The Texas senator fully embraced this role at the Iowa GOP’s annual Reagan fundraising dinner, where a theme of victimization ran through the rhetoric of the evening’s speeches. Over the course of the event, Cruz and his conservative compatriots repeatedly cast themselves as humble Davids fighting against an army of Goliaths, including “the D.C. media that’s attempting to divide us”; the “permanent political class whose goals are money and power”; “Washington strategists”; The New York Times; and any number of villains in the Obama administration, who Cruz said were “intent on violating every Constitutional protection.”

“I am here more than anything else with a word of encouragement, with a word of hope… We are facing extraordinary times,” said Cruz, who wore a microphone clipped to his tie so he could pace across the stage as he spoke. He told the crowd he appreciated how hard they had been fighting, and assured them “this is not a typical moment in the political process.”…

More than perhaps anywhere else, the Tea Party and the religious right in Iowa have reached a sort of political singularity — unified, in large part, by feelings of outsiderness and rejection from the Washington establishment. Cruz, with his frequent Bible citations and his small government ideology, has long stood poised to take advantage of this dynamic in the Hawkeye State. But D.C.’s outpouring of disdain for the Texan over the past couple weeks have helped make him a superstar here.