By Don FederÂ -Â
Former Senator Rick Santorum tells a story about his 2012 campaign for the GOP presidential nomination. A group of deep-pocket donors called the Republican candidates to New York to be vetted. Santorum found it odd that all of the questions on social issues were directed at him.
Finally he said to the donors: â€œWhy are you only asking me about abortion and marriage? My opponents all have the same positions,â€ to which one responded: â€œYes, but you mean it.â€
Thatâ€™s what scares the left and its media myrmidons the most about Ted Cruz â€“ that heâ€™s not Romney â€™08, who dressed in conservative drag to seduce the party base. With the Texan, what you see is what you get.
The media response to Cruzâ€™s first-out-of-the gate announcement was painfully predictable.
The New York Times, Washington Post, Reuters, CNN and other citadels of advocacy journalism told us (while trying, not very hard, to maintain a veneer of objectivity) that this wing-nut Senator from Texas is â€œseen as a divisive figure in Washingtonâ€ â€“ plus â€œhis colleagues donâ€™t like him,â€ he â€œhas denied prevailing science (theory) on climate change,â€ and has â€œdefied and battled his partyâ€™s establishment.â€
They quoted RINO Rep. Peter King that Cruz â€œbrought the country to the edge of ruinâ€ by trying to actually do something about Obamacare, and claimed his time in Washington â€œhas been marked by accusations of demagogy.â€ (Words like â€œdemagogy,â€ â€œintransigentâ€ and â€œhardlinerâ€ are reserved for a certain type of Republican.) Cruz is â€œThe Most Hated Man In The Senateâ€ (read the headline of a story in Foreign Policy), has â€œdone nothing to endear himself to party elites,â€ and has either an exceedingly slim, razor-thin, anorexic or absolutely no chance of winning the Republican nomination.
Rarely was it told that Cruz is a Harvard-educated lawyer (Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz said that in decades of teaching, Cruz was one of his brightest students) who clerked for Chief Justice William Rehnquist and, as the stateâ€™s solicitor general, represented Texas in cases before the Supreme Court.
Some actually had the nerve to argue that Cruz is a neophyte whoâ€™s served less than two years in the Senate, has no executive experience, and there are those nagging questions about where he was born â€“ concerns that never bothered them in 2008. The Times noted that of the 112 bills the Texan sponsored, only one became law â€“ but forgot to mention that Democrats controlled the Senate for all but 10 weeks of Cruzâ€™s tenure.
That the GOP elite despise him may be Cruzâ€™s crowning glory.
The Wall Street wing of the party (a stunted appendage) led us to defeat in four of the last six presidential elections. They prefer overripe veterans like Bob Dole and John McCain, who (like the pigs and the men at the end of â€œAnimal Farmâ€) are virtually indistinguishable from the other party â€“ or beautiful losers like Pretty Boy Mitt who thought he was running a campaign for president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce instead of president of the United States.
Cruz is a throwback to another presidential contender â€“ one who was also â€œtoo extreme,â€ alienated the Republican establishment, was too flamboyant (appeared in Technicolor in a monochrome field) and, the pundits assured us, had absolutely no chance of becoming president.
Much has been made of Cruzâ€™s choice of a venue to launch his presidential campaign â€“ Liberty University (founded by â€œtelevangelistâ€ Jerry Falwell, the media elite sneered) â€“ and his faith-based message. â€œGodâ€™s blessing has been on America from the very beginning of this nation, and I believe God isnâ€™t done with America yet.â€
Cruz told the students of this Christian university: â€œI believe in you. I believe in the power of millions of courageous conservatives rising up to reignite the promise of America.â€
On August 21, 1980, Ronald Reagan addressed 15,000 conservative Christians in Dallas. As church leaders, â€œI know you canâ€™t endorse me,â€ Reagan famously told them. â€œBut I want you to know that I endorse you and what you are doing.â€ Among them was Jerry Falwell.
Reagan said the Bible held the answers to all of Americaâ€™s problems of the day and that if we would only return to that â€œold-time religion,â€ we could realize the dream of a shining â€œcity on a hill.â€
Ronald Reagan was unique; there will never be another like him. But like Reagan, Cruz understands the power of an army of passionate idealists â€“ people who arenâ€™t moved by marginal tax rates or the profit margin of the Fortune 500, but by family, faith and freedom.
The Karl Roves and Ed Rollinses canâ€™t begin to fathom the appeal of Cruzâ€™s vision for the partyâ€™s conservative core: Stand with our loyal ally Israel. In order to fight Islamic terrorism, we first must acknowledge its nature. Thereâ€™s no security without securing the borders. And â€œIt is a time for truth, it is a time for liberty, it is a time to reclaim the Constitution of the United States.â€ Itâ€™s been 35 years since weâ€™ve heard talk like this.
Maybe the legion of consultants and pollsters are right. Maybe Cruz canâ€™t raise enough money fast enough to overcome the Bush printing press. But Iâ€™d rather lose on principle than win on expediency. Thatâ€™s the only way to save America in the long-run.
Don Feder is a former Boston Herald writer who is now a political/communications consultant. He also maintains his own website, DonFeder.com.