Proving he’s a liberal first and a comedian second, Stephen Colbert, who had a very friendly session last Friday with socialist Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, was more hostile on Monday night to the political positions of Republican presidential contender Senator Ted Cruz, whom he described as “far right.” Colbert pushed him to match Ronald Reagan by agreeing to raise taxes and offer amnesty before challenging him on gay marriage.
Colbert offered up a standard liberal talking point on his Late Show: “Reagan raised taxes, okay. Reagan actually had an amnesty program for illegal immigrants. Neither of those things would allow Reagan to be nominated today.” He soon demanded: “Are those aspects of Reagan something you could agree with? Raising taxes and amnesty for illegal immigrants. Could you agree with Reagan on those two things?”
When Cruz pointed out the success of Reagan’s economic policies, Colbert, who never pushed Sanders to “compromise,” pressed for it to Cruz: “When conditions changed in the country, he reversed his world’s largest tax cut and raised taxes when revenues did not match the expectations. So it’s a matter of compromising.”
Each of Colbert’s liberal pronouncements were greeted with mindless screams and applause from his sycophantic audience – a very different cult of personality crowd than those which attended David Letterman’s previous incarnation of the Late Show.
>> Earlier: “Colbert Cites Thomas Jefferson In Imploring Biden to Run”
As Cruz relayed how what he’s “fighting for are simple principles: live within our means, stop bankrupting our kids and grandkids, follow the Constitution,” Colbert interjected: “And no gay marriage, and no gay marriage.” Cruz contended that “under the Constitution, marriage is a question for the states,” to which Colbert inadvertently, but without recognizing it, made Cruz’s case: “It doesn’t mention marriage in the Constitution.”
Colbert’s audience rudely began to boo as Cruz explained the tenth amendment and asserted the definition of marriage should be up to democratic votes in each state, forcing Colbert to chastise those in the Ed Sullivan Theater: “No, no, guys, guys, however you feel, he’s my guest, so please don’t boo him.”
From the September 21 Late Show with Stephen Colbert on CBS:
COLBERT: Let me ask about Reagan for a second. Democrats, you know, and Republicans have had reasons why they like Ronald Reagan. But does today’s modern Republican party reflect some of the things that Reagan did. Reagan raised taxes, okay. Reagan actually had an amnesty program for illegal immigrants. Neither of those things would allow Reagan to be nominated today. (Cheers and applause) So to what level can you truly emulate Ronald Reagan? Isn’t that from a period of time when he was willing to work with Tip O’Neill across the aisle to get things done. Isn’t that what people want more than anything else?
CRUZ: Well, I tell you, number one as I travel the country, I haven't seen anyone saying the thing we want of Republicans is to give in more to Barack Obama and the direction we’re going. I don’t hear that across the country.
COLBERT: But are those aspects of Reagan something you could agree with? Raising taxes and amnesty for illegal immigrants. Could you agree with Reagan on those two things?
CRUZ: No, of course not.
CRUZ: But Ronald Reagan also signed the largest tax cut in history. He reduced government regulations from Washington. And economic growth exploded. You know, when Reagan came in, from 1978 to 1982 economic growth averaged less than one percent a year. There is only one other four-year period where that is true. That is true from 2008 to 2012 and what Reagan did, he cut taxes. He cut regulations, he unchained small businesses, and economic growth boomed. Millions of people were lifted out of poverty and prosperity in the middle class.
COLBERT: But when conditions changed in the country, he reversed his world’s largest tax cut and raised taxes when revenues did not match the expectations. So it’s a matter of compromising. (Applause) Will you be willing to compromise with the other side? Because I will say that it is entirely possible that your plan might be the right one if it turns out not to be the right one, would you be willing to compromise with the other side, change your mind and do something that the other side wants. And not feel like you capitulated with the devil?
CRUZ: People are fed up. What they want is jobs and economic growth. And you know, you mentioned before, you know, you say Cruz you are a very conservative guy. Listen, what I am fighting for are simple principles: live within our means, stop bankrupting our kids and grandkids. Follow the Constitution.
COLBERT: And no gay marriage, and no gay marriage.
CRUZ: No, actually, let’s be precise. Under the Constitution, marriage is a question for the states. If you want to change the marriage law.
COLBERT: It doesn’t mention marriage in the Constitution. (Applause)
CRUZ: We have had a country for over 200 years-
COLBERT: You may be right, you may be right but it doesn’t mention marriage in the Constitution.
CRUZ: That’s exactly why it is a question for the states, because the 10th amendment says if it doesn’t mention it, it’s a question for the states. That’s in the Bill of Rights. Everything that is not mentioned is left to the states, so if you want to change the marriage laws-
COLBERT: I’m asking what you want.
CRUZ: I believe in democracy. I believe in democracy and I don’t think we should-
COLBERT: No, no, guys, guys, however you feel, he’s my guest, so please don’t boo him.
CRUZ: I don’t think we should entrust governing our society to five unelected lawyers in Washington. Why would you possibly hand over the rights of 320 million Americans to five lawyers in Washington to say we’re going to decide the rules that govern you. If you want to win an issue, go to the ballot box and win at the ballot box.