- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The idea of a Ted Cruz-Carly Fiorina ticket may have seemed far-fetched a couple of months ago as they battled for position in the GOP presidential race, but now Mr. Cruz is reportedly vetting his erstwhile rival to be his vice president.

That should make interesting campaign fodder for Democrats, who can feast on Fiorina quotes accusing Mr. Cruz of being just another pandering pol rather than the staunch conservative he portrays on the stump.

The Cruz-Fiorina partnership is just another example of the strange alliances being made — and broken — in this year’s presidential campaign, and it’s surprising just how many of those revolve around Mr. Cruz himself.

His “bromance” with Donald Trump, consummated in a September embrace at their Capitol Hill rally to oppose the Iran nuclear deal, has deteriorated into a poisonous hate affair. Instead, the Texan has enlisted Ohio Gov. John Kasich as his new campaign dancing partner.

“Politics has always made strange bedfellows, and in a year like 2016, they are strangest,” said Charlie Gerow, a GOP strategist who served as an adviser to the Fiorina campaign.

Mr. Cruz’s maverick rhetoric during his four years as a senator and his time on the presidential campaign alienated a number of Republicans.

But somehow he’s managed to strike alliances with many of those same folks, including former primary opponents Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

That’s also the case for Mrs. Fiorina, who had some not-so-nice things to say about him last year.

“He says one thing in Manhattan, he says another thing in Iowa, he says whatever he needs to say to get elected, and then he is going to do as he pleases,” she said.

Mr. Trump threw those words back at Mrs. Fiorina when she announced her support for Mr. Cruz earlier this year.

“Carly Fiorina- I agree! Ted Cruz is just another politician. All talk- no action!” he said in a Twitter message.

The Cruz camp did not respond to an email seeking comment for this story, but he’s been busy trying to explain the deal he struck this week with Mr. Kasich to tag-team in trying to block Mr. Trump from winning the nomination outright.

They said they’d each concentrate on different states in upcoming primaries so they didn’t overlap, hoping to send the nomination decision to a second ballot at the July convention, where they hope one of them will be picked by party insiders instead of Mr. Trump.

Just a month ago, Mr. Kasich was mocking former 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney for urging a similar divide-and-conquer strategy in Utah, where Mr. Romney said a vote for Kasich “makes it extremely likely that Trumpism would prevail.”

Mr. Cruz did end up easily winning Utah — though even then, the Cruz-Romney pairing seemed odd.

When Mr. Romney flirted with running in this year’s primary, Mr. Cruz said he represented the “mushy middle” of the GOP that had doomed the party in previous presidential contests.

Just as Mr. Cruz has won new allies among the GOP establishment, he’s had to break his original alliance that he had with Mr. Trump, when both of them last year said they were taking on the “Washington Cartel.”

Mr. Trump has struck his own fascinating alliances, winning support from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, both of whom engaged in high-profile feuds with the businessman and reality TV star during the campaign.

Fred Malek, a veteran of the Nixon and George H.W. Bush administrations, warned against reading too much into the shifting relationships.

“I think a lot of things said during the heat of a campaign are strictly politically motivated and are the product of the moment and the need to kind of put yourself ahead,” Mr. Malek said. “I think you need to take a lot of that stuff with a grain of salt.”

Democrats, however, are salivating at the material the shifting alliances will provide should Mr. Cruz emerge as the GOP’s candidate.

“The 30-second attack ads almost make themselves,” said Jim Manley, a Democratic strategist. “In all of these different alliances, the only thing that stands out is that it is always about what is best for Sen. Cruz.”

Mr. Manley expanded on his argument by pointing to remarks that Sen. John Cornyn, who is Mr. Cruz’s Texas seatmate, made in an interview with KERA News published Tuesday, in which the veteran lawmaker questioned Mr. Cruz’s tactics.

“Part of it [is] from the fact that I’ve been here a while and I’m part of the elected Republican leadership,” Mr. Cornyn said. “My goal has always been to figure out how we can advance the conservative cause.

“I think he’s taken the more immediate shorter-term view of things,” Mr. Cornyn said. “Clearly he didn’t come here to remain in the Senate. He came here to run for president. I think that perhaps explains the difference in tactics.”

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