|Cruz is the man in the arena. Rubio speaks well & takes orders.|
The issue with Rubio’s candidacy is not necessarily a concern of conservative ideological purity. I do not question that Rubio is a conservative. His voting record is unremarkably conservative in that it is just strong enough to alleviate concerns from the grassroots on the right, but not too inflexible in order to avoid frightening off establishment supporters.
But those of us who do our homework know that concerns with Rubio are deeper than that. The issue with Rubio’s candidacy is not whether he’s sufficiently conservative, it’s that his sycophancy to party donors and leadership almost always trumps any conservative ideals he may hold.
In short, he may very well be conservative, but he’s demonstrated that he’s a flexible donor-friendly conservative willing to bend his ideals if that curries favor with the party machine or content to participate in show votes to protect the facade of conservatism propped up by the GOP establishment.
Therein lies the major—and hugely significant—difference between Senator Cruz and Senator Rubio. Cruz is willing to stand in the arena alone to fight the party leadership when it has lost his way, and Rubio runs for the exit.
Mr. Rubio may usually be a reliable conservative vote in the senate, but he lacks the fighter instinct necessary in a president. His approach to politics is more of a theatric tightrope walk between serving the party machine and throwing scraps to the people who elected him.
That’s not to suggest that some level of compromise is always a bad thing. President Reagan understood well how to compromise by prioritizing his agenda and ensuring that he got far more than he gave. (With the noted exception of the 1986 amnesty deal that he later came to regret.) A leader, a President, needs to possess 3 core traits consistently—to be able to advocate for his convictions, serve the people over party and fight passionately, consistently, and at some cost to his own power and standing to stand on his principles in the arena of politics.
Ronald Reagan could do all 3. Every GOP nominee since he left the stage has not been able to. They’ve all either lacked one of those three or been unable to consistently possess all 3.
Ted Cruz unquestionably possesses all 3 as evidenced in his DC battles, his ongoing fight with the GOP leadership, his massive grassroots appeal, his fealty to his campaign promises and the voters who supported them, and his ability to articulate conservatism on the national stage.
Marco Rubio misses the mark a bit. He can advocate for his convictions quite well, however his political career has demonstrated an inability to stand on principle when it might cost him, and the pattern of putting party over the people.
That’s not to suggest that Mr. Rubio is necessarily a bad man. He’s a conventional politician. Politicians typically ascend the ladder of power by playing the game, going along to get along, and falling in line when the higher ups demand fealty. The problem is that the Republican party has long since abandoned any semblance of a genuine conservative vision or ideology. Their voting base has not. And so the GOP now views its voting base with contempt and as an unruly gaggle to be tricked into submission via theatrics, public relations propaganda, and silver-tongued spokespeople.
In reality, the party is now simply the other side of the coin of the Democratic party. Where the Democratic party advances the cause of larger government and feeds itself through crony capitalism, the Republican party does the same through a hybrid of big government and big corporations.
Reagan unwaveringly championed free markets often against the wishes of his own party, and in so doing, he took down the Soviet Union, ended the Cold War, and restored fiscal growth to the United States of America. The Republican party, by contrast, is the champion of the well-connected, seeking to rig the system for their crony capitalist masters in order to maintain lifetime power in DC. A Republican politician that plays this game can expect to stay in DC for decades, some as long as 50 years or so—even well past the point where senility has set in. These career politicians essentially believe themselves to be nobility, unfettered to any responsibility to everyday Americans and unbound by the very rigged system that they help to maintain at the behest of their masters.
As such, it will not be enough to elect a Republican puppet as president. A John McCain or Mitt Romney will not do after 8 disastrous years of Barack Obama’s fundamental transformation. America needs a Reagan.
And by Reagan, I don’t just mean someone with charisma who speaks well. I mean someone who possesses those 3 traits consistently as Reagan did. Rubio has proven himself in the role of advocating for his ideals and many well-intentioned conservatives are swayed by his abilities in this area. But speaking well on conservatism will not cure America’s ills. Being willing to stand up to your own party, showing America that your convictions will always be paramount, and standing for the people over the ruling class is what is needed.
Much has been made of Mr. Rubio’s support of amnesty via the Gang of 8. He was a willing participate and a passionate advocate for said amnesty. Whether that was the true Rubio or not is debatable. What is not is that his position in that fight was anathema to his voting base and the desired outcome for his party bosses.
When Senator Cruz, Senator Lee, and Senator Paul stand for liberty against the president and against the party leadership, Mr. Rubio is nowhere to be found. When Senator Cruz attempted to defund Planned Parenthood, Rubio was conveniently out of town. . When Ted Cruz took the red-eye after a GOP presidential debate to return to DC on the final attempt to stop the bad Iran Deal, Mr. Rubio again failed to return to take a stand.
When Ted Cruz attempts to shame the Republican leadership into honoring the commitments that they made to the people who voted for them, Marco Rubio is strangely silent. When Senator Cruz attacks crony capitalism via sugar subsidies and bailouts, Rubio quietly supports those subsidies and tempers his remarks to be more milquetoast and signal his amenability toward working with the party establishment.
In short, while Rubio may hold a conservative viewpoint and be comfortable selling that via well delivered scripted speeches and even more scripted debate answers (how many times do we need to be reminded that his dad was a bartender and his mom was a maid in exactly the same wording?) he is highly adverse to advocating for them in the United States Senate or to the party leadership in any meaningful way.
There is a reason why establishment commentators, consultants, and politicians are now talking up Marco Rubio as the next great hope for the Republican party. It’s because Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, John Kasich and Lindsey Graham have failed miserably. Rubio is the last standing candidate that they hold sway over. He is their silver bullet during this anti-establishment, grassroots 1980-style political moment. And if his stage presence, charisma and youth can convince enough genuine conservatives to back him as the “most electable” candidate, they will have won another election cycle for the status quo.
Some folks have championed Donald Trump as the man to decimate the Republican machine and the corrupt politicians in DC. He certainly has beaten them like a rented mule this cycle. I definitely understand the appeal of his candidacy. A simple google search, however, into his legion of political positions on virtually every issue over the years and stretching into this very campaign, shows that his core political agenda is murky at best. And while he likes to compare himself to Reagan’s conversion from Hollywood liberal Democrat to conservative Republican rockstar, Reagan’s conversion occurred decades prior to his presidency, and he had a lengthy and consistent track record of advocating conservatism. Mr. Trump does not possess all 3 traits necessary to be the kind of leader that America needs.
It will not be enough to merely replace the current radical in the White House with an outsider with fluid political principles.
This is why the people are starting to wake up to Ted Cruz’s candidacy. His rise in Iowa and in national polling suggests that voters are beginning to do their homework. And for millions of voters from my generation and younger, we’ve never had a real conservative on the ballot for president. We’ve never had the opportunity to vote for someone who believes as we do, can articulate it beautifully to a wide audience, and who is willing to sacrifice his own political career to fight for it.
Ted Cruz is the living embodiment of Teddy Roosevelt’s famous “man in the arena” speech. As the old rough rider so powerfully put it:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
In a party led by cold and timid souls, Ted Cruz is the doer of deeds, marred by the dust of the political establishment, striving valiantly to stand for conservatism and the truth of the constitution. A man willing to be politically bloodied in order to stand with and fight for the people. He is the fighter that America needs to reignite the promise of America.