Oh, I totally get why the two young Republican senators are sounding upbeat; they're the hunters, not the hunted, and thus they have to sound like they believe and are convinced that they're going to run down their prey.
Senator Cruz might be laying it on a bit thick, though:
Speaking to reporters before a candidate forum in Cedar Rapids, Cruz said Republican voters are starting to coalesce behind his candidacy. The Texas senator said his support was growing stronger as the time to vote draws near.
A self-generating bandwagon effect. Or, "If you tell them they've already come, they will come."
Or wish-casting; your choice.
"They are looking not for a campaign conservative who talks a good game on the trail, they want a consistent conservative," Cruz said. "In the wake of the Paris attacks and the wake of San Bernardino, voters are looking for a strong commander in chief." [emphasis added]
Very nice way to describe it. And nobody can seriously question Ted Cruz's ideological consistency.
Here is where he started to sound like he was overcompensating:
Cruz, who entered and exited to a standing ovation from the crowd, promised to "utterly destroy" Islamic terrorists.
"We will carpet-bomb them into oblivion," Cruz said. "I don't know if sand can glow in the dark, but we're going to find out."
Three problems with that:
(1) "We will carpet-bomb [ISIS] into oblivion" clearly sounds like Cruz is competing with Trump's "I'll bomb the shit out of them" tag line on bombast. Nobody can out-bombast Donald Trump, and trying to do so makes Cruz sound almost as unpresidential (and a jackass) as The Donald does. Remember the adage about truly tough guys not having to go around proving it, much less boasting about it, Ted.
(2) "I don't know if sand can glow in the dark, but we're going to find out" suggests that a President Cruz might use nuclear weapons against ISIS, something that, to date, even Trump has not hinted at. Is that what the Texas junior senator meant to imply? If so, that's not helping his foreign policy credibility, methinks, and if not, doesn't that cast doubt on his rhetorical judgment and discipline, since a POTUS's words carry a helluva lot more weight than those of a Senate back-bencher?
3) Cruz is only talking about bombing ISIS, and it is a redundantly established fact that the Islamic State cannot be defeated without substantial U.S. ground forces deployed in that theater to retake the territory ISIS has conquered. I would much prefer he push that necessity than engaging in penis-measuring contests with the billionnaire slumlord.
By contrast, Senator Rubio isn't making those mistakes and is sounding like the most credible foreign policy candidate, with, yes, the most gravitas, in the GOP field:
Donald Trump grabs headlines with his unshakable self-glorification. But better-informed, increasingly confident rival Marco Rubio is making a play for the Republican presidential nomination, and winning over skeptics in early-voting New Hampshire.
Rubio is the forty-four-year-old U.S. senator from Florida with the million-watt smile, an affinity for hip-hop music and a propensity to ruffle establishment feathers in Washington. [emphasis added]
Betcha didn't know that, did you, TPers?
But at a Friday campaign stop, he came across as a national security expert playing up his foreign policy fluency to a crowd shaken by recent spasms of [Islamic] violence.
And he wasted little time before ripping the Obama administration - and Democrats like presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton - for urging stricter gun laws immediately after Wednesday's San Bernardino shooting that killed fourteen people.
"Gun control" is not the answer, Rubio told about 180 voters at a Seacoast Republican Women's luncheon at a country club in the small town of Greenland.
"We need bomb control" because the California attackers had possessed pipe bombs, he said. "We need terrorist control." [emphasis added]
Actually, we need Muslim-control, but "terrorist-control" is the closest any candidate is going to get to coming right out and saying it. Consider the latter as a "code word" for the former. As such, Senator Rubio is almost echoing me in that regard.
No, I haven't forgotten my discussion of Rubes' erroneous support for Operation "Lead From Behind" that turned Libya over to al Qaeda and now ISIS. His foreign policy record is not completely spotless by any means. But here we're talking campaign messaging and image-projection, and on that score, rightwing Dezi is pitch-perfect.
Which brings us to the suddenly frazzled and more than a little desperate-sounding Donald Trump:
Front-runner Donald Trump urged supporters at a rally in Spencer to do all they can to make it to the caucuses on February 1st. Many of Trump's supporters have not voted in previous presidential contests, and a hoarse Trump said a strong showing was essential for his campaign — and turning out is everything.
"You've got to get to the caucus, you've got to get there," Trump said. "Even if you're not feeling good, if you're feeling horrible, if you had a horrible fight with your wife or your husband... if you caught your husband cheating the night before, you've got to go to the caucus, right? And vice versa." [emphases added]
Um, what? This is the alleged "Republican" frontrunner, right? Dominating the polls, right? Piled up more support in the latest national CNN poll (36%) than Cruz and Rubio combined (31%), right? So why does he sound like he's trapped in a metaphorical elevator car at the top of the Freedom Tower with the cables cut? Begging Iowans to drag themselves out of their hospital beds, crawl to the nearest caucus location, ass hanging out the back of their hospital gowns, IV poles in tow, maybe bazooka-barfing the whole time? Or while their family lives are falling apart? They're supposed to buy into voting for Donald Trump as being THAT important? Seriously? Why does he suddenly sound so nearly panicked?
Simple: "Many of Trump's supporters have not voted in previous presidential contests." His is hype support. Like a lemon meringue - looks tasty, but full of little but air, easily deflated. Not nearly as substantive and committed as The Donald would prefer it to be. And in that aforequoted outburst, it sounds like he is acutely aware of it, just as are Senators Cruz and Rubio.
What can we conclude from these freudian slips, dear readers? Precisely what I reiterated the other day: Donald Trump is the Democrats' Trojan Horse, infiltrated into the Republican presidential primaries to sabotage the GOP and guarantee another "blue wave" election next November that makes Chucky Schumer Senate Majority Leader, Nancy Pelosi House Speaker again, and puts Hillary Clinton back into the White House. The media, which would have crucified any genuine Republican for a single one of the outrageous things Donald Trump has spouted over the past six months, has laid off of him and is hyping the hell out of his "inevitability" as Republican nominee with all these garish poll numbers. It's the Bill Clinton 1996 "preemption" strategy all over again: convince voters that he can't lose, and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
But Donald Trump knows better, and he didn't have the self-discipline, which got overwhelmed by his ego, not to show it.
Looks like the two young senators' confidence is well-founded, and that they might get their mano-e-mano nomination showdown after all.