Some articles have compared him to our current president, both because of his early accomplishments in legal and social arenas and his status as a member of a minority group. Now, having officially given up his dual Canadian-United States citizenship, Ted Cruz announced that he would be running for the presidency on March 23rd, 2015.
While it’s a welcome sight to see someone other than a Clinton or a Bush in the political limelight, I think most moderates (and—forgive me—most sane, rational human beings) would agree that Ted Cruz is not a promising candidate for the Republican party. At a time when we have been bogged down by those who simply refuse to find a middle ground, it’s almost comical to entertain the possibility of “President Cruz.” But hey, it’s the weekend, and who couldn’t use some entertainment? Let’s indulge.
Rafael Edward “Ted” Cruz certainly has a good origin story. His dad is a Cuban immigrant who escaped from communist Castro’s clutches, and his mom was a math major. From his early years in grade school, Ted showed considerable abilities in the areas of rhetoric and debate. He wowed his professors (even those who disagreed with him), and managed to hold positions such debate team champion and primary editor for the Princeton Law Review whilst maintaining the highest possible grade point average.
And yet…this is the man who denies any data pointing to climate change, thinks American citizens “need to stand and defend marriage” (between heterosexuals) on a federal level, is adamantly pro-life, and denies that Republican actions had anything to do with our government shutdown. His heroes include Ronald Reagan and Milton Friedman, and he openly states his beliefs that moderates lose elections. Cruz even upheld the constitutionality of The Ten Commandments as a document to remain on display in government buildings, defending and winning Van Orden v. Perry.
Cruz opposed the Marketplace Fairness Act and net neutrality, due to his fear that taxes and added business costs would hamper economic progress. He opposes legalizing marijuana on a federal level, yet supports the idea of state legislation—an idea which we’ve all seen work really well, with absolutely no complications, thus far. (*Note: As a Washington resident, I hope you know that last statement is thick with sarcasm.)
According to OnTheIssues.org, he is also an ardent supporter of gun rights, the death penalty, correlating Christian beliefs and morality with supporting Israel, promoting the Keystone Pipeline, and protecting the right to drill for energy sources offshore and onshore, including within Alaska reserves and American Indian reservations.
VoteSmart.org, used by CNN as well as various other news sources, reveals that he was given a 100% rating by the National Right to Life Committee and a 0% rating from Environmental America. (Given his clear opposition to abortion and his efforts to repeal the Renewable Fuel Standard in an attempt to combat the Environmental Protection Agency’s goal to regulate greenhouse gases, neither rating is surprising.) Furthermore, despite his seeming unwillingness to consider any idea that originates outside of the Tea Party, he recently thanked President Obama for signing a new bill that allows him (the president) to deny visas to U.N. ambassadors who present potential security threats.
It is not his conservative views that make him unlikely to thrive as a candidate for president, but his inability or opposition to even the most basic compromise. Jeffrey Toobin, who wrote the The New Yorker article “The Absolutist,” quoted conservative Senator John McCain as condemning Cruz’s efforts to block the Affordable Care Act. “It was not a productive enterprise,” John McCain told [Toobin]. “We needed sixty-seven votes in the Senate to stop Obamacare, and we didn’t have it. It was a fool’s errand, and it hurt the Republican Party and it hurt my state. I think Ted has learned his lesson.” Apparently not.
It seems that he does not see his genuinely active participation, which often entails the consideration or and presentation of new and different ideas, as a necessary prerequisite to good citizenship, and yet will recognize and applaud those who see things from his perspective. Even before his Harvard and Princeton days, it was remarked by Winston Elliott III, an affiliate of the Rolland Storey program in which Cruz studied conservative ideals, that Ted was “an ideal student,” not only because he “just absorbed everything,” but because “he came from a conservative family in the first place.”
Like a believer who has grown up entrenched in his own religion, Cruz may only be able to support the causes he believes in, which fails to take the rest of America into consideration. He is the opposite of the dreaded “flip-flopper” or “crowd pleaser,” yes, but at what cost? Although his debate skills may have served him well in college, their ability to somehow get Cruz from Tea Party apologist to “Mr. President” is unlikely.
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