The late Andrew Breitbart saw in Ted Cruz the future of the conservative movement.
On paper, Cruz seems like someone out of central casting, perfectly put together to represent conservatism’s future. His father fled oppression in Cuba for freedom in America. He grew up immersing himself in the works of Frederick Bastiat, F.A. Hayek, Ludwig von Mises, and Milton Friedman, earning scholarships by giving speeches about their ideas. He went to Princeton and Harvard law without losing the common touch. He racked up legal victories that helped defend the Second Amendment and America’s sovereignty against the World Court.
But while Breitbart admired these things about Cruz, they were not why, after speaking with the conservative GOP Texas senate candidate (Texas’s primary is on Tuesday) at what would be his last Conservative Political Action Conference, Breitbart told close friends and associates that Cruz represented conservatism’s future.
It was because Breitbart saw in Cruz, first and foremost, a fighter who was fierce, principled, uncompromising, and relentless. These were the characteristics Breitbart first looked for and those who were a part of the “Army of Davids” had in spades.
Stephen K. Bannon, the filmmaker who was one of Breitbart’s closest friends and whose movies have captured the fierce and patriotic spirit of Jacksonian Tea Partiers, always remembered how effusively Andrew Breitbart “admired the fact that Ted Cruz was a fighter and came from a family of fighters.” Breitbart also knew, when he learned how Cruz had been “preaching the gospel of constitutional limited government since he was a teenager all across Texas,” that fighting for constitutional conservatism was in Cruz’s bones. He knew Cruz was the real deal and not a poseur.
Cruz told Breitbart News how proud he was “to call Andrew a friend” and recounted the hours they spent at the last CPAC of Breitbart’s life.
“One of my favorite pastimes is scheming to defeat leftists, so understandably I’ll always deeply appreciate the hours I spent with Andrew at CPAC this year engaging in what he did best,” Cruz told Breitbart News. “Andrew was fearless in speaking truth to power. He had the vision and mastery to use cutting-edge tools to share conversations with the world to help advance the cause of liberty.”
Other conservative leaders have also seen what Breitbart saw in Cruz. In fact, three of the fiercest conservatives are among his most enthusiastic supporters.
Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, when endorsing Cruz, wrote, “Your conservative principles, passionate defense of our Constitution and our free market system come at a time when these cornerstones of our freedom and prosperity are under attack. Our shared goal isn’t just to change the majority in control of the Senate, but to assure principled conservatives like you are there to fight for us.”
Talk radio host Mark Levin, when he endorsed Cruz in 2011, said he would “fight profligate spending,” “only appoint originalists to the court,” and, most importantly, “do it without prodding.”
And Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), who has almost single-handedly willed the Senate to become more conservative, came on board early. His conservative brigade in the Senate — Mike Lee (R-Utah), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) — enthusiastically got on board too.
Three particular things stand out in Cruz’s background that make conservatives feel comfortable that he is a conservative before a Republican. Cruz, as Texas’s Solicitor General, “stood up against 90 nations to guarantee the right for Texas and the United States to carry out justice for a brutal murderer and rapist, without being subject to the laws of the World Court” by representing “Texas before the U.S. Supreme Court in Medellin v. Texas, which upheld U.S. sovereignty and held that the World Court cannot bind the U.S. justice system and the President cannot order the state courts to obey the World Court.”
He also, in the landmark Second Amendment case that overturned the unconstitutional ban on gun rights in Washington, D.C., led a coalition of 31 states in filing a brief. He also “sued the federal government, on behalf of Texas and four other States, to strike down portions of the Medicare Prescription Drug program as an unconstitutional intrusion in the sovereign authority of the States.”
These accomplishments are highly touted by his campaign and website — and rightfully so. To conservatives who were dismayed by domestic programs enacted by the Republican Congress — and George W. Bush — during the 2000s, Cruz directly took on Republicans and the Bush Administration.
Most notable about Cruz’s Campaign, though, has been the supporters he has drawn. His fiercest supporters are those who would feel at home in Breitbart’s anti-establishment “Army of Davids.”
One such supporter is Texas Tea Party leader Katrina Pierson, who has fiercely and relentlessly advocated on Cruz’s behalf on Twitter and all throughout Texas, often driving to candidate forums and debates.
Texan Michelle McCormick (@TexMex817) referred to Pierson (@KatrinaPierson) as a Twitter “ninja” andtweeted, “A candidate who has @KatrinaPierson in his corner is much happier than the candidates who [don’t]…”
This was quite the compliment coming from McCormick, a fierce citizen activist who trekked from Texas to Iowa on the weekends — and then took a leave from her job to temporarily plant herself in Iowa — to lay the groundwork for a potential Sarah Palin presidential candidacy in 2012 even though she had no assurances or guarantees that Palin would run.
McCormick, who many consider to be one of the best newcomers into the political arena — she was drawn into it by Palin and the Tea Party movement — knows a fighter when she sees one.
Pierson first met Cruz nearly two years ago at a fundraiser, but Cruz earned her fierce support, which she does not give lightly, over a series of forums and events. Pierson adds that Dewhurst skipped 35 events over the course of the campaign put on by conservative, grassroots groups across Texas who, as she said, are “in the weeds” of local government.
“I have met Ted, his courageous father Rafael, and his charming wife Heidi,” Pierson told Breitbart News. “Ted and his family have achieved the American dream in a manner of which most Americans have only read about.”
Pierson said “most of us spend our days working in our American office environments and tending to our families in a free country” but Cruz’s father, Rafael, “fled communist Cuba after fighting in the war, being beaten and tortured in prison, bribed out by his father and fled to the United States with a one hundred dollar bill in his underwear.” Pierson said she was struck when she heard Cruz’s father say, “I fled from Cuba; there is nowhere to flee from here.”
“This is not the kind of appreciation that most people have for liberty,” Pierson said. “Tyranny is not just some illusion that exists on cable news. The Cruz family has an understanding of the importance of preserving freedom.”
Pierson said Cruz appealed to her and conservatives and Tea Partiers across Texas because he has “fought and won in the U.S. Supreme Court,” and “fought and won Texas’s sovereignty.”
“We need someone who has fought and won for our state and our nation against foreign attempts to change our laws,” Pierson said, and, while acknowledging that lawyers are maligned, added, “conservatives need lawyers too.”
Pierson told Breitbart News that the government needs a massive overhaul, and “it is time for constitutional conservatism to be reintroduced to American society.”
“It is time to elect senators that fight on the floor instead of phoning it in,” Pierson said. “We need statesmen who has achieved the American dream and not an elitist who has never had to work a real job, writing laws that create separate classes of citizens, exempting themselves from policies, and enforcing only the laws that are politically expedient for their future.”
“What Texas needs is a Constitutional Conservative fighter,” Pierson said. “Every problem facing this country can be solved by electing people who will create laws based on the Constitution, and governing accordingly.”
What Cruz may not have fully known was that he was one of the people Breitbart hoped would carry the torch of freedom for conservatives.