Choose Cruz

by Jay Nordlinger

It’s a lovely day in Texas. The high in Houston will be 95. Over in El Paso, 98. Up in Amarillo, 104. Down in McAllen, 103. A perfect day to go out and vote for Ted Cruz — our candidate for the U.S. Senate. Our?

The conservatives’ candidate, National Review’s candidate: a Reaganite through and through. He is “one of us,” one of us Reaganites, in all aspects of policy: economic, legal, foreign, “social.” (There must be a better word than that.) He is a brilliant man, an intellectual who does not want an ivory tower but the political arena. He is a bookish fellow who relishes combat. A magnificent combination.

He has ambition, lots of it. And he will use that ambition for good. He will advance conservative principles at a time when we sorely need their advancement. The antidote to the Age of Obama? A politician, and force, such as Ted Cruz.

He can talk. I’ve mentioned this over the months, and years. Oh, can he talk. He was a champion debater in college — and I can’t imagine he’s lost a step. Our side is always getting out-talked, it seems to me. We are too often the tongue-tied party. But no one can out-talk Ted Cruz — or out-think him. It would be a pleasure to see some snarky, lefty interviewer go after him on a Sunday morning. The interviewer would be sorry he did. Ted would know ten times more about the subject, whatever it was. And be twenty times more articulate.

That can be useful in politics, you know?

What’s more, Ted can persuade others of his point of view. It’s great if a legislator “votes the right way” or mouths the right lines. Or beats down his opponent. But pretty rare, I think, is the politician who can bring others along with him by the clarity, logic, and even beauty of his arguments.

Many distrust a talker, and not without reason. But, talking aside, Ted is a true believer — a conviction politician, to borrow Thatcher’s phrase. He is not an ideologue, not a dogmatist. No politician worth his salt can be that. But he has unambiguous, well-grounded principles about which he’s firm.

His opponent in the Republican runoff today is David Dewhurst, the lieutenant governor. At the beginning of the race, I thought, “Nice guy. Maybe a little dopey. Kind of a moderate conservative — Texas establishment. Another Kay Bailey. Not philosophically motivated. Would be a reliable Republican vote, but really wouldn’t do anything. Would provide no leadership. Wouldn’t advance the ball.” Seeing the way Dewhurst has run his campaign, I think I was wrong about the “nice guy” part.

As regular readers know, I’ve been waiting for Ted to run for office for a long time. He is a dear friend of mine. He’s one of the few I’ll stay up all night talking to. (Or at least till 3:30 or so.) He knows what I think before I do, if you know what I mean. He tells me, or reminds me, why I think what I think. He is a fount of good sense, and good cheer. A brainiac, yes, but also a peach of a guy. I think Ted is the only candidate I’ve ever given money to. Maybe that’s shameful — maybe I should have opened my wallet to others, in addition to arguing for them in print — but there you go.


The presence of Ted Cruz in the Senate would be good — very good — for conservatives. His leadership would be a joy. His presence in the Senate would be good — very good — for the country at large. He genuinely loves America, loves freedom. Loves the West, loves Judeo-Christian civilization. How old-fashioned is that? And he is absolutely unapologetic about it.

Texas Republicans have a wonderful opportunity today. I wish I were there, whatever the weather, voting along with them.

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