Huckabee Peers Up at Cruz in the Polls, Attacks Him for Lack of Hysteria on Marriage Equality

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Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz at Values Voter Summit
Ted Cruz's hold on Mike Huckabee's constituency has got the Arkansan all riled up. Photo: Congressional Quarterly/© 2015 CQ-Roll Call, Inc.

In one of the more, er, interesting Invisible Primary diversions of the holiday season, on Wednesday Politico’s Mike Allen tried to win the morning with a breathless report that Texas senator Ted Cruz told a private “moderate” fund-raising audience in sinful New York that rolling back marriage equality would not be a “top-three” priority. Allen found out about this shocking indiscretion via a “secret tape” sent to him by a shocked witness. 

Truth is that in the same breath Cruz folded the fight against marriage equality into his “top priority,” which he describes as “defending the Constitution.” He also reminded listeners that he has long favored letting the states set marriage policies, as they generally do subject to constitutional conditions. 

Not to put too fine a gloss on it, Mike Allen manufactured a “controversy” out of this nothing-burger of a quote, presumably because it could get the recently high-flying Cruz in trouble both with Christian Right activists ever alert to their issues sliding down the priority list, and with Republican voters concerned with “authenticity.” Cruz, you see, has always raised suspicions that he’s a sort of an Elmer Gantry figure, a slick Ivy Leaguer pulling the wool over the eyes of the Folks.

Personally, I think such charges have it backwards; if anyone’s getting zoomed by Ted Cruz, it’s the sophisticates who think he would be a regular old-school Republican if elected president. But that’s probably because I’ve spent a lot of time listening to the apocalyptic ravings of his favorite warm-up act and father, the Reverend Ted Cruz.

So far the only fallout from the Cruz/Allen “scandal” is the understandable reaction of Mike Huckabee, who is peering up at Ted Cruz in the poll rankings and wondering how he lost his long-established conservative evangelical base in Iowa to a Cuban-American. According to (naturally) Politico, Huck rose to the occasion:

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Conservatives are being asked to ‘coalesce’ around yet another corporately-funded candidate that says something very different at a big donor fundraiser in Manhattan than at a church in Marshalltown,” Huckabee said in a statement released by his campaign Wednesday afternoon. “Shouldn’t a candidate be expected to have authenticity and consistency, instead of having to look at a map to decide what to believe and what to say?”

Cruz’s answer to the “top-three” question may have struck a chord with Huckabee because the former Arkansas governor has issued his own “top-three” statement, allowing as how he’ll fold his presidential campaign if he doesn’t get one of those legendary three tickets out of Iowa. That will only happen over Ted Cruz’s dead (political) body, so no wonder Huck’s trying to take him down.

Cruz’s answer to the “top-three” question may have struck a chord with Huckabee because the former Arkansas governor has issued his own “top-three” statement, allowing as how he’ll fold his presidential campaign if he doesn’t get one of those legendary three tickets out of Iowa. That will only happen over Ted Cruz’s dead (political) body, so no wonder Huck’s trying to take him down.

Huck Piggybacks on Politico Rap Against Cruz