John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


If I Had to I would Vote for Trump; I Wouldn’t Vote for Cruz

Posted on January 11, 2016
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(This originally appeared in The Hill).

Last week, I tweeted that I would vote for Donald Trump for president if he were the GOP’s nominee but that I wasn’t sure if I could do the same for Ted Cruz.

It caused a bit of reaction, so I thought I would explain myself.

The Cruz people called me an establishment hack, a crony capitalist, a moderate and worse.
Others were horrified that I would vote for Trump. My friends on the left called me a racist, a fool and all kinds of other mean names.

Here is my reasoning:

Nothing in Trump’s past would suggest that he is a racist.

I don’t think Trump is George Wallace, although he is pulling together the Wallace coalition. I don’t think he is doing this consciously. I think he makes it up as he goes along.

He’s a Manhattan businessman and expert marketer who has built hotels across the globe and had his own show on NBC. He is no George Wallace.

But you have to hand it to the Donald. He has cleverly said things that actually resonate with a large swath of the American people.

He has expressed the populist sentiment that courses through the veins of many people in both political parties. He believes that globalization has been a loser and he wants to make America a winner again. He says China is eating our lunch and that the political class is made up of a bunch of fools.

He is quick to offer opinions on breaking news and he is entertaining to watch. He is the ultimate celebrity in an America that adores celebrities.

Trump would not be my first choice for president. He wouldn’t be my second choice, my third choice, or my 15th choice.

I would be very comfortable with John Kasich or Jeb Bush as our nominee. I am inspired by Marco Rubio’s life story. I like Chris Christie’s forcefulness. I think Ben Carson is a very nice man. I thought that Rick Perry had grown as a candidate and wish he would have stayed in. I liked Scott Walker. I think Lindsey Graham is smart as a whip and would have done a good job as president.

I could easily support any of these candidates should the convention decide to put them in nomination for the White House.

I don’t feel the same way about Ted Cruz.

The Texas senator is an ideologue. He is messianic. Anybody who has worked with him acknowledges his brilliance but also thinks he is a titanic jerk. Everybody in the Senate dislikes him intensely.

Now, maybe that doesn’t matter to people outside the Beltway. Maybe for “real Americans” the fact that Washington insiders like me won’t vote for Ted Cruz is reason enough to vote for him.

Fair enough.

But ever since Cruz has become a national figure, he has been intent on breaking the Republican Party in two.

I have never seen a GOP candidate who has actually run ads against his own party as a way to raise money for himself, like Cruz did during the government shutdown.

A Cruz nomination would lose us the Senate.

Cruz called Mitch McConnell, the most conservative majority leader in history, a liar on the Senate floor.

Cruz is no team player, and if he were to get the nomination, it would lead to complete chaos.

Some pundits compare Ted Cruz to Richard Nixon. They are both brilliant, after all.

But does the Republican Party really need another Nixon?