Ted Cruz likes to say “personnel is policy,” but the single most important personnel decision he’s made on the 2016 presidential campaign has become his most controversial.
EDITOR’S NOTE: As the weeks have gone by, Ted Cruz had been called upon to explain the ever-increasing number of political ‘dirty tricks’ being hatched by his campaign. The reason for all this? The man that Cruz hired to manage his campaign, Jeff Roe, is a win-at-all-costs, bare knuckle political street fighter who will say and do any number of outrageous tricks to get the victory. But as the evangelical base of Ted Cruz continues to crumble, this very risky scheme appears to be backfiring. How badly? So badly that Cruz may lose his home state of Texas to Donald J. Trump. That badly.
Ted Cruz has carefully built his brand on trustworthiness — he stands almost daily in front of signs that read “TrusTED” — but in selecting his campaign manager, Cruz tapped a take-no-prisoners operative well practiced in political dark arts.
Those who have crossed Cruz’s campaign manager, Jeff Roe, say things like he’s “mean” and a “master of sleazy politics.” He’s also an indisputably talented tactician who has guided Cruz from an asterisk early in the race to one of its finalists. But his calling card has long been win-at-all-costs campaigning.
And now those accusations are ricocheting against Cruz.
As Ted Cruz enters super Tuesday — “the most important day of this entire primary election,” Cruz said Sunday, when a slate of Southern states long seen as the linchpin to his nomination will vote — his opponents have successfully raised questions about Cruz’s own ethics and honesty, repeatedly calling him a “liar” and accusing him of “dirty tricks.” Along the way, Cruz has lost his base, evangelical Christians, to Donald Trump in three straight states.
From the false alert the campaign sent out that Ben Carson was suspending his campaign as the Iowa caucuses began to the voter-violation mailer that the Iowa secretary of state condemned to a Photoshop-altered image of Marco Rubio and Barack Obama, they have pointed to Roe’s hidden hand in supposedly guiding Cruz into the gutter.
Roe and the Cruz campaign declined to comment for this story.
Inside the Cruz operation, many believe national spokesman Rick Tyler wouldn’t have been fired last week, except that his sharing of a video misquoting Marco Rubio on social media came after so many other accusations of foul play.
As Hogan Gidley, a former adviser to Mike Huckabee who strongly opposes Cruz’s candidacy, said, “When you’re parading yourself around as the paragon of Christian virtue, you better be airtight.” Indeed, after Cruz carried evangelical Christians in Iowa en route to victory, he lost them to Trump in the next three states and barely finished ahead of Rubio among them in South Carolina and Nevada.
It’s an ominous sign for Cruz ahead of evangelical-heavy states that vote Tuesday: Texas, Georgia, Arkansas, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Alabama were supposed to be his political launching pad.
As for Roe, one of his aphorisms is that he lives on the windshield of life — not the rearview mirror. After Super Tuesday, it will be clear whether he and the Cruz campaign will have turned the corner on questions of ethical politicking, or if they have run out of road entirely. source