You’ll hear a lot in future days about Cruz’s having hit Trump on his “New York values,” particularly seeing as the media is centered in the Big Apple. Trump gave a far better response to Cruz than anyone would have expected, and the instant reaction is that Cruz took a beating in the exchange.
But is Cruz making a mistake in beating up New York?
Don’t be so quick to judge that.
We know that Cruz did message-testing in Iowa on the “New York values” narrative, and for him to push it in the debate with Trump standing next to him is a good indication that the test was successful. Furthermore, other than New Hampshire the early primary states are almost uniformly places where not only do most voters know exactly what “New York values” means but aren’t exactly fans of them. Even in New Hampshire, there are lots of natives who decry the presence of “Massholes,” Bostonians who fled the big city to the Granite State but took with them all their politics and socially liberal attitudes, and Cruz’s gambit could register with them as a result. As Cruz isn’t expected to win in New Hampshire, the anti-“Masshole” crowd could be enough to give him a small boost and perhaps a stronger-than-expected finish.
And while Trump might well have handled the exchange, if you game out the aftermath Cruz could well have found gold. What is Bill de Blasio, the obnoxious leftist mayor of that city, going to say in response to Cruz? What is Hillary Clinton going to say? Al Sharpton? And when they pop off against Cruz, will that put Trump on their side? What fresh news story will emerge from New York City to offer Cruz a “See, I told you so” moment later in the campaign?
Cruz is likely laying in wait for Clinton to defend New York City in tone-deaf fashion, so he can bring up the bizarre fact that Trump bought her as a party favor for his wedding. He can then suggest that there are lots of rich people in his hometown of Houston who would never have thought to buy her for that party, and the same is true in Iowa, South Carolina, the SEC primary states, and so forth.
That said, the New Yorkers in the media will rage against Cruz in response for this. Perhaps he figures he can’t get worse treatment from them than he’s already gotten.
It’s a risky thing, perhaps, taking on the nation’s media capitol. But Ben Shapiro says Cruz’ calculations are correct where the New York issue is concerned…
First off, Trump’s play here is incredibly manipulative and nasty. Obviously, Cruz didn’t mean to suggest that the behavior of New Yorkers on 9/11 was anything less than exemplary. Cruz insults DC values constantly, but nobody suggests that he’s insulting the behavior of people from DC in their response to an attack on the Pentagon on 9/11. This is politically correct nonsense from The Donald. It isn’t truth, it isn’t brash, and it isn’t honest.
The media know this, but they hate Cruz, so they’ll play along. Remember this: when former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani ran for president in 2008, the media scoffed every time he mentioned 9/11. Now Donald Trump does it to benefit himself politically, and they’re drooling.
In fact, the media attention to the Cruz/Trump “New York values” spat demonstrates more than anything else just how insular and self-centered New York media are. Their response to Cruz’s comments actually reinforces Cruz’s argument, as this insane cover from today’s New York Daily News shows:
Shapiro then offers a couple of good examples to show that everybody around the country has known this New York thing is a thing for a long time.
A quote from Mark Twain is one…
“All men in New York insult you–there seem to be no exceptions. There are exceptions of course–have been–but they are probably dead. I am speaking of all persons there who are clothed in a little brief authority.”
And then there is this New Yorker cover from 1979…
But it’s more than that, particularly where Republican politics is concerned.
The 9/11 stuff that the New Yorkers are parroting Trump with aside (after all, that was 15 years ago for crying out loud), who’s the mayor of New York?
Nobody – NOBODY – voting in the Republican primaries before, say, March 15 would tolerate living in a place that would elect a Sandinista mayor like DeBlasio. For a lot of them that would be cause for revolution, not just a change of address.
And who’s the governor of New York?
What’s Cuomo’s reaction to Cruz’ New York Values gambit?
That it’s anti-American. Seriously, that’s what he said…
— Morning Joe (@Morning_Joe) January 15, 2016
Cuomo is, as SooperMexican at The Right Scoop notes, the guy who said this…
You have a schism within the Republican Party. … They’re searching to define their soul, that’s what’s going on. Is the Republican party in this state a moderate party or is it an extreme conservative party? That’s what they’re trying to figure out. It’s a mirror of what’s going on in Washington. The gridlock in Washington is less about Democrats and Republicans. It’s more about extreme Republicans versus moderate Republicans.
… You’re seeing that play out in New York. … The Republican Party candidates are running against the SAFE Act — it was voted for by moderate Republicans who run the Senate! Their problem is not me and the Democrats; their problem is themselves. Who are they? Are they these extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault-weapon, anti-gay? Is that who they are? Because if that’s who they are and they’re the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are.
A day after Cruz got hit by Trump on the New York business, he’s winning on the issue – because he stoked up all the obnoxious New Yorkers who have access to the media and reminded people in the South and elsewhere in “flyover country” why they can’t stand New Yorkers.
Of which Trump is one.
It might have looked rough on TV, but as a matter of political strategy this might turn out to have been a stroke of genius over the long haul. Making Trump depend on the goodwill people in South Carolina, Georgia, Arkansas and Texas have for New York City isn’t a half bad idea for how to pop his bubble.
And for Cruz there is no real cost. He was never going to win New York anyway. Not in the primary, not in the general.
But without Bowie, we’ve lost the guy who did this…
And, just before his death, this (which is haunting, in the extreme)…
That’s one you throw back. Come on, man.