Cruz and Rubio

Now that they’ve tied for second place in SC, I’ve started thinking about the differences between the two. Cruz is considered out-of-the-mainstream and Rubio is somehow the establishment candidate. What are the actual differences in their positions that makes one of them radical and the other mainstream?

Cruz tried to make the US default on our obligations. Pretty radical.

Rubio seems to be accusing Obama of actively trying to harm the US for the sake of harming it. That is, it’s not that Obama is naive or incompetent or trying to enrich his friends, he’s harming the US on purpose. Pretty radical accusation.

Rubio seems likely to be more hawkish on foreign policy.

Rubio’s tax plan is apparently even more out there than Cruz’s.

I’m sure they are both way out of the American mainstream when it comes to abortion (I think majorities want it to be legal with restrictions, right?).

What am I missing? Why is Cruz the crazy one and Rubio the establishment one?

(Note: I’m in and out today and during the week I can’t really post much, so I may not participate much in my own thread, which is bad, I know. Apologies in advance – I’m really hoping to learn something here, since one of those two will be up against Trump.)

My take is that Cruz has gone out of his way from day one in the Senate to howl about how awful things are in Washington and how even the respected elders of his party are awful and nearly as bad as Obama. He is the most disliked and reviled member of the Senate and the ones who have the strongest negative feelings toward him are members of his own party.

Rubio is considered establishment for a couple of reasons. One, up until recently he was actually fairly moderately conservative on a few issues, most notably on immigration reform. Of late he has veered hard right on that issues as well as being very vocally anti-gay, anti-choice and super hawkish on foreign policy. He may have always been harshly anti-choice for all I know but his rhetoric in general has gotten much more scary right since he started campaigning and he has really been pandering to the Evangelical/Fundamentalist Christians. The second reason he is viewed as establishment is that for the most part he has always played nice with party leaders in the past and doesn’t seem as totally crazy as some of the others have been.

Cruz quite frankly is in many ways the scariest of the people running for the GOP nomination. He is really bright and devious. He combines the demagogary of Joseph McCarthy and the willingness to employ dirty tricks typical of Richard Nixon with a creepy take on Christianity known as Dominionist Theology. Rubio is woefully incompetent for an office such as the Presidency but he probably wouldn’t screw things up to the extent a President Cruz undoubtedly would. In the 21st century, anyone who claims that they have been “anointed by God” to lead their country is potentially very dangerous in my opinion.

Re: your first point, didn’t Cruz and Rubio vote together on both the debt ceiling and refusing to pass a budget that included Planned Parenthood funding?

Don’t mistake what I said as saying Rubio is or ever was a moderate Republican in the traditional sense of the term. He has always been a conservative but in the past he was willing on occasion to work across the aisle. Cruz has never done that and Rubio learned his lesson about that when he got burned on the immigration issue. I think he remains more palatable to the establishment because they believe he could be controlled or influenced by them. Cruz has made it clear he despises them.

I was just saying they both tried to make the U.S. default, so it should be a checkmark in both their columns, not just Cruz’s.

Got it.

Basically I agree with what I think is implied in your OP. Rubio was after all a Tea Party darling before the immigration “gang of 8”. So that alone might make him more palatable to the establishment but it’s a thin veneer for him actually being establishment, imho.

I–like many people–initially considered the idea of Trump running for president as kind of a joke.

Now I–as a moderate Democrat–am realizing I would much rather have Trump in the White House than either Cruz or Rubio.

Yes, but didn’t Cruz actively work to get the House to hold fast? That seems qualitatively different than just casting a vote.

One thing I forgot - didn’t they both flip flop on immigration?

So far, it seems to me that they are both equally extreme, but Cruz is just not as well liked. Not very comforting.

Keep in mind this is a primary where Kasich is considered moderate.

Cruz is perceived to be more of a true believer with evangelical appeal, basically a theocrat when gets on a preaching roll. Rubio has been saying the right things but has a mushier religious track record.

Yes it’s my understanding that Cruz was more active in messing with other “establishment” Republican’s nomination races for Senate and Representatives.

Yeah, but Rubio is the one bringing up Jesus in the debates.

So, he annoys the establishment, but his positions are basically the same?

In a way, Cruz is maybe less scary - with Rubio, I think he would be very much influenced by his cabinet, and if he finds another Cheney and Rove, that may be bad. Plus Cruz might have a slightly harder time getting things through Congress since everyone seems to dislike him.

Rubio is on very friendly terms with other radical right-wingnuts. Cruz, OTOH, does not play well with others.

Kasich might be worse than Reagan, but at least he is competent and rational. Any of the other GOPpers still on the stage would be a disaster and, almost certainly, the very worst President ever elected.

The Establishment thinks they can control Rubio, while Cruz is the loosest cannon there has ever been. Rubio, for all of his callowness and laziness, has some basic concepts of What Is Right they think they can use to steer him. Cruz believes in nothing but power for its own sake, and cannot be worked with.

People think Rubio is a moderate only because they hadn’t been paying any attention to him. He got mentioned in passing without any close scrutiny, and was described as a moderate, so that’s where it got left. People don’t change their minds because they like it, they do it when they have to.

And even if his own convictions were somewhat moderate, slightly to the left of Calvin Coolidge…when does he stop pandering? Can he ride that hateful wave all the way to the nomination, then yell “Psych! Fooled ya! Now, you gotta vote for me or Hillary!”

Like they said: Rubio is not “the Moderate”, Rubio is, among the remaining candidates viable among “the base”, the one who’s a rightwing Young Turk but one the Establishment can work with. Or at least that’s what the Establishment leaders tell themselves. They look at him and see someone who voted for default as a partisan strategy. They look at Cruz and see someone who really would want it to happen based on absolutist ideological beliefs, and who would actively work to have sitting Republicans primaried by ultraradicals if they don’t go his way.

So, since I’m not in Congress, those differences don’t mean much to me. Seems like they’re both equally awful.

Thanks for the responses, everyone. I’m not going to be able to respond much more, but I’m still interested in other opinions.

Trump is the worst face of America to the world.

Cruz is the worst in that he would push hard-right policies the hardest.

While there is a lot concerning about Rubio, I think he would be the least objectionable.

One question I’m asking myself concerns the nightmarish situation where Turkey is bombed by Russia, probably in retaliation for Turkey trying to bring down the Assad government in Syria. Turkey then asks us to fight back against Russia as required by the NATO treaty.

Trump might seem to be the safest bet to avoid World War III, since he seemingly likse Putin. But I wouldn’t count on Trump to behave consistent with campaign rhetoric. It is extremely hard to predict how he would deal with conflicting expert advice. Also, real foreign policy experts would likely decline to be part of his administration.

Rubio might seem the guy most likely to behave with undue agressiveness. But he also is the one most likely to actually listen to conflicting expert advice. Of the three, he would be the most open-minded.

Cruz might have the best instincts in terms of not wanting war, but his history of working badly in a team is scary in terms of how his White House would operate in a crisis.

Of course, Hillary’s moderate instincts. and experience in somewhat similar crises, makes here a far better bet than any of them.

Ideologically they have few differences. But Rubio is more willing to work with Democrats, while Ted Cruz isn’t even willing to work with Republicans.

I hear Cruz plays with the Kochs quite well.