Sen. Ted Cruz's presidential announcement was immensely gratifying in numerous ways, including the venue he chose for it.
He made his announcement at Liberty University, which is a conspicuously Christian institution located in Virginia, the veritable birthplace of the United States of America.
In the world of political commentary today, we usually see analysis focusing on whether a politician or candidate hit the right themes and whether those — and he — will resonate with the voting public. The emphasis is usually on the game rather than the substance.
Possibly underlying such punditry is the cynical assumption that a political candidate who "hits all the right notes" is himself cynical, demagogic, opportunistic and a populist. There is a rigid reluctance to accept that someone actually believes the things he's saying if they happen to line up with what is thought to work politically.
One of the many things that distinguished Ronald Reagan from so many politicians was his unmistakable sincerity — the sense that unlike so many politicians, he cared more about the causes he was championing than his own political ambitions.
Cruz is nothing if not Reaganesque in terms of the policies he advocates and his boldness in proclaiming them. But many on the right, mostly the more moderate ones but not only them, have accused Cruz of opportunism, gamesmanship and charlatanism for staging a filibuster in the Senate that had little chance of working.
People will have to make their own assessments of a politician's sincerity and overall character, but I believe that those assessments are often colored by our ideological predispositions. The less conservative will be likelier to conclude that Cruz was insincere, selfish and on some kind of egomaniacal venture with his announcement.
I disagree. I believe that Cruz, like so many of us, has had it up to here with the lawless practices of President Obama and wanted to make a pronounced public statement of dissent and to call out Obama for what he is doing. There has been a noticeable spirit of defeatism that has dominated Washington Republicans for too long — a spirit that has led them to preannounce, in anticipatory surrender, their inevitable defeat should they tangle with Obama on any budget dispute and to have an almost paranoid fear that Republicans would be punished electorally if they ever called Obama's bluff to the end.
Their unwillingness to do so has demonstrated, I think, a degree of insecurity in conservative ideas and their lack of confidence in their ability to sell those ideas and in the public's willingness to accept them. Cruz, by contrast, believes in these ideas and in their energizing power. He doesn't just talk red meat; he intends to serve it.
We don't see this fecklessness among Beltway Republicans only in budget fights, sadly. We also witness it in such instances as the Republicans' broken promises to fight amnesty and in a number of GOP leaders announcing that we just can't repeal Obamacare wholesale.
Can you imagine where we'd be if our Founding Fathers had been so easily discouraged? If they had been so vulnerable to pushback?
I find it very refreshing that Cruz is willing to call a spade a spade and to stand up and fight for our founding principles and ideals regardless of whether the odds are against his prevailing on this or that filibuster. That doesn't mean he should muzzle himself, and it doesn't mean that by making a voluble public statement against Obama, Cruz is creating any undue political risk for the GOP in the next presidential election. Indeed, the naysayers were proved wrong about that hysterical fear.
Cruz should also get credit for going full force in invoking Jesus Christ in this culture, knowing what the left, the Democratic Party and the media will do to associate him with the usual lies associated with that identification — racism, sexism, homophobia, bigotry, superstition, hate, knuckle dragging and the rest. By choosing the venue he did and embracing Christian values, he laid down a marker knowing it would raise obstacles, as well as elicit kudos. His speech was not just heard at Liberty.
Ted Cruz is the Antiobama. He represents those of us who believe that Obama and everything he stands for on domestic issues, foreign policy issues and culturally is wrong for and destructive to America. For my money, Cruz is right on all the major issues, from the Constitution to his emphasis on our liberty, including religious liberty, to life to traditional values to health care to taxes to economic growth to education to Israel to defense and foreign policy.
My purpose here is not to formally endorse Sen. Cruz; it's too early for that. But I will say that we need someone, like Cruz, who, from the bottom of his heart, believes in the ideas that have made this nation the greatest and freest in world history, who is unwilling to give up on America and its ability to rebound from this terrible assault we've been under, and who even believes that its best years could lie ahead.
Obama has gone too far toward destroying this nation for us to think it can be healed with half measures. It's time for the silent majority to recapture its self-image and confidence, to be bold and feisty, and to dare to believe that we can and actually will reclaim this glorious, unique land of liberty that we love.