Houston Chronicle: Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) called on Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz to apologize Friday for a joke Cruz made about retired senator Bob Dole of Kansas at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday.Let’s be honest here; McCain’s not talking about the “Pres. Dole” crack, he’s upset about “Pres. McCain.” McCain — being McCain — is butthurt that Cruz made an example of him as a bad candidate who lost because he was a RiNO. He just thinks it looks better to demand an apology on behalf of someone else, rather than himself. What he’s clearly hoping for are words to the effect of “I apologize for a joke I told at CPAC.”
“All of us remember President Dole, and President McCain and President Romney,” Cruz said. “Now, look, those are good men, they’re decent men, but when you don’t stand and draw a clear distinction, when you don’t stand for principle, Democrats celebrate.”
Cruz’s speech encouraged CPAC attendees to “stand with principle.” Dole, McCain, and Romney, all of whom had unsuccessful presidential bids, were the butt of Cruz’s joke that was intended to exemplify Republicans who did not draw a clear distinction between them and their Democratic opposition.
In an interview Friday morning with Andrea Mitchell of MSNBC, McCain, a close friend of the 90-year-old Dole, criticized Cruz, saying that any joke about an injured veteran not having principle was in poor taste and that he needs to issue an apology.
“…When he throws Bob Dole in there, I wonder if he thinks that Bob Dole stood for principle on that hilltop in Italy when he was so gravely wounded and left part of his body there fighting for our country,” McCain said. “Bob Dole is such a man of honor and integrity and principle. I hope that Ted Cruz will apologize to Bob Dole because that’s — that has crossed a line that to me that leaves the realm of the politics and discourse that we should have in America.”
But how stupid was Cruz’s statement in the first place? The candidates who ran in all those election were chosen by Republican voters. The sort of candidate that Ted Cruz argues is able to win presidential elections can’t even win Republican primaries. If they could, the names he’d be referencing would be names like Santorum, Brownback, and Gramm. It’s a silly argument and McCain would make a much better case against it by pointing out the gaping logical hole in it.
Instead, McCain makes it personal. This leaves the weakest part of the argument standing, in order to play a cheap victim card. It’s an argument that the Republican Party would do well to kill — and the Arizona senator is in a position to help do just that — but everything is all about John McCain and his intense desire that Ted Cruz get off his lawn.
[photo by Gage Skidmore]