Conservative commentator Sean Hannity hears echoes of opposition to Ronald Reagan in the way Republican opponents are apparently waging a stealth campaign against Sen. Ted Cruz.
On last weekend’s broadcast of “Fox News Sunday,” anchor Chris Wallace revealed he had received opposition research on Texas Republican Cruz, not from Democrats but from fellow Republicans.
On his Monday radio program, conservative commentator Sean Hannity called that “deeply unwise.” But he also said it was reminiscent of the situation faced by the late President Reagan, who faced similar opposition during his first bid for the Republican nomination in 1976.
“I’ll give you another lesson we can learn — Republicans will have their differences on tactics ,” Hannity said. “It is deeply unwise … to elevate those differences to the point of turning this into a civil war. And to think — Ted Cruz reminds me a little bit of Reagan in this sense. Reagan was despised when he challenged the sitting president, Gerald Ford for the nomination in 1976, despised. But he did lay the foundation to win the election in 1980. Every Republican loves Reagan, but he wasn’t loved at the time. He was called extreme by fellow Republicans. You know, we can have spirited arguments here, but this attack is awful.”
Shortly thereafter on his radio program, Hannity speculated on the motivations behind these anti-Cruz gestures, saying it appeared to him that Cruz’s fellow Republicans were more interested in maintaining power than with fulfilling campaign promises.
“[L]ook, here’s just a fact, and I understand — I’m not a Republican,” Hannity said. “I’m a conservative. And they are unfortunately — both parties are guilty of this, most of them care about their power. They like being called ‘Senator.’ They like being called ‘Congressman,’ ‘Governor’ and unfortunately they forget what it means to serve you. They forget campaign promises. They’re only words. They don’t come from the heart. They’re not backed by commitment and real action. What Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and Marco [Rubio] are doing here is they are calling on the better side of Republicans to be a bold contrasting party, whether they rise to the occasion — they did in the House last Friday. They didn’t do it the week before. We’ll see.”