The Corner

Politics & Policy

My Man Ted

As longtime readers may remember, Ted Cruz and I are old, dear friends. We met on the 2000 George W. Bush campaign. I had taken a six-week leave of absence from National Review; Ted was a domestic-policy adviser. We “bonded,” to use an Oprah-esque word. We had many a late-night discussion at Earl Campbell’s barbecue joint, and other places.

Did I mention that the campaign was headquartered in Austin? I guess I didn’t. It was.

Speaking of bonding, Ted met an economic-policy whiz named Heidi Nelson on that campaign. They were later married.

I first wrote about Ted, at least in an extensive way, in May 2009: “A Great Reaganite Hope.” He was running for state attorney general. The race did not continue, however, because the AG position did not come open. This had to do with Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and her career vacillations. I won’t take the time to explain . . .

. . . because Ted was soon running for the U.S. Senate. He announced in January 2011, and I wrote about him again that very day: “My Candidate in Texas.” Both of us happened to be in Palo Alto, of all places, that day. We talked late into the night.

He announced for president last March. I happened to see him in New York that night. As I remarked to him then, it seems like two seconds ago that we were at Earl Campbell’s, musing about things political. I figured he would rise in politics one day. (I’m still looking at dogcatcher.) I could not have told you his rise would be so speedy.

As you would expect, I’m supporting Ted for president. I’m also advising him, when he asks me to. This is the luxury of an opinion journalist (especially when said journalist is open about what he’s up to).

The fact that I am pro-Ted does not mean that I am anti-others. For instance, I’m a big fan of Jeb Bush, always have been. I think he’s one of the best people in public life. About a month ago, Rich Lowry said to me, “You’re the only person in the country who loves both Ted and Jeb.” I doubt it. But if I am, so be it.

I also love Marco. Do you have any idea how many Cuban Americans from Miami are in my Rolodex, or the modern equivalent? When I’m with them, I feel I’m with my very own.

By the way, when Ted was running for the Senate, I wrote (something like), “My great fear is that, sometime in the future, our two princes, Ted and Marco, will be dueling down the stretch for the Republican nomination.” I thought this might happen in, say, the 2020s. But lo . . .

I love Bobby. I love Carly. I have great respect for Walker, Perry, Christie, and so on. I belong to the embarrassment-of-riches school. I think the Republican field is deep, broad, and impressive.

Put Trump and Carson to one side, if you would, because they are special cases. I could vote for any of the candidates, comfortably, with the exception of Rand Paul. That’s because my views on foreign policy and national security are too far from his. Nevertheless, I respect him, and am always willing to hear him.

Back to Ted. Do I agree with everything he thinks, says, and does? Heavens no. And he doesn’t agree with everything I think, say, and do. We’re friends and allies, not clones. If I met a clone of mine, I might shrink back.

I’m going to extol Ted for a minute, in the way I have before:

He’s what I call an “all ’rounder.” (The term comes from cricket, I believe.) Ted is powerfully versatile. He’s a free-marketeer who knows economics. He’s a legal eagle, of course. He’s wonkish on domestic policy. He knows his foreign policy, and is a hawk. He also values human rights. And he’s a “social conservative” (though I wish we had a better term for that).

He grasps what ails our country — and has the gumption to do something about it. He can talk, which is always an asset in a politician and leader. He is evidently fearless.

And, again, he’s my friend. I love him and Heidi and their family. Also, Ted’s an even better friend in bad times than in good.

Do you know how strange it is to have a friend running for president? It’s odd enough to have one in the U.S. Senate.

Anyway, I wanted readers to know about all this. I’ll be writing far less about the Republican primaries than I normally would, of course. Last time around, I critiqued just about every GOP debate. That’s not going to happen this time.

Can America live without my political analysis? America will just have to stumble through, as it has coped with depression, war, and other challenges.

When I do write about the presidential campaign, I’ll link to this post, to provide a disclosure. There may be times I don’t do it — because a link would be unnecessary, or even self-regarding or grandstanding.

Whatever happens next year, in the primaries and in November, God bless America. See you later.

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