BY ROGER KIMBALL APRIL 17, 2016
Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz speaks during the Wyoming GOP Convention on Saturday, April 16, 2016. (Jenna VonHofe /The Casper Star-Tribune via AP)
In his 1944 opus . . ” the philosopher Johnny Mercer provided some bracing imperatives that, rightly understood, explain why I am supporting Ted Cruz for the presidency of the United States.
“You’ve got to accentuate the positive,” Mercer argued.
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don’t mess with Mister In-Between.”.
Quite right. These imperatives, while not quite categorical, are sufficiently compelling to command our attention. Ted Cruz is the only candidate who accentuates the positive, who latches on to the affirmative.
- Executive power. Even many ardent supporters of President Obama have been taken aback by his style of governance . . . : a) executive diktat and b) regulatory hypertrophy.
Regarding the first: Every president, on taking the oath of office, promises to “preserve, protect, and defend” the Constitution and “faithfully execute” the laws. But Barack Obama has conspicuously failed to do this. . .
Regarding the second: the Obama administration has vastly expanded the prerogatives of . . . this alphabet soup of regulatory agencies, whose minions are unelected and essentially unaccountable to the public, impede economic growth and harass citizens with a burdensome regimen of bureaucratic paperwork and often pointless oversight. As Hayek noted in The Road to Serfdom, a low-level government bureaucrat wields much more power over our lives than a billionaire who might happen to be our neighbor or even our employer, for he comes bearing the coercive power of the state.
Ted Cruz is the only candidate, Democrat or Republican, who understands and is prepared to address the twin dangers of executive overreach and the stealth statism of regulatory bloat.
You are always hearing, even from those who do not support him, that Ted Cruz is “a constitutionalist.” . . . At the center of the Constitution are two ideas: 1) that power should be dispersed and decentralized and 2) the People are sovereign. It is sometimes forgotten that the Constitution is essentially a prophylactic instrument, designed to protect the people from the state. . . . That is why the first thing you come upon, in Article I, is a discussion of Congress, into whose hands the Founders intended to invest the essential law-making power of the government. There is some irony, perhaps, that Ted Cruz wishes to assume the office of the president in order to circumscribe the power of that office. . . . Barack Obama is the fulfilment of a long process of power consolidation in the hands of the president. He has not governed so much as he has ruled, partly by fiat, partly by intimidation. I believe that Ted Cruz would reverse that decades-long process whereby the president of the Untied States mutated into a sort of imperial bureaucrat. His ambition to limit the scope of presidential ambition would alone be sufficient reason to support Ted Cruz.
But there is more, much more. One of the curiosities of the reign of Barack Obama is that while he has vastly increased the power of the state domestically, when it comes to the world outside, to national security, he has gravely weakened the United States, both physically, in terms of its military strength, and psychologically, in terms of that diffuse but indisputably potent resource, prestige. . . . Which brings me to…
- National security. Ted Cruz would reverse the policy of spineless accommodation underwritten by a globalist suspicion of U.S. power that has characterized the Obama administration . . .
Like Ronald Reagan, Cruz understands the deep truth implicit in the motto “peace through strength.” . . . Strength keeps the peace; weakness and irresolution invite dangerous adventurism among our rivals and opponents. In pursuit of a stronger United States, Cruz has promised to increase military spending to at least 4 percent of GDP. He has promised to scrap the illicit accommodation with Iran that Obama circumvented the Senate to extend. And he has made it clear that, when he is president, we will no longer have to fear calling Islamic terrorism by its real name. Cruz has furthermore made it clear that in his administration, national self-interest, not a Wilsonian attachment to fostering world democracy, would be the cornerstone of his foreign policy. Such a policy might offer fewer opportunities for grand-sounding utopian rhetoric, but it will do far more to foster the security not only of the United States but also of the rest of the world. . . .
Of course, it is not only on the international scene that Barack Obama has proceeded against American interests like a wrecking ball. There is also the shambles he has made of our economy, from that fiscally incontinent disaster that is Obamacare to the mind-boggling, anti-prosperity agenda that is his energy policy. And that brings me to number…
- Economic policy. It is no secret that the U.S. economy is stagnant. Growth is the fuel that powers prosperity, but growth on Obama’s watch has been anaemic at best. Ted Cruz understands that unfettered capitalism is the most powerful engine for the production of wealth that the world has ever seen. He has set forth in meticulous detail a freedom agenda that would lower taxes and streamline government and its regulatory militia, beginning with the Internal Revenue Service, which he promises to abolish. . . . The current tax code runs to seventy-six thousand pages. It is a bureaucratic monstrosity of historic proportions. The IRS . . (u)nder Obama, it has been weaponized. . ., bent on imposing certain left-wing social policies by granting or withholding the oxygen of its approval. Cruz would change all that. He has outlined a compelling and radically simplified tax plan,one of whose signal selling points is a tax form the size of a post card. . .Rein in executive power, returning sovereignty to the people, restore the prestige and capability of the U.S. military, lower taxes, abolish the IRS, and unleash economic prosperity. I believe that Ted Cruz would actually do these things. His agenda is a pro-growth, pro-American agenda. I believe further that he understands, viscerally as well as intellectually, the fundamental importance of free speech and (what is part of free speech) religious liberty to the integrity of our institutions and our way of life. . .
The bottom line is this: Ted Cruz stands head and shoulders above anyone else as an affirmative candidate. He accentuates the positive, as Johnny Mercer so eloquently enjoined us to do, and latches on to the affirmative. That’s the task that Ted Cruz set himself. It is up to us, the voters, to eliminate the negative and say goodbye to Mister In-Between. . .
He is an honorable man who has a deep and pragmatic understanding of how the American system of government actually works. More important, he understands the American soul. His critics complain that he does not get on with his Senate colleagues, many of whom, they point out, dislike him. But they dislike him precisely because since assuming office in 2012 he has battled to serve the people, not the Washington establishment. . .
Often in politics one finds oneself rooting for the lesser of two evils, a compromise candidate. But in the case of Ted Cruz, we have a candidate who is more energizing and affirmative than anyone since Ronald Reagan. America faces a myriad of problems, foreign and domestic. But America is also blessed with extraordinary resources, from our political institutions to our material assets and geographically protected situation. As Ronald Reagan demonstrated, a forceful and enlightened leader can accomplish extraordinary things in America. Ted Cruz is just such a leader. . .
Though long, I loved this piece by Roger Kimball. It is available in uncondensed version here: https://pjmedia.com/rogerkimball/2016/04/17/why-i-support-ted-cruz/?singlepage=true
Ted is the right man for this time. He is going to fall further behind this week, but that has always been expected. His goal now is to stop Trump, who manipulated the system with his celebrity MSM mastery early. Trump is on his home field this week, and should do well. Ted needs to get to Convention without a Trump first ballot victory, as he will then win the floor fight for the nomination.