Most important, a passive strategy isn’t leadership. Cruz and Rubio are both gifted communicators in their own ways, they’ve both staked out important ground in Washington waging rear-guard actions against the Obama administration’s lawlessness and excesses (why isn’t Rubio more effectively trumpeting his successful opposition to Obamacare’s insurance-company bailouts?), and they both have thoughtful (though differing) responses to the challenges from ISIS, Iran, and Russia. But they’re not yet leading.
Now is the time. A presidential campaign is an early test of leadership, a proving ground for dealing with the challenges of the world’s most difficult job. I don’t want the last man standing. I want the guy who took down the king. If Trump can absorb the best shots from the Republican party’s best young talent, then he deserves the nomination. If one of the two talented freshman senators can dethrone The Donald, then at least we have some assurance that they can first stand strong against the coming Clinton onslaught and then have the strength of will to lead a nation desperate not just for wisdom but for the right kind of tough-minded leadership.
So between now and the Iowa caucuses, spare us the calculating ambition and the strategic opportunism. Rubio and Cruz: Show us you can lead.