my lips: No more nice sounding, sweet loving politicians. Cruz actually intends to change things for the better, with a flat tax, an end to government run healthcare, and privatization of social security. Is that so scary? Smaller government is — by its very nature — more libertarian.

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