The media obsession with "dirty tricks" by Sen. Ted Cruz stands in stark contrast to the benign neglect of the slash and burn tactics of GOP frontrunner Donald Trump. The media seems to be treating Trump's slanders and threats the way they coddled Vice President Joe Biden, with the chattering class seemingly uttering in unison, "Oh, that's just The Donald."
As Sean Hannity noted on his Twitter feed, Trump tweeted recently a version of his "don't mess with me" mantra, summing up his modus operandi very concisely: "I'm very proud of this record. Wouldn't this be good to have for the U.S.? Every person's that attacked me has gone down." For The Donald it's don't get mad, get even.
The latest target of Trump wrath is the Ricketts family, the new owners of the Chicago Cubs who have transformed the lovable losers into genuine contenders. They also are active politically and that has put them on the Trump enemies list. As USA Today reports:
Donald Trump, the Republican presidential front-runner, isn't happy that a member of the prominent Ricketts family has bankrolled an effort to thwart his campaign. And he took to Twitter on Monday to warn the Chicago Cubs owners to "be careful."
The family is "secretly spending $'s against me," Trump wrote. "They better be careful, they have a lot to hide!"
Family matriarch Marlene Ricketts' $3 million donation to the anti-Trump super PAC, Our Principles PAC, isn't exactly a secret. Campaign-finance reports filed over the weekend disclosed her as the super PAC's largest contributor….
Trump's tweet prompted National Revieweditor Rich Lowry to question whether the billionaire "already has an enemies list and is this the man we want in charge of the IRS?"
Indeed, would a vindictive President Trump target the Ricketts family and others like them just as President Obama used the IRS to target the Tea Party movement for its political opposition? "Better be careful" is a threat. One wonders what the media would have done if Ted Cruz had made such a threat or said anybody who opposes him goes down.
There has been a double standard in the media regarding its treatment of Donald Trump. Maybe because they fear his predisposition to file a lawsuit such as the one he threatened to file against Cruz for running an ad showing actual footage of a pro-choice Trump supporting partial birth abortion. Trump said that was long ago and claimed his position has shifted even though he still supports funding of Planned Parenthood. Yet he said what he said and in politics your past statements are fair game.
Trump has called Cruz "unstable" and a "liar" yet witness the tantrums Trump throws when you make the mistake of publicly quoting his actual record. In a recent debate, Trump said he backed off from taking Vera Coking's home though eminent domain so he could build a limousine parking lot for one of his casinos. The fact is, a court made him back off, saying that eminent domain was intended for public use not to transfer property from one private owner to another. AS the UK Guardian noted:
Since he shot to the top of the presidential polls, Donald Trump's serial bankruptcies and bullying nature have made big headlines. But no one seems to have brought up a bullying business practice he's particularly fond of: eminent domain.
The billionaire mogul-turned-reality TV celebrity, who says he wants to work on behalf of "the silent majority," has had no compunction about benefiting from the coercive power of the state to kick innocent Americans out of their homes….
Ms Coking and her neighbors spent several years in court, but eventually with the assistance of the Institute for Justice they won on July 20, 1998. A state judge rejected the agency's demand on the narrow grounds that there was no guarantee that Trump would use the land for the specified purpose. "TRUMPED!" blared the front page of the tabloid New York Post.
So what he claimed in the debate was, er... a lie. And as for dirty tricks and the desire to win at all costs, consider his persistent claim that Ted Cruz is not a citizen, a claim that is demonstrably falseand which two state election boards, Illinois and New Hampshire, have already rejected. As the Washington Examinerreported:
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz secured two major victories Monday, winning the Republican Iowa caucuses and also receiving a favorable decision from the Illinois Board of Elections, which confirmed his U.S. citizenship met the state's primary ballot requirements….
"The Candidate is a natural born citizen by virtue of being born in Canada to his mother who was a U.S. citizen at the time of his birth," the board said, explaining Cruz met the criteria because he "did not have to take any steps or go through a naturalization process at some point after birth."
During the case, Cruz's lawyers argued that he was no different than previous Republican candidates, including Sen. John McCain of Arizona and former Michigan Gov. George Romney, who were also born outside of the U.S. to an American citizen.
A ballot commission in New Hampshire also ruled in favor of Cruz in January, but the language in Monday's decision by the Illinois board took a stronger tone than the previous ruling, warning other skeptics, "Further discussion on this issue is unnecessary."
Trump and what should be called the "Trumpettes", his sycophants in the media, have crucified Cruz for the "dirty trick" of his campaign concluding from CNN tweets that Ben Carson was quitting the race after a disappointing Iowa caucus finish. They ignore how Trump slimed Ben Carson, comparing his "pathological" temper to that of a child molester:
In his 1992 memoir, Gifted Hands, Carson wrote of his troubled younger years: "I had what I only can label a pathological temper -- a disease -- and this sickness controlled me, making me totally irrational."
In recent days, Trump has homed in on this admission, making several barbs about what he called Carson's "very serious, pathological disease".
On Thursday evening, in an interview with CNN, he went further, saying: "It's in the book that he's got a pathological temper. That's a big problem because you don't cure that…
"As an example: child molesting. You don't cure these people. You don't cure a child molester. There's no cure for it. Pathological, there's no cure for that."
So which is worse? Cruz suggesting Carson was quitting or Trump comparing Carson to a child molester? Could it be said that it is Trump that is an unstable liar who has everybody from baseball owners to widows on his enemies list?
Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor's Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.