Rick Tyler, the communications director for GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz, posted the video above on Facebook, purporting to show Cruz’s rival Marco Rubio saying that there are “not many answers” in the Bible to Cruz’s dad. A hyper-polished Bible-thumping politician who is so message-disciplined that he sometimes veers into straight robot territory dissing the Bible to his opponent’s father? If that seems unlikely, it’s because it’s a lie. Rubio actually said, “All the answers are in there.” 

This story turned into a problem for Cruz because he has developed a reputation as a slimy politician who lies constantly. His campaign’s dirty tricks trying to bamboozle Iowa voters into believing that Ben Carson (well-liked among Republicans) had dropped out exacerbated this problem. It’s a critique that stings because Cruz does in fact lie constantly


Tyler deleted the video and apologized but that didn’t save him. Yesterday, Cruz fired Tyler — widely considered a highly effective operative — potentially a sign that the campaign is taking a hit in their polling numbers from the widespread accusations of constant lying and dirty pool. Cruz said that Tyler had made “a grave error of judgment” and said he was conducting his campaign with the “highest standards of integrity.” 

Rubio had previously thanked Tyler for apologizing but blamed Cruz


Every single day something comes out of the Cruz campaign that’s deceptive and untrue, and in this case goes after my faith. This is a pattern now and I think we’re now at a point where we start asking for accountability.

Who’s gonna be fired when Ted Cruz is president? Because his campaign now has repeatedly done things that they have to apologize for and no one’s ever held accountable. Who’s gonna be held accountable for making up this video? Who’s gonna be held accountable for lying about Ben Carson? Who was held accountable for the robocalls? And who’s held accountable for the commercials on television that they had to pull down? Again, I think it’s a very disturbing pattern of deceptive campaigns and flat-out just lying to voters.

Donald Trump, meanwhile, has said that Cruz’s tactics have become so dirty that Trump had no recourse but to threaten to sue Cruz for defamation and/or for being Canadian. In a series of tweets, he delighted in the news of Tyler’s firing. 

The Rubio campaign continued to slam Cruz even after Tyler was canned:


Rick is a really good spokesman who had the unenviable task of working for a candidate willing to do or say anything to get elected. There is a culture in the Cruz campaign, from top to bottom, that no lie is too big and no trick too dirty. Rick did the right thing by apologizing to Marco. It’s high time for Ted Cruz to do the right thing and stop the lies.

Throughout his career Cruz has had an issue with being personally hated by most of the people who interact with him. The Rubio and Trump campaigns are hoping that extends to voters. 

Cruz, already hated by the GOP establishment, is really going to be wearing the villain’s hat when this is all over. George W. Bush‘s campaign indulged in far dirtier tricks in South Carolina in 2000, but W won, so all was forgiven. 

I do think that the fact that so many players in the Republican party loathe Cruz has cost him. He’s not all that different ideologically than Rubio, but the establishment is rallying around Rubio and shunning Cruz. That makes it much more likely that Rubio will emerge as the alternative to Trump, the role that Cruz was gunning for in hopes that establishment types would eventually hold their noses and learn to accept him.

This problem for Cruz was predicted by the American Conservative’s Daniel Larison back in December: 


As an ideologue, Cruz isn’t worried about the consequences of what he does, and as a demagogue he has no scruples about vilifying and attacking others, including those theoretically on the same side of a debate, when they deviate even a little from his preferred position. That gives him a committed following from a fraction of “very conservative” voters around the country while making everyone else resent and loathe him. Someone like this can’t unite a coalition behind him, and he certainly isn’t going to win a general election. It’s why he is very unlikely to become the party’s nominee, and it’s also why the GOP should be glad that he won’t be.

It turns out that when you’re playing the outsider at the Republican family dinner table, it’s strategically smarter to be the drunk uncle (Trump) than the creepy uncle (Cruz).