Texas GOP voters tomorrow should move Ted Cruz one step closer to the U.S. Senate. If Lone Star State Republicans select him as their nominee, a Cruz victory in November would electrify that often-lethargic institution and, indeed, the entire free-market/conservative movement.
When those on the right gather, we often lament that so few officials on our side of the aisle can string three sentences together. While Senator Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) is a rare exception who proves the rule, far too many GOP legislators seem tongue tied.
Not Ted Cruz! He can string 100 sentences together — without notes. While in high school, he was an expert speaker and debater. Cruz once wrote the entire text of the Constitution on large pieces of paper and mounted them on easels. After memorizing America’s founding blueprint, the junior orator delivered 80 speeches about it, all around Texas.
After law school and private practice, Cruz served as Texas’s solicitor general. He argued nine cases before the Supreme Court, winning five. Cruz is to public speaking what Michael Phelps was to swimming — at least before today’s London Olympiad.
Cruz shares his recipe for success as a conservative advocate. “To be an effective leader on the national stage takes three characteristics,” Cruz told me in an interview. “Number one, it takes firm principles. You need to know what you believe, and in particular, I think it’s critical to have a sound foundation in free-market economics and the Constitution. A great many Republicans in Washington don’t have that foundation.”
#more#“Number two,” Cruz continued, “what it takes is backbone — the willingness to stand and fight for those principles in the face of opposition and derision. Of those who have firm principles, even fewer have the backbones to stand for those principles when the heat is on.”
“Number three,” Cruz added, “it takes the ability to communicate — to motivate and persuade and inspire. That is the most potent tool anyone in public life can have. Unfortunately, on the national stage, the number of Republicans who have all three is vanishingly small.”
Anyone who has spent ten minutes with Ted Cruz knows that he is guilty as charged on all of these counts. Cruz is hardcore, tough, and eloquent, nearly to a fault. It would be mildly comforting to hear him occasionally stumble over a word. Given the abundance of Republicans who could not talk their way out of a burning building, however, this does not qualify even as a teensy problemette.
Cruz’s talents, in fact, will make him a turbocharger within the often-flaccid Senate Republican caucus. Whether it captures the Senate or not, Republicans in that body (with a few exceptions) long have needed a collective hot spinal implant, as well as speaking lessons. Cruz’s mere presence should lift the performance of the entire Republican team.
Cruz sees himself as one of several candidates who could make a difference — not just for their own seats, but for the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body as a whole.
“The most important political objective in the country is to defeat Barack Obama in November,” Cruz states. “The second-most important political objective, and it’s only slightly less important, is to take the current, small core of constitutional conservatives in the Senate (there are six or seven strong, conservative fighters in the Senate), and to grow their numbers to ten or twelve or fifteen. If we can do that — if 2012 can be the second half of 2010 — it will transform the U.S. Senate.”
Cruz predicts such a development’s impact on the Senate’s priorities:
“This will provide a critical mass that is needed to drive a serious, conservative agenda. Whether it’s repealing Obamacare; whether it is dramatically shrinking the size, power, and spending of the federal government; passing entitlement reform, passing fundamental tax reform, auditing the Fed — all of those can be driven if we have ten or twelve or fifteen strong conservative leaders in the Senate.”
Cruz concludes: “Voters are hungry for principled, conservative fighters — because the threat to our liberties from Washington never has been greater.”
A principled, conservative fighter is on the Lone Star State’s GOP primary ballot. Texas Republicans owe it to themselves and America to pull the lever beside the name Ted Cruz.