A handful of Cruz fans in the Headlines thread insist that the site’s conservative credibility depends upon making this speech a front-page post. Okay, although (a) we’ve posted better anti-establishment stemwinders by Cruz than this within the last few months and (b) it’s an amateur mistake when pitting yourself as the “true conservative” against a nefarious RINO to give the RINO an opportunity to prove you wrong. The pro’s way of demagoging this would be to say, “Your credibility is now gone and can never be recovered because the video hasn’t already been posted by XYZ hour.” (Or, of course, the old favorite, “Your credibility was gone a long time ago.”) Luckily there’ll be another story or clip in the next few hours that absolutely must be posted at the risk of losing all credibility, giving people a chance to hone their skills.
Two clips here, one an abridged version in which Cruz offers his theory on why Boehner resigned — he’s prepared to sell out the GOP and knew he couldn’t survive Mark Meadows’s resolution to remove him — and his full hour-long floor speech about what’s wrong with Washington generally. Cruz’s colleagues were none too pleased last night but I doubt he cares, if only because Boehner’s resignation is actually a great political boon to him as the primary campaign heats up. It does two things for him — first, it frees Boehner up over the next month to make the sort of deals with Democrats that Cruz has built his brand opposing, and second, it leaves Mitch McConnell as the lone lightning rod for conservative discontent. Boehner was always a tricky target for Cruz because he couldn’t directly influence proceedings in the House. He can in the Senate, though, and now that grassroots righties are paying more attention than ever to how McConnell navigates brinksmanship with Obama, Cruz will have endless opportunities to impress them with the resoluteness of his opposition. Here’s a golden example from the floor last night. I wonder what would be better for him, if McConnell ended up resigning under pressure too or if McConnell hangs around awhile behaving exactly as we’ve come to expect. In the first case, Cruz could claim the ultimate scalp. In the second case, he’ll continue to enjoy a juicy target throughout the primaries.
Speaking of Cruz’s campaign, he’s now number one in Fox News’s presidential “power rankings,” replacing Jeb Bush. How come? In part because, as I speculated yesterday, he’s done a better job than Rand Paul of picking off the “conservatarian” voters who helped fuel Ron Paul’s surprising grassroots success in 2008 and 2012.
As Paul’s campaign has floundered and Cruz remains in the middle of the pack, Cruz’s campaign has made the case to Paul supporters that the Texas Republican can remain in the race for a long time — and that while he does, he will espouse libertarian principles. At rallies this summer, Cruz has evoked the Fourth Amendment, railed against the Fed and talked about his efforts to end the bulk government collection of metadata…
“He’s really picked up the mantle of Ron Paul in many ways,” Joel Kurtinitis, a co-founder of Liberty Iowa and Ron Paul’s 2012 regional director, says in the video…
Cruz’s team has quietly worked to tap into the liberty movement in lower-profile ways as well, sending an adviser to New Hampshire to woo both current Rand Paul and former Ron Paul supporters.
Rand’s taking a “break” from his presidential campaign right now to raise money for his Senate reelection campaign, suggesting that he’ll soon be out of the race. Once he is, presumably most of his support breaks for Cruz, which may be enough to put Cruz reliably in double digits. The battle with Trump for disaffected voters who want an “outsider” looms.