A Time for Truth: Reigniting the Miracle of America — a Review

 

TCI don’t read a lot of political autobiographies. Indeed, this may have been the first one. And I’m not sure why I decided to do so. Perhaps because Cruz has seemed something of an enigma: a hyper-ambitious, self-promoting appellate lawyer with all the right enemies; an ideologue from his teens who went through the Ivies and the Bush campaign but seems to say the right things; a sophisticated and subtle questioner prone to simplistic statements; a far-right, wacko-bird, bomb-thrower who writes bipartisan legislation that gets signed into law. What does Ted Cruz really believe in – apart from Ted Cruz?

Stylistically, the book suffers from its predominantly undramatic subject matter. There is only so much “show, don’t tell” you can squeeze from men in suits writing things down or reading things out, so there is a fair sprinkling of “Bob Smith, a gruff mid-westerner with sandy-brown hair and the combativeness of his Scots-Irish grandfather” did something with a piece of paper. And in a couple of places it seemed almost as if Cruz was checking things off a list: best friend is from the Caribbean; reaches across the aisle to co-sponsor women’s issue bill; acknowledges hubris.

In the end I came away thinking Ted Cruz would be a much better president than I had thought I would going in. You would hope so: Here is a world class advocate making his case in long form with no opposing counsel to disrupt the narrative. And Cruz wields the narrative well. It is hard not to be outraged by the attitude of his fellow Republicans in the opening, and it is hard to disagree with his statement of principles at the end — for all that they are largely devoid of crunchy policy detail.

But by the time you have reached the end, you have almost been persuaded of Cruz’s thesis that concrete policy proposals don’t matter if there is no real intention to put them into practice. What really matters, he says, is a record of acting in accordance with principles. And the bulk of the book is his attempt to demonstrate how he has — usually — acted in accordance with his principles: the American Constitution (inalienable rights, limited government); the American Dream (free market capitalism, “opportunity conservatism”) and American Exceptionalism (leader of the free world, model to all).

The key to the book — perhaps the key to Ted Cruz, politician — is Question 10. This was a question from his first benchmark poll (perhaps from early 2011) when lining up against David Dewhurst for the Republican nomination for Senate. It asked voters if they were more or less likely to support Cruz if they knew:

Ted Cruz understands that politicians from both parties have let us down. Cruz is a proven conservative we can trust to provide new leadership in the Senate to reduce the size of government and defend the Constitution.

This message polled well among Republicans and Independents, and even did well among (Texas) Democrats. Cruz seems to have stuck to it ever since.

Does Ted Cruz believe the Constitution assures inalienable rights and strictly limits the role and scope of the federal government? Undoubtedly. Does he believe that free markets create opportunity and prosperity? Absolutely. Does he have an appreciation for the realities of government? I think so. Will he sell everyone out for the greater glory of Ted Cruz? Not right away. And not knowingly. But Cruz is something of an idealist, and Washington can be pretty hard on idealists. What a Senator Cruz would do in 2030 is hard to say.

But a President Cruz in 2016 would be a good bet. So, a final, and for some, the most important, question: Can Ted Cruz mount a national challenge in the grass-roots style that served him so well in his Texas election?

We’ll see.

There are 10 comments.

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  1. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @EustaceCScrubb

    I assume you bought this book in bulk.

    • #1
  2. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    Eustace C. Scrubb: I assume you bought this book in bulk.

    You caught me, Punch!

    • #2
  3. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    Pinch?

    • #3
  4. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @Manny

    I look at Ted Cruz as a Senator but not presidential material.  Ultimately you have to bring at least two thirds of the country together if you want to lead, and I don’t see Cruz bringing his own party together.  He seems like Newt Gingrich, great on values but incapable of forming a consensus.  He’s well spoken, and likable, but probably best suited where he is.

    • #4
  5. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    Ball Diamond Ball: Pinch?

    Pinch, Son of Punch. ECS struck me as original material.

    • #5
  6. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    genferei:

    Ball Diamond Ball: Pinch?

    Pinch, Son of Punch. ECS struck me as original material.

    Ah!  I did not know that.

    • #6
  7. Fricosis Guy Listener
    Fricosis Guy
    @FricosisGuy

    genferei:But by the time you have reached the end, you have almost been persuaded of Cruz’s thesis that concrete policy proposals don’t matter if there is no real intention to put them into practice. What really matters, he says, is a record of acting in accordance with principles.

    Cruz is correct, but I don’t think it supports his case. He’s never had a role where he’s had to do more than take and advocate positions on issues he can cherry-pick. He thinks that he knows what he’d do, but that resolve often changes when issues are thrust upon you.

    • #7
  8. Fritz Coolidge
    Fritz
    @Fritz

    Great legal mind, but no executive experience. He’d be excellent on the Supreme Court. Skip the White House.

    • #8
  9. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    Fritz: Great legal mind, but no executive experience.

    I don’t know whether he has a great legal mind, but he seems to have a clear one, which is usually more valuable.

    His executive experience is limited: teams of dozens or hundreds at the FTC, the Texas Solicitor General’s office and private practice. He’s no Fiorina on that front.

    • #9
  10. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @IWalton

    I find it interesting, that when speaking of Republican candidates, even friendly media and talking heads do not mention Cruz.  He suffers black out from otherwise friendly folks.   Why does he scare folks so?  What did I miss?

    • #10
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