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For 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?