Why Not Cruz?

 

shutterstock_284062760For years, conservative frustration slowly built against the go-along-get-along crowd in Washington that values seniority, committee appointments, and admittance to those legendary cocktail parties over implementing a real conservative agenda. Conservatives grew tired of the excuses, tired of the rough-riding, and tired of being told to be patient and wait until circumstances improve. Then along came a candidate who not only understood their frustration, but who championed it as his raison d’être. Suddenly — and to the shock and horror of Republican Party dons from K Street to Wall Street — his take-no-prisoners, never-mind-maneuvers, telling-it-like-it-is message shot him to the top of the polls among 2016 contenders.

Why isn’t that man Senator Ted Cruz?

To be sure, Cruz has his flaws. He’s been in the Senate  — where his record and decisions are controversial — for just a few years, has never held executive office, and often speaks with an odd, smug assurance that every word he utters “deserves to be an applause line.” Like Rick Perry, Cruz also faces a general electorate that is unlikely to be hankering for another conservative Texan as its chief executive.

That said, Cruz’s conservative bona fides are nearly unassailable, he has an impressive-if-unorthodox resume, he’s got a contested primary and statewide election under his belt, and he isn’t afraid of substantive rough-and-tumble. The only matter where Donald Trump has him decidedly beat is on his ability to generate headlines … but the same could be said of Kanye West.

So again: If you’re angry at the Republican Establishment, don’t think Rand Paul, Ben Carson, or Carly Fiorina is up to the task of being the insurgent outsider, and don’t want the White House to become the Bush family’s permanent seat of residence, why isn’t Ted Cruz your man?

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  1. Spin Coolidge
    Spin
    @Spin

    He sounds like someone’s kid brother and he looks like a character from the Munsters.

    Look, I think Cruz is the smartest guy running for President right now.  But he’s creepy.  I can get past that.  Most voters cannot, or will not.  Sad, but true.

    • #1
  2. donald todd Inactive
    donald todd
    @donaldtodd

    I like Cruz but the lack of executive experience and his difficult relationship with the Senate leadership do not work in his favor.

    • #2
  3. Austin Murrey Inactive
    Austin Murrey
    @AustinMurrey

    For me it’s a little early to pick a horse, although I lean towards Cruz and Rubio (I’m on the record stating that Bush will use his money to outlast the crowded field.)  If I had to pick a likely candidate in this primary to be Santorum as the anybody-but-Jeb it will most likely be Cruz on both fundraising grounds and ideological temperament.

    I also think he’d do very well on a less crowded debate stage; Bush has already shown on two separate issues, namely terrorism and abortion, that he’s a bit tongue tied. His big swings on ISIS against Obama and Hillary stink of prevent defense to me given his earlier inability to deal with the callow youth accusing his brother of creating ISIS. (For the record I think Jeb is more correct than the co-ed!)

    I’d like to see some concrete policy steps from Team Cruz before I go all-in however; maybe he can hire Avik Roy from Team Perry when Rick goes home.

    • #3
  4. RyanFalcone Member
    RyanFalcone
    @RyanFalcone

    He has more value as a Senator. He is our Obama in some ways. I love everything he says but I only represent a part of this culture. How will he respond to being the president of a country where a large percentage of the populace despises him? I doubt any better than Barry. Sure his policies will be better but there will likely still be a painful transition with those policies, as there was with Reagan. He’ll be destroyed in the media and on college campuses (unlike Barry) and then possibly be defeated in 4 years before our policies can begin to thrive. What will have been gained? What has he accomplished to date with all his bluster?

    I love the guy but I think he’d be a disaster in the WH.

    • #4
  5. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    Can a president who’s burned his bridges within his own party get things passed once elected?  To some degree Jimmy Carter had similar issues within his own party, of course from a different perspective.  It’s one thing to be anti establishment, but then what happens when you find you need the establishment to push the levers of government?

    Frankly for me I can’t get behind another one term smooth talking senator.  I want executive experience.

    • #5
  6. Tom Meyer, Ed. Contributor
    Tom Meyer, Ed.
    @tommeyer

    Manny: Frankly for me I can’t get behind another one term smooth talking senator.  I want executive experience.

    That’s where I land as well (I still lean Walker, but I’m disappointed that Perry seems to be burning out so early again; Fiorina and Rubio, however, keep impressing but I’m not sure they’re up for it).

    But if you’re mad for the reasons many Trump supporters say they are, Cruz seems like the obvious choice, right?

    • #6
  7. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    Ted Cruz is creepy but Donald Trump isn’t?

    • #7
  8. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    donald todd: his difficult relationship with the Senate leadership do not work in his favor.

    I thought the impetus behind the Trump movement was in part a reaction to the perceived failures of the Senate leadership. If anything this more of a reason for the Trumpkins to support someone like Cruz over Trump.

    • #8
  9. Benjamin Glaser Inactive
    Benjamin Glaser
    @BenjaminGlaser

    For the Santorum comparisons, just as an anecdote, here in Mississippi (where Santorum won in 2012) all the same people who supported Santorum are going for Cruz.

    Cruz was here in MS this week and was getting big crowds.

    • #9
  10. Arizona Patriot Member
    Arizona Patriot
    @ArizonaPatriot

    I like Cruz, and think he would make an excellent President or VP.  He’s not currently at the top of my list, but we’re still very early in the process.  Some thoughts about why he might not be the best candidate (all of which he may well overcome):

    1.  Cruz is from Texas, which means he won’t deliver a swing state.  This is not a knock against Texas, which I love.  But Texas is in the bag.  I’d love to see a landslide, but we ought to be planning for a close race, which means that a Presidential candidate (or running mate) who can deliver a major swing state, or even a Democratic stronghold, has a big advantage in my mind.  This factor favors Walker, Bush, Rubio, Kasich, and Christie.

    2.  Cruz has been a divider, not a uniter.  I’ve appreciated some of his tactics, and think that his anti-establishment stands have sometimes been useful.  But our Presidential candidate needs to unite the Republican party, and Cruz has offended a lot of people on our side.

    3.  I’ve sometimes been put off by something about Cruz’s style.  I can’t exactly put my finger on it, but he sometimes seems to come across not genuine.  I think that he is genuine, and may be the most straight-talkin’ of the candidates, so this is a matter of impression and style.  But impressions matter in politics.

    • #10
  11. Jules PA Inactive
    Jules PA
    @JulesPA

    RyanFalcone: He has more value as a Senator.

    more value than Rubio?

    • #11
  12. Mike Hubbard Member
    Mike Hubbard
    @MikeHubbard

    Jamie Lockett:Ted Cruz is creepy but Donald Trump isn’t?

    I think they’re both creepy.  I like what Camille Paglia said:

    Ted Cruz–oh, lord!  Cruz gives me the willies. The guy is a fanatic!  He’s very smart, clever and strategic, and he has a fine education from Princeton, so people have to watch out for him. But I think he is self-absorbed and narcissistic to a maniacal degree. . . .   A president must be a statesman, not a smart-alecky horse’s ass.

    • #12
  13. Jules PA Inactive
    Jules PA
    @JulesPA

    I think he is self-absorbed and narcissistic to a maniacal degree.

    Did Camille say this about Cruz or Trump? ;)

    • #13
  14. PsychLynne Inactive
    PsychLynne
    @PsychLynne

    Arizona Patriot:3. I’ve sometimes been put off by something about Cruz’s style. I can’t exactly put my finger on it, but he sometimes seems to come across not genuine. I think that he is genuine, and may be the most straight-talkin’ of the candidates, so this is a matter of impression and style. But impressions matter in politics.

    I agree whole-heartedly.  I feel like on paper I should be totally behind him (except the lack of executive experience thing), but he is a bit too canned feeling, with a touch smarmy-ness.  I don’t mean that as insulting as it reads, but for me he fails the likability test.

    • #14
  15. David Sussman Contributor
    David Sussman
    @DaveSussman

    Tom,

    There is a superficial but hard reality Cruz faces, which in my opinion will prevent him from speaking from behind the nominee’s podium; Not to be self serving but here it is.

    • #15
  16. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    I think people are missing the point of the OP. Yes, Cruz has his flaws, but this post is asking the pointed question: Why are people supporting Trump when there is clearly a better candidate who more closely adheres to conservative orthodoxy?

    All these flaws people see in Cruz, Trump dials up to 11.

    • #16
  17. TeeJaw Inactive
    TeeJaw
    @TeeJaw

    David Sussman:Tom,

    There is a superficial but hard reality Cruz faces, which in my opinion will prevent him from speaking from behind the nominee’s podium; Not to be self serving but here it is.

    My sister in law told me she doesn’t like the way Ted Cruz looks.  So maybe you have a point.  On the other hand, I believe American Conservatives are desperate for someone exactly like Ted Cruz, and I believe few of them are as superficial and shallow thinking as my sister in law.

    • #17
  18. Tom Meyer, Ed. Contributor
    Tom Meyer, Ed.
    @tommeyer

    So we’re getting lots of reasons why Cruz isn’t members’ top choice. I agree with all of them. I’m glad Cruz in the Senate and think he’s done — and continue to do — some good work as the GOP bad cop, but he’s toward the bottom of my list of semi-serious contenders. No need to convert me: I’m already there.

    What I’m very curious to read is a principled defense of Trump over Cruz. Maybe that’s not going to happen — Trump polls rather badly among the Ricochetti — but Cruz seems like the better option for people who are angry for the reason many Trump supporters articulate.

    • #18
  19. Jules PA Inactive
    Jules PA
    @JulesPA

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:So we’re getting lots of reasons why Cruz isn’t members’ top choice. I agree with all of them. I’m glad Cruz in the Senate and think he’s done — and continue to do — some good work as the GOP bad cop, but he’s toward the bottom of my list of semi-serious contenders. No need to convert me: I’m already there.

    What I’m very curious to read is a principled defense of Trump over Cruz. Maybe that’s not going to happen — Trump polls rather badly among the Ricochetti — but Cruz seems like the better option for people who are angry for the reason many Trump supporters articulate.

    In terms of delivery, doesn’t Cruz present a rational offense to a unwieldy deaf government , while Trump presents the irrational offense?

    I don’t condemn the Trump voters for their support. They may be more like Trump in their overall demeanor than Cruz. They see Trump as if in a mirror. Therein lies their attraction and loyalty to Trump: Trump ‘cares about someone like them.’

    Aside from the billion bucks, Trump is them?

    • #19
  20. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    Jules PA: Therein lies their attraction and loyalty to Trump: Trump ‘cares about someone like them.’

    No he doesn’t.

    • #20
  21. Jules PA Inactive
    Jules PA
    @JulesPA

    Jamie Lockett:

    Jules PA: Therein lies their attraction and loyalty to Trump: Trump ‘cares about someone like them.’

    No he doesn’t.

    I know that. Do they?

    • #21
  22. Salvatore Padula Inactive
    Salvatore Padula
    @SalvatorePadula

    “Why not Cruz?”

    Because he’s an establishment RINO squish. America needs Jim Gilmore!

    • #22
  23. Larry Koler Inactive
    Larry Koler
    @LarryKoler

    So, as far as substantive reasons — not much here, is there?

    Cruz’s combativeness is for good reasons and reasons that most of us conservatives say we want to see addressed. He angers exactly the people that need it — the GOP elite, the Dems and the MSM. A trifecta. But, he doesn’t do it just to anger them as Trump seems to like to do. No, Cruz has a clear idea of what is wrong with this country. This idea aligns with mine perfectly — and he’s articulate about each of the many issues.

    The analyses above sound so much like the anti-Newt stuff in 2012: vague and currying favor with the elite notions around what a president should look like. How can we call ourselves conservatives if we let such small things influence us. We have to be the party of ideas and we need to find the way to be a party of power. Cruz has power and he knows how to wield it. He’s not angry and he’s not petty and he’s not arrogant — he’s just right.

    • #23
  24. David Sussman Contributor
    David Sussman
    @DaveSussman

    Larry Koler:So, as far as substantive reasons — not much here, is there?

    Cruz’s combativeness is for good reasons and reasons that most of us conservatives say we want to see addressed. He angers exactly the people that need it — the GOP elite, the Dems and the MSM. A trifecta. But, he doesn’t do it just to anger them as Trump seems to like to do. No, Cruz has a clear idea of what is wrong with this country. This idea aligns with mine perfectly — and he’s articulate about each of the many issues.

    The analyses above sound so much like the anti-Newt stuff in 2012: vague and currying favor with the elite notions around what a president should look like. How can we call ourselves conservatives if we let such small things influence us. We have to be the party of ideas and we need to find the way to be a party of power. Cruz has power and he knows how to wield it. He’s not angry and he’s not petty and he’s not arrogant — he’s just right.

    Larry, from a Conservative perspective you are absolutely correct. From a general election perspective we must not only seek candidates who align with our ideals, but who represents the complete package: someone who can effectively sell those ideals to a wary and often uninformed public. As demonstrated here and elsewhere, many believe Cruz may not be that vessel.

    • #24
  25. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    I want Ted Cruz as majority leader or Chief Justice. I don’t think he has a good presidential temperament. He loves to argue way too much, as does Rand Paul. This makes them great for the Senate, but bad for the Presidency. At some point as president you have to be able to cut a deal, and pretend like you like the other guy. Cruz as president might be fun to watch but I doubt he would ever get anything through even with a Republican majority.

    • #25
  26. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    Tom Meyer, Ed.

    Manny: Frankly for me I can’t get behind another one term smooth talking senator. I want executive experience.

    That’s where I land as well (I still lean Walker, but I’m disappointed that Perry seems to be burning out so early again; Fiorina and Rubio, however, keep impressing but I’m not sure they’re up for it).

    But if you’re mad for the reasons many Trump supporters say they are, Cruz seems like the obvious choice, right

    Yes, he does.  The crazy Trump supporter who has the office next to me at work started with Cruz, and I guess will go back to Cruz once Trump flames out.

    • #26
  27. Larry Koler Inactive
    Larry Koler
    @LarryKoler

    David and Valiuth: I want an arguer-in-chief. Our ideas come from the genius of our founding generation. They are time tested, they are the best way to go forward. We need to make our case and we need someone who is not mealy-mouthed to make it. Thatcher said, “First win the argument, then win the vote.”

    • #27
  28. Salvatore Padula Inactive
    Salvatore Padula
    @SalvatorePadula

    I’d be much more receptive to the idea of Cruz being the nominee if there was some evidence that he was able to appeal to people who aren’t already conservative. In the past I’ve likened Cruz to a conservative Obama in that he shares Obama’s ability to excite his ideological allies, but I’ve not seen Cruz demonstrating the ability Obama had (at least in ’08) to convince the mushy middle to support him.

    • #28
  29. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    I have to say one thing positive about Cruz.  I am in awe of his speaking ability.  He is a real orator.

    • #29
  30. Salvatore Padula Inactive
    Salvatore Padula
    @SalvatorePadula

    Larry: “Thatcher said, “First win the argument, then win the vote.”

    I agree that winning the argument is essential, but we don’t decide who wins the argument. The median voter does. I tend to think Cruz wins the argument with the Left, but I’m not sure that the general electorate agrees.

    • #30
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