Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who has the lead among Tea Partiers in nearly every 2016 GOP presidential primary poll, opened CPAC on Thursday. Cruz said that conservatives can win elections when they draw a clear and sharp contrast between corrupt Washington and the American people, in a way that the GOP establishment has not been able to do.
The potential 2016 presidential candidate noted that Washington is the wealthiest region in the U.S. and blasted the “corrupt interlocking system” of lobbyists, lawyers, and consultants that are “suckling off of Washington.”
Cruz said conservatives can choose to listen to D.C. consultants who want Republicans to be timid, or they can stay true to their core values.
“If you want to lose elections, stand for nothing,” Cruz said.
He noted that, when Republicans have listened to the consulting class and become timid, they got “walloped” in three of the last four national elections. In addition, at the presidential level, Cruz asked whether there was a President Dole, President McCain, or President Romney. Those three candidates were moderate “next-in-line” GOP presidential nominees who stood, as Ronald Reagan would have said, for “pale pastels.” And they lost.
Cruz said Republicans won in an “historic tidal wave” in the 2010 midterm elections because conservatives “unequivocally” stood against Obamacare and against bankrupting the country. And he mentioned that Ronald Reagan and Ron Paul appealed to young people because they stuck boldly to their convictions.
He added that conservatives could win by standing strong for the First and Second Amendments. He also said that the Federal Reserve should be audited, the IRS abolished, Obamacare repealed, and corporate welfare and crony capitalism eliminated by instituting a lifetime ban on lobbying for those elected to Congress. The first term Texas Senator called for term limits, more school choice, and the elimination of Dodd-Frank.
“You win elections by standing for principle,” Cruz said.
Cruz and Sarah Palin–who will close the event on Saturday–will bookend the conference.