Still Cruzin' for a Bruisin'

All my long life I’ve been a Republican. Now I suddenly find myself identified as a member of the “establishment,” defined derisively as a RINO -– a party member in name only -- and considered less than a “true conservative.” Even more surprising is the fact that the accusations come from total strangers who read articles of mine  in the American Thinker expressing a viewpoint different from their own.    

Somewhere in the lively blogospheric exchange, the thread of my argument got looped around the question of whether Ted Cruz even qualifies under the Constitution to be POTUS, since he was born in Canada. That piece of the puzzle had not even been mentioned in my article, and I intend to leave the matter to constitutional scholars. Cruz, as I remarked earlier, is a very bright, well-educated guy, and if he qualifies to run, he has every right to do so. 

In rebuttal to my piece, popular American Thinker contributor C. Edmund Wright wrote an article of his own. Despite the rather combative tone, it was reassuring to find someone who affixed his legal name to a refutation.

Mr. Wright is obviously enthusiastic about Ted Cruz. He is not alone. Without being much of a news-maker beyond his “one night stand” on the Senate floor in opposition to ObamaCare, Cruz, to his credit, has amassed a sizeable conservative following. Not everyone likes him, however; a friend of mine in Texas described him as “a big bag of wind.” Ah, well, politics is not unlike romance.  We see different things in those who court our affections.

Wright opines that Ted Cruz “fits the bill” as someone “who will plant a flag and draw a line in the sand, and mean it,” though no specifics or scenarios are offered. Cruz is further credited, strangely enough, with not knowing “how Washington works,” the presumption being that he would turn Our Nation’s Capital on its ear and hand it back to the American People. 

I seem to remember Barack Obama in his first campaign pledging to change the Beltway culture so that it was no longer politics as usual. He, too, despised “how Washington works.” Most politicians do, before they become cogs in its creaking machinery. But other than platitudes, we never had a clue as to how Obama would change it. And Ted Cruz isn’t moving much past clichés to solutions, either. At least, not yet -- although he did advise Republicans to question the conservatism of every other candidate. 

The gubernatorial wannabes for president have a clearer record of accomplishment in this regard. By law, they must run their states within a balanced budget, work across the political spectrum and face election every four years.  Scott Walker, for example, weathered three electoral challenges in that span of time. Cruz merely survived a primary fight in his race for the U.S. Senate seat from a deep red state. Flags and lines in the sand are symbolic.  The real question is where they will be planted and drawn. 

I’m not sure what Mr. Wright means by finding it “unnerving… when conservatives use liberal and establishment conventional wisdom to pan a conservative.” Must it be assumed that all criticism of a favorite son is tantamount to ripping a page from the opposition’s playbook? Should Ted Cruz be any more protected from scrutiny than I am? Harry Truman famously said that if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. And as we all know, the political kitchen can be hell on earth. 

By the way, my intention was never to “deconstruct the thinking behind a Cruz for president movement.” That would be a waste of my time and those of his ardent supporters. But there are those who are still undecided in the upcoming primary race, and this forum allows them to weigh evidence and opinions from those on all sides.

Spirited conversation should be allowed without shaming a writer for his or her views. Yet it is easy enough for reasonable discourse to wither under the intensity of conviction. That’s when sides get stuck with convenient labels like “true conservative,” “RINO,” “establishment,” “far right whackos,” “Tea Partier,” etc. This only makes the work of Democrats easier.

I am glad Wright supposes that Cruz “played the risk/rewards dynamic perfectly.” Let’s not do battle over which political party was “to blame” for the shutdown of the government and the attendant inconveniences. The American people did not much like it, in any event, and both parties got that message… or should have. Cruz may have been prescient in believing that Americans wouldn’t buy into the ”phony shutdown kerfuffle,” but if the midterm elections had taken place closer to that time, the outcome might have been different.

And who can buy into Wright’s charge that a ‘hell-storm of derision” has given Cruz’s viability a lasting blow? He’s still around, isn’t he?  And so, incidentally, is ObamaCare. If, as Wright contends, Americans were wise to what was really going on with the shutdown, then Cruz’ stock, despite criticism, would rise.   

On at least one thing Ed Wright and I agree. Obama is devastating our country as his “catastrophic roll” continues. His reference to the 800-year old Crusades would be like FDR arguing that Hitler was no worse than Attila the Hun had been. Now Susan Rice has taken to the podium, urging the world not to be “buffeted by alarmism” in regard to the Jihadist atrocities!

No matter who is the Republican candidate in the next election, the challenge to right our Ship of State will be horrendous. Even if there’s little hand-holding in Republican ranks, it will take all hands on deck to accomplish that vital task.