Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are having a huge debate about immigration. Frankly, neither one of them looks good on this issue. Be sure to watch the video.
This is one more instance of why Donald Trump is out in front for the Republican nomination for President. He unequivocally states his position and does not back down. He doesn’t amend it or parse words to try to say one thing and mean another. The fact that both Cruz and Rubio seem to so be doing only hurts their candidacies as many American voters are fed up and angry at what has been a cave in totally ineffectual opposition to Obama. Understand this: Obama has taken things too far, way farther than many people who voted for him want America to go. Yet the loyal opposition has been non-existent shirking the duty of the opposition party to limit the excesses of the other.
This comes down to a matter here of who is lying. We will offer the testimony of four well respected political writers. This is lengthy but when it comes to lying sufficient evidence must be shown to allow full disclosure and see to it that neither man is slandered. In the end, you may come to the conclusion that both Senators are lying and if that is your conclusion and you are joined by many others then you can just about say that Donald Trump has the nomination locked up. Strangely enough, his most serious opposition might no longer be either Cruz or Rubio but rather Chris Christie who is surging in New Hampshire.
He (Cruz) lambastes Rubio for teaming up with Charles Schumer on immigration reform (which Cruz also supported at the time, if with reservations), but he himself teamed up with Schumer on the NSA bill (which Rubio opposed unreservedly).
No political figure is perfectly virtuous or ideologically pure. One difference between Cruz and Rubio is that Rubio has acknowledged his apostasy on the subject of immigration, and has changed his position. Cruz, by contrast, has changed positions, but claims perfect conservative rectitude no matter which side he’s on. Successful politicians think and act strategically, but when it looks like scheming, or outright dishonesty, it leaves a bad taste.
No, Accurately Fact-Checking Cruz on Immigration Isn’t a ‘Smear’
In 2013, Marco Rubio was one of the most prominent co-sponsors and spokesmen for a ‘comprehensive immigration reform’ bill. To his credit, he put a sizable portion of his political capital on the line in an effort to solve an entrenched national problem. Unfortunately, the legislation he endorsed was irredeemablyflawed. After passing the Senate, it ran into a brick wall in the Republican-held House of Representatives. One of the strongest opponents of Rubio’s bill — on which the Floridian teamed up with calculating, liberal Democrats like Chuck Schumer and Dick Durbin — was fellow Senate freshman Ted Cruz. The Texas Senator ferociously fought against the bill, coming up short in the upper chamber, but helping to establish the conditions under which the ‘Gang of Eight’ legislation met its deserved demise down the hall. Now that these promising young conservative leaders are competing for the Republican presidential nomination, this 2013 episode has emerged as a flashpoint. Given the mood of the grassroots, Cruz has the stronger primary campaign argument: This was a bad bill. I adamantly opposed it. Rubio was its co-author. For his part, Rubio (whose judgment I’ve criticized here and here) has abandoned his support for the bill he once championed, now preferring a sequential set of piecemeal reforms, starting with verifiable border enforcement. In order to blunt some of Cruz’s criticism, Rubio has audaciously tried to frame Cruz’s stance as not especially dissimilar to his own, pointing to the fact that his colleague has supported the mass legalization of millions of non-criminal illegal immigrants already in the United States. His evidence? Cruz’s own words:
As the Gang of Eight debate played out, Cruz introduced an amendment that would have gutted the bill’s ‘path to citizenship’ provision, leaving its ‘permanent legal status’ elements in place. If the legislation’s supporters were really interested in addressing the problem and helping illegal immigrants emerge “from the shadows” — as opposed to signing up new voters — they should join him in passing his compromise amendment, Cruz argued. The amendment was defeated, with the help of Gang of Eight Republicans (who aligned with Democrats to shoot down all substantive proposed changes). Recently, in response to Rubio’s clever — if slightly cynical — parry, Cruz is needlessly overplaying his already-strong hand. In doing so, he is crossing into disingenuousness, wrongly denying that he ever supported legalization. He did, explicitly, as Erick Erickson correctly notes. Cruz said so himself in Senate hearings and on NPR. He urged his Senate colleagues to embrace his plan, arguing that its outcome would vastly improve the overall bill’s chances of becoming law. “I don’t want immigration reform to fail. I want immigration reform to pass,” he said at the time, before making an appeal to “people of good faith” on both sides of the aisle to rally behind his plan. Cruz supporters now say the Texan was offering a so-called ‘poison pill’ to expose proponents’ true motives and help kill the bill. Commentator Amanda Carpenter, who worked for Cruz at the time, has made this point, as has Sen. Jeff Sessions, a Cruz ally on the issue. I have no reason to doubt either of them. But that doesn’t erase the problem of Cruz’s own extemporaneous, earnest-sounding, insistent explanations. He was asked at least twice — once by right-leaning journalist Byron York, and once by conservative Princeton professor Robert George — whether his amendment represented a genuine effort to improve the bill, as opposed to a poison pill. In both cases, Cruz swore that it was the former, not the latter:
“In introducing amendments, what I endeavored to do was improve that bill so that it actually fixes the problem,” Cruz told me. “I think an overwhelming majority of Americans in both parties wants to see our broken immigration system fixed, wants to see the problem solved, the border secured, and our remaining a nation that welcomes and celebrates legal immigrants. Given that bipartisan agreement outside of Washington, my objective was not to kill immigration reform but to amend the Gang of Eight bill so that it actually solves the problem rather than making the problem worse.” …
“The amendment I introduced affected only citizenship; it did not affect the underlying legalization in the Gang of Eight bill.” George followed up, “Would your bill pass the House, or would it be killed because it was proposing ‘amnesty’?” Cruz replied,“I believe that if my amendments were adopted, the bill would pass. My effort in introducing them was to find solution that reflected common ground and fixed the problem.”
Confronted with the incontrovertible evidence of the Senator’s past support for mass legalization (he remains notably cagey on this policy question) and his clear-cut statements that his 2013 amendment was not about torpedoing the legislation, hardcore Cruz partisans have resorted to three lines of argument:(1) Engaging inad hominem, unresponsive invective — “RINO, establishment shill,” etc. This is unproductive and unpersuasive, especially since those terms have been badly abused to the point of losing nearly all meaning. (2) Asserting that offering a legislative amendment, exhorting colleagues to adopt it, and calling a proposal an ‘actual solution’ to ‘fix a problem’ does not actually constitute “support.” This tortured parsing would make even the Clintons blush. (3) Contending that Cruz was justified in using guerrilla methods to undermine the bill, including tactical dishonesty. Our friends at The Right Scoop chose door number three yesterday, accusing me of “smearing” Cruz:
It indeed was as strategic move designed to expose what the Gang of 8 bill was all about. We show that here via Amanda Carpenter. Carpenter actually worked for Cruz and knew what he was doing. She’s no hack. But Benson ignores all of that and says that Cruz actually told reporters and others at the time that basically he was really trying to fix the bill. This is the basis of his argument. Well, what’s Cruz supposed to say? Is he supposed to expose the lies of the Gang of 8 by arguing one thing in the Senate and telling everyone else something different? Then his fellow Senators would surely know his strategy and start spreading it everywhere in order to refute Cruz. It’s not hard to put this together. Guy Benson can do better.
In fact, I did not “ignore” the poison pill angle (nor did I ever suggest Carpenter was a “hack”); I addressed it at some length in my original piece. Nevertheless, the bolded sentence above is a clarifying, refreshingly candid defense of the Gruberesque ‘Noble Lie.’ Cruz couldn’t be honest with people about what he was doing, you see, because then his opponents could’ve dismissed his approach as counterfeit posturing. He had to pretend that he authentically supported non-citizenship legalization as a “solution that reflected common ground.” So he was passionately beseeching “people of good faith” to support an idea he was offering…in bad faith, while adamantly denying his true intentions. That’s not a good look. And now noticing any of this is a “smear”? Absurd. Radio host Mark Levin triumphantly tweeted out the TRS link yesterday afternoon, as if it were a dispositive refutation of my factually-accurate critique — gratuitously adding that I am incapable of ‘doing better’ in my work:
BOOM! But no, Guy cannot do better. http://fb.me/713IPCQDI
Today Guy Benson wrote that Ted Cruz lied about his positions last night on the legalization of illegals. Here’s what he wrote:
Cruz now indignantly claims that the black-and-white evidence in these two clips is “not accurate.”………..
I’m truly sorry Mr. Levin feels this way. I will forever be profoundly grateful for his fulsome endorsement of the book I co-authored with Mary Katharine Ham, in which he praised us as “great, young, new conservative voices,” adding, “you don’t have to agree with everything they have to say — and that’s the point!” Indeed. I’m disappointed that he’s chosen to make our current disagreement personal. It isn’t, and needn’t be. That said, if it requires me to ignore evidence and retreat from sound analysis in the face of criticism, he is right: I’m not interested in “doing better.” I’ll leave you with my suggestion for how Cruz could have sidestepped Rubio’s countermeasures without resorting to slippery weasel words and distortions. The big-picture facts are on his side (read from the bottom up):
What Cruz could’ve said to undercut Rubio’s “we’re basically the same!” counterattack w/o distorting the record:
UPDATE – More evidence via a Texas Tribune article published months after the Gang of Eight bill passed the Senate. Note the highlighted bits:
What Cruz has tried to articulate in both word and deed is a middle ground. It got no support from Democrats in Washington, but it goes further than many on the far right want to go by offering leniency to undocumented immigrants here already: A path to legal status, but not to citizenship. A green card with no right to naturalization. Immigration-reform legislation from the Senate’s so-called Gang of Eight passed that chamber in June and includes a 13-year path to citizenship. Cruz pushed unsuccessfully for amendments that would have, among other things, eliminated the citizenship component. Asked about what to do with the people here illegally, however, he stressed that he had never tried to undo the goal of allowing them to stay.“The amendment that I introduced removed the path to citizenship, but it did not change the underlying work permit from the Gang of Eight,” he said during a recent visit to El Paso. Cruz also noted that he had not called for deportation or, as Mitt Romney famously advocated, self-deportation. Cruz said recent polling indicated that people outside Washington support some reform, including legal status without citizenship.
So post-Gang of Eight, Cruz stressed that he hadn’t opposed permanent legal status, called *citizenship* the “poison pill,” noted that he hadn’t called for mass deportations, and touted polling in support of the position he’d advocated (legal status without citizenship). I don’t have a problem with Cruz’s stance, mind you — I just think it’s disingenuous for Cruz to pretend that it isn’t — and never was — his own.
The Ugly Truth About Marco Rubio And His Gang-of-Eight Amnesty Bill
To truly understand why so many people are angry at Marco Rubio about his Gang-of-Eight amnesty bill, you have to go all the way back to his race against Charlie Crist.
Rubio was a Jeb Bush acolyte who embraced the Tea Party and ran for senator in Florida against Charlie Crist. Crist was the popular sitting governor in the state and Rubio was thought to be a huge underdog. However, the grassroots embraced Rubio. Just to give you an example, very early on I organized a coalition that endorsed Rubio and encouraged people not to give money to the NRSC over its endorsement of Crist. I even called for NRSC chairman John Cornyn to RESIGN over his decision to get involved in the race on Crist’s behalf.
Back then, Rubio was talking very tough on immigration by necessity. Although Rubio is significantly more conservative than Crist, the conservative base would have never rallied to his side if he had supported amnesty; he would have lost in a landslide. In other words, Rubio’s anti-amnesty position was one of the central promises of his campaign. In fact, Rubio slammed Charlie Crist for being pro-amnesty and very specifically said he opposed giving illegal aliens citizenship. Back then, Marco Rubio sounded like Jeff Sessions on immigration,
I am strongly against amnesty. The most important thing we need to do is enforce our existing laws. We have existing immigration laws that are not being adequately enforced. Nothing will make it harder to enforce the existing laws, if you reward people who broke them. It demoralizes people who are going through the legal process, it’s a very clear signal of why go through the legal process, if you can accomplish the same thing if you go through the illegal process. And number two, it demoralizes the people enforcing the laws. I am not, and I will never support any effort to grant blanket legalization/amnesty to folks who have entered, stayed in this country illegally.
Unfortunately, even though Marco Rubio is only in the Senate today because he claimed to be in favor of securing the border and stopping amnesty, his position shifted 180 degrees and he became the front man for the Gang-of-Eight amnesty bill.
In a competitive primary, people understandably tend to take what pundits say about candidates with a grain of sand; so instead of my telling you how unimaginably bad this bill was, let me show you what other people said about the bill back in 2013.
Creating more than 30 million new immigrants, including 11 million former illegals, and supplanting their numbers with another 20-odd million guest workers is from a sociological and demographic point of view quite radical: 30 million is roughly a tenth of the current population of the United States. How we handle immigration is of fundamental importance to questions ranging from national security to economic growth to the character of our nation itself. That we cannot get a couple of small-time performance benchmarks written into the bill suggests that this issue is not being treated with the intelligence and the prudence it deserves. — The Editors at National Review
Instead of cracking down on the Administration’s abuse of power, S. 744 places unprecedented new restrictions on interior enforcement–making the current situation much worse and much more hazardous. It is as if S. 744 were explicitly written to handcuff law enforcement officials–binding their hands while giving virtually unchecked authority to executive branch officials to prevent future removals, including removals of criminal aliens. — ICE Council president Chris Crane
Almost every requirement in this bill can be waived by Janet Napolitano: for instance, the time limits on when people can be legalized, the requirements on criminal activity or even the enforcement triggers. Those basically don’t mean anything if any of them is held up in court, still. …The litigation over the 1986 bill didn’t end until just a few years ago. The ACLU has been quite clear that it intends to sue to stop mandatory e-verify and probably sue to stop a bunch of other things. If, for instance, mandatory use of electronic verification is still in the courts 10 years after the bill passes, it’s entirely possible the Secretary of Homeland Security can just give everybody Green Cards on her own – and there are hundreds of other examples of that kind of discretion. It’s not too much of an exaggeration to say that this 1,000 page bill after all of the amendments could be boiled down to, “We trust you, Obama; just do the right thing.” — Mark Krikorian
Okay. So what does that mean, republic is at stake? This is ball game. I remember people saying that about Obamacare. Now they’re saying it about immigration reform. And they’re both right. In the case of immigration reform, it effectively wipes out the Republican Party. — Rush Limbaugh
Now, I can’t quite agree with Rush there. Marco Rubio’s Gang-of-Eight bill wouldn’t have wiped out the Republican Party; it would have just insured that no Republican to the Right of Arlen Specter would ever be elected as President again after it demographically flooded conservatism out of existence in America.
Getting beyond the Gang-of-Eight bill, as late as June of this year, Marco Rubio was openly saying that he wanted to make illegal aliens citizens. However, today he tries to muddy the waters about the subject by merely saying he thinks illegal aliens should eventually be able to get green cards. Of course, people who have green cards are allowed to apply for citizenship; so it’s the same difference over the long haul.
Rubio also now claims to oppose his own Gang-of-Eight immigration plan. During the last debate, he said, “Here’s what we learned in 2013: The American people don’t trust the federal government to enforce our immigration laws, and we will not be able to do anything on immigration until we first prove to the American people that illegal immigration is under control.”
The funny thing about that is it’s very similar to what John McCain said back in 2008 when, like Rubio, he was running for President after his comprehensive immigration bill failed.
As the recent immigration debate demonstrated, Americans have little trust that their government will honor a pledge to do the things necessary to make our border secure. As president, I will honor that pledge by securing the border, thus strengthening our national security. …Once we achieve border security, we must ensure that we approach our remaining immigration challenges with constructive dialogue and solutions that reflect a compassionate approach and the needs of our economy.
Of course, that’s what “straight talk” John McCain said when he was trying to win an election. However, when the Gang-of-Eight bill rolled around, the Republicans involved were Jeff Flake, Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio AND John McCain. Furthermore, you cannot forget that many of Rubio’s establishment backers are behind him specifically because they are expecting him to break his word again and back an immigration plan similar to the Gang-of-Eight bill.
That’s all worth keeping in mind because Marco Rubio wants to be President and he’s promising to get tough on illegal immigration. If he’s telling the truth, he might be a decent candidate. If Rubio’s lying, it doesn’t really make much of a difference over the long haul whether you elect him or Hillary because his immigration policies would permanently cement liberals in power without securing the border or doing anything of significance to stop illegal immigration.
Put another way, if Marco Rubio becomes the President of the United States, the future of our republic depends on Rubio telling the truth this time after he already lied about the same thing to people who walked over broken glass to get him elected.
So now, are you ready to walk over broken glass to get Marco Rubio elected? Choose wisely because if Rubio becomes President and he’s lying about immigration again, it will be the end of the road for conservatism in America.
Open-Borders Money Backs Marco Rubio
Political analysis of the Las Vegas debate immigration dust-up between Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio is missing a key ingredient: the money factor.
You can read the lips of the candidates till the cows come home. But you’ll get to the truth much faster when you learn where pro-amnesty power brokers have placed their bets and hitched their wagons.
Rubio’s brazenly fraudulent campaign to paint Cruz as soft on illegal immigration is a flabbergasting attempt to distract from the Florida junior senator’s faithful allegiance to the open-borders donor class.
Here’s what you need to know:
Facebook, Microsoft and Silicon Valley back Marco Rubio. Mark Zuckerberg is a social justice CEO who panders to Hispanics with his pro-amnesty, anti-deportation advocacy; Facebook is an H-1B visa dependent company working hard to obliterate hurdles to hiring an unlimited stream of cheap foreign tech workers. It’s no coincidence that Facebook’s lobbying outfit, FWD.us, was waging war on Sen. Cruz online this week in parallel with Sen. Rubio’s disingenuous onstage attack.
The D.C. front group, which Zuckerberg seeded in 2013 with nearly $40 million during the Gang of Eight fight, has consistently provided political protection for Rubio as he carried their legislative water.
FWD.us’s GOP subsidiary, “Americans for a Conservative Direction,” showered Rubio and pro-illegal alien amnesty Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., with millions of dollars in media ad buys. The group also funded a deceptive, $150,000 ad campaign for immigration sellout Rep. Renee Ellmers, R-N.C., which falsely claimed she opposed amnesty to help her fend off a primary challenge. In all, FWD.us spent an estimated $5 million on TV and radio spots in more than 100 GOP districts before the Senate passed the Gang of Eight bill in June 2013.
Zuckerberg personally donated to Rubio, as have pro-H-1B expansionist Silicon Valley CEOs from Oracle, Cisco and Seagate. Microsoft, founded by leading H-1B/amnesty cheerleader Bill Gates, has been Rubio’s No. 2 corporate donor the past five years.
Paul Singer backs Marco Rubio. The hedge fund billionaire announced his support for Rubio in October. Amnesty is and always has been a top agenda item for Singer, who helped fund the National Immigration Forum along with fellow hedge fund billionaire George Soros. NIF propped up a faux “grass-roots” initiative of religious conservatives, dubbed the Evangelical Immigration Table, to lobby for the Gang of Eight.
NIF was founded by far-left attorney Rick Swartz, who opposes tracking/deporting visa overstayers and opposes employer sanctions against companies that violated immigration laws. Swartz also served as an advisor to Microsoft.
The Singer/Soros-funded NIF helped sabotage the Immigration Act of 1990, which was intended to impose modest restrictions on immigration, and turned it into “one of the most expansionist immigration bills ever passed,” as one expert put it. On Capitol Hill, Swartz worked closely with immigration expansionist Sen. Spencer Abraham’s legislative director Cesar Conda and Sen. Sam Brownback’s legislative director (now GOP House speaker) Paul Ryan — who is busy this holiday season fronting an omnibus bill that will open the floodgates to 250,000 unskilled foreign guest workers.
Side note: Beltway establishment fixture Conda previously worked for the pro-amnesty U.S. Chamber of Commerce and mentored Ryan from the age of 19. Conda guided newbie Rubio as his Senate chief of staff from 2011-2014 and remains his powerful immigration Svengali behind closed doors.
Rove/Bush-tied front groups back Marco Rubio. The American Action Network is a Big Business GOP lobbying organization led by former Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., and co-founded with John McCain adviser/fundraiser Fred Malek. AAN shared its offices with amnesty peddler Karl Rove’s American Crossroads in D.C. AAN’s “action arm,” the American Action Forum, was founded in February 2010, and Jeb Bush sat on the AAF board. AAN proceeded to spend a whopping $25 million to attack conservatives who opposed amnesty.
In 2013, the group dumped more than $750,000 into primetime, Fox News Channel ad buys pushing the Gang of Eight immigration bill, including $100,000 in ads to support leading GOP voices for amnesty, including, you guessed it, Sen. Marco Rubio.
Open-borders Democrats love Marco Rubio. As Sen. Schumer brayed last month: Rubio “was not only totally committed, he was in that room with us. His fingerprints are all over” the Gang of Eight monstrosity. Indeed, Sens. Durbin and Rubio plotted strategy during early morning workout sessions at the Senate gym.
Rubio hired Enrique Gonzalez, a Democratic donor and partner with the global immigration law firm, Fragomen Del Rey, to be his chief adviser on the bill. Gonzalez specializes in obtaining H-1B guest worker visas (tripled in the Gang of Eight bill) and EB-5 visas for wealthy foreign investors. After the bill passed, Gonzalez returned to his law firm as managing partner of the Florida office, where he brags about his role as Rubio’s “special counsel” and “principal advisor/negotiator” — read: bill writer.
Cruz kept his promise to voters. He voted against the Gang of Eight giveaway. Period.
Rubio broke his promise: He paid lip service to border security and the American Dream, while scheming with Sens. Schumer and Durbin on the 180,000-word, 1,200-page Christmas tree for Big Biz, Big Tech and ethnic lobbyists.
Rubio didn’t just vote for the bill. He and his staff were integral to crafting it, shilling for it, and cashing in on the legislative boondoggle dubbed a “permanent pension plan for immigration lawyers.”
When you need the truth about which Beltway crapweasels are selling out America, always follow the money.