Date: February 8, 2016

Does Cruz use anti-Semitic dog whistles?

Washington Post op-ed writer Dana Milbank accused Ted Cruz of using “anti-Semitic dog whistle[s],” such as his attack on “New York values.” Does he have a point?

A lot of the phrases about “New York,” “Wall Street,” and “bankers” could be anti-Semitic in certain contexts, but they are also absolutely part of ordinary political discourse. That is what makes them potential dog whistles, after all, but it is also hard to say Cruz had any anti-Semitic intent or meaning with such thin evidence.

Milbank has to have a little bit of “chutzpah,” shall I say, to make this argument:

At an event in New Hampshire, Cruz, the Republican Iowa caucuses winner, was asked about campaign money he and his wife borrowed from Goldman Sachs. Cruz, asserting that Trump had “upward of $480 million of loans from giant Wall Street banks,” said: “For him to make this attack, to use a New York term, it’s the height of chutzpah.” Cruz, pausing for laughter after the phrase “New York term,” exaggerated the guttural “ch” to more laughter and applause.

But “chutzpah,” of course, is not a “New York” term. It’s a Yiddish — a Jewish — one. And using “New York” as a euphemism for “Jewish” has long been an anti-Semitic dog whistle.

It wouldn’t be the first time Cruz has been accused of using anti-Semitic dog whistles. What about his claim to support an “America first” foreign policy–the same slogan of Charles Lindbergh and those who opposed involvement in World War II?

But in this particular case, most of what Cruz said can equally be attributed to responding to Donald Trump’s equally nasty attacks. Let’s break down the points one-by-one:

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Rand Paul’s lost opportunity

A libertarian writes about how Paul alienated libertarians.

Senator Rand Paul’s disappointing finish in the Iowa caucus has ended his campaign for the Republican Party presidential nomination. It didn’t have to end this way. Once hailed as “the most interesting man in politics” by Time magazine, Rand Paul entered the Republican presidential primary with the opportunity to fundamentally transform the GOP by bringing in Millennials, foreign policy non-interventionists, and social moderates. If there was an opportune moment for a libertarian Republican like Senator Paul to stand out from a crowded field of candidates, 2016 was it. Though he did assume a more libertarian message in the final weeks before the Iowa caucus, it was too little, too late. Rand sought to moderate his pro-liberty message to make it more malleable for traditional social conservatives and foreign policy hawks but led to alienating both mainstream conservative voters and his natural libertarian base. On the consequential issues of our time, foreign policy, immigration, civil liberties, free trade and criminal justice reform, Rand ultimately abandoned the principles that endeared him to libertarians across the country.

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