Politics & Policy

What Ted Can Do

(Mark Wilson/Getty)

On Monday, Senator Ted Cruz became the first Republican to formally announce he is running for president next year. We heartily welcome him into the race.

This publication is a longstanding fan of his, dating back before he was the long-shot conservative candidate facing down Texas’s political establishment in 2012. He has an impressive intellect and a flair for rhetoric and debate. Those talents have been on display throughout his distinguished legal career, which included turning the generally unremarkable office of Texas solicitor general into a highly effective force for constitutional principles.

We were delighted to see him elected to the Senate, where he made an immediate impact. He has been a relentless scourge of the Left and, frequently, of the leadership of his own party. This has made him a hated figure, not just in the Democratic cloakroom and the media, but also for elements within his own party’s establishment. Often, the criticisms made of Cruz are unfair at best, and completely unhinged at worst. The legitimate critique is that he has shown more interest in rhetorical flourish and tactical maximalism than prudent strategy and policy entrepreneurship.

Cruz is fearless. It shows in his willingness to say clearly where he stands on a range of questions, something other candidates would do well to emulate. But some of that courage also should be devoted — in the Senate, and now on the campaign trail — to pushing a novel, positive conservative agenda. A number of conservative senators — Mike Lee and Marco Rubio, for instance — have outshone Cruz in this regard. He would be well served by learning from their examples and filling out his agenda, which at the moment is largely slogans, with creative proposals that show how conservatives can address the problems of the day.

#related#The Texas senator talks frequently of the example of Ronald Reagan. The Gipper didn’t get elected president and win over former Democrats merely by declaring the sincerity and depth of his own conservatism and castigating his own side over tactical disputes.

Reagan explained the failings of liberalism and demonstrated that there is a better way. If Cruz does the same, it will be good for his candidacy, and potentially the country.

The Editors — The Editors comprise the senior editorial staff of the National Review magazine and website.

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