Columnists George Will and Charles Krauthammer agreed with Texas Senator and Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz on the substance of his opposition to the Export-Import Bank, but argued that the Republican base’s frustration is “mistaken” and that Cruz engaged in “an act of rather amazing hypocrisy” by accusing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) of lying on Monday’s “Special Report” on the Fox News Channel.
Will said, “The Republican base is frustrated. I understand it. It’s to be sympathized with, but it’s mistaken, fundamentally. Their view is, you have the butchers of Planned Parenthood, you can’t do anything about them. You have the Ex-Im Bank, which is, they think, crony capitalism, and I agree, can’t do anything about that. Why can’t anything get done? The paradox is this is something getting done in Washington. There’s three important bills this summer, the highway bill, the Ex-Im Bank extension, and the trade authorization. They have large, overlapping, but disparate constituencies. And this is a transactional business, you vote for this, I’ll vote for that. Give me this, I’ll do that. … This is actually Washington functioning. It’s not producing the results that conservatives want, not producing the results I want, but it certainly is Washington working as it’s designed to work.”
He added, “the Ex-Im Bank survives for the same reason a lot of weapons systems survive. They spread the loans like honey across toast all across the country, so that every Congressional district and Senate has a beneficiary of the Ex-Im Bank. Planned Parenthood is going to get a vote on defunding that. The problem is, there aren’t enough votes too do it. There aren’t enough to get 60 for cloture. So, it’s going to be voted on, and it’s going to sail right on.”
Krauthammer argued that “Ted Cruz also wants to be Trump after Trump, because his calculation is that Trump is not going to go all the way, and his supporters are going to want to turn to one of the few presidential candidates who has not attacked Trump, particularly over the McCain thing. I think Brit Hume is entirely right that it is an act of rather amazing hypocrisy to refuse to attack Trump on the grounds…that Cruz invoked of not wanting to attack another Republican, and then within a few hours — or days, to get on the floor of the Senate and to call your own party’s leader a liar, so, that’s about Cruz. As to the substance of what Cruz is arguing, I think he’s entirely right. I think the Ex-Im Bank ought to die.”
He added that it was “up in air” as to whether Cruz’s allegations were true, and said that if Cruz’s claims were true “a bunch” of other senators would vouch for his story.
Will concluded, “We’re going to see if there’s a bump for Cruz, as he took on Mitch McConnell, as a way of getting on Fox News’ debate in Cleveland. That’s what this was about. … This is one of the unintended consequences of having 16 people in the field so far.”
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