I didn’t intend to do more than one Ted Cruz post today, but then I saw this report from the Dallas Morning News‘ Wayne Slater:

Sen. Ted Cruz says some of the attacks on fellow Republican Sen. Marco Rubio by Democrats are motivated by race. Cruz said today the fact that Rubio is a Republican Latino poses a threat to political adversaries. “I think Democrats and the media are afraid of Marco Rubio because he is a smart, intelligent, conservative Hispanic. And they are looking for any excuse they can to attack him, because that threatens them,” Cruz told reporters during a tour of a Texas gun manufacturing plant north of Austin. “Look, he took a drink of water in a speech. And it dominated the news for days with one network saying it was a career ender.”

Well, I can’t speak for “Democrats” or “the media” as a whole, but my own take on Rubio’s Republican Response to the State of the Union Address didn’t even mention the water bottle thing, and focused on how unoriginal his thinking was, particularly coming from someone receiving high hosannas as the Savior of the Republican Party. Far from being frightened by Rubio as some sort of “threat,” I’m puzzled that the guy keeps being compared to Ronald Reagan in terms of his communications skills.

Cruz probably thinks this playing of the race card could create some sympathy for Rubio in unlikely places, while of course providing chapter 3,000 in the Tea Party saga of “there are no racists except for liberals.” Besides, if the godless liberals are afraid of Rubio, just wait til they get a load of the junior Senator from Texas, a Cuban-American conservative who will say and do just about anything!

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Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.