Prall: Riding The Cruz

BY JACOB PRALL | MARCH 27, 2015 5:00 AM

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“God’s blessing has been on America from the very beginning of this nation, and I believe God isn’t done with America yet,” shouted the Cruz. Yes, indeed, freshman Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has thrown his hat into the presidential candidacy ring. Or perhaps rodeo would be more fitting for this occasion.

No matter what you hear about the Cruz, know this for certain: He is a passionate man. Wielding the gauntlets of evangelism and staunch conservatism makes him a very attractive candidate. To a narrow group of voters, maybe, but attractive nonetheless.

In fact, he may do very well right here in Iowa. According to the New York Times, in 2012, 47 percent of voters in the Iowa caucuses identified as “very conservative,” and 57 percent identified as “evangelical or born-again.” I can see it now. The tea party conservatives of Iowa all swooning and swaying in unison like the vast fields of corn to the sweet sound of Teddy’s tongue. 

Yes, Cruz could be the grass-roots candidate for you. He dons crimson Harvard gowns, a polished Princeton ring, and black ostrich-skin cowboy boots (“argument boots,” his words, not mine). If that doesn’t scream grass roots, I clearly don’t understand the concept of grass-roots politics. 

There are naysayers out there who don’t believe the Cruz has what it takes. But who are they? Liberals? Softy Republicans? The Establishment? Well, yes. It’s well-known in Washington that the elites of the GOP, those with the power to make or break a campaign, are not waving “Cruise Cruz” banners. In fact, very few in Washington are.

A sampling of headlines from Foreign Policy magazine, Slate, and GQ are telling in where Congress stands on the Cruz: “Why Senate Republicans Hate Ted Cruz,” Slate; “The Most Hated Man in the Senate,” Foreign Policy; “Ted Cruz: The Distinguished Wacko Bird from Texas,” GQ.

But what do these left-wing liberal outlets know? What’s not to like about Cruz? He’s intelligent, handsome, and an impressive orator. What more do you want from a president? He almost became an actor as a young man but was talked out of leaving for Hollywood. He could be our next Ronald Reagan. 

And he’s clearly up-to-date and hip with the kids. His speeches include quotes from “Duck Dynasty,” Darth Vader, Dr. Seuss, Ashton Kutcher (UI represent), and “The Little Engine That Could.” The Cruz is oozing wholesome Americana. His favorite movie? The Princess Bride. I love that movie, too. Humperdinck. True love. Rodents of unusual size.

Sure, he may have spearheaded the campaign to shut down the government last year. Not a super-cool move, I admit. And yes, he is likened to Joseph McCarthy for his extreme beliefs and his schoolyard-bully antics. And of course senior members of his own party have smeared him. But he’s gotten ahead in Washington, unseated an establishment Republican in a runoff election last cycle, and has become an American sweetheart in the eyes of many potential voters.

He’s either doing something right, or getting incredibly lucky. Whichever it is, Cruz has set sail. It’s too late to talk him out of it now. And as he fades on the horizon, we can all stop and think. Will this end like a Disney cruise or like the Titanic? 

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