Ted Schlock

By Bill Maher

Ted Cruz gave an interview to the Des Moines Register, and told them his theory about how to win presidential elections: Nominate people like Ted Cruz:

Cruz said every Republican presidential candidate who ran as a strong conservative won — Nixon in 1968 and 1972, Reagan in 1980 and 1984, George H.W. Bush in 1988, George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004. And those that ran as an establishment moderate lost — Ford in 1976, George H.W. Bush in 1992, Dole in 1996, McCain in 2008 and Romney in 2012…. "After looking at that 40-year pattern the D.C. strategists all say we need more establishment moderates because they haven't won in four decades, but next time, trust us, they're going to win. That's not a pattern to electoral success."

Ted Cruz is the princess of the debate club, so he gets wet ginning up “facts” like this. Because the first trick to winning an argument is making up all your own definitions and setting the rules. “Resolved: Conservatives win and moderates lose.” Now, how do we prove that? First, define the range of time. Forty years. That way you won’t have to talk about Eisenhower, Hoover, Harding, Coolidge or Taft, all big business Republicans who won. Second, you don’t count Democrats (by definition moderate) who won. So no Roosevelts, Wilson, Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, Clinton, Obama. Third, make up your own arbitrary definition of who’s a strong conservative and who isn’t. (On Cruz’s list, George H.W. Bush is both, you’ll notice.  One when he wins, the other when he loses.)

And is Cruz pretending that if Dole, McCain or Romney had won instead of lost, he wouldn’t be listing them with his “strong conservatives” instead of his “moderates?” When you get to use your own definitions, everything is evidence for your argument. It’s beautifully dishonest, if you like that kind of thing.