|Cruz: the consistent & courageous conservative I've been looking for|
I couldn't help it. My mom was a fanatical Ronald Reagan supporter and I was enthralled by his speeches and news clips as my mom constantly told me what a good man Reagan was. I remember in 1984 riding bikes with my friend and next door neighbor and chastising him for his liberal parents supporting Walter Mondale because Ronald Reagan was so awesome. I was eight.
Since then I've pretty much read almost every Reagan biography there is, along with his own autobiographies and collections of his notes and writings. The first presidential election I could vote in, however, was 1996. I proudly cast my vote for Bob Dole over Bill Clinton. Back then, I was still a card-carrying member of the GOP. To me, it mattered if a Republican won over a Democrat even if there wasn't a strong difference between them ideologically.
In New Jersey in 1993, I volunteered for the Christine Todd Whitman for Governor campaign and met Whitman and former GOP Congressman Jack Kemp as he toured Camden with her during a campaign swing.
Since then I supported George W Bush twice. In 2008 my candidate was Fred Thompson. He didn't last long. By the time the irrelevant NJ June primary came around, he wasn't even on the ballot. McCain had long since locked up the nomination but I voted for Mike Huckabee in protest. I supported McCain enthusiastically in the general only because of his Vice Presidential selection in the dynamic Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin.
In 2012, I had no candidate in the running. My primary vote in the irrelevant NJ primary went to Newt Gingrich because I couldn't stomach voting for Mitt Romney until I absolutely had to.
This year, I enthusiastically endorsed Ted Cruz for president. He remains the greatest chance that I have in my voting lifetime to actually cast a ballot for a true conservative.
You see, I'm tired of voting for people who claim conservatism during elections and then govern as liberals. I've experienced that with two governors--Christine Todd Whitman and Chris Christie. I was disappointed with George W. Bush's spending problem after proclaiming to carry the mantle of Reagan. I'm tired of the Republican party selecting leaders like John Boehner and Mitch McConnell who clearly not only don't believe in constitutional conservatism, but have outright disdain for it. I'm tired of being lectured every 4 years that people who share my views are extremists who can't get elected and that we all need to unite behind someone who shares as many views with the Democratic opponent as they do with me.
So as I began researching the candidates for 2016, the record of the person mattered far more than their rhetoric. I'll admit that when Trump entered the race I was wildly entertained and was open to supporting him. Then I researched him. And I realized that this man has no governing political philosophy of any kind. Even during this campaign he continues to toss in liberal positions such as touchback amnesty, enthusiasm for single-payer healthcare, and subsidies for things like ethanol into his political word salads. And he never advocates conservatism anywhere. His speeches are merely recitations of his polling numbers and blanket promises to build walls, take jobs from China and make America great again. Hope and change, anyone?
To be honest, the Trump phenomenon has caused me to question a great deal about the conservative movement and whether or not it is viable or even remotely committed to principles. I've watched people that I like and respect abandon reason for a cult of personality akin to Obama's creepy 2008 rise. These are people who adamantly oppose sell-out establishment types and who excoriated Mitt Romney for his flip-flops on issues, and yet they don't bat an eye at the bat-crap crazy daily political contradictions from Trump. They also shrug away his lifetime of buying and selling politicians and his open embrace financially and via public statements and endorsements of radical leftist politicians and positions. These are people who are horrified now that Cruz took a loan against his own assets, but have no care that Trump filed bankruptcy 4 times or that he owes millions to a George Soros fronted funding group.
It's beyond comprehension.
So for me, Trump was out. I looked at the field and was impressed by a number of people and what they had to say. Most of them, however, fell short in various areas. Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum are impressive social conservatives, but they lack fiscal conservative bona fides. They were out. I can't do another big government conservative.
Moderates like Chris Christie (who has been a disaster in New Jersey), Jeb Bush, John Kasich, and the gang never stood a chance with me.
Carly Fiorina impresses me still in her speeches and debate performances. I remember, however, that she was a pro-choice moderate establishment candidate for senate in California just a few years ago. I don't see what caused the 61 year old former CEO to morph into Margaret Thatcher in 5 years time. I want to believe that she's changed, but I gave the benefit of the doubt to countless folks and they've proved over and over again that their campaign conservatism lacked roots in the real world application of holding office. I'm sorry, I just can't take that chance again.
That left me with Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, and Ted Cruz.
Rand Paul is awesome on personal liberty and I've supported him throughout his career in the senate. I just find his particular family view of foreign policy a little tin-foil hat-ish. I think his views on that front are dangerous and naive. He's fine as a senator, but I can't make the jump to president for him with those beliefs. His father's anti-Israel bent is also a factor for me here.
Ben Carson is a nice man. He probably has a fine demeanor as a doctor. He's brilliant and he's done wonderful things with his career. He is not, however, good at debating. I will always be thankful that Carson took the plunge because we need citizen politicians and I think his grace and candor have brought a lot to the race. I don't think that he has what it takes to aggressively take on the Democratic machine. I passed on the good doctor. It's also hard to nail down non-politicians on their actual record. Is he a full spectrum conservative? I just can't completely ascertain that.
I like Marco Rubio. And I would agree with his supporters that he's a conservative. On almost every issue that matters Rubio has voted the right way. The main problems that I have with Rubio are with his Gang of 8 role thrusting amnesty upon our nation, his support for subsidies like those for sugar, and his over-zealous desire to data-mine all Americans under the guise of national security.
I could support a Rubio candidacy if he is the nominee, but I can't support someone in the primary who still to this day advocates for amnesty. I can't pick someone to fight the establishment that always takes a silent back seat to Cruz, Paul, and Lee when they stand up to the GOP leadership. I can't take a chance on someone who has shown repeatedly that he's willing to back down to party leadership when the going gets tough. He's a good senator overall, but Rubio is not the candidate I am looking for.
Ted Cruz has been consistently conservative since arriving on the scene. He has stood up time and time again, at great detriment to his own career, to his own party. He has articulately made the case for bold color conservatism every day of his political career. Is he perfect? No. There have been some minor votes that have puzzled me, but on all of the issues that matter Ted Cruz has stood for constitutional conservatism. He has been the kind of leader that Reagan was. He has an ability to brilliantly respond to any attack and he has a great ability to speak conservatism in a way that everyday Americans can understand.
As impressed as I am with Ted Cruz the candidate, it was Ted Cruz the Solicitor General and Senator from Texas that won me over. Cruz has shown me that his actions as a public official will match his campaign rhetoric. Do I expect perfection? No. Even Reagan wasn't perfect and made some terrible deals with the Democratic congress. But Reagan never shied from advocating for conservatism. And Reagan knew enough to walk away from bad deals. Even if he had to give something up like spending cuts, he still came away with most of what he wanted. Reagan was also an aggressively strategic thinker able to outmaneuver his opponents domestically and overseas by thinking outside of the box for solutions and by going to the American people directly. Ted Cruz understands this and has lived this in his own political career.
So for me, 2016 came down to a question of courage and consistency. I find both in Ted Cruz. He is the only formidable candidate that possesses both qualities. He represents the best chance in my voting lifetime to vote for a true conservative. Please consider joining me in supporting Ted Cruz for president by volunteering and donating at www.tedcruz.org.