Earlier this afternoon, Senator Ted Cruz held an invitation-only conference with conservative media, and blasted Hillary Clinton for the activities of the Clinton Foundation during her tenure as Secretary of State. Cruz accused Clinton of being “on the payroll of a foreign nation,” and branded the Clinton Foundation as a “manifestation of the crony capitalism” of the Beltway culture. He didn’t pull many punches about Republican leadership either, especially with the approval of Loretta Lynch’s nomination by the Senate Judiciary Committee. He spoke at length, eschewing an opening statement to take questions from a packed house:
Cruz also warned about the need to frame the narrative in 2016. Hillary will run largely on a nostalgia theme, Cruz says, to remind voters “when Democrats are competent.” Embracing Bill Clinton will help Hillary run away from Barack Obama and his record, which “is a manifest disaster.” To defeat Hillary, Republicans need to look to the future rather than the failed past — but more to the point, need to move away from consultant-directed candidates to find an authentic conservative. “Show me where you’ve bled” for conservative principles, Cruz advises conservatives at CPAC to demand. “Don’t tell me — show me.”
Regarding immigration, Cruz blasted Democrats for choosing demagoguery over real action. The American public has a broad, bipartisan consensus for border security and to streamline legal immigration, but Barack Obama ignores that to sow division and resentment. That’s what his executive amnesty is designed to accomplish, Cruz said, and to paint Republicans as extremists for wanting to actually accomplish something. Cruz expressed his exasperation with GOP leadership on Capitol Hill for not fighting harder to stop that, and offered an I told you so over the “cromnibus.” He warned at the time that Republicans would not follow through on their threat to “shoot the hostage” on DHS funding. Had Republicans wanted real leverage, Cruz stated, they would have withheld funding from the IRS, the Department of Labor, or especially the EPA. Had those agencies suffered the shutdown, not only would the GOP not have to take flak over risking national security, many Americans would have cheered the lack of funds.
Finally, Cruz reminded everyone that Ronald Reagan didn’t lead a political revolution by worrying about positioning on a political spectrum to strategize how to fragment the electorate. He stood on principled conservatism unapologetically, drew a line in the sand, and attracted new voters and crossovers by drawing a sharp contrast. To paraphrase, if the choice is between two candidates who are almost indistinguishable, voters will choose their party’s nominee every time. Only by providing a real choice — and a commitment to stick to those principles — will Republicans win another presidential election.