Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) wowed the beltway elite and even Democrats during Saturday’s annual Gridiron event, showing why the Ivy Leaguer has confounded and been vilified by many with whom he shares the same intellectual pedigree.
The annual D.C. roast is hosted by the exclusive Gridiron Club, which is composed of D.C.’s mainstream and “elite” journalists.
Cruz has degrees from Princeton and Harvard, which those in the permanent political class covet, and he can do their social rituals better than they can. Yet Cruz refuses to be co-opted by them politically, instead choosing to be a staunch conservative who represents the grassroots that sent him to Washington to fight against both political and media establishments.
Politico‘s Mike Allen said that Cruz, “crushed his speech – even Dems said he knocked it out of the park.” In an appearance with Secretary of State John Kerry and Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat Charlie Crist, the Florida gubernatorial candidate who wants to be loved by the permanent political class, Cruz called himself the “anti-Crist” in what could be the perfect description of Cruz’s brand of politics.
He also made fun of his filibuster and tense relationship with the GOP leadership:
And when Leader McConnell wants something, who am I to say no?… Twenty-one hours and 19 minutes [in the filibuster] – hearing nothing but my favorite sound. We’re talking Biden territory. And so typical of how this town works, they cut me off just as I was coming to my point.
By the way, does anyone know the record for the longest speech ever at this dinner? I looked it up, and in the late 1800s, New York Senator Chauncey DePew enthralled his audience until well past midnight. So LOOSEN UP THOSE WHITE TIES, settle back, and what do you say we make Gridiron history? [Applause]
…[I]n front of conservative and tea-party audiences, I am hailed as the anti-Obama. But tonight, I’m the anti-Crist.
He also said his relations with McCain have greatly improved because “This week… he’s only once demanded a public apology from me. As wackobirds go, that’s pretty good.” He also poked fun at his having been born in Canada, mocked Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and compared his Cuban dad to Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-FL), who was also from Cuba:
Canadians are so polite, mild-mannered, modest, unassuming, open-minded. Thank God my family fled that oppressive influence before it could change me.
I might add that Canadians are also extremely efficient. No red tape at all in handling my application to renounce citizenship. They had that thing approved before I even sent it in. The simple truth is that for a very brief time my family lived on the plains of Calgary. That does not make me a Canadian. Although Elizabeth Warren says that it does make me an Algonquin Indian. Of course, my family is Cuban… At first, when he got here, my dad washed dishes for 50 cents an hour. He was so low on the totem pole where he worked that even Marco Rubio’s father bossed him around.
Cruz also blasted Obama’s executive orders and his disregard for the law: “We are still a nation of laws. You just have to check with Barack Obama every day to see what they are.”