When Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas accused Donald Trump of having New York values, most people outside of New York City knew what he was talking about. In flyover country (think the Midwest and the South) New Yorkers have a stereotype of being loud, arrogant, decadent, and ultraliberal. Cruz must have concluded that he is not likely to carry New York, either in the primaries or the general election, so it was safe to be caustic about the place. Unfortunately, as Yahoo Politics noted Thursday, Trump had the perfect comeback during the most recent Republican debate that rendered Cruz temporarily speechless. He invoked the spirit of 9/11.
“I was down there, and I’ve never seen anything like it. And the people of New York fought and fought. And we saw more death and even the smell of death. Nobody understood it. And it was with us for months, the smell, the air. We rebuilt downtown Manhattan, and everybody in the world watched, and everybody in the world loved New York, and loved New Yorkers. … I have to tell you, it was a very insulting statement that Ted made.”
Matters were not helped by the fact that a great many in the media live and work in New York City and, having been affronted by what Cruz said, fell upon it like starving people on grilled steak.
Philip Bump, a journalist who lives in New York, was typical in his outrage.
“He’s referring to the New York City he saw on ‘Law and Order’ or witnessed from the window of the cab he took down 42nd Street because the train was too complicated to figure out. He’s referring to Democratic politics and political correctness and limits on sodas and Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) and all the things that the New York Post gets mad about all the time. He’s referring to the cultural values that are mostly only dominant in the wealthier parts of Manhattan — the parts where he goes to fundraise.”
On the other hand, perhaps Cruz was thinking of the New York of “Taxi Driver” and “Midnight Cowboy.” Bump suggests that the hoi palloi who live in New York are not like that.
“Like most Iowans and most New Hampshirites, I assume, most New Yorkers — as in people from the city — don’t care all that much about politics. Heck, they probably care less than people from Iowa or New Hampshire at this point. The basic mode of operation in the city is to mind your own business unless everyone is having fun talking about something crazy, in which case you join right in. A lot of people thought Bloomberg’s sugary beverage limit was stupid, too — and Bloomberg, who is very much a New Yorker, didn’t care. Bloomberg didn’t care about term limits. Did. Not. Care. In a way that was partly about being super-rich and partly — maybe more — about being a New Yorker. New Yorkers can’t be the tough, gruff people that are rude to tourists and bad drivers and namby-pamby bleeding hearts who want to impose their values on the rest of the country. You can’t have it both ways.”
One may make the observation the people on the left often claim to be bleeding hearts and are at the same time vicious to people who don’t share their beliefs. So, yes, one can have it both ways.
Will Ted Cruz be hurt by Trump’s devastating put-down? It should be noted that the Frank Luntz focus group gave the win in the debate to Cruz. Of course, they were South Carolina Republicans, who are exactly the sort of voters Cruz is anxious to get into his corner. New York liberals, on the other hand, Cruz can forget about it. After all, New York Times columnist David Brooks has already accused Cruz of being “satanic” and of having “pagan brutalism”: so there is no love lost from either side.