Why Ted Cruz was sucking up to Rand Paul: The Texas senator wants Paul’s libertarian voters.

Why Ted Cruz Was Sucking Up to Rand Paul

Why Ted Cruz Was Sucking Up to Rand Paul

Who's winning, who's losing, and why.
Oct. 28 2015 10:54 PM

Why Ted Cruz Was Sucking Up to Rand Paul

He wants Paul’s libertarian voters, and he thinks he will have them.

USA-ELECTION/REPUBLICANS
Sen. Ted Cruz speaks at the CNBC Republican presidential candidate debate in Boulder, Colorado, on Oct. 28, 2015.

Photo by Rick Wilking/Reuters

There was some awful news for Sen. Rand Paul in his otherwise unmemorable third GOP debate performance: Sen. Ted Cruz was complimenting him and his family.

Jim Newell Jim Newell

Jim Newell is a Slate staff writer.

That’s an omen.

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When Cruz starts going out of his way to be kind to you, that means he’s expecting you to falter or drop out soon. He is positioning himself to take your resources—your volunteers, your donors, your votes. He is a vulture who arrives with a smile.

Cruz for months now has been playing footsie with Donald Trump: forgiving, even championing, the hilarious clown’s most ludicrous statements, expecting those statements to eventually undo him and send Trump’s ex-supporters to … Ted Cruz, perhaps?

Now Cruz is doing the same to Rand. Though Paul’s numbers have been unimpressive, he still represents the libertarian wing of the party—one that Cruz hopes to annex to his far-right coalition, which might come soon if Paul runs out of money.

Rand’s father, Ron, was more of a heroic figure to the libertarian movement than the son will ever be. So Cruz wisely mentioned Ron Paul’s name Wednesday afternoon in his pitch for a tight-money policy at the Federal Reserve: “I am an original co-sponsor of Ron Paul’s audit the Fed legislation.” He even threw in a call for the gold standard for good measure.

And after Rand Paul discussed his tax plan, which cuts the payroll tax, Cruz interjected before the moderators were able to cut to an anxious Gov. John Kasich. “[Rand’s] plan is a good plan,” Cruz said, before noting that his plan, too, “eliminates” the payroll tax—and much more.

The compliments should increase in frequency the nearer Paul’s 2016 bank account gets to zero.