Rebel and Designated Driver: Ted Cruz and A Time for Truth

A Time for Truth doesn't tell us a lot about Ted Cruz that we didn't know or suspect. But the bare outline he gives of his personal story is enough to get a read on him. As a man, and a politician, he doesn't appear to be that complicated.

As a young man, Felito Cruz had the same problem he has today. He had no social grace. He was geeky, a bit of a dork; awkward, contrived. He gave himself a new name -- Ted -- but it didn't help.

He stands in awe of his father Rafael, an altogether admirable man, who put his life on the line in attempting to overthrow the Batista regime in Cuba. For his trouble he had his teeth kicked in, his nose broken, and barely avoided the firing squad. A marked man even as a teenager, he fled to the United States, where through the dint of hard work and native intelligence he made a life for himself with his American wife. Dissatisfied, he left her and their children, only to return asking forgiveness. He had found Christ, and was born again.

Felito was blessed with two highly intelligent parents, and rewarded them with a very rare intelligence of his own. His father was fiercely patriotic, and young Felito absorbed the Constitution, travelling throughout Texas as a teenager speaking about our form of government, and even singing a song or two. His father was very proud.

That teenage boy, preaching the Gospel of America to Rotary Clubs across Texas, is the real Ted Cruz. It's who he is today.

He creeps some people out. He's arrogant -- it's his great flaw. I don't think there's anything he can do about it. It's who he is. It doesn't make him a bad person. But it makes him hard to like.

He knows he's got a problem. In one of the early debates he said he might not be the guy you have a beer with, but he'd be the one to drive everybody home. All true enough. But good enough?

In a rational world it should be. The tales he tells of his battles in the Senate are self-serving, but ring true. Like virtually everyone in Congress with any experience, the Republican Senate leadership values their power and incumbency above all. Anything that threatens the political culture in which they have prospered will be vilified. The foundation of that culture is money -- campaign cash in the millions from various special interests which are government dependent. They have a nice little racket going, and despise anyone who rocks the boat.

To his credit, from the day he was sworn in Cruz has consistently fought the Republican Congressional leadership. He had no interest in joining their club. They've done all they can to punish him, to no effect. As it turns out, Cruz was right not only on the merits but on the politics. In this season of Trump, rebelliousness is an asset. Being a team player doesn't help, it hurts. It's one thing to be smart. It's entirely another to understand and exploit the politics of the moment. Ted Cruz is proving to have the best political instincts of anyone running for President, with the possible exception of Donald Trump. He's anything but the naturally gifted politician that Rubio is. But he's shrewd, and cunning, which can be even more important.

When Ted was hitting the books at Harvard Law, Marco Rubio was hitting the clubs on the Miami strip. A handsome, manly dog, you can picture him there, a rose clenched in his teeth, twirling around, doing flamenco. The ladies really liked Marco. And guys too. He's the kind of guy you want to be friends with. He doesn't take himself too seriously, and his eyes are kind.

So, do you want a president that you'd like to hang around with, or do you want Ted Cruz?

For all his faults, I don't see one chink in the conservative armor of Ted Cruz, and I've looked pretty hard. He's the real deal. He knows what's right, and he'll fight like hell for it.

But the key, for me, is his stated aversion to war and nation building. There is simply no reason for the United States to go to war with anyone, because no one is a threat to us. I think Cruz gets it. And as for his faults?

They're a cross we'll have to bear.

Fritz Pettyjohn was the Chairman of Reagan for President, Alaska in 1979-1980 and is a Co-founder of the Balanced Budget Amendment Task Force.  He blogs daily at ReaganProject.com

A Time for Truth doesn't tell us a lot about Ted Cruz that we didn't know or suspect. But the bare outline he gives of his personal story is enough to get a read on him. As a man, and a politician, he doesn't appear to be that complicated.

As a young man, Felito Cruz had the same problem he has today. He had no social grace. He was geeky, a bit of a dork; awkward, contrived. He gave himself a new name -- Ted -- but it didn't help.

He stands in awe of his father Rafael, an altogether admirable man, who put his life on the line in attempting to overthrow the Batista regime in Cuba. For his trouble he had his teeth kicked in, his nose broken, and barely avoided the firing squad. A marked man even as a teenager, he fled to the United States, where through the dint of hard work and native intelligence he made a life for himself with his American wife. Dissatisfied, he left her and their children, only to return asking forgiveness. He had found Christ, and was born again.

Felito was blessed with two highly intelligent parents, and rewarded them with a very rare intelligence of his own. His father was fiercely patriotic, and young Felito absorbed the Constitution, travelling throughout Texas as a teenager speaking about our form of government, and even singing a song or two. His father was very proud.

That teenage boy, preaching the Gospel of America to Rotary Clubs across Texas, is the real Ted Cruz. It's who he is today.

He creeps some people out. He's arrogant -- it's his great flaw. I don't think there's anything he can do about it. It's who he is. It doesn't make him a bad person. But it makes him hard to like.

He knows he's got a problem. In one of the early debates he said he might not be the guy you have a beer with, but he'd be the one to drive everybody home. All true enough. But good enough?

In a rational world it should be. The tales he tells of his battles in the Senate are self-serving, but ring true. Like virtually everyone in Congress with any experience, the Republican Senate leadership values their power and incumbency above all. Anything that threatens the political culture in which they have prospered will be vilified. The foundation of that culture is money -- campaign cash in the millions from various special interests which are government dependent. They have a nice little racket going, and despise anyone who rocks the boat.

To his credit, from the day he was sworn in Cruz has consistently fought the Republican Congressional leadership. He had no interest in joining their club. They've done all they can to punish him, to no effect. As it turns out, Cruz was right not only on the merits but on the politics. In this season of Trump, rebelliousness is an asset. Being a team player doesn't help, it hurts. It's one thing to be smart. It's entirely another to understand and exploit the politics of the moment. Ted Cruz is proving to have the best political instincts of anyone running for President, with the possible exception of Donald Trump. He's anything but the naturally gifted politician that Rubio is. But he's shrewd, and cunning, which can be even more important.

When Ted was hitting the books at Harvard Law, Marco Rubio was hitting the clubs on the Miami strip. A handsome, manly dog, you can picture him there, a rose clenched in his teeth, twirling around, doing flamenco. The ladies really liked Marco. And guys too. He's the kind of guy you want to be friends with. He doesn't take himself too seriously, and his eyes are kind.

So, do you want a president that you'd like to hang around with, or do you want Ted Cruz?

For all his faults, I don't see one chink in the conservative armor of Ted Cruz, and I've looked pretty hard. He's the real deal. He knows what's right, and he'll fight like hell for it.

But the key, for me, is his stated aversion to war and nation building. There is simply no reason for the United States to go to war with anyone, because no one is a threat to us. I think Cruz gets it. And as for his faults?

They're a cross we'll have to bear.

Fritz Pettyjohn was the Chairman of Reagan for President, Alaska in 1979-1980 and is a Co-founder of the Balanced Budget Amendment Task Force.  He blogs daily at ReaganProject.com