• First Cruz makes a very specific, utterly insane smear against a Democrat (or a political enemy). By specific, I mean that a key (as pointed out by Rachel Maddow) method of McCarthyism -- the thing that makes it sticky is the specificity. He didn't just encounter some Marxist college professors at Harvard -- he encountered TWELVE (exactly! He counted 'em!) Marxist college professors dedicated to the overthrow of America by force and violence. Chuck Hagel didn't just accept money from North Koreans -- he 'may have' accepted $200,000!
• Then -- outraged lefties deny it (Harvard responded that they had no idea what he was talking about).
• Then -- before people can catch their breath (or process the denial) we're on to next smear.
We need to change up this script and play offense. Here's how...
The way to take on a Ted Cruz is to get right in his grill, and stay there. Get him back on his heels. Use his strength against him.
In the case of Harvard...
"Senator Cruz, America needs some answers. You say you encountered twelve -- TWELVE hard-core, America-hating, government-overthrowing Marxist professors at Harvard. AND YET...as far as we can tell, and please correct us on this...you NEVER EVER reported these Professors to anyone! You made NO ATTEMPT to stop them from this vile practice! Were you not opposed to Communism then? Did you have no responsibility to students to come after you? Won't you name them NOW, in case some of them are still out there poisoning the minds of our young? Isn't that your responsibility?
"Senator Cruz, these are very serious charges. America wants answers. A Senator who sits on his hands when active subversion of the American political system is occurring at an elite University is simply not acceptable.
"As for your charges about Senator Hagel and the mysterious $200,000, you seem to have some 'inside information' on this. I mean, no Senator would launch an indiscriminate smear, especially with a very specific dollar amount mentioned, without very solid information. Your charges indicate either a secret information source, or a coziness with the North Koreans that would make your status as a United States Senator extremely problematic. Where did you come by this information, Senator? What is your back-channel to the North Koreans? These are very troubling questions, Senator Cruz. Answers, please."
The only way to deal with bullies is to take them on head-on. This can be done in the context of humor (Stewart, Colbert) but its more effective if its done by someone with some clout.