Why I Am Supporting
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I managed to sneak into a Ted Cruz rally last night in suburban Kansas City. Upon leaving, I no longer counted myself among the uncommitted. I and thousands of others in this overflow crowd had to be thinking the same thought, “Why would a conservative vote for anyone else?”
That is not to take anything away from the other candidates. This is easily the best Republican crop in anyone’s memory. Even the remaining go-along, get-along candidate, John Kasich, would make for a better president than the five go-along, get-alongs the Republicans have nominated since 1988.
If Cruz is not nominated, I will vote for the Republican who is.
Those luminaries who insist they will not vote for Donald Trump if he is the nominee, confuse idealism with narcissism. The nation has barely survived eight years of Barack Obama. It will be unrecognizable after four years of Hillary Clinton, let alone eight. To worry about the Republican “brand” while the country speeds down the diamond lane towards serfdom flirts with treason.
Cruz represents conservative values more consistently, intelligently and forcefully than any candidate in the field. I recall seeing George Bush speak during the 2000 campaign. He used a briefing notebook to guide him through his speech. Lacking a fully formed understanding of conservative principles, he had to remind himself how he felt about a particular issue, and Bush was a more serious conservative than Bob Dole, John McCain, Mitt Romney, or his own father.
Barack Obama, of course, has no gift for impromptu speech.
At a campaign event in Virginia in June 2008, Obama was making an impassioned speech about the wasteful use of ER services in the treatment of childhood asthma when, suddenly, he seemed to lose his place on the teleprompter.
As he signaled his distress, he stuttered badly, talked about the use of a “breathalyzer,” corrected himself to say “inhalator,” laughed, stuttered some more, and blamed his performance on not having much sleep in the last 48 hours. The right word, by the way, is “inhaler.”
It is unimaginable that Cruz would falter so. At the rally he spoke for forty-five minutes without notes, let alone a teleprompter. His speech was a mix of time tested tropes and new riffs pulled from the headlines. He did not stutter, stammer, or search for a word. There was an ideological coherence to his presentation that I have not seen from a presidential candidate since Ronald Reagan.
Nor was this just all talk. In his three-plus years in the Senate, Cruz has deviated from his stated principles far less than any of his colleagues and has the stab wounds in his back to prove it. One can compromise, Cruz noted, on details like, say, the top marginal rate on taxes. What one cannot compromise on are core beliefs.
Of this year’s candidates, no one has a more solid core than Cruz. One cannot imagine him proposing a David Souter for the Supreme Court or expanding Medicaid or creating a new federal agency. For obvious reasons, one cannot have quite the same confidence in Marco Rubio, an otherwise exceptional candidate.
If Cruz has a weakness as a candidate it is that he can sometimes seem preachy and unpersonable. Watching him last night I got a sense of why that might be. Given his roots in the evangelical tradition, he is fundamentally a big tent speaker. That style does not work well on a small screen.
Charm is a valuable commodity in televised politics, and no candidate has more of it than Rubio. All factors being equal, charm carries the day, but in deciding between Cruz and Rubio, all factors are not equal. Besides, the Republican nominee will likely be running against a candidate with no charm at all.
A final question, perhaps a preliminary question, is whether Cruz qualifies as a natural born citizen. This is a subject I have researched at some length. In merely raising this question earlier in the campaign bit.ly/1pp5OUI, I was smacked with the Scarlet R for racism by two different writers for the left-leaning TPM.
The delusional Amanda Marcotte insisted that my argument was “just an elaborate mechanism for conveying, without coming right out and saying, that ‘real’ Americans are white—preferably of the blonde and WASPy stripe.” No, Amanda, it is a legitimate question, one that the left will surely raise if Cruz is the nominee.
The founders, I am convinced, were less concerned that a child be born in the United States than that he born to two parents of undivided loyalty. As to Cruz and Rubio, the courts would likely rule in favor of both of them, with Cruz, despite his Canadian birth, having the stronger case. I would like to say I welcome input on this subject, but I don’t. I have been inundated with input for months. Basta! Please! Tell me something I don’t know.
After I posted a picture from the Cruz rally on Facebook, a liberal friend from New York responded, “ Cruz? Really Jack? He would suffer a Goldwater style defeat.” No, the most principled Republican in thirty years would be running against the least principled Democrat in the history of the Republic.
This is a match-up I would enjoy. These are debates for which I would have friends over and make popcorn. This campaign season, finally, would be fun.
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