Photo Credit:
Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz.

If you’re not a West Wing fan, this entire opening will not be nearly as meaningful as if you were, but I hope you’ll get the gist of it. In the pilot episode of TWW, three fundamentalist Christians—not the show’s favorite group in the world— Mary Marsh, Al Caldwell, and John Van Dyke, arrive at the White House for a meeting with the senior staff. The context is that Josh Lyman needs to apologize to the visitors for something unkind he had said. Josh apologizes, and then Marsh, who is tougher than her two male colleagues, begins a negotiation over concessions from the President in return for a truce. She puts it squarely to Lyman: “What’s it gonna be?”

“What’s it gonna be?” Josh is taken aback. “We’re not prepared to make a deal right now.”

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“Sure we are,” she says, then, in total contempt, adds, “You’re cleaning out your desk at the end of the day. I’ll negotiate with Toby, if it’s all the same.”

At which point Toby Ziegler says, “It was only a matter of time.”

Then Marsh says, “That New York sense of humor — They think they’re smarter. But nobody else does.”

“I’m actually from Connecticut,” says Josh, unaware of the dagger in his chest. So Toby explains: “But the point is, she meant Jewish. New York sense of humor — she meant you and me.”

One of the top ten TWW moments in my book, when show creator Aaron Sorkin sent a clear message to us, the viewers, that this was going to be a show about political reality we could get addicted to.

Last night I heard Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz, a man I have been following favorably, trying to assess if my personal loathing for Hillary Clinton was strong enough to cast my vote for him should that moment come — that Ted Cruz crossed the line, in a way that I recognize on a deep, emotional and psychological level, because I am a New York Jew.

In an interview on the Howie Carr radio show on Tuesday, Cruz, who had been attacked by everybody’s favorite relentless bully Donald Trump about his American citizenship, suggested that Trump should play “New York, New York” at his rallies, rather than “Born in the USA,” which Trump had been using to suggest that Canadian born Cruz wasn’t.

“I think he may shift in his new rallies to playing ‘New York, New York’ because Donald comes from New York and he embodies New York values,” Cruz said.

I didn’t hear that exchange and the news report didn’t make it to my news junky radar screen, but I would have, because of that TWW episode. Some TV shows leave an impression. But I certainly took note at Thursday night’s Republican candidates debate.

Host Neil Cavuto said: Senator Cruz, you suggested Mr. Trump, quote, “embodies New York values.” Could you explain what you mean by that?

Cruz: You know, I think most people know exactly what New York values are.

(Laughter)

Host Maria Bartiromo: I am from New York. I don’t.

Cruz: What — what — you’re from New York? So you might not.

(Laughter)

Cruz: But I promise you, in the state of South Carolina, they do.

(Applause)

Cruz: And listen, there are many, many wonderful, wonderful working men and women in the state of New York. But everyone understands that the values in New York City are socially liberal or pro-abortion or pro- gay-marriage, focus around money and the media.

And — and I would note indeed, the reason I said that is I was asked — my friend Donald has taken to it as (ph) advance playing Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA,” and I was asked what I thought of that. And I said, “well, if he wanted to play a song, maybe he could play, ‘New York, New York’?” And — and — you know, the concept of New York values is not that complicated to figure out.

Not too many years ago, Donald did a long interview with Tim Russert. And in that interview, he explained his views on a whole host of issues that were very, very different from the views he’s describing now. And his explanation — he said, “look, I’m from New York, that’s what we believe in New York. Those aren’t Iowa values, but this is what we believe in New York.” And so that was his explanation. And — and I guess I can — can frame it another way. Not a lot of conservatives come out of Manhattan. I’m just saying.

I believe in fairness, and so I cited the full transcript above, rather than shape it to serve my point with cuts and omissions. And for the record I don’t believe Senator Ted Cruz is an anti-Semite. He’s a loyal friend of Israel and has enough Jewish following to suggest he isn’t. But when he used the New York values quote he did it in the very same vein as that character on the West Wing, as a short form for people like me.

And the part that disturbed me the most was not so much what Cruz said, but the laughter and the applause of the audience. As in, “But I promise you, in the state of South Carolina, they do. (Applause)”

What can I tell you, as a New York Jew, when people down in South Carolina laugh at and applaud an insult at my expense — I get nervous. Just like Toby Ziegler.

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82 COMMENTS

  1. No way was he referring to NY Jews, that seems a bit self-centered and maybe paraniod, with good reason. Apart from Paris, Stockholm, the West coast and a few other progressive Sodomite cities, we all know that a good majority of NY Jews are off-the-wall liberals, and fit Cruz's description perfectly.

  2. So much of politics is perception. Cruz is willing to risk alienating some Jewish voters by creating a perception that Trump is a quasi-New-York-Jew. He does this to solidify his support in the Evangelical community. But the Evangelical community is for the most part pro-Israel. So maybe Cruz admires Israeli Jews more than he respects American Jews.

  3. True although I believe Iowa will respect that comment and the rest of the fly over states. Plus I was born and raised in NY and have a understanding of what he was talking about NY “now” is a liberal state. However, when push comes to shove like 9/11 there is nothing like a New Yorker. Hopefully those same people will arise to vote to save our nation.

  4. I saw a movie long time ago based on a true story about those young US soldiers fighting against German soldiers in the woods. They were brave, heroic, and would fight to the end. Then there was that portion where they asked from what State they belonged. Most of them said they were from New York. Maybe this is what implied with New York values like those heroic firefighters during 9/11.

  5. I agree with most normal people that Cruz was talking about New York Bleeding heart Liberals, not Jews. Just a reminder, he was the first one to publicly say that the day he becomes president, he will move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. If anyone should be questioned about his love for Jews, I would say it is Trump in spite of his daughter's choices.

  6. Did we really all have to read all about some TV show to justify your complete misunderstanding of Ted Cruz? It's time for people to not take to not take things so personally and just face the facts. Without a doubt Cruz was not referring to Jews in general. He was referring to the overwhelming amount of liberals in New York. It happens to be that many Jews in New York are liberals as well as many non-Jewish liberals. I love the Jewish press but come on please refer to your colleagues next time before you publish a misrepresentation of a possibly good candidate for this country because now you have some readers following what you said since you're the journalist and they're just the readers…

  7. Trump has made very "simplistic" remarks about Jews addressing some Jewish leaders in Las Vegas: "you guys like to re-negotiate deals and like a good bargain more than in any rooom I have been to…" and " I don't know if Israelis want peace" and " I have not yet decided about the moving of the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem" . George W. Bush like Jeb last night had promised that embassy move and so had Barak Obama and did not do it. With Ted Cruz I believe he would do it and Ted Cruz is smart enough not to assocaite the " liberal New York values" to just Jews. He is a true friend of Israel and has shown respect for Jewish people.

  8. As a native born Manhattanite and lover of my city I need to say this. Cruz is right about the progressive, not really liberal, nature of a certain group of New York City people. By the way I am sick and tired of people using New York to mean both the city and the state when it serves their purpose. The people he is referring to are mostly white and affluent. They control the city. Blacks and Hispanics vote left but live their lives in the center. The most honored responders on 911 were the firemen and the policemen and they don’t live in Manhattan, they live in Jersey and Long Island and Rockland County for the most part. They have long been priced out of Manhattan. So I don’t take offense to what Senator Cruz said because it is these rich fat cats who care more about feeling good than doing good that have weakened my city and my nation.

  9. I would strongly suggest reading or re-reading "The Plot Against America" by Phillip Roth. It is a historical fantasy but I fear it happening if Cruz or Trump is elected especially with the mood of the electorate. Jews are always blamed first. "New York values" is a dog whistle term for Jews.

  10. He was clearly referring to the affluent wealthy that run NYC… the Trumps of the world. For Trump to automatically jump to 9/11 is a cowardly move. He knows very well what Cruz meant and he knows he *is* ‘that guy’…. just look at his reaction to the sensetive microphone in Pensacola. Trump is not a nice guy and he fits the stereotype of a wealthy NYC socialite.

  11. I'm from the mid-west and took Cruz' comment from our world view. We tend to view New Yorker's as a breed apart. Hard edged, hard talking, foul mouthed, liberals, on the wrong side of most issues who gave us Hillary Clinton. Nothing against the Jewish population

  12. I don't understand — Is this a news article? It sounds like a blog or an editorial.

    I remember that West Wing episode, but Toby was Jewish — that's how the insult worked. Is the Jewish Press really accusing Ted Cruz of being anti-semitic because he said something nasty about Donald Trump? Doesn't the Jewish Press know that The Donald isn't Jewish??

    Sounds like Mr. Israel just doesn't like Cruz.

  13. Cruz didn't mean New York Jew, but if he had… so what ? Many Jewish-Americans mistakenly vote liberal democrat, for agendas of political gain disguised as Biblical value.

    The remark was to Trump's conservatism… so who cares ? Personally I like the fit, left-of-center republican and Judeo-Christian principles of our founding.

  14. How is it that the author of this piece did not see fit to quote Donald Trump's excellent and heartfelt reply to Cruz?
    The animosity shown towards Trump by many in the media is sickening. In spite of this, I hope Trump goes on to win the Republican nomination and eventually the Presidency. Only Trump has the courage to call a spade a spade and is not politically correct and that is his strength.

  15. I don't care for Cruz but don't think he's anti Semitic, I do think he has the ego and attitude like a republican John Kerry. Trump is trump, he's not ultra conservative and he's not liberal, but he would be fun to see as president and would try to work with people. Would he go down as a great president? Likely not, but compared to what we have now he would. Obama is a complete and udder failure on everything he attempts,

  16. #newyorkvalues

    I am not writing this to endorse Donald Trump or any other candidate. Donald hasn't earned my vote simply because he is a New Yorker and in real estate as I am, and Ted Cruz will not earn my vote simply because he and I are both Latino (in response to the criticism from some of my fellow Latinos who are angry that I am slamming Latino candidate, Ted Cruz). It's gone as far as the ridiculous notion that women should vote for Hillary because she is a woman. I don't vote for a candidate because of his/her race, religious beliefs, gender, or residence. It pains me to know that so many people are still choosing their candidate because of ethnicity, gender or religious beliefs. We've been down that road before and it didn't exactly make us any better.

    I simply feel Ted Cruz completely disrespected the people of New York City when over-generalizing our "New York values." As a native New Yorker born and raised in Brooklyn, and a proud New Yorker who is raising a family of New Yorkers, I personally demand an apology from this over generalization of what "New York values" are. I Love New York & I love the fact that New York is by far one of the most diverse places in the entire world. We are a city full of many views, from the most liberal to the most conservative. We are outspoken and passionate about our views. Our city is full of people that can actually debate and defend their own views without forgetting that we share one thing in common, WE LOVE NEW YORK CITY.

    So Mr. Presidential Hopeful Ted Cruz, I understand that you're riding this high wave of added support in Iowa, and a little spike in the polls, but you just lost New York City and anyone that has ever liked this city. Your comments were insulting, disgustingly over generalized, and plain out wrong. I am demanding an apology from you. I'm not saying you should apologize in a political manner in a general statement Mr. Cruz. I want an apology in writing from the Ted Cruz to the George L. Rosario.

    Furthermore, I believe every proud New Yorker should demand the same from you. Let's see how well you can run your election when you're busy writing apology letters to 8.5 million people Mr. Cruz. You should also take some time to write those letters out to the 50 million + people that visit our city every year from all over the world. Hey, at least apologize to Maria for the way you spoke to her. "You're from New York so you might not." That is a very condescending statement.

    Your foolish comment may be swept under the rug in the upcoming weeks, but Ted Cruz, I have lost all respect for you and your over-generalization of the amazing and very diverse people in my New York City.

    I will be looking for that letter in the mail Mr. Cruz. Search me online. My office is in Queens New York and the address is listed.

    George L. Rosario
    Proud New Yorker

    #glrosario #rosarioshalomayevteam #iloveny #NewYork #Brooklyn #Queens #Manhattan #NYC #Bronx #StatenIsland #values #GOPDebate #politicians #GodBlessAmerica #GodBlessNewYork #ilovenewyork

  17. James Kraft excuse me as I'm on my phone and 1/2 the page isn't displaying. As for a cow? That's too good for Obama the cow pie. Instead of doing a spell check why not list the accomplishments of the Muslim loving $10 trillion man heading us into another recession while giving Iran complete power in the Middle East, leeway with Isis and the world on fire? At least bush gave us a stable Iraq, Obama destroyed that regardless of your argument on the war. Also don't be simplistic and blame him for the recession, that's the simple minded response to a complex situation.

  18. Nahh…he meant Jewish!! He said what he meant. Its a very TEXAN thing to do…to attack another state when what we need is a Repubican who can unite us together. BTW: There are more registered Rebulicans in New York State than there are peopole in South Carolina!!! A really dumb move. You can attack SF or Chicago…but hands off NYC! Every American makes a trip to NYC in their lives…its our cultural capital…this will haunt him for the rest of his carreer…

  19. Nahh…he meant Jewish!! He said what he meant. Its a very TEXAN thing to do…to attack another state when what we need is a Repubican who can unite us together. BTW: There are more registered Rebulicans in New York State than there are peopole in South Carolina!!! A really dumb move. You can attack SF or Chicago…but hands off NYC! Every American makes a trip to NYC in their lives…its our cultural capital…this will haunt him for the rest of his carreer…

  20. A vote needs to be earned no doubt, but trump is playing the game by the rules set by Obama. Everything Obama did crossed the ethical lines, that which Clinton even followed. In fact Clinton actually worked with congress for the country and was successful. Obama simply knows politics not policy. I will say that trump will play the game but be fair and strong as a president as I know how he ran his companies. I was skeptical too, but I know what he's doing and it works for votes. What I like about trump is he ISNT a social conservative like the others, yeah I am against abortion, but I pick my battles and the economy, defense, and our allies mean something. Right now Obama is setting Israel up for genocide. They are immediately threatened but so is the west. Radical Islam supported nazism, so it's one on the same.

  21. Mark Ross Very strong words. I don't like the direction in which Obama took our country. We are weak in the eyes of ALL extrimists of the world, not just the Islamic Extrimists, but ALL extrimists. We are weak in the eys of the strong arming communists controlling Korea's agenda, to the genocidal dictators throughout Africa, to the Anti-America extrimists in South America, we have become the butt of their jokes. Radical/extremist views, whether Muslim, Christian or Jewish are wrong and dangerous to our society. I agree with you. Votes must be earned. I will NOT vote Republican, Democrat or Independent unless the candidate earns MY vote.

  22. I believe Trump was put in to run for President and to be a brown back puppy for Hillary, if you know what I mean. Most people don't like Trump, so either they will drop out in voting or vote for Hillary. I believe she is going to be president and she will destroy America even further than Obama has. As for New Yorkers, they only care about themselves and what they believe in and don't care about the rest of America. I'm a Christian and my values are not New Yorkers values, I stand for God and what he says. I love the Jewish people and Israel and will always stand up for them, God says to do that and I will. I don't listen to man or think my happiness come from them. As for Cruz, I do believe he's right, but if you think he's talking about the Jewish people, NO I don't think so.

  23. The double standard is what irks me. Your governor can insult conservatives and tell them that they have no place in New York because pro-life, pro-gun, pro-traditional marriage people don't hold New York values, and you people nod your heads approvingly.

    Then, when the tables are truned, suddenly you're offended. Maybe you should give some thought to how much you offend those of us who disagree with you. We're called hicks and rubes, fools, bigots, racists, tea baggers (a filthy sexual slur) and a million other insults, and not one of you speaks up and says a line was crossed.. Now the shoe is on the other foot and you're having second thoughts about Cruz?

    We're not stupid, you know. We can smell hypocrisy from a mile away.

  24. I'm sorry, but if you can't tell the distinction, historical and moral, between someone being called "a filthy anti-Semite" and "a filthy Jew," or between being insulted for being a homophobe vs. being insulted for being gay, then you're probably not as smart as you think you are.

    But, of course, as you know, there are no racists among the supporters for Cruz and Trump. The only real racists are the libtards who support that un-American Hussein Obummer, correct? And hey. defending the rights of Christians to throw gays like me out of their stores and hotels has nothing to do with bigotry, because it's in the Bible.

    Well, let me, as a gay Jew, assure you – a straight white presumably Christian man – that some of us can smell bigotry, even unacknowledged bigotry (like the pathetic "pro-traditional-marriage" dodge), from two miles away.

  25. Well, yeah, because according to the Evangelical mythos, Israel has to be in existence as a prerequisite for Armageddon and the Second Coming, after which Jews who don't accept Jesus as savior will be sent straight to Hell. Is that supposed to be reassuring?

  26. Simon Sheppard One who is anti-gay does not mean one is a bigot. Get your terminology straight. I personally believe it is a 'choice'. I believe it to be an emotional, spiritual and socially unnatural dysfunction. I thank the good Creator everyday that I at least know what my tuchis is for.

  27. Simon Sheppard, of course you can, because you see bigotry everywhere. Because you're blind to any argument you disagree with. Everyone who disagress with you must be a bigot who should be killed to make the world a better place – sort of like ISIS.

  28. Good for you David. I was leaning Cruz but it's now going to be either Rubio or Trump. Thanks for giving voice to the way I was feeling about Cruz's display as well. Remember, Billy Graham said all the right things to our face, and then behind closed doors we heard what he said in the Nixon tapes. We don't need a jerk who speaks in anti-semitic wink-wink in the White House. There are other good candidates.

  29. Right after 9-11, we were "all New Yorkers" & recognized that the attack on the World Trade Center was against our entire country and way of life. We cried together and even our Congress stood on the Capitol Steps and sang "God Bless America," even the atheists. But then, the media and certain celebrity types (ike the Dixie Chicks) came out against Dubya Bush with all kinds of insane accusations from Michael Moore to Charlie Sheen. The very next election brought us a Democrat backlash most notably with Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer, both of whom have approved and voted for everything Obama wanted. That's what I took Cruz to mean and I don't have to be from South Carolina, I was no longer a "New Yorker." I was born in DC and raised in Maryland, two of the most liberal areas of the country and it doesn't offend me one bit if a man like Cruz said either of those places did not have "our values," but that doesn't mean I don't love the nation's capital or Maryland. It's where I grew up and all my friends and most of my family lives. Many do have "my" values and I know Cruz was speaking in generalities.

  30. Simon Sheppard Was your life so bad growing up in America? I don't see people hating homosexuals, or women, or anyone else other than the Westboro Baptist Church and the like which are not mainstream Americans. Feminists have all kinds of ridiculous complaints and women are treated better in the free world certainly than in the rest of the world. Just where in the Bible does it say homosexuals should be thrown out of stores or hotels? Even the bakers that didn't want to bake a cake with two men or women on top had gay customers and served them for years. It was when they demanded they cater their wedding that there was a problem. Nobody wants to do anything for anybody when they're forced to do so. I do see some name calling, but the same ignorant people attack anyone different. Too fat? Skinny? Wear cowboy boots? Whatever you will never legislate away stupidity. But don't relate someone who doesn't agree with gay marriage as the same ones who throw people off of sky scrapers. That is also bigotry.

  31. A "Texan" thing to do? Well I "know" what you're saying and I "know" what you mean. How ignorant is that? Cruz was speaking in generalities and about ideology, not creed, color or race. Maybe some New yorkers see themselves as the center of the universe but if you talk 9-11, nobody gave more than the people on Flight 93. They gave their lives to keep that plane from slamming into another American target. Yet they are a practically a footnote to 9/11 like the Pentagon is.

  32. Gil Solomon We all know what Trump said. Anytime William F Buckley is mentioned, we snap to attention. I love most of what Trump says. I only doubt that he means what he says. George Soros helped him when he ran out of money building Trump Towers in Chicago. You don't think he might want something in return? I don't trust Trump at all because I've heard him say the reverse things not so long ago.

  33. Paulita Gilberto New York values sent over 200 firefighters up the stairs to certain death. Were u there that day? Obviously not in NYC. My point was that we need a United GOP not a state vs. state battle. We need a candidate that can win outside of the South. Someone who can win NY, like Reagan did. The Texas senator will only win the red states that usually go red, especially with dumb insulting rhetoric. The don d can put NY in play!!! Stop shooting ourselves in the foot with this Southern centric approach.

  34. Simon Sheppard, and obviously you are ignorant of the rest of the country. NO ONE outside of NY Jews thinks of money or media and equates it to Jews. The so-called "dog whistle" is laughable. Basically what you are saying is that NY Jews are so important in everyone else's life that everyone should react the same way that you do toa purported insult.

    It's sad that you are that self-involved and that insecure.

    When Cruz said New York values, he was echoing your Governor. You saw no insult at all when Cuomo said conservatives were not welcome in New York. I'm sure all the conservatives in NY outside of NYC were tickled pink to be insulted by their own governor, but you didn't see them whining and complaining about bigotry and prejudice.

    Put your big boy pants and get over yourself. The world doesn't revolve around you. Good grief.

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