On Monday, Senator Ted Cruz surprised many by announcing his candidacy for president far sooner than any potential candidate was expected to announce. It appears that he may benefit financially, at least initially, by announcing early as donations for the conservative firebrand have begun to pour in. Does Cruz have staying power? I think not. Christian conservative Texan Heath Mayo puts it best.
From his Facebook posting as linked:
As a conservative, I may support most of what Cruz says. Obamacare should be repealed and replaced with a patient-centered alternative. The President’s recent executive actions on immigration should be revoked. Our tax code is chaotic and makes absolutely no sense. Most Republicans agree with Cruz’s talking points – but, if the last 8 years of President Obama have taught us anything, it is that the presidency requires more than a good speech. It requires the sobering experience of governing and managing – of doing the hard things to bring people together. A principled conservative in the White House is of no use without the skills to mete out those principles in tangible governing results. Nothing in Cruz’s set of professional experiences remotely suggests he has acquired those skills – and Obama has taught us the fatal mistake of trusting a candidate to pick them up on the job.
Even more damaging would be the signal that Cruz’s winning the nomination would send to future GOP presidential hopefuls on how to successfully prepare to run for President. As a party, we should expect to get what we vote for and reward. We should demand proven leadership manifested through tangible conservative legislative accomplishment and successful governing records – not grandstanding political stunts and intraparty scapegoating. A Cruz nomination would invite increased divisiveness in the party as future hopefuls sought to mirror Cruz’s strategy of appealing aggressively to a single strand of the party and country. That is not a recipe for either long-term party success or conservative progress.
Mayo links a Wall Street Journal editorial that lays out the case against Cruz even further.
His strategists are saying openly that Mr. Cruz won’t even try to appeal to political independents. His strategy will be to attract and motivate the millions of conservatives who didn’t vote in the last two presidential elections. In this sense, too, he will run as the mirror-image of President Obama in 2012. Polarize and conquer.
The truth is that Cruz’s polarization has cost him so many friends that he has to “attract and motivate” non-voting conservatives rather than Republicans and independents in order to have any hope for election because Republicans and independents have long since rejected his style.
In my own mind, the deal-breaker was his horrific decision to walk out on the Christians of the Middle East, effectively leaving them to face ISIS alone and without U.S. help should he become president, all because a handful of them booed his evangelical Zionist theology as delivered in a speech at the In Defense of Christians Summit.
As reported at Catholic News Service:
“He made it very clear about defense of Jews and defense of Christians, but he did not mention defense of Muslims,” said Bishop Mansour. He said everyone at the conference had been “very careful to defend the best of the Muslim tradition and to condemn the worst in it.”
The bishop noted that 18 congressmen and senators had had talks with the Christian leaders on Capitol Hill without any kind of animosity.
After Cruz left the stage, one of the event organizers chastised the crowd, and In Defense of Christians posted a statement on its website from its president, Toufic Baaklini:
“As (Lebanese) Cardinal (Bechara) Rai so eloquently put it to the attendees of the In Defense of Christians’ inaugural summit gala dinner: ‘At every wedding, there are a few problems.’ In this case, a few politically motivated opportunists chose to divide a room that for more than 48 hours sought unity in opposing the shared threat of genocide, faced not only by our Christian brothers and sisters, but our Jewish brothers and sisters and people of all other faiths and all people of good will.
“Tonight’s injection of politics when the focus should have been on unity and faith momentarily played into the hands of a few who do not adhere to IDC’s principles. They were made no longer welcome,” the statement said, without indicating whether that meant the hecklers or Cruz.
Catholic criticism of Ted Cruz was, very rightly, nearly universal with rival publications National Catholic Register and National Catholic Reporter unified in disdain. With one speech, Ted Cruz certainly became a uniter in bringing those two publications politically in tune with each other, a generally impossible feat. Unfortunately for him, though, they were united against his message.
This sort of behavior may play well with a large enough segment of people to energize a campaign, but it is not a winning message that unites America. To the contrary, it is reminiscent of the same kind of divisive, identity-based politics of the Left that is harmful to our country. I wish Mr. Cruz well, but something tells me that he cares much more about fundraising and appealing to a fan base than he does about winning the election. Even if you agree with him, you should be wary to back someone who politicizes human sufferings, particularly of people of faith, so recklessly.