Without taking any sides in the nominating process, let me just say that the GOP has received an immeasurable gift this week, in the announcement that Ted Cruz is officially running for president.
The reasons he would be better than the current president are obvious (he knows the law and would obey it, for one). However, there are many reasons why the primary season is desperately in need of Ted Cruz. I will only discuss a few here (in no particular order).
First, let’s deal with the Canada thing. Having Ted Cruz—an American citizen born to an American parent in a foreign country—run for president is a Godsend for the party. It allows us to jettison all the crazy people who are left over from the “birther” movement that Hillary Clinton’s camp set in motion back in 2008. Although the rumor that Barack Obama was born in Kenya came from Democrats, was spread by Democrats, and was designed to help a Democrat named Clinton get the nomination, somehow it came to be associated with Republicans.
This time around, we have the discussion already settled. He is a citizen. Everyone from Harvard to Hillsdale says he’s eligible to be president, and the liberals already beating this drum look full-on crazy. And anything that reveals how insane liberals are can only be good for conservatives. Even if there are residual birthers in the GOP, Cruz has already renounced the Canadian citizenship he was born with (he was born with dual citizenship) and produced his birth certificate. Voluntarily, without passing judgment on those who were itching to ask for it and without acting like it was some huge state secret. Point for our side.
Another great thing about having Cruz in the mix is that it will elevate the presidential debates enormously. Cruz—despite desperate liberal claims that he is “dumb”—went to the same Princeton as Michelle Obama and the same Harvard Law as Barack Obama. Moreover, he graduated top of his class at both (which neither of them did). He also clerked for Chief Justice Rehnquist and has argued before the Supreme Court NINE times.
Did I mention he has won national debate championships? And, of course, he was valedictorian of his high school.
Having Cruz on that debate stage is going to be a blast.
One of the best things about Ted Cruz is his genuine humility. Though bombastic while describing the things he wants to do, he always couches his rhetoric in terms that elevate the nation and minimize his agency in it. One of the most impressive things about his announcement speech (aside from the fact that he didn’t use a teleprompter) is that, for a period of at least twenty minutes, he didn’t use the word “I” once. By contrast, Obama made a speech last July in which he used the word “I,” “me,” or “mine” approximately every twelve seconds.
It sure would be nice to have a president that could think about something other than himself for a change.
Some have criticized Cruz because he has said that, since his wife is giving up her job for the duration and will lose her health insurance, he is going to follow the law and get Obamacare. However, this is actually a great opportunity for Republicans to bring Obamacare into the debate in a way that few others can. Instead of just being against it because it has the word “Obama” in the title (as liberals claim conservatives are), Cruz can bring to the table legitimate, experience-based complaints about how it actually works. He will be Exhibit A of those forced onto the exchanges, and the entire party will benefit from the conversation.
If he gets the nomination, he will have the advantage of being young. Well, not “young” as in under 30 and so dumb he voted for Obama twice, but younger than the other candidates on either side, and literally DECADES younger than all three of the Democrats expected to run. He can play to our innate fears of having our senile relatives allowed access to the nuclear codes, while still being distinct from the current president, whose mental age seems to fluctuate somewhere between twelve and twenty-five. Cruz is clearly a responsible grown-up, but not as old as grandmas Hillary and Warren—and he was two years old when Joe Biden first went to the Senate.
He also takes strong positions on issues that the Republican candidates need to have debates about. He is a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment. In fact, he drafted the amicus brief of the state attorneys general in the Heller case, which struck down the DC handgun ban. He is a strong and articulate supporter of life, an issue that Republicans have lately publicly avoided for fear of seeming insensitive to women. Cruz has no such fear, and his strength will tease out the real positions of the other candidates. He did his senior thesis at Princeton on the ninth and tenth Amendments, so it is not unlikely that we may be treated to a long-overdue clear explanation of their importance.
Whether Cruz wins the nomination or not, having him competing will make all the Republicans step up their game—which should result in a better candidate in the end than any of them could have been without such a challenge.