The Corner

Cruz Triumphant

(Chip Somodevilla/Getty)

Tonight was the night when I could clearly see Ted Cruz as President of the United States. He made the right moral judgment — dealing with Donald Trump was far more important than jockeying for position with Marco Rubio or John Kasich. He made the case against Trump in the right way — he was civil even as he eviscerated Trump again and again. And he connected with the audience not just with his command of the facts, but also by making his case in an effective, human way. When he asked the audience how many had been waiters or waitresses, I had to smile. Both my wife and I spent more than our fair share of time bringing ice tea to thirsty customers, and the notion that waiting tables — even for a season – is a job Americans won’t do is absurd.

But I can’t praise Cruz without also praising Marco Rubio. Their nonaggression pact was clear. It is an extraordinarily difficult thing for political rivals to choose not to attack each other, but both Rubio and Cruz made the right decision. They both kept their eye on the ball, and in so doing kept hope alive in the quest to save the conservative movement and stop Trump.

Regarding Kasich, his performance was cheap and cowardly. Anyone can look statesmanlike when they opt out of a necessary fight. By choosing to cast himself as above the fray, he created a false moral equivalence between Trump, Rubio, and Cruz, and he transparently curried favor with viewers weary of conflict. With every passing moment, he is staining his legacy and his reputation. At a crucial moment, Kasich chose to be — first and foremost – for Kasich. Shame on him.

Finally, there is much more to be said about this, but words cannot express the contempt I felt for Trump’s insistence that the military would follow his unlawful orders to murder women and children. There are men who’ve paid the ultimate sacrifice rather than kill the innocent, yet he pretends our warriors would simply salute and follow orders when told to kill women and children for the sole purpose of punishing terrorists. Trump is sadly mistaken. If he won the White House and tried to implement his “policy,” the military would refuse to comply — because it has honor, because it respects the law, and because it knows the lessons of history. No order can justify an atrocity.

David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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