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George Will On The GOP Race After Wisconsin

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George Will joined me this morning, and among the topics covered were the possible running mates for Senator Ted Cruz should he prevail in Cleveland:




HH: I’m so pleased to welcome George Will of Fox News, author of A Nice Little Place On The North Side, Wrigley Field at 100, and also proud Cubs fan who are 2-0. The Indians sadly lost their coldest opener yesterday ever, George Will, the coldest that it has ever been on the Lake. So that doesn’t really count, I think, as a loss. But congratulations, 2-0. I don’t know if it gets better than perfect for you.

GW: Oh, you can’t win them all if you don’t win the first two.

HH: (laughing) All right, let me play for you, George Will, Roger Stone, longtime Donald Trump consigliore coming off of last night talking on a website about Donald Trump. Here’s what he had to say to Stefan Molyneau.

RS: I have urged Trump supporters come to Cleveland. March on Cleveland. Join us in the Flora City. We’re going to have protests, demonstrations. We will disclose the hotels and the room numbers of those delegates who are directly involved in the steal. If you’re from Pennsylvania, we’ll tell you who the culprits are. We urge you to visit their hotel and find them.

HH: What do you think of that, George Will?

GW: Well, I’m not surprised that a man who represents Donald Trump, Trump, who has a very weak sense of property rights as demonstrated by his casual approach to eminent domain, should believe that delegates are his private property. When he talks about delegates being stolen, all he’s saying is that under the rules of the convention, and now I know rules don’t mean much to the Trumpkins, but under the rules of the Republican Party, some delegates go to the convention unbound, others become unbound after the first ballot, others after the second, others after the third. And Mr. Trump’s problem at this point is that while he’s been flying around dipping into states, holding rallies and flying back to Florida, Ted Cruz has been working the system, and preparing the relationships with delegates, his delegates, Rubio’s delegates, Kasich’s delegates, and most of all, Trump delegates, saying if we get to a contested convention, and if it goes to a second ballot, here’s why you ought to consider Ted Cruz. And here’s the real problem for the Trump forces. About 42 or 43% of those who go to this convention will not be going to their first convention. These are Republican regulars – sheriffs, county commissioners, party officials in the various states. And they have one thing in common. They rather like the Republican Party and kind of are inclined to support someone who’s been a Republican longer than since last Tuesday. So it seems to me if you get to a second ballot, and I expect we will, I think the Trump forces will begin to melt away.

HH: Let me ask you, George Will, let’s assume the Irish bookies this morning are right, and the likely contest is Cruz-Clinton in the fall, do you agree with me that that will be the starkest contrast between two non-incumbents since 1952?

GW: I do. And I think there’s another interesting aspect of it. Beyond the ideological, there is the personal. Mrs. Clinton is today widely viewed by a majority of Americans as not honest and trustworthy, and I frankly don’t know how you fix that. If people don’t like your agriculture policy, you change your agriculture policy. But if they decide you are not honest and trustworthy, almost everything you do to fix that problem makes it look worse. But on Cruz’ side, he at this point has a kind of likability deficit. So you would have two candidates, neither of whom can run on sort of vast reservoirs of affection. They would have to run on ideas, and on ideology, and on the stark differences that you’re talking about. So in that sense, the fact that neither is, scores high in the likability quotient at this point might indicate that we have an unusually substantive race.

HH: Now George Will, an unusually important vice presidential selection. The three obvious candidates for a Ted Cruz nomination would be either Marco Rubio or Nikki Haley, or, if you wanted, if we were in the middle of a hot, heating up war, a Tom Cotton or a Joni Ernst. What do you think is the best choice if you had to pick tonight?

GW: Well, you’d have to throw into that mix Mr. Kasich himself, because of course, as you and I’m sure your listeners know, no Republican has ever won the White House without carrying Ohio. You have to carry Ohio, and you have to carry Florida. But because there is a gender gap as they used to say in the Republican Party in approaching women, it really is a more restricted gender gap. It’s a Republican weakness with unmarred women.

HH: Correct.

GW: I think Romney carried married women. Nikki Haley is a very promising candidate for two reasons. One thing you don’t want in a candidate, or a vice presidential running mate is surprises. You want them to be sure-footed and not make news and not disrupt the narrative of the campaign. She has demonstrated a tremendous sure-footedness going through the traumatic reaction afterwards, after the horrible shooting in Charleston, and also the difficulty of bringing down the confederate flag from the state capitol grounds in Columbia. And second, she does, as a governor, she is presiding over a state that has been transformed more and more for the better than any state in the Union in the last 50 years, and it just continues to build with Boeing and all the rest down there.

HH: George Will, always great to talk to you. I hope your Cubs continue unabated in their march towards confection until they run into the Indians in the fall.

End of interview.


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