The biggest attack on Ted Cruz lodged by his detractors is that he is loathed inside Washington, especially in the Senate. One often hears this refrain from mainstream media: We understand you are looking for an anti-establishment figure, but this man is absolutely detested by everyone. There must be something legitimate to this universal hatred for Cruz.
In reality there is no enigma as to why Cruz is so hated. There is a quintessential example from yesterday that perfectly demonstrates why he is held in such low esteem by his colleagues. Judge for yourself whether this is a good thing or a bad thing.
Despite being embroiled in the heat of the most important weeks of this presidential campaign, Cruz sent word to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that he was placing a hold on all State Department nominees until Obama comes clean on the Iran deal. Consequently, McConnell was obliged to block the unanimous consent request from Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) to confirm Obama’s choices for ambassadorships to Norway and Sweden. Cruz has placed a blockade on all State Department nominees and has been enforcing it throughout the past few months.
Now ask yourself this question: What do you think Sen. Klobuchar and her colleagues think of Ted Cruz?
We all know that every Republican runs as an intrepid conservative:
“I’m for traditional marriage.”
“We need to secure the border.”
“Government is too large.”
“Isn’t the Iran deal terrible?”
These are the platitudes you will hear from every Republican. But with a belligerent Democrat Party that will fight to the death in defense of their positions on those issues, what good is it to “align” with the conservative side if you will not do what it takes to advance the cause?
Think of it this way: Is it possible for an intellectually conservative member to be liked by fellow senators? Of course. As long as he stays in the corner and keeps his conservatism to himself. He can even vote his conscience as long as it doesn’t alter the outcome. They might even allow him to hold some policy briefings and draft some white papers about reform conservatism. That is where the conservatism of most elected conservatives ends; but it’s where Ted Cruz’s begins. Cruz understood from day one that as a senator you are not just a vote but a voice for a cause and can use legitimate tools to leverage against harmful policies.
In the case of the Iran deal, Republicans passed the Corker-Cardin bill signing off on it and then declined to defund it in the budget bill. The only tool left in the Article I arsenal of Congress is to hold up confirmation of executive and judicial nominees. Unfortunately, the other senators refused to join Cruz in enforcing the blockade and extracting concessions from Obama after he violated the conditions of his own deal. And that’s the way they like it. Unlike Cruz, they want to be respected, smart, serious, and productive conservatives. “Productive” in the sense that their principles are never actually converted into action — at least not enough to derail liberal policies in a meaningful way.
A president doesn’t vote at all. A president is only a voice for a cause. Much like a senator has tools in his arsenal to protect the Constitution and play legislative hardball against the powers that be, a president can use his Article II leverage to defend the Constitution as well. A president’s personal views on the issues are meaningless if he is unwilling to play hardball using all legal channels to enact and defend his agenda.
There are those in the conservative intelligentsia who say they personally like Ted Cruz but desire a nominee who will push conservatism in a way that does not elicit such hatred from others in Washington. These people need to learn there is no such thing as lukewarm hell. Modern-day Democrats are not willing to compromise on anything. As such, the only way to move forward and restore our republic is with brute force, harnessing the power of the outside against the inside, not working with the insiders who got us into this mess in the first place.
Sadly, we’ve reached a point where congeniality works inversely with effectiveness. That is not the fault of Ted Cruz. It’s the fault of years of complacency from other conservatives who have legitimized anti-constitutional policies of the Democrat Party and emboldened them to take nothing less than a full loaf of bread.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.