Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) laid out a seven-point argument for how he knows “conservatives are winning” that almost doubles as the case for his presidential candidacy.
“What I’m going to talk to you about this afternoon is how we can win. And let me tell you something that is not getting a whole lot of coverage in the mainstream media: Conservatives are winning,” Cruz said Friday evening during a speech at the 2014 RedState Gathering in Fort Worth, Texas. (In his brief pause after that remark, one audience member asked, just audibly, “Really?”)
“The grassroots are winning fight after fight after fight,” he continued, citing “seven victories all together.” Cruz’s listed five completed victories and two that he said were “fixin’ to be” won.
In the five: 1) Stopping the gun legislation that followed the Newtown shooting. “I was proud to stand with my friends Rand Paul and Mike Lee and say we would filibuster any legislation [against the Second Amendment,” Cruz said. “That gave the opportunity for y’all to engage . . . suddenly all the folks that were getting wobbly on guns started having their phone lines melt down.”
For victory number two, Cruz celebrated stopping a bill reforming the International Monetary Fund that would have put more taxpayer money at risk and weaken the United States at the bank relative to the Russians. Third victory: President Obama signed a bill into law that was authored by Cruz that “denies admission to U.N. ambassadors who the president deems have been engaged in terrorist activity against the U.S. or its allies,” as the National Journal explained.
Fourth victory: the release of Miriam Ibrahim, the Sudanese Christian (married to an American citizen) sentenced to die for her faith. Fifth victory: The Federal Aviation Administration lifted its ban on flights into Israel after Cruz suggested President Obama was using the ban to pressure Israel to do what he wanted.
Cruz admitted that the final two victories “are not yet completed,” but he hailed the House’s passage of a border crisis bill that contained Cruz’s language “end[ing] President Obama’s amnesty” and to “the fight to stop Obamacare.” (Cruz recalled the “deafening roar” of conservative voters who supported his push to defund Obamacare last year).
A couple observations about the list: Cruz’s showcases record on foreign policy and domestic policy fronts while offering himself as the avatar of various Republican constituencies, be they Second Amendment hawks, pro-Israel voters, or Christian conservatives.
And the consistent theme of the list is not that they are seven victories, in any absolute sense. It’s that they mark opportunities for Cruz to conjure an image of establishment Repubicans saying “You crazy conservatives, stop being unreasonable” — as he put it to describe resistance to his border crisis bill — only to bow to the grassroots on a given issue that he was working on.
“The impossible becomes possible when we shine the light, tell the truth, and empower the American people,” Cruz said during the speech. Cruz’s unstated message seemed to be: I’m electable, if you want me to be elected.