Cruz tops straw poll at RLC
Texas Senator Ted Cruz edged out neurosurgeon Ben Carson to take the top spot in the presidential straw poll at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference. Senator Rand Paul finished a distant 3rd.
The Tally via Breitbart:
As for Cruz, he received rockstar treatment at the semi-annual gathering of conservative Southern activists. In the morning, he headlined a prayer breakfast where he warned of the White House’s threats to religious freedom.
Moments later, Cruz delivered a fiery address to the convention’s delegates, in which he mocked Washington “graybeards” who want the party to water down its message. Cruz also said that the government shutdown late last year turned out to be a boon to Republicans, since it awakened Americans to the dangers of Obamacare.
The Republican establishment he said, was “reaping the fruits of the battle, which is perfectly fine,” since it will give the GOP a Senate majority next year.
“But we need to take a moment to acknowledge the lesson of the battle,” the senator added.
This comment was quickly mocked by Democrats.
“The GOP’s government shutdown cost the economy $24 billion and harmed middle class Americans,” said Democratic Party spokesman Michael Czin. “But to Ted Cruz, that’s not a mistake - it’s a model to follow moving forward. Just like with Benghazi, Republicans are singularly focused on pleasing their base at the expense of everyone else.”
Cruz also didn't go out of his way to make nice with establishment Republican. He again declined to make an endorsement in the heated Senate primary in neighboring Mississippi, but pointedly hinted that he favored Chris McDaniel, the Tea Party challenger to six-term incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran.
“I have a great deal of faith in grassroots voters,” he said. “I think it is a very good thing when voters hold politicians accountable.”
What happened to Rand Paul? Is his stock falling because of some recent comments about immigration reform and Obamacare?
I think it has more to do with the fact that foreign policy is a much more important issue recently than it was a few months ago. As long as Paul can keep the conversation on domestic policy, he will be competitive. But to many Republicans, Paul's stated positions on foreign policy issues sound like a form of isolationism or retreat. This isn't true, but the nuance of Paul's actual positions seem to escape many Republicans.
What is the fascination with Dr. Carson? Zero experience in politics and government, but his people apparently did a great job in organizing for him. It's curious that we're going to have 8 years of someone as president who had minimal experience when he took office and we saw how that turned out. Why repeat the mistake?
Christie may as well stay home next year. When a write in candidate like Allen West bests you without even trying, time to read the writing on the wall and work on losing weight.
Carson may not even run. Meanwhile, Cruz is making all the right noises about running for president. His straw poll win was an impressive display of popularity and organization. The activists who attended the RLC are largely the people who donate money, volunteer and staff political campaigns so it's significant that Cruz came out on top.