Last night Ted Cruz promised to “round up and deport” all 12 million undocumented immigrants. Plus most voters want the vacant U.S. Supreme Court seat to be filled in President Obama’s term. (More)

“Yes, we should deport them”

After his third-place finish in the South Carolina WHannabe primary, Ted Cruz seems to have decided he didn’t sound mean enough:

Ted Cruz said tonight that he would use federal immigration officers to round up and deport all 12 million people in the country illegally – a markedly tougher stance that he has struck in the past.

“Yes, we should deport them,” Cruz told Fox host Bill O’Reilly. “That’s what ICE exists for. We have law enforcement that looks for people who are violating the laws, that apprehends them and deports them.”

Back in January, Cruz told Anderson Cooper that he wouldn’t “send jackboots to knock on your door and every door in America” and round up undocumented immigrants. But his campaign insists last night’s interview wasn’t a new position:

“There’s no change here,” Cruz spokeswoman Catherine Frazier said late Monday by email [to the Dallas Morning News]. “Cruz has been very clear: people who are here illegally should be deported. That is the law today. Period. They broke the law, they face the consequence. ICE exists for that purpose and they should continue to do their job. And on top of that any law enforcement that encounters those here illegally should follow the law and deport them.”

I guess the “jackboots” will only come to Some People’s doors. Gee, what a relief.

“The very highest standards and integrity”

Cruz needed to change the story after yesterday’s debacle with campaign communications chief Rick Tyler:

Ted Cruz fired his communications director on Monday, in a move that adds more turmoil to a campaign that has been under fire for dirty tricks.

The aide, Rick Tyler, was asked to resign because he had publicized a factually inaccurate video that purported to show Marco Rubio insulting the Bible. The video in fact showed Rubio praising the Bible, but incorrectly captioned Rubio’s difficult-to-hear remarks as stating the opposite.
[…]
“I have made clear in this campaign we will conduct this campaign with the very highest standards and integrity,” Cruz said, according to CNN, later calling the incident a “grave error in judgment.”

Uh, right. Cruz’s problem is that his campaign has shown no standards or integrity, as Vox’s Jeff Stein went on to document at the link above:

Here’s a small sample of a few recent times Cruz has been accused of lying on the campaign trail:

• Dr. Ben Carson accused Cruz’s team of practicing “dirty tricks” during the Iowa caucuses by incorrectly telling voters that Carson had dropped out of the race.
• Also during the Iowa vote, Cruz sent out controversial mailers marked “VOTING VIOLATION” to encourage voters to go to the polls — mailers that reportedly contained inaccurate voter information.
• Cruz was then called out in unusually stark terms by CNN for misrepresenting the story during a Republican debate.
• Cruz’s campaign also recently released a bizarre photoshopped image of Barack Obama and Marco Rubio shaking hands, according to Mediaite.

That doesn’t include the other whoppers Cruz has spewed. Fully two-thirds of the Cruz statements analyzed by PolitiFact were ranked “Mostly False,” “False,” or “Pants on Fire.”

In that light, his promise to round up and deport 12 million hardworking Americans seems like an example of that old lawyer joke: “If you have the facts, pound the facts. If you have the law, pound the law. If you have nothing, pound the table.”

+++++

“A majority of Americans say the Senate should hold hearings and vote on President Obama’s choice”

And if Senate Republicans thought voters would buy their plan to stalemate the Supreme Court until the next president takes office in January, new polling shows most voters disagree:

In the high-stakes battle over replacing Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, a majority of Americans (56%) say the Senate should hold hearings and vote on President Obama’s choice to fill the vacancy. About four-in-ten (38%) say the Senate should not hold hearings until the next president selects a court nominee.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that the same poll found that two-thirds of Republicans and over half of Republican-leaning independents want the Senate to stonewall the president, and most say they won’t change their minds no matter who President Obama chooses.

But an Americans United for Change poll found solid majorities of voters in Ohio and Pennsylvania want the Senate to hold hearings and vote on President Obama’s nominee. More importantly, that poll found that most independents agree, and will weigh that in their votes for Senate elections in November.

Still, conservative activists like David Bozell think Republicans should sacrifice their Senate majority to block President Obama’s nominee. And they dug up a 1992 speech by then-Sen. Joe Biden to back up their case:

As a senator more than two decades ago, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. argued that President George Bush should delay filling a Supreme Court vacancy, should one arise, until the presidential election was over, and that it was “essential” that the Senate refuse to confirm a nominee to the court until then.

That’s the New York Times’ lead. The truth, revealed much later in the story, is more nuanced:

Mr. Biden’s remarks were part of a long speech about revising the Supreme Court confirmation process after a tumultuous five-year period that had featured three bitterly contested nominees: William H. Rehnquist in 1986, who received the most “no” votes of any justice until that time; Robert H. Bork, who was rejected by the Senate in 1987; and Clarence Thomas, whose bruising hearings culminated in a vote in 1991 in which he drew even more opposition than Chief Justice Rehnquist had.

And if you read all the way to the end of the Times’ article, you find:

Officials at the White House and on Capitol Hill noted that Mr. Biden had also said in the 1992 speech that he would support a future Supreme Court nominee by Mr. Bush as long as the president consulted with the Senate or chose a moderate. Mr. Biden made that observation as he discussed how the confirmation process could be changed “in the next administration,” should he remain as chairman.

Regardless, wingnut bloggers are screaming “game over” and calling the cherry-picked quote “a 20-megaton political warhead.”

Or maybe it’s just a political megaturd. Because here’s the thing: voters, not wingnut bloggers, will get the last word. If Senate Republicans go through with their We’ve Decided Obama Is No Longer President strategy, voters well decide to punish them in November … no matter what who said way back when.

+++++

Photo Credit: Jim Cole (AP)

+++++

Good day and good nuts