Ted Cruz Is the GOP’s Flavor of the Month

How can you tell we’re three long years from the next presidential election? When you see a lot about the presidential prospects for fringe candidates like freshman Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.

Lately Cruz has excited Republican voters with his aggressive style and red-meat conservatism.

In his first four months in the Senate, Cruz has vowed to oppose immigration reform and to filibuster against closing the gun show loophole; falsely accused Defense Secretary-designate Chuck Hagel of collecting speaking fees from North Korea, and alienated everyone from Dianne Feinstein to Lindsey Graham and the Wall Street Journal editorial board, who called him out by name.

These monumental achievements in such a short time qualify him to be president of the United States, in the views of cheering crowds that greeted him at the National Rifle Association’s meeting in Houston and at a Republican dinner in early-primary state South Carolina, where, according to Politico:

Every Drudge-linked, Fox-hyped, Rush-endorsed zinger a Republican county activist could want – Cruz delivered it here.

Cruz’s style plays well to the gun-toting, liberty-loving Republican “base.” Never was that word more apt, as Cruz has a knack for tapping directly into the reptilian brain, where fear and anger rule.

As Politico wrote:

Cruz figured out how to harness the power of ideological outside groups and conservative media, and deliver an uncompromising, slash-and-burn message to the base…Both he and his advisers recognize they’ve discovered a formula that works, at least among arch-conservative primary voters…

Tell a Republican activist that Cruz is disrupting the decorum of the Senate, and they will more than likely respond: Good!

After all, Cruz is the kind of candidate conservatives say Republicans should have run in 2008 and 2012, instead of squishy John McCain and Mitt Romney.

Ted Cruz speaks at the Values Voters Summit in 2011. Photo: Flickr/Gage Skidmore.

Ted Cruz speaks at the Values Voters Summit in 2011. Photo: Flickr/Gage Skidmore.

Problem is that since Ronald Reagan’s presidency, voters have shown they don’t want pure conservatism, especially not the extreme kind propounded by Cruz:

If recent history is any guide, the let’s-burn-it-all-down approach has a substantial downside. Conservative icons such as Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich… ended up speaking to such a narrow portion of the country that they became completely ineffective — and even damaging — as national figures within the Republican Party.

Still, Democratic partisan warrior James Carville spoke glowingly of Cruz’s political skills, calling him the “most talented and fearless Republican I’ve seen in the last 30 years.”

The sly Cajun may be trying to promote Cruz to ease the path for his own favorite, Hillary Clinton, who would likely wipe the floor with him in a general election.

I saw Cruz at the Republican National Convention last year and was singularly unimpressed with his speech, a string of Tea Party clichés. He can’t hold a candle to squishy-on-immigration Marco Rubio.

But he’s a Princeton and Harvard Law School grad and was a champion debater. He’s also half-Hispanic, allowing Republicans to boast of their own party’s “diversity.”

Yet he’s singularly short of experience, which is OK for him but wasn’t for Barack Obama. Also, have you heard a peep about his “affirmative-action” Ivy League admission or his lack of “natural-born” U.S. citizenship, having been born in Canada to an American mother and a Cuban father?

I thought not, because his views make him “one of us,” so the rules are different.

I don’t think  Cruz can get past the Iowa caucuses and early South Carolina primary in 2016. Instead, his fate is to follow the path of his mentor, Sen. Jim DeMint, who didn’t introduce a single piece of major legislation.

In that vein, I’m already awarding him the Jim DeMint Award for Most Humorless, Least Productive Senator. I think Cruz will earn it more than President Obama did his Nobel Peace Prize.



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