Thursday night’s debate brought out the Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio we have been begging for. For several days prior, commentators said the two candidates had to turn their attention away from each other and go after Donald Trump. Well, go after Trump is exactly what they did. Bringing out the big guns, they used very little ammunition on each other and went full-bore on Trump. It’s about time.
Rubio came out swinging first from the left, but Cruz quickly entered the fight landing devastating blows of his own from the right.
This is Rubio's best night against Trump, but it's not even Trump's worst debate. Interested to see what the impact is.
— Nick Confessore (@nickconfessore) February 26, 2016
Rubio made quite a few hits on Trump’s record, but as the evening went on he ended up just mocking Trump. Which, by the way, infuriated Trump. It was awesome. One of Rubio’s best lines was turning to the crowd and saying, “He’s repeating himself.” This, of course, was a callback to Rubio’s own stumble a few weeks ago when Chris Christie ridiculed him for the same thing. Trump has since used it to belittle Rubio and criticize his character. It befuddled Rubio then. It inspired him now. Rubio was able to turn the embarrassing incident around and throw it back at Trump. In fact, Rubio looked like he was having so much fun he was probably wondering why he waited so long to do it.
Trump thought he got the better hand by stating, “I watched him repeat himself 5 times 4 weeks ago.”
Rubio, with a smirk, responded, “I watched him repeat himself 5 times 5 seconds ago.” He wasn’t finished. Rubio continued jabbing even as Trump tried to talk. Up until now that has been only Trump’s go-to tactic.
I will say as the whole thing happened I was cheering.
Cruz cornered Trump on his stance on Libya. After letting Trump adamantly deny ever even making a statement on Libya, Cruz informed the audience the video of Trump’s statement was on his website. This was a strong blow to Trump’s honesty, who normally just calls Cruz a liar in such instances.
There were a several times where Wolf Blitzer came to Trump’s rescue and would not let Cruz respond to Trumps insult’s. Cruz would have crushed him. Blitzer knew it too.
One would throw a punch and then the other. It was an amazing tag team effort that I’m sure got many people wondering if these two could actually partner up on a ticket and bury Trump. Others, on the other hand, believe it’s all a little too late.
While the two men jabbed and punched, Trump tried to hold his composure and return with his normal fire, but the men did not waver this time. At the end, he accused the men of being nervous when all could see both had been cool and focused all night. There was one point where Trump was given an opportunity to attack Cruz and he didn’t. Trump has never been confronted like this in the campaign. Despite what he is telling his supporters now, he didn’t handle it well.
While Cruz had punch after punch on policy, honesty, trustworthiness and record, he stayed away from personal attacks. Rubio was handling that pretty good on his own anyway. It’s why more are going to probably remember Rubio’s performance over Cruz’s, even though policy is much more important here than insults. Or maybe it’s because all of media is just showing Rubio’s and Trump’s performances and completely ignoring Cruz. It may all very well give Rubio the momentum he needs to push Cruz down to 3rd in some states, and maybe even take a few away from him.
While this realization pains me to write, as I’m for Cruz, I also understand what gains recognition in today’s politics, and it’s not good. I think Cruz is by far the strongest on the Constitution, policy, record, and integrity. But Cruz said from the beginning he would not stoop to personal attacks. He would not and does not respond in kind when called, “Liar”, but he does defend with facts and truth. Honorable and presidential, but only time will tell if it’s effective.
While this is frustrating to me, it’s exactly why I support him. America does not need another four years of a President who insults and name calls when challenged by the press. We don’t need another a President who cannot articulate his policies so instead deflects criticism of his positions with degrading remarks. We do not need another President who says he can get along with others and then demeans anyone who dares to disagree with him.
National Leaders across the globe already think America is on the decline. Our standing in the world has been incredibly damaged. Obama made sure of that. They have zero respect for him now. Having spoken to relatives in another country, the feeling outside America is, “How stupid are the America people? Trump is a buffoon.” They can’t believe we may elect this guy.
Trump claims he can make great deals with other leaders. In reality he is a laughing stock to them. We don’t have the strength on the Worldly stage we use to. They don’t take him seriously. All Trump knows how to do is issue threats and ultimatums, but we have no leverage for that anymore. What Cruz and Rubio did to Trump will look like child’s play once the World leaders are done with him.
I admit I was cheering for Cruz to really go after Trump. And he did, like a President. It may actually have cost him the nomination, but it’s exactly what makes him the perfect man for this job.
But that’s just my 2 cents.