Ex Senator Bob Dole (R-KS) offered some sharp comments about the surging conservative candidacy of Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX).
The 92 year old Dole served four terms in U.S. House (R-KS 6th & 1st) and who had a moderate voting record that bridged the gaps of the Kansas Republican party. President Gerald Ford named Dole as his choice for his Vice Presidential running mate in 1976. Dole was also was a five term Senator from Kansas who resigned from the body in 1995 for his furtive campaign for President against President Bill Clinton. Now Dole is a elder statesman surrogate for 2016 Republican Presidential hopeful former Governor Jeb Bush (R-FL). Who can argue with experience like that?
The strategy for the Jeb! Bush campaign is to rely upon endorsements and advertising to achieve victory. Wheeling out Bob Dole to write fundraising letters and make television appearances seems to epitomize the strategy. What are they thinking?
Bob Dole has been out of office for twenty years! This may not seem significant to Jeb! as he has been out of elective office for nearly nine years himself, but Dole was the head of the ticket four presidential cycles ago. When Dole ran for President in 1996 he was 72 years old. Due to his World War II battle injuries, Dole did not give a vibrant persona on the campaign trail and was savaged by a Saturday Night Live satire of Dole being kicked out of the Real World house. The years of Viagra commercials and Howard Stern appearances will not make Bob Dole seem fresh.
Then it is imperative to consider the source of a conservative critique. Bob Dole was renowned for his moderate voting record. During the 1976 Presidential campaign, he took the second slot during the Kansas City GOP Presidential Convention to contrast the conservative insurgent, then Governor Ronald Reagan. Dole was not know as a strong voice for conservatism during his ten year tenure as Senate Majority Leader. Yet at this late date, Robert Dole is going to be the arbiter for real Republican conservatism.
Dole's charges against Cruz are that he tried to shut down the government. The legislative branch creates governmental budgets and the Executive Branch. Cruz gave a flying flip in to use Congressional Power to roll back Obamacare, an issue which gave Republicans a majority in the House after the 2010 elections and ultimately the Senate after the 2014 election. But it is so much easier in the District of Calamity Cocktail Party to go along and get along and occasionally offer some red meat when back home around election time.
Per Bob Dole, the second scarlet mark on Senator Cruz was calling Senate Majority Leader(?) Mitch McConnell a liar on the Senate floor. Oh, the humanity. A breach in protocol in the world's leading debate society. The problem is, to put it in Texas twang, it's ain't necessarily so. Kind of like McConnell's word. Cruz recounted the truth about broken promises but avoided the label of liar,
Dole's damning of Cruz's conservatism underscores how out of touch elites are about the sentiments of the grassroot Republicans. With Trump, Cruz, Carson and Rubio attracting the support of over 50% of the base GOP voters, it is an odd tactic to claim that their outside the beltway dissatisfaction with the status quo are not real conservative Republican sentiments.
The medium is also the message. Dole delivered his diatribe against Cruz and Trump on MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell show. It is dubious if ANY conservatives watch that program much less are swayed by the rhetoric.
Dole's attacks against Cruz may extend from political animus to a concerted strategy. It has been postulated that Jeb! proponents will scatter shots against most of the rest of the GOP field save "the brash billionaire to make it a damoclean choice between Jeb! and "the Donald".
After Dole's Andrea Mitchell hit, one should wonder about when Doles are lemons and not pineapples. At this stage in the process, Dole would be wise to can it.