Thoughts on Ted Cruz's "New York Values" Statement

I don't want to give too much credence to Cruz's "New York values" dig on Trump.  First, it's silly -- New York is not at all monolithic.  Second, it doesn't really even apply to Trump, who often thumbs his nose at New York elite.

But I think that if you asked a lot of people in flyover country, the statement would still have resonance.  I think the reason is that while New York is not at all monolithic in its culture and values, its media exports do tend to be much more homogeneous and tend to reflect a Left-liberal coastal condescension.

I was thinking about this watching the Broadway show If/Then which was in Phoenix this weekend.  I thought this was a pretty forgettable musical, essentially a sort of remake of the movie "Sliding Doors", that was elevated by Idina Menzel in the lead.  We in flyover country seldom get stars of this caliber (at least after they are famous) in our roadshows and she (along with one other female lead who was quite good) made the show worth the ticket.

Anyway, a couple of observations about the show in the context of Cruz's statement:

  • No character in the show (with 2 exceptions) had a productive job in the private sector.  Everyone worked in the city planning department or was a housing activist or a public school teacher.  I kid you not, there was actually a song about the joys of urban planning.   The two exceptions were:  1)  a private architect who thanked the city planning department for overruling his designs and 2) an investment banker who acted like a complete tool and was included for 10 seconds only to illustrate the worst possible imaginable male date.
  • Accusing a character of being a Republican was used as a laugh-line twice.  Since the character was one the authors wanted to the audience to have sympathy for, the character quickly avowed he was an Independent.
  • Living any place in flyover country (e.g. Nebraska, Arizona**) was used as a laugh line in the show and choosing to live in those places was offered up as an example of bad decision-making.  The only place deemed acceptable to live outside of New York was Oregon.

I got over getting too worked up about this sort of stuff years ago (or else I would spend all my time holed up in a cave listening to a few old Rush albums).   Cruz was wrong to criticize New York values but I think there is a .... call it an attitude that emanates from New York media that the rest of the country sometimes finds irritating.


** in the show we saw, the lead character had just escaped from a bad marriage in Phoenix.  My guess is that this was not the original location, but was switched for the show here (though I could be wrong, since such a switch would have meant adjusting a couple of songs too).  Anyone see it on Broadway and know what location was used there?


  1. Not Sure:

    "The only place deemed acceptable to live outside of New York was Oregon."

    Portland, maybe. Certainly, not Bend or points east.

  2. DirtyJobsGuy:

    Michael Bloomberg's war on guns is front and center in places like Iowa and New Hampshire. Cruz knows where to sink the harpoon.

  3. Seekingfactsforsanity:

    It has been written: Conservative Republicans have no place in New York with their right-wing views because “that’s not what New Yorkers
    are,” Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo says. It’s only fitting that Cruz points to where Trump explains his political views - and they were consistent with Cuomo's explanation of NY values. Cruz supported his point about the Donald's values with a tweet that provides a link to the Meet the Press interview from 1999 where the Donald says that as a New Yorker he supports views not consistent with those in Iowa. That said, Cruz probably should have said it differently. On the other hand, maybe no one would have ever seen the Donald's interview without this broad brush that has gotten so much attention.

  4. gr8econ:

    Cruz's non-apology apology was classic.

  5. J_W_W:

    i'm amazed at how much vitriol has been stirred up by Cruz's remarks. I thought New Yorkers were more thick skinned than this. New Yorkers with their God damned "flyover country" sneers about everyone who isn't a costal liberal elite, can cry me a river and go to hell.

  6. Steven Aldridge:

    Hi everyone,

    I post a lot on a very liberal site, thought I'd come here and take a break while preaching to the choir. This is one of my favorite blogs, the author writes some very insightful posts from the vantage point of a business owner. Usually small and large companies try to avoid a high profile lest they attract an angry mob or the ire of a regulator, quite refreshing to see someone buck the trend. Watching Walmart trying to explain their decision not to open new stores in D.C. while avoiding the subject of minimum wage mandates was difficult.

  7. Joe Mama:

    He would have been golden if he had stuck with "Not a lot of conservatives come out of Manhattan.". Unfortunately, New York is the name of both a city and a state. If you are speaking of the city, Manhattan is the ideological center with the other boroughs satellite, bedroom communities.

  8. ReallyOldOne:

    What I think is hilarious about Cruz's NY values "accusation" is that his wife is a Goldman Managing Director and he took a million in loans from Goldman and Citi to run for Senate (and forgot to report it). Sounds like Teddy has learned his own "NY Values" well. Bought and paid for by NY Banks. Too funny, but great entertainment.

  9. mesocyclone:

    I think Cruz was quite smart to make the criticism. Those it was directed at - the Republican base - knew what he was talking about.

  10. herdgadfly:

    If reporting personal loans is a problem, then Trump's use of his own funds to finance this campaign will also be a problem. Fact is the loans with Goldman and Citi were secured by Ted and Heidi's investment accounts. Cruz complied with one required reporting on his campaign finance report but failed to do so on the U.S. Senate report when the loans showed up as personal. Doesn't sound like an attempt to hide anything. As for values, Trump showed no values when he cheated his creditors out of mega-dollars worth of loans and investments in not one but four bankruptcies in 18 years. Judgement goes south when Trump pontificates.

  11. Bram:

    I live not far from NY and agree with the statement. The city is a playground for the rich, and unaffordable for anyone with a middle-class income unless you want to live like a pauper. The surrounding boroughs and suburbs are slightly less expensive but require miserable commutes.

    Upstate doesn't have a financial center or major port - but they do have massive taxes, highly restrictive gun laws, and corrupt politicians imposed on them from the majority far to the southeast. Parts of western NY look like the Great Depression never ended.

  12. MNHawk:

    A people who can't be trusted with soda pop or fantasy football are not a people of thick skin.

    New Yorkers are the most infantalized, helpless people in the country.

  13. bigmaq1980:

    "or else I would spend all my time holed up in a cave listening to a few old Rush albums"

    Didn't know these things: 1) Limbaugh did albums; 2) You were a Limbaugh fan, 3) Caves had electricity.

    j/k ;)

  14. SamWah:

    "...its media exports do tend to be much more homogeneous and tend to reflect a Left-liberal coastal condescension." Tend, you say? Seems to me "exemplify" is more accurate. Oregon? Wouldn't Frisco and California do? Seattle?

  15. bbrown:

    I was at that show too and made roughly the same observations. I think Phoenix was original to the script since Idina flubbed her lines after mocking Phoenix and then broke character to explain how she realizes she's in Phoenix right now. My wife (who normally attends these Broadway shows) said that she's never seen an actress mess up and consciously break character like that. It's either a well-crafted attempt at endearing the production to the crowd or a legitimate accident.

  16. Roy_Lofquist:

    The substance and subject of Cruz's statement are irrelevant. The significance is that Cruz zapped Trump's major vulnerability - his temperament. Trump responded, in high dudgeon, with a classic "Oh look, a squirrel!" peroration. He followed up with calling Cruz a nasty guy in an appearance with Stephanopolous.

    In a two man race, and I think it is at this point, the other candidates' supporters are going to go with their second choice. Cruz wins that contest hands down.

  17. epobirs:

    The current NY governor declared the state as a hostile zone for conservatives. Can it get any more definitive?

  18. jhertzli:

    In Senator Cruz's an apology, he explained that he only wanted to criticize the policies of Andrew Cuomo or Bill de Blasio instead of New York in general. My reaction as a New Yorker: Apology accepted.

    On the other hand, at first it's unclear what Donald Trump has in common with Andrew Cuomo or Bill de Blasio. After all, Donald Trump is regarded as being on the Right whereas Cuomo and de Blasio are on the Left.

    On the gripping hand, the policies of Cuomo and de Blasio that Ted Cruz criticized are based on the idea that we can provide prosperity by suppressing the "wrong" economic activities (fracking, low-wage work, or non-government schools) or even the "wrong" people (unwanted fetuses, gun owners, or people trying to avoid having anything to do with gay marriage) and Donald Trump represents the same idea, although the "wrong" economic activities involve foreign imports and the "wrong" people are immigrants.

    By the way, will Trump accuse Cruz of having "Harvard values"?

  19. Brennan Schweitzer:

    Which old Rush albums? If I had to choose only three, they would be in order "A Farewell to Kings," "2112," and "Moving Pictures." Honorable mention to "Hemispheres" and "Signals." Oh, hell, who am I kidding? I'd want them all!