Senator Ted Cruz is a gutsy guy whose Southern charm mixed with ardent oratory enthralls the vast majority of far right voters. His love for cowboy boots and “Green Eggs and Ham” has garnered him quite a following. From the moment he landed in Washington in January 2013, Sen. Cruz made it crystal clear that his loyalty was with the Tea Party movement, not the Republican party. His decisions to defy party leadership on various occasions in the mere two years that he has served as Senator has caused much debate and division among the many factions of the GOP.
For a while, I myself was enamored with the Texas Senator and his refreshingly relentless stand against the President’s increasingly egregious far left agenda. Most of the time, Republican candidates run on promises to shake up Washington and stand up against Democrat bullies, but quickly cave to pressure from both parties. Cruz was different. He developed a Conservative coalition with fellow Senators Mike Lee, Rand Paul, and others to work together for the people, not the party.
However, dedication can quickly turn to disruption. Senator Cruz often shuts down (pun intended) any opportunity to work together with Democrats to achieve mutually desired goals over petty issues. While taking a stand for moral beliefs is an admirable characteristic, plugging your ears any time a Democrat opens their mouth is not how government works. This is the same thing that our current President does and Republicans (Cruz included) berate him because partisanship is not leadership. As one Fox News contributor put it Sunday morning (March 22nd), “He [Cruz] has the same experience and twice the arrogance of Barack Obama.”
While Sen. Cruz has captured the heart of Tea Partiers, he has a long way to go to muster enough support to capture the nomination in 2016. The majority of Republicans have already thrown their support behind Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, or former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, each of whom have a strong base. Once the candidates start dropping out of the race as we get closer to the RNC convention, they’ll likely throw their support behind anyone but Ted.
Senator Cruz has received a lot of backlash about his decision to run for President for various reasons, but the common denominator is his lack of experience. As a staunch supporter of Senator Rand Paul, I don’t take issue with Sen. Cruz’s limited experience, rather his inability to discern when to fight and when to compromise. In the little more than two years that Cruz has worked at our nations Capitol, he has rarely reached across the isle to work together on mutually desirable issues with Democrats or even fellow Republicans in some cases.
If President Obama’s two terms have proven anything, it is that partisanship does not lead to effective governing. Now that Senator Cruz has formally announced his candidacy via Twitter, he has a lot of ground to cover in order to gain the popular and electoral support needed, and to prove that he can be a strong leader. Just because you’re the first out of the gate doesn’t mean you are going to win.
It will be interesting to see if his early entrance to the race gives Cruz the ability to rob supporters from other potential candidates and evangelical favorites like Ben Carson, Bobby Jindal, and Mike Huckabee. Although Sen. Cruz was able to secure 3rd place (11.5%) in this years CPAC straw poll, he hasn’t polled more than 6% in Iowa, New Hampshire, or South Carolina. His uphill battle begins now. All eyes will be on Cruz as he gives his first speech as a Presidential candidate at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia later this morning.
Follow Julia Porterfield on Twitter at @JK_Porterfield.