On Wednesday night, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) electrified the crowd at the Coalitions for America’s Weyrich Awards Dinner, named after founder Paul Weyrich. He led off his speech with a dismissive reference to Senator John McCain’s characterization of him as a “wacko bird.” Looking at the crowd, Cruz said, “Birds of a feather flock together.”
Cruz led off with a full-on critique of the President’s public relations blitz over sequestration. “2.4 percent cuts were made from your meals,” he joked. He referenced the “emaciated face” of conservative megadonor Foster Friess. Thanks to the dinner sequester, said Cruz, Friess looked like “Anne Hathaway in Les Miserables.”
Walking back and forth across the stage in his patented style, Cruz delivered body blows to both establishment Republicans and to the Obama administration. Urging conservatives to “stand for principle,” he said, “I think 2014 has the potential to be a very, very good year, but the number one way we can screw it up is if we fail to stand on principle.”
As an example of standing on principle, he mentioned Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) filibustering over President Obama’s drone policy. “We have an administration that seems to recognize no limits on its power,” said Cruz. Paul pointed that out with his filibuster – and more than that, Cruz pointed out, he made the constitution the issue. Holder, Cruz continued, seemed confused by all the talk about constitutionalism versus what was “appropriate” when it came to drone use, as though he expected Americans to simply trust the administration without reference to the appropriate scope of presidential power. But, said Cruz, “the entire premise of the US constitution is that we don’t trust you.”
It wasn’t just the Obama administration that opposed the filibuster, Cruz continued. “There were more than a few Republicans who didn’t show up, who held their manhoods accursed and cheapened,” Cruz said, paraphrasing Henry V.
Cruz saved heavy criticism for the media as well. Laughing at MSNBC’s attempt to offer advice to Republicans, Cruz said, “MSNBC on how to save the Republican Party is like Typhoid Mary giving the keys to good health.”
Most of Cruz’s speech was directed at the Obama administration’s regulatory and fiscal policy. Regulators and administrators, he said, were multiplying and occupying America like locusts. After seeing a picture of locusts descending on Egypt on the Drudge Report, he said, “I thought we’d sent the EPA.”
The biggest surprise about the US Senate, Cruz explained, was the “widespread sense of defeatism … It’s maddening.” But he said that he and his Tea Party colleagues “ain’t gonna stop … A lot of good things happen when you stand for principle.”
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the book “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).