That's the provocative thesis of Jeffrey Lord, writing at The American Spectator. He's the one we've been waiting for, to borrow an expression. Here is some of the case Lord makes:
...terrified Republicans have turned on Ted Cruz like they once went after... Ronald Reagan.
Yes, Ronald Reagan.
While no Republican Senator will ever breathe anything but the highest of laudatory tributes to Reagan these days, in fact once upon a time Reagan himself was treated in exactly the same way that Senator Cruz (not to mention Governor Palin) is treated today.
Why? For doing exactly what Senator Cruz is doing today.
Bluntly calling out the problems of the day and taking direct action to do something about them. This is a far cry from the Washington politics of going-along-to-get-along or as Reagan pointedly described it, the GOP Establishment's politics of the "fraternal order."
Senator Cruz, to the visible fury of the Inside-the-Beltway, it's-all-about-the- tactics crowd, refuses to play The Washington Game. Cruz and his Utah colleague Mike Lee, along with others like Rand Paul, have no intention of mouthing words and slogans like "I voted to repeal Obamacare" all the while knowing the vote was meaningless mush and would do not a thing to damage the most unpopular government program since the Vietnam-era draft.
Instead, Cruz - in his multiple media appearances and through the Don't Fund Obamacare website - is leading a move that would actually do something. To move the needle - and make the stakes for Obamacare supporters have a political cost.
Doing, in other words, exactly the kind of thing Ronald Reagan did when he arrived on the nation's political stage. The kind of thing that caused the Ford/Bush wing of the GOP to go after Reagan repeatedly as some sort of extremist nut.
Cruz, his television appeals and the Don't Fund Obamacare website idea are the 21st century version of precisely the way Reagan himself led both as governor and president: by going over the heads of the politicians directly to the American people. Something the Republican elites of Reagan's day - not to mention the Democrats - positively detested.
Lord walks us through a brief history of the ways in which Reagan went over the heads of political opponents to the people, just as Cruz is doing with defunding Obamacare, and the ways in which establishment Republicans viciously attacked him. The mists of time and the facts on the ground that President Reagan accomplished have led even the most establishmentarian Republicans to embrace his memory. But at the time, the attacks on Reagan strongly resemble those made on Cruz:
GOP Senators, later noted biographer Steven F. Hayward, opposed every Reagan proposal from cutting social programs to cutting cabinet departments (Education and Energy) to privatizing the Bonneville Power Administration to tough treatment of the Soviets to his views on arms control and more. Incredibly, then-Senator Bob Packwood, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, "attacked Reagan as an obstacle to a Republican realignment."
So here we go again. It's the same and more of the same. Oh don't do that Senator Cruz... it's not smart tactics! It's not good politics!
This is the advice of politicians more interested in protecting their own hide.
Read the whole thing and make up your own mind about Senator Cruz. But here is a hint: the new rite of passage for members of the GOP establishment seems to be joking about Cruz being Canadian. Professor Jacobson of Legal Insurrection points out the game plan being followed:
Tonight on Special Report with Bret Baier both Tucker Carlson and Charles Krauthammer were excoriating Cruz over the issue of Obamacare defunding. That's fine.
If you think he's wrong or foolish or whatever, make the case.
But as part of their arguments each brought up that Cruz was born in Canada. Carlson mentioning that there were questions as to whether Cruz could be president and Krauthammer joking that Cruz could be Prime Minister of Canada.
What did that have to do with anything? The topic was defunding Obamacare and Senate strategy.
And if the birth in Canada troubles you, read Professor Jacobson's natural born Citizens: Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindal, Ted Cruz.
Hat tip: Mark Levin