2016 Scouting Report: Ted Cruz
Born 12/22/70 (44 years-old)…was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada to a Cuban father and American mother…his father, Rafael, escaped tyranny in Cuba and came to America in 1957 without knowing English and his only $100 sewn into his underwear…Rafael eventually got a job washing dishes for 50 cents/hour and paid his way through the University of Texas, before starting a small business in the Texas oil/gas industry…Rafael is now a well-known pastor…his mother, Eleanor, was the first woman in her family to ever attend college, graduating from Rice with a degree in mathematics…Cruz’s father encouraged Ted to learn history, philosophy, and theology from a young age…valedictorian of his high school class…graduated with honors from Princeton with a degree in Public Policy…was a nationally-renowned debate champion in college, and was inducted into Princeton’s debate hall of fame…graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law and was the primary editor of the Harvard Law Review…former clerk for Chief Justice William Rehnquist…spent five years in private practice at one of the nation’s largest law firms, where he led its Supreme Court litigation practice…has authored over 80 briefs for the U.S. Supreme Court, and has presented over 40 oral arguments before the nation’s highest court as well (including religious liberty, national sovereignty, and Second Amendment issues)…early political work included domestic policy advisor to Bush-Cheney 2000, division director at Federal Trade Commission, and deputy U.S. Attorney General…but he really made a name for himself as Texas’ Solicitor General, where he won several landmark SCOTUS cases, including the D.C. vs. Heller case about gun rights…elected to U.S. Senate in 2012, pulling a major primary upset over the Texas Lt. Governor preferred by the GOP establishment (and endorsed by Governor Rick Perry).
Has a rare combination of knowledge, recall, quick wit, and boldness that instantly grants him alpha male status, which plays well on a national stage and is why he’s already surged to stardom in the Senate… has no fear whatsoever of the “good old boy” Washington GOP elite network nor the liberal media, which are qualities the conservative movement has lacked in a singular leader since Reagan…surrounds himself with fellow conservative warriors, rather than making the mistake so many other conservatives make after getting elected, when they wrongly think now that they’re in Washington they have to do as Washington does…one of the few national figures in the party that appeals to all the various conservative factions.
While he’s shown a willingness to boldly lead in both the judicial and legislative branches at the highest level, his lack of executive experience is sure to come up in a primary that will feature several current and former GOP governors…definitely has the courage of conviction that conservatives crave, but he still needs to display the retail politics and likeability/charm required of a national standard-bearer…will need to prove his combative brand is “battle-tested” and not “tainted” by all his high-profile showdowns in Washington…given the recent controversy over President Obama’s origins, Cruz will face questions and allegations that he’s not a “natural born citizen” and thus ineligible for the presidency (the Congressional Research Office says Cruz is eligible FWIW).
Conservatives are looking for a full-spectrum champion they can coalesce behind in 2016 to finally wrestle the presidential nomination from the establishment, and Cruz’s wide conservative appeal puts him in a position to be that guy.
Cruz’s ascent is perhaps the fastest rise to stardom in the history of the conservative movement for two reasons. First, he has a prodigious combination of gifts and skills. He’s basically the Roy Hobbs of the political class, which is why I’ve nicknamed him “the Natural.” Second, he filled the void for a new generation of conservatives tired of the two-party duopoly in Washington. Others had the chance to do so before Cruz’s emergence, but punted on their opportunity. Their loss is Cruz’s gain, and they’ll have no one to blame but themselves if he vaults all the way to the nomination in 2016.
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