Just over two weeks after Tea Party poster boy Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) announced he would be running for president in 2016, the Associated Press is reporting four super PACs who support Cruz have already raked in millions in donations, with the final tally expected to reach an astounding $31 million by week’s end.
It’s not surprising that so many on the right are drawn to Cruz and his no-holds-barred brand of conservatism that has made him something like a folk hero in certain circles. He often says and does what millions of Americans who have opposed President Barack Obama’s policies since taking office wish they themselves could do.
At the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference, better known as CPAC, Cruz remarked to an exuberant crowd of conservatives, “This president of the United States is the first president we’ve ever had who thinks he can choose which laws to enforce and which laws to ignore.”
It’s commentary like this that has won over countless conservatives still awaiting the second coming of Ronald Reagan. But regardless of his policies, Cruz does not have the ability to control the media the way Reagan did, and no amount of money will change that.
Whether it’s fair or not, Cruz is now damaged goods as far as presidential politics is concerned. The left-leaning media has turned him into its go-to example of everything that’s wrong with conservatives: he’s too religious, he’s not willing to compromise, and he’s too brash. In short, for all the reasons conservatives love Cruz, liberals hate him, and they’ve smeared his reputation with American moderates in their campaign to destroy a man so many on the left see as their archenemy.
For instance, in a recent article published on The Daily Dot and featured on the leftist website Salon, Matthew Rozsa writes, “The bigger problem with Cruz is that the thematic basis for his showboating—that he won’t sell out like the rest of the Washington phonies—is a whole lot of bunk, like the rest of his campaign. After all, Googling ‘Ted Cruz lies’ pulls back an astonishing 7,890,000 results, and on Twitter, the two phrases are basically synonymous.”
If Rozsa’s strategy for determining whether a candidate is trustworthy or not is at all believable, liberals better take a long look in the mirror. After all, Googling “Barack Obama lies” delivers more than 29 million results; Googling “Bill Clinton lies” pulls back 26.5 million results; and “Hillary Clinton lies” brings up 10.6 million references.
Compared to those three, Cruz doesn’t look so bad!
The reality is that these kinds of tactics have, whether it’s fair to Cruz or not, already ended his presidential bid long before it started. This probably explains why despite his vocal supporters and continuous media presence, Cruz is projected to finish 6 points behind Clinton in a one-on-one race, according to a recent Fox News poll. Sen. Marco Rubio (FL), Sen. Rand Paul (KY), and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush all finished higher than Cruz.
The reason Cruz is not currently the runaway candidate for a Republican base that, quite frankly, loves the man, is because many people believe that Cruz is not a suitable candidate to face off against Clinton.
Perhaps Mrs. Clinton’s most glaring weakness is her cactus-like personality. Clinton, unlike her husband, isn’t the kind of candidate most Americans will believe can “feel” their pain. Instead, she comes across as an elitist who knows better than everyone else in the room.
The best strategy for beating Clinton isn’t to put another personality just like her up on the same stage, and nominating Ted Cruz would be doing just that. Instead, Republicans should look for a conservative with a much warmer and kinder presence, one that will contrast with Clinton’s style and sway moderates.
I realize and sympathize with the excitement many feel on the right for Sen. Cruz, but spending millions of dollars on a candidate who doesn’t have a path to win a general election doesn’t make much sense. Republicans, including many conservatives, donated more than $120 million to Karl Rove’s super PAC in support of Mitt Romney—or, perhaps more accurately, against Obama.
If you truly believe Cruz is that man, then please support him in every way that you can. But before you do, think carefully about how the rest of the nation views Cruz, and remember, they get to vote too.
Justin Haskins (NewRevere@1791.com) is the editor-in-chief of the New Revere Daily-Press, the editor of a leading free-market think tank headquartered in Chicago, and author of The American Book of Prayer. Opinions are his own.