When I read the report that Sen. Ted Cruz is going to oppose President Obama’s nomination of Loretta Lynch to be Attorney General, I thought, “There’s a gutsy choice.” I mean, who doubts that Cruz will be bombarded, once again, by the usual liberal hit-men, from Jon Stewart to E.J. Dionne to Rachel Maddow?
Even now, I can hear the shriek of the incoming barrage: “Cruz is playing the race card!”
But of course, Cruz is no racist. He is, after all, Hispanic; he carries multi-ethnicity in his very being. Moreover, if he had any observable racist tendencies, he never would have been admitted to such Ivy League bastions as Princeton University and Harvard Law School. And while at Harvard, for example, if he had said even one naughty thing, he never would have been chosen to help lead the prestigious Law Review.
To be sure, his mostly liberal-leftist fellow students described Cruz as “polarizing”—we on the right can translate that as “principled”—but even the relentlessly left-wing Boston Globe couldn’t find anyone to call him a racist
So here’s the funny thing: No Republican this side of MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough would even consider Lynch for the AG post, and yet a number of GOP Senators, including South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham, have already indicated they will vote for her
. Okay, the likes of Graham seem to be saying, Lynch wouldn’t be our choice, but nonetheless, she’s good enough for the job. And yet a Republican vote in favor of her confirmation counts for just as much as a Democratic vote. Yes, it’s a strange world when Republicans join Democrats in voting for a nominee that only Democrats should love.
So now let’s consider the situation from the perspective of the Republican grassroots: How does it look in the eyes of, say, a Tea Party activist that Republican Senators, too, will be voting to confirm Lynch? A Conservative, or a Libertarian, or a Constitutionalist has a right to wonder: What’s the point of electing a Republican Senate if it simply rubber-stamps what the Democrats do?
Cicero is old enough to have seen this show before. In fact, I am reminded of Phyllis Schafly’s famous book from 1964, A Choice, Not an Echo.
In that work, Schlafly argued that an upper crust of elite “Republican kingmakers” had controlled the GOP since since the 1930s, nominating “me too” Republican candidates, all but one of whom lost—and none of whom were conservative. The result of this ideological straitjacketing, Schlafly continued, was that the American people were deprived of a true choice: All they saw on the ballot was a liberal Democrat and then an echo—that is, a liberal Republican.
As Schlafly put it, “The voters expect Republicans to be Republicans, and Democrats to be Democrats.” Her book, of course, was a vindication of the presidential candidacy of Sen. Barry Goldwater, the conservative insurgent who threatened to break the three-decade-long Establishment stranglehold on the GOP. And in fact, a few months after the Schlafly book was published, Goldwater secured the Republican nomination.
Yes, the Goldwater forces took over the Party on the basis of their willingness to buck the bipartisan Establishment. That is, the Goldwaterites wanted the voters to have a real choice—and they were the choice.
For example, the year before, the Arizona Senator had staked out a lonely stand against the Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty, which he viewed as dangerously weakening our nuclear deterrent. As Goldwater said on the floor of the Senate, “I do not vote against the hope of peace, but only against the illusion of it. I do not vote for war, but for the strength to prevent it.” And then he continued,