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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

There's just something about Ted

by digby

... that drives everybody crazy. Even Sean Hannity and he has a very high threshold for insanity:

Hours after New York Rep. Peter King said he hated Cruz and would take cyanide if he ever won the nomination, Hannity conducted a 14-minute interview with the Texas senator, almost immediately pressing him on his campaign’s delegate selection operation that has obliterated Donald Trump’s.

“You’re hoping to get to a second ballot. In other words, in a second ballot people that support Donald Trump or John Kasich or Marco Rubio, if those delegates are still relevant, can then switch their votes,” Hannity said. “So you’re in a process of talking to delegates, and it seems to be very extensive. Could you explain to people what’s going on?”

And so it began.

“Sean, with all respect, that’s not what people are concerned about,” Cruz responded, citing more jobs, raising wages and defeating Hillary Clinton in the general election as issues voters are concerned about.

“And the media loves to obsess about process. This process and this whining from the Trump campaign is all silly. It’s very, very simple…,” Cruz continued before Hannity interrupted.
Hannity argued that through social media and responses to his radio and television shows, voters are telling him that they find this process confusing.

“It’s more than a process question,” Hannity said. “It’s an integrity of the election question, and everybody’s asking me this question so I’m giving you an opportunity to explain it.”
A lightly chuckling Cruz said only hardcore Trump supporters would ask such a question.

“Why do you do this?” Hannity said, raising his voice. “Every single time I — no, you gotta stop. Every time I have you on the air and I ask a legitimate question, you try to throw this in my face. I’m getting sick of it. I’ve had you on more than any other candidate on radio and TV. So if I ask you, senator, a legitimate question to explain to the audience, why don’t you just answer it?”

“Sean, can I answer your question without being interrupted?” Cruz shot back.

Cruz went on to note that he’s won five elections in the last three weeks in Utah, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Colorado and Wyoming. “Over 1.3 million people voted in those five states. We won all five,” he said. “All of this noise and complaining and whining has come from the Trump campaign because they don’t like the fact that they’ve lost five elections in a row, that Republicans are uniting behind our campaign. So they’re screaming on Drudge and it’s getting echoed, this notion of voterless elections. It is nonsense. They are making it up.”

Cruz added that delegates are elected by the people, but Trump’s campaign doesn’t know how to organize. Cruz suggested the Republican presidential front-runner’s campaign passed out fliers asking supporters to vote for a list of delegates that included the Texas senator’s delegates and fired off an emergency email to Washington, D.C., supporters that were intended for supporters in Washington state days ahead of the state convention.

“I cannot help that the Donald Trump campaign is incapable of running a lemonade stand,” Cruz said. “My focus is on jobs, freedom and security, not this incessant whining from the other side. If you lose, don’t cry about it. Go back and learn how to win an election.”

Hannity maintained that most voters aren’t as knowledgeable about delegate selection and think the process is over after a state’s primary or caucus. He pressed Cruz again to explain what happens after the election.

“It’s a simple question. It’s not a Trump question. It’s a question about what’s going to happen,” Hannity said.

Cruz repeated that he’s winning elections and accused the real estate mogul’s campaign of panicking.
“They don’t know how to handle losing over and over again, so they’re screaming,” Cruz said.

“Every time the people vote against them, they scream the election’s been stolen. No, when people vote against you, it means you’ve lost an election.”

Cruz explained that the actual delegates are elected by supporters and remarked that every presidential candidate has been able to understand that.

“The Donald Trump campaign doesn’t know what they’re doing. It’s a Kim Kardashian reality show,” he said.

What if the delegates selected don’t represent the will of the people, Hannity asked. “Sean, that’s why there’s an election,” Cruz answered.

“No, no. I mean — but if there’s a conflict. That’s why I’m asking. I’m — look, senator, I don’t know why you’re mad,” Hannity said. "There’s no — I’m asking. I’m just trying to understand it. I’m really having a hard time understanding why you’re getting angry at this.”

Cruz stressed that he isn’t angry but wants to focus on the issues rather than the “nonsense” from the Trump campaign.

“Senator, I’ve asked you those questions a hundred times,” Hannity said after Cruz recommended shifting the conversation to jobs and the economy. “I’ve asked you those questions a hundred times — more than anybody else.”
As my Dad used to say, "he's slicker'n owl shit."

It's fair to ask why he's so reluctant to explain what he's doing. The fact is there's nothing unethical about it --- he's not breaking any rules despite what Trump is saying.  But he wants to
preserve the fiction that his strategy isn't to win the inside game persuading conservative local and state officials and activists to change their votes and support him on a second ballot. In this game, Cruz isn't the maverick outsider he's the guy working the system. And that makes sense. Cruz is a product of the conservative movement. But in this campaign, being organized in any fashion is seen as corrupt and venal so he has to be careful.

Cruz is a very smart, hard working, strategic politician and he may very well still pull this thing off. That race is anything but decided. But he's got a huge handicap --- a personality that makes people recoil in disgust. Surprisingly, that's not a deal breaker in presidential politics --- Richard Nixon wasn't exactly warm and fuzzy and he won two national elections (and came very, very close in a third.) But it doesn't help, especially since he's made so many enemies in his own party.

He's testing the strength of the ideological conservative movement as an organized force within the GOP.  His success or failure will ultimately show if its now officially got the upper hand in the party.