Betting Against Ted Cruz
by Larry Perrault on March 7, 2016 at 9:48 AM
I still plan to detail how Cruz’s constitutional conservatism is the kindest prospect for the prosperity for individuals and society, but there is a conventional wisdom among political commenters that Ted Cruz can't win a general election. Sunday a FOX panel was asked if they thought Cruz could win a general election against Hillary Clinton. Economist Steven Moore and political campaign manager said it was possible, but journalist Judy Miller said no way, as did other Sunday show panelists, and as commenters frequently do.
Why is this? I can only speculate that it is because they project their own notions of what is required onto a candidate and judge his suitability, maybe even his character if they judge him by policy activism. But Cruz is not harsh. He's not indifferent. And he certainly isn't stupid.
George W. Bush was not terribly ideological, and he expanded government and spending a great deal. Bob Dole, John McCain and Mitt Romney might have looked more likely candidates to Miller and those like her. But they all lost. All of this sort of talk among media and most Republicans is like deja vu (all over again as Yogi Berra said) to me. Ronald Reagan was too conservative and would be unable to win a general election. But he recognized the trouble that government had gotten America into, said so, and won two landslide general election victories, and restored vitality, opportunity and strength, leaving behind a mostly grateful nation.
Cruz is more explicit about the values of the U.S. Constitution as a student and a litigator. He believes it is those principles that created opportunity for every American and the production and innovation that followed. This is not neglect, but losing the gift of enabling all Americans to be accomplished and proud, rather than dependent and scraping. And his elaborate plans to move America in that direction are detailed on his web site at tedcruz.org. I found his tax plan stunning in its immediate promise of a boost for everyone, a spur to economic growth and opportunity and its moving of the system in the direction of a constitutional structure.
It's obvious to me that Cruz is better equipped than any candidate in our lifetimes to carry the case of truth to Hillary Clinton, who is pandering, uncertain and a grating campaigner. I assure you Hillary Clinton is a far cry from the level of competition that Cruz has faced his entire grown life. And with that, she has the titanic disadvantage of having to oppose truth and defend falsehood. It's incredible to me how these people don't immediately see that Clinton would be terribly over-matched.
Hillary Clinton's only strategy to win would be as a sort of political Muhammad Ali, floating like a butterfly stinging like a bee. And she hasn't a rhetorical skill anything like Ali's as a boxer. Hillary must dance on the periphery, avoiding exchanges and finding spots to jab and escape again. Of course, she would receive and rely upon heavy assistance from the media to downplay Cruz' scoring and magnify Clinton's jabs. If she stepped into a direct engagement, she would be destroyed.
Given the media's help of Hillary, it would be a daunting challenge for Cruz, and he'll have to find communications openings to undercut all kinds of smearing from both. But his whole life has been daunting challenges, getting through undergraduate and law school at liberal Harvard and Princeton, and graduating with honors. Being a national debate champion while in college. He pressed constitutional principles in government agencies and as a litigator in court, including 9 times before the Supreme Court, winning 5 of them.
And this very Republican nominating process has been a challenge in itself, after he designed and pursued a campaign that outlived those of successful Republican governors and a senator, and now standing as the strongest competitor to the unexpected and rationality-defying campaign of and response to Donald Trump, which is the most exotic zoo of a campaign I have ever seen.
Oh, I do get it: people are so fed up with the timorous Washington Republicanism that they have chucked prosecuting the conservative case and repaired to the torches and pitchforks. Maybe a lot of Trump's followers haven't paid quite enough attention to the fact that Cruz has been contending with the Republican establishment on their own turf since he became a U.S. Senator in 2012 after he had won another seemingly unlikely campaign. And he's done it with a devoted adherence to the truth that has disturbed the practitioners of conventional political dancing and posturing.
Maybe we are approaching the apex of the Trump frenzy. I can't be sure, but Cruz just had his best day on Saturday, topping Trump's delegate take and winning the balloting of the actual election day in every contest. Trump says he wants Cruz one-on-one. But surely if he does, he has an even larger puddle of mud to sling than chanting "liar" like a school child. Of course I don't know what will happen, but given Cruz's history and position in the race, he's the last one I'd bet against.