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Politics as usual

Candidates talk the talk, don’t walk the walk

Matt Olson, Copy Editor

Texas State Senator and GOP hopeful Ted Cruz won the Republican vote in Monday’s Iowa caucus, shoring up more support than previous frontrunner Donald Trump. Trump’s support followed Cruz’s, and Rubio’s followed Trump’s, while Ben Carson, Rand Paul and Jeb Bush fell into respective place with less than 20 percent of the popular vote altogether.               

The debate seemed to have several theoretical winners on the basis of performance – Paul, John Kasich and Carly Fiorina. These nominees offered clear, concise and – for the most part – reasonable goals and ideas as to what they would do – or attempt to do – if they secure the Office of the President. Even Rubio offered his take on rationality. At the same time, debate performance seems to have mattered little in the wake of the caucus outcome.               

Cruz’s performance in the debate was nothing short of a joke. He was able to make light of Trump’s absence and seemed fine in the early going, but when the moderators asked other participants to criticize parts of Cruz’s statements or ideology, the current GOP frontrunner complained that he “may have to leave the stage” if asked “one more mean question.”              

Judging by this performance, one has to ask whether or not Cruz is a viable candidate for the US presidency. Cruz wants to carpet-bomb ISIS as a means of defeating the terrorist organization, which is fair, but this approach will likely lead to “mean questions,” namely involving the inevitable civilian casualties. Cruz will not be able to dodge these questions.                

Additionally, those who support Cruz have likely also supported “mean questions” directed at President Obama, who himself has not backed down from such inquiries. Whether or not you like Obama, you have to admit that, over the course of his presidency, he has shown more leadership than we are likely to see from Cruz.               

Cruz’s contributions to the Senate have done little to prove that he would make a reliable president. He ran on a promise to shake up Washington, but he only ended up adding to gridlock and frustrating people on both sides of the aisle. Cruz’s view of himself as a maverick renegade is not entirely wishful thinking, but his view of his record as contributing to our government and nation falls woefully short of reality.               

Meanwhile Trump’s support has barely faltered. Sure, he came in second to Cruz, but if he had shown up at the debate, he likely would have won the caucus. However, Trump’s absence relates to Cruz’s inability to stand the “mean questions” that the debate moderators asked. Trump refused to participate in the debate on the basis of moderator Megyn Kelly’s presence because of a feud that began last August when she asked about his views on women.               

The two GOP frontrunners have both complained about the questions being asked to or about them. While, yes, political races have a tendency to get nasty, these questions have been relatively simple and straightforward. Cruz’s ideas and record were questioned, as were Trump’s word choice when speaking about women with whom he disagrees.               

Here’s a question the American public should consider, without backing out like Cruz and Trump might: do we, as a country, need a leader who only answers comfortable questions?

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