Type to search

New York Values: What Tiny Ted Cruz Will Never Understand About The Big City

Editor's Blog Featured Post Memo Pad Politics

New York Values: What Tiny Ted Cruz Will Never Understand About The Big City


Exactly what does Ted Cruz mean when he sneers about “New York values” as a reason to reject Donald Trump? Disparaging New York has long been a favorite trope for reactionary loudmouths, always with an ugly undertone of bigotry against racial, ethnic, religious and, more recently, sexual minorities.

Demagogues denigrating New York come and go with boring predictability — and the nation’s greatest city will continue to thrive long after the Texas senator is merely an unpleasant memory. But in the meantime, his cheap insult tells us much more about him than about his target.

For someone who went to the very best schools – and flaunted his academic elitism until that no longer served his ambition – Cruz is remarkably narrow in his outlook, or at least he pretends to be. While he reeks of phoniness, perhaps he truly is so small-minded that he cannot comprehend just how large New York really is, in every way.

Despite the city’s well-deserved liberal reputation, its tolerance for the broadest possible variety of opinions, faiths, and lifestyles is its deepest strength. Conservatives are welcome in New York, birthplace of the Conservative Party and home of the National Review, its late founder William F. Buckley, Jr., and so many who followed in his wake. They could have gone anywhere, but they took Manhattan – just as David Koch and scores of other influential right-wingers do today.

Those rightward-leaning New Yorkers include significant supporters and donors to the Cruz campaign, although one can hope they will reconsider that choice now. Either way, his remark suggests that Cruz is one of those oh-so-clever people who assume that everyone else is stupid. He seems to believe that nobody will notice how eagerly he sucks up to New Yorkers who can benefit him, even as he seeks to inflame prejudice against their hometown.

Of course slurring New York has always served as a thin scrim for traditional anti-Semitism, which is what Cruz evoked with his remark about “money and media” at the Republican debate on Thursday evening. He must think nobody noticed that his wife works for Goldman Sachs – or that he took a big fat loan from that very Jewish-sounding Wall Street outfit when he first ran for the Senate.

In Trump’s response, he spoke angrily and eloquently of 9/11 — a moment when most of the nation rallied around the city, with admiration for the resilience and solidarity displayed by its people. Later, New Yorkers learned how shallow that support could be, notably among Republicans in Congress who resisted approving the aid they always expect when their own districts confront disaster, and even sought to deny assistance to suffering first responders. At worst, support for New York turned into an excuse for hatred of Muslims and immigrants.

But the aftermath of 9/11 represented a perfect expression of real New York values: tolerance and charity across all boundaries of ethnicity, religion, lifestyle, class, and occupation; decency and justice toward those who have the least, suffered the most, and sacrificed for all; cooperation and collaboration in the face of tragedy; and the kind of knowing toughness that is sometimes mistaken for cynicism. Only a rube thinks that New York is about money and media alone; it is much, much bigger than that. New York values have always been the most enduring American values.

Now along comes Ted Cruz, who wants to grub New York money and then insult New Yorkers by suggesting they are somehow less upstanding than he claims to be. Since he’s such a tough guy — blustering on about assault weapons and carpet-bombing innocent people far away – he should try running his mouth about New York on the streets of Queens or Brooklyn, and see how that works out. (But no guns allowed, punk.)

Photo: Republican U.S. presidential candidates businessman Donald Trump (L) and Senator Ted Cruz speak simultaneously during the Fox Business Network Republican presidential candidates debate in North Charleston, South Carolina, January 14, 2016. REUTERS/Randall Hill

Joe Conason

A highly experienced journalist, author and editor, Joe Conason is the editor-in-chief of The National Memo, founded in July 2011. He was formerly the executive editor of the New York Observer, where he wrote a popular political column for many years. His columns are distributed by Creators Syndicate and his reporting and writing have appeared in many publications around the world, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, The New Yorker, The New Republic, The Nation, and Harpers.

Since November 2006, he has served as editor of The Investigative Fund, a nonprofit journalism center, where he has assigned and edited dozens of award-winning articles and broadcasts. He is also the author of two New York Times bestselling books, The Hunting of the President (St. Martins Press, 2000) and Big Lies: The Right-Wing Propaganda Machine and How It Distorts the Truth (St. Martins Press, 2003).

Currently he is working on a new book about former President Bill Clinton's life and work since leaving the White House in 2001. He is a frequent guest on radio and television, including MSNBC's Morning Joe, and lives in New York City with his wife and two children.

  • 1


  1. ham hock January 15, 2016

    Cruz, like the others is a snide, overconfident ass who thinks that just because he is more intelligent than his voter base, everyone is dumb enough to fall for his b.s. Of course he would trash talk New York. The whole “we country men dont like them there city slickers” mentality still runs incredibly strong in the conservative base. Which is unsurprising since most of them refuse to leave their front porches in the booneys and actually experience different people and cultures.

    1. latebloomingrandma January 16, 2016

      Cruz would get annihilated in the general election.

      1. Elliot J. Stamler January 17, 2016

        This is true.

    2. Cloudherder January 18, 2016

      What Cruz doesn’t realize is, you insult NY, you insult California (the cities) at the same time. We sort of have a brother/sisterhood thing going on with them.

  2. charleo1 January 16, 2016

    To put it succinctly in the vernacular, Cruz really stepped in it the other night when he tried to go after Trump by accusing NYC of being nothing but a cesspool of unrepentant and unpatriotic Liberals. Knowing all the ugliness that label carries within the rural farming Evangelical communities he’s been courting in Iowa. He’d probably used that spiel dozens of times on the stump in Sioux City, Cedar Rapids, and Waterloo, to good effect. But as he found out, the national stage, and big time politics is an entirely different animal.

  3. yabbed January 16, 2016

    Imagine a Canadian guy living in Texas having the nerve to speak will of New York. I’m a NYer and I agree with Trump (just this one time) that New York behaved admirably and resolute in the face of a national tragedy. We put our city back together without flinching and the world stood with us. Cruz had take his ignorance and prejudices and go to hell.

  4. Grannysmovin January 16, 2016

    Cruz perhaps you should look in your own backyard when you talk about lacking values. Your backyard has become a institution and the inmates are running the asylum. Funny how when you want money from big donors, you have no problem with values than.

    1. Cloudherder January 18, 2016

      Love your thumbnail of the granny running with her walker Lol!!

  5. CrankyToo January 16, 2016

    Kudos, Mr. Conason.

  6. randyjet January 16, 2016

    I visited NYC many times in my profession as an airline captain, and found most New Yorkers prior to 9/11 living up to their reputation for being pushy and not caring about anybody but themselves, the perfect trait of the GOP. After 9/11 they changed dramatically to become decent caring people. That is the good side of this disaster. My hat is off to the good folks of NYC. IT is too bad it took this disaster to bring them all to the realization that we are all in this life and nation together.

    1. Eleanore Whitaker January 16, 2016

      Hate to tell you but that phony southern and midwestern so-called “charm” is nothing more than a control tactic. While they are drawling and swaggering, they are stealing your appendix without unbuttoning your shirt.

      1. Cloudherder January 18, 2016

        I think you mis-read what randyjet wrote.

  7. randyjet January 16, 2016

    Cruz is also a fool who forgets what party had the mayors office when 9//11 hit. So when he says that NYC is only full of liberals, he is simply showing his ignorance.

    1. FireBaron January 16, 2016

      Ah, but he does that every time he opens his mouth!

  8. LCR78 January 16, 2016

    For a man educated at Harvard, Cruz doesn’t impress me. The same things he says about NY are often said by Conservatives about Ivy league graduates. Wonder what Cruz would do if Trump insulted Texas? Trump and Cruz would insult any group in this country if it helps get them elected.

  9. Stuart January 16, 2016

    I guess Cruz would replace New York values with Texas values? Eeeewwww.

    1. FireBaron January 16, 2016

      Nah, Cubano-Canadian values.

      1. Cloudherder January 18, 2016

        I thought he was Dominionist values. A church run country.

    2. Eleanore Whitaker January 16, 2016

      I can just see it now…legislation from the federal government of the United States of Texas passing laws that chaps, spurs and cowboy boots are the new regulated apparel for the entire country. I’m sure the foreign visitors who pour into NY City will be so thrilled with that..NOT

      1. David January 16, 2016

        Eleanore!!!! Don’t forget Lone Star beer!

        1. Eleanore Whitaker January 16, 2016

          You thump a Bible with one hand and swill Lone Star beer with the other. Sorry, but if you bothered to leave your state long enough, you’d find NY City pubs, bars and nightclubs all favor the home brews, Canadian and at the moment, Japanese beers.

          Your Lone Star beer is substandard quality and the only reason to drink it is to get a fat beer gut. NY people don’t swill like cowboys on crap beer.

          1. David January 16, 2016

            Eleanore!!! Have you drank a lot of Lone Star to be able to compare it with your “Yankee” brews?

          2. ham hock January 18, 2016

            I live in Texas, lonestar is garbage beer. It is literally the same tier of flavor and complexity as a budweiser.

            But that is all beyond the point.

          3. Renfield January 18, 2016

            So is “David.”

        2. Cloudherder January 18, 2016

          Oh gawd, Lone Star beer is terrible! That is like drinking Bud lite, but with more of the calories and even less of the taste.
          Is that what you call beer David? Oh please go buy yourself a microbrew, please.

          1. David January 18, 2016

            Lol!!! I think you are right…let’s git on down to the likker sto’

          2. Cloudherder January 18, 2016

            I’m on my 5th year of a New Years resolution to not drink or eat anything alcoholic. AAAAARRRRRGGH.

          3. David January 18, 2016

            Congrats! I am on a 21 day fast (fluid only, e.g., soup, tea, coffee, water…) with my church. Ready for Jan 31. It will be steak time!

          4. Cloudherder January 18, 2016

            Wow! I’m impressed. Congratulations.

          5. David January 18, 2016

            Trying hard to become a disciple of our Lord and Savior.

      2. Cloudherder January 18, 2016

        Hey, in the area of California I currently reside in the men wear cowboy hats and boots. Nothing wrong with that. Quit showing your bigotry Eleanore. It isn’t the clothes that cause the corruption, the bad schools, pollution and areas of massive poverty that exist in Texas. It is the Fat Cat right wing politicians. I miss Ann Richards. Texas used to be Democrat before George W Bush, and he ruined that state.

        1. Eleanore Whitaker January 19, 2016

          So then you wouldn’t have a problem with drag queens in the area of California where YOU live? Or Muslim women wearing full burquas with only their eyes visible?

          Look, there was a time when apparel had a purpose. To cover and protect the body from the elements and climate. So..tell me in the hot, humid sunny weather of CA what cows do your cowboys need those hats and boots for?

          I don’t like phonies. But…that’s just me. When I see someone all duded up in a costume that is inappropriate for the time and place in which they live, I know they are phonies.

          As a former Republican of 33 years, I know phonies better than some. Texas like many Confederate states lives too far in the past. They laugh at your state and call the people in it “the land of fruit and nuts.” Meanwhile, it is YOUR state, like mine and other Dem states doling out hundreds of billions to Texas EVERY year in federal tax dollars we bust butts for. THAT IS the problem. It is long past time for these states to get that South Shall Rise Again BS past them. The cost to our states for that is turning this country into a Republican Plantation Nation.

          By the way, expecting people to act their age and stop being phonies isn’t bigotry…it’s reality.

          1. Cloudherder January 19, 2016

            They need the hats and boots to protect their necks from the sun while working on the numerous cattle ranches around here, same with the boots to walk around the crap and ride horses. WTF is your problem? Have you ever been away from New York? Do you have any idea that California is a major agricultural producer of pretty much everything https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9b68ed87534edbfffc168653cb087b8bd908dd3a5cf714187c62e32d7950e8fa.jpg of the US? We have several very large (and very famous) black angus ranches, chicken farms, I would tell you more I but it would pinpoint where I live and there are too many wackos that come here.
            I really don’t think you have ever been away from the east coast, the way you talk about Texas, and you definitely don’t know much about California.

  10. FireBaron January 16, 2016

    So, I guess the next time Texas needs relief, the entire NY Congressional delegation should tell them to ask Mexico, instead.

  11. Eleanore Whitaker January 16, 2016

    I think it’s really pretty funny that men in Texas are so envious of New York. Texas is not New York and never will be. That’s a dream they had hoped to grab when Bush ’43 became president.

    The reality is that too many in states to the west of NY and most of the upper northeast have NO idea what our daily lives are like. Unlike the Corn Pones, people in the northeast don’t sleep through winter in an Agri-hibernation. We get our butts to work in snow, sleet, icy roads and hail at 5 AM every day 5 days a week. Most in the northeast work more than 10 hours a day. Compare that to the Dixie Kings and Dixiebelles who barely make it to Walmart by 9 AM.

    The joke is that Texas is a huge wasteland, hates NY because NY is the center of the universe that Dallas and Houston will never be. No one stays long in Texas. It’s the Texas attitude that they are bigger and better that’s the turnoff. Not to mention a total lack of disregard for the rest of the states who support their lazy phony cowboy butts.

    When you consider that Texas is No. 2 in handouts from the federal government, exceeded only by Alaska, you see why Texas is still a Lone Star in the Confederacy. When you live in the past as the Corn Pones and Dixie Kings and Belles do, you can’t convince progressives in the northeast that’s the right dimension to live in.

    1. David January 16, 2016

      Eleanore!!! Is that why you wonderful Yankees are breaking your necks to get here as fast as you can? People from Texas are moving to New Joisey!

      1. Eleanore Whitaker January 16, 2016

        I think like ALL Texan men, you are as usual…exaggerating. No one moves out of New York City to Dallas or Houston. They are not that stupid and have no intentions of being treated like aliens from another planet.

        My nephew lived in Texas for 12 years only because his job relocated there. He got so fed up being treated like an “outsider” by your blowhards that he gave up the job and moved back to NY City. Where he is now happily paid five times what Texas paid for the same job.

        Try again..Texas is a sewer hole compared to NY. The only claim to fame Texas has is the massive pollution from your failing Big Oil Industry that will now take centuries to clean up on MY tax dollars. Enough with your blowhard bragging Cowboy..no one is impressed.

        1. oldtack January 16, 2016

          You sound like a recording of Ted Cruz.
          If New Yorkers don’t leave New York and come to Texas then where in the hell did Plano Texas get the thousands of New Yorkers that live there and work for large Corporations? Hell, there are a plethora of folks from Brooklyn and Manhattan that live live in the “Wasteland?’ of Amarillo.
          But then again – all these people are probably imposters – claiming to be from New York out of envy.

          Have a good day Ellie

          1. Eleanore Whitaker January 16, 2016

            You sound like a recording of George W. Phony Texan Bush. Born in the northeast and a swagger and drawl?

            The only reason Texas has “thousands of New Yorkers” is duh duh duh…they moved there due to jobs you cowboy dopes in Texas can’t do. Shows you how dependent Texas is on other states to provide the kind of technological expertise backward Confederate Texas doesn’t have. You won’t ever have a good day…Texas is a sewer hole of Big Oil pollution.

          2. oldtack January 16, 2016

            Ellie – Ellie – Elli My – how you do get upset.
            I won’t wish you a good day . Meanwhile – why don’t you sit in a comfortable chair and have a double shot of Glen Livet single malt scotch on the rocks. It will soothe your soul. and make you mellow.

          3. Cloudherder January 18, 2016

            My husband loves that stuff.

          4. oldtack January 18, 2016

            It’s addictive lol. But much better than any Bourbon or Rye.

          5. David January 19, 2016

            Great to sip – straight – with a good cigar!

          6. oldtack January 16, 2016

            well Ellie,
            If you can’t have a good day then-go get laid if that is possible. Even in NYC I don’t think you could find a man that is that desperate.

          7. Independent1 January 16, 2016

            You are aware right, that Texas is the cesspool of America?? That when compared to every other state in the nation, that Texas comes in within the worst 10 in 100% of 23 subjective socio/economic measures: like the states with the most corrupt government, or the worst police protection, or the worst roads and infrastructure, or the worst healthcare delivery system, or having the least educated citizens (people with the fewest college degrees), or the most people living in poverty, or spending the least money on its own education system (paying teachers); or having the smallest percentage of its citizens that vote, or having the most polluted overall environment in the nation – and I could go on and on!!!! Texas is nothing more than a national disaster.

          8. oldtack January 17, 2016

            So? Texas is no concern of mine no more than South Carolina or New York or any other State. …

          9. David January 17, 2016

            And what State are you from?

        2. oldtack January 16, 2016

          Have you ever been to Dallas and Houston? Take a survey and you will find thousands of transplanted New Yorkers there.

          1. Eleanore Whitaker January 16, 2016

            I wouldn’t set foot in that blowhard cowboy state if my life depended on it. Have you EVER left Texas?

          2. oldtack January 16, 2016

            Well Ellie girl. For clarification – I am not a native Texan. I am from the Midwest State of Iowa. But – given your NYC myopia you probably don’t know anything about the United States south of Bergen NJ or west of Buffalo. Or- do you know where Buffalo is?

            And by the way – before migration in the early 1700’s the land where the Twin Towers sat was the original farm of my ancestors , the Hogencamp and Blauvelt families when Your town was part of New Netherlands. But you are probably unaware of that part of history.

          3. oldtack January 18, 2016

            Ellie – hate to disappoint you “dahling” but I an not a “Texan” My roots are in the western part of the State of Iowa. But I was in Texas from 1956tot 1958 when I was in the Armed forces.

          4. oldtack January 18, 2016

            Ellie lady, I hate to tell you this -but- I am not one of those Native Texans that you despise. My roots are in the western part of the State of Iowa. But – I do reside in Texas as a “furriner”.

        3. David January 16, 2016

          Eleanore!!! I will remember your comment when I get up tomorrow and look at the wide spaces we have and breathe our country air. Have fun with your people stacked on top of one another!

          1. Robert Eckert January 17, 2016

            People who like other people are better.

          2. The lucky one January 17, 2016

            Obviously you don’t live in Dallas, Houston or San Antonio, three of the most polluted cities in the country.

          3. David January 17, 2016

            Dallas and Houston have an ozone problem. Maybe it’s because of all the Yankees moving here?

          4. The lucky one January 18, 2016

            More likely due to the lax environmental standards. I do know a lot of new yorkers who have moved south, none have moved to texas.

          5. Cloudherder January 18, 2016

            Mostly Georgia lately.

          6. Insinnergy January 17, 2016

            You obviously missed the news that Texas is legally trying to ensure the Federal government can’t enforce environmental standards there.
            …. I wonder why that might be…….?

          7. David January 18, 2016

            Please identify what you are referring to?

          8. Cloudherder January 18, 2016

            By the way David, the schools in Texas suck really bad. All kids when moving to California have to either go back a grade, or do a special tudoring to remain in the same grade. YOU HAVE A TERRIBLE SCHOOL SYSTEM IN TEXAS. Granted, you do have a lot of freeways, especially in San Antonio. One of my college degrees is from Texas. Ugh.
            Great fajitas. Better than California’s. And California has some pretty damn good fajitas.

          9. David January 19, 2016

            The Tex-Mex food is really good. Not sure about the kids having to go back a grade when moving to California. I attended high school in Texas and have a law degree from the Univ of Oklahoma. What school in Texas is one of your undergraduate degrees from?

  12. David January 16, 2016

    No guns allowed, Joe? Right! You might defecate your pants.

    1. Cloudherder January 18, 2016

      Do you have anything adult to say or just childish poo poo talk?

      1. David January 18, 2016

        When I speak to people like you, I make it a point to use language that they can understand.

        1. Cloudherder January 18, 2016

          No, when you talk to us you use language that totally avoids the issue, especially when you are confronted with something you know makes you wrong.

  13. oldtack January 16, 2016

    I don’t know a multitude of people in New York but the ones I do know are great people and they are not all white and they are not all Liberal. They are a mixture of political racial and religion persuasion like all average areas of the Country.

    Eduardo Rafael aka Ted Cruz committed a bad faux pas with his statement that will cause him problems, not just with New Yorkers but with people from several areas.

    I am not a Trump person but I laud him for calling Cruz out on this statement.

    I would strongly suggest that these wannabes read the text written for them by their staff before they open their mindless mouths.


  14. skeptical69 January 16, 2016

    I guess “Ted” forgot what he did as soon as his Liberty U announcement speech was finished. He got on a private jet to fly to New York to attend a private party in a duplex co-op where he got a $10 million check from a billionaire High Frequency Trading hedge fund manager who pays no income tax.

  15. penguintruth January 16, 2016

    The values of the most important city in the history of mankind is a little more valid than some halfwit who gets so much of his money there but somehow hates it.

  16. Theo McKinney January 16, 2016

    GOP = Frauds.

    1. Matforce January 19, 2016

      True, but I like GOP = Guardians Of Plutocracy better.

  17. Elliot J. Stamler January 17, 2016

    As a New York City resident and one born here, I can state factually that NYC is not as liberal as the ultra-conservatives think. It is liberal relatively–certainly compared to them but it is no east coast Berkeley. If it were we would not have had 20 years of Republican mayors until recently–and make no mistake about it, Michael Bloomberg IS a Republican and was thrice elected on that ticket…altho’ he subsequently decided to be an “independent.” The city generally likes what would be called mainstream liberals…when it elects a left-wing liberal he/she does not usually last long. That was demonstrated with David Dinkins and will be I think in 2017 when De Blasio is defeated. To Ted Cruz our NYC values are virtually communist because they are the opposite of his Texas ultra right-wing prudish, extremist, fanatical, evangelical-religious, intolerant and ignorant values which have now corrupted and conquered the formerly honorable ideology of conservatism espoused by people like Buckley and Goldwater.

  18. AMADAL January 18, 2016

    Just when I was beginning to think I could claim Texas as home–along comes Cruze. It was bad enough unleashing Dubya Bushie on the nation then electing govs Perry and Abbot. Believe it or not there are a lot of good sane people here. There are just more idiot Repukes that have destroyed our once great state. We’re still fighting to run the repukes back to wherever they came from.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.