Kay Bailey Hutchison is at last stepping down from the Senate, and there will, of course, be a scramble to replace her. Who will be the next senator from Texas? Ted Cruz has announced his candidacy in the Republican primary. I am for him 100 percent — for him with enthusiasm and even excitement.
Which will not surprise anyone who read my column on Cruz in May 2009: Here it is. The title of that column was “A Great Reaganite Hope,” and that he is. He’s also a friend of mine, so you may discount everything I say. I wouldn’t, though. I mean, I wouldn’t discount everything — anything! — I say.
In 2009, Ted was running for Texas attorney general. Or sort of running: For the position to come open, Hutchison had to resign from the Senate, as she said she would. She was trying to oust Rick Perry from the governor’s mansion. Her resignation would have reshuffled the Texas political deck. But she didn’t resign. And we are at a different juncture.
A quick biographical recap: Ted was born in 1970 and grew up in Houston. His father is a Cuban immigrant. Ted went to Princeton, where he was a debate champion. Not just any ol’ debate champion, but champion of all of America — North America, actually. He went on to Harvard Law School, where he did the expected glittering things. Then he clerked for Judge Mike Luttig on the Fourth Circuit. (Marvelous man, Luttig. Should be on the Supreme Court.) Then he clerked for Chief Justice Rehnquist.
On the Bush 2000 campaign, Ted was a domestic-policy adviser. He later served in the Justice Department and at the Federal Trade Commission. He returned to Texas to be solicitor general, a post he held from 2003 to 2008. He wrote over 70 U.S. Supreme Court briefs, and presented eight oral arguments in that court. He was basically a whirlwind of principle, creativity, and skill.
For my money, Ted is a dream candidate, and would make no less splendid a senator. He is all-purpose, by which I mean, he’s versed in economics, the law (obviously), domestic policy, and, not least — very much not least — foreign policy. He stands for all the things we Reaganites prize: a free economy; constitutionalism; “traditional values” (a mockable phrase, but useful); national defense; a foreign policy that does not forget American ideals (e.g., freedom) — you get the picture.
Moreover, he can articulate what we feel, believe, and know. The ability to articulate is no small thing, in politics and government.
Also, for those who care, Ted is “Hispanic,” whatever that means. I always just thought of him as a swell guy — and an American, and a Texan — not a “Hispanic.” But I know that such things mean a great deal to a great many.
I hope he goes to the Senate, and I hope he goes further than that. A nightmare scenario for people like us — I’m talking about Reaganites, again — is that Senator Cruz and Senator Rubio compete in a presidential primary. But then, you could call that an embarrassment of riches.
Speaking of Rubio: Ted should be a national conservative cause, the way Rubio was in Florida. Indeed, the Texas race could look much like the Florida race: with Cruz playing the part of Rubio, and the Republican lieutenant governor, David Dewhurst, playing the part of Charlie Crist.
Could Dewhurst — about whom I know very little — be as unreliable, politically, as Crist? I doubt it. Who could?
Anyway, I will stop gushing and enthusing now. “Pardon my mush,” as a Gershwin lyric goes. I’ve been waiting for Ted to run for office for a long time. Conservatives all across America will come to embrace him, I think — embrace him as a champion. Why not start early? There will be plenty of bandwagoneers later. Check out TedCruz.org. Kick the tires. I’d rather slit my throat than steer you wrong. I’m sure I have not.