Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. Rubio and Cruz. Ted VERSUS Marco. That’s the news that is fit to print after this week’s Republican Primary Debate from CNN and Salem. You’ve seen several articles here at RedState about this new and epic battle. And the hottest part of this Hot Topic, and the source of many a Twitter Hot Take, is the “he said, he said” battle over immigration and who likes it too much.

To lay it out quickly and less eloquently or well than Dan McLaughlin: At the debate, Rubio alleged that Cruz was to his left on immigration because Cruz supported “legalization.” Cruz claimed he never supported such a thing. In the aftermath, he has taken the time-honored political path we call “clarification.’ While he is in no way being dishonest, he is definitely lawyering. These two clips make it clear. Here’s the moment in question at the debate.

Video courtesy The Daily Banter

And here is Fox’s Bret Baier pinning Cruz down about it.


And you see, this is where the lesson can be learned from Donald Trump. I know, I know. Lay down with dogs ..

Still. Imagine how this would have gone if the Donald had been in that exact situation. What would he have done? Probably something like this:

Baier: That’s not what you said at the time. Yahoo dug up these quotes, saying if this amendment were to pass, the chance of this bill passing into law would increase dramatically. It sounds like you wanted the bill to pass.

Trump TrumpFace

That’s right. He would have shrugged it off. He would have made a face and said “come on Bret. Look it’s very simple. I was trying to get what I wanted from a negotiation. I wanted to stop what they were doing and I got news for you, I did it.” And if Bret pressed him again, he would have waved his hands and said “I make deals. OK? That’s what I do. I know deals. And I worked this deal, and I won this deal, and that’s what Americans care about.”

And people would have loved him for it. He wouldn’t be on defense right now. You can learn from anyone, including Donald Trump. This is worth learning.

But it’s not just Ted. The same is true of Marco, and on the very same issue.

Dana Bash tried to pin Marco down over the question of “citizenship”, and Marco’s reply mostly, and correctly, dealt with the actual steps that would be involved in a person obtaining legal status.

Bash wanted it to be a simple up or down, yes or no answer. Do you support citizenship for people who complete your path to legalization? Because that’s something the media can use. And Marco fought her on it.

That is exactly what happened with Cruz. Marco tried to force Ted into the position of saying “yes, I support a path to legalization,” and he fought him on it. They are both lawyering here.

Now back to how Trump. How would he answer Dana Bash? I mean, well obviously Trump would have just said “hell no” to her question on legalization and citizenship. But pretend he held Rubio’s immigration views. In that case, he would probably have said …

“You know what Dana? I have a path that I’ve laid out. I think it’s great. I think the American people will think it’s great, and honestly, I think the hispanic people would think it is great too. It’s a set of steps that make it clear that you’re not going to be one of the bad ones. That you’re a good one. And after you’ve worked long enough and hard enough, then yeah, I’m fine with that. Move in. Be part of the system. Don’t take from it. Put something into it. Because I made it impossible for them to be moochers. I made them give ten years of loyalty. If they can do that, maybe by being workers on my wall. then yeah, they can finally be one of us. We earn things here.”

Sure, it’s still long-winded. I never said Trump was brief. But he wouldn’t lawyer it. He’d just say what he was saying, good or bad, popular or unpopular.

Look, lawyering is a great skill to have. But so is negotiating. And even manipulating. Just don’t use the one to ruin the other two. That’s the real art of the deal. At least the Washington deal.

Trummp fans always say they like that he “tells it like it is.” Usually that means he has an awful opinion and isn’t ashamed to share it, even though a lot of times he should be ashamed to even think it. But the principle of owning your position is sound, and what’s more, it’s popular. People want it. Because sometimes “tell it like it is” really means what it literally says. Tell the thing in exactly the way that the thing is. ‘I played ball. I got the job done. That’s the art of the Washington deal. Sorry, not sorry.’

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) are two of the best, brightest, most conservative, and most popular Republicans we have. Donald Trump may not be our best, our brightest, or conservative, but popular? Yeah. He’s got that one.

Just because he’s insane doesn’t mean he’s crazy. God help us, but a lot of people love him. “Telling it like it is” is one of the reasons why. Own up. Own it. That’s my advice. It would probably be his as well.

Just don’t copy the hair. OK? I’m begging you.