Can Ted Cruz be a conservative Barack Obama?

Can Ted Cruz Convince Conservatives Obama Is a Success?

From:, by: David A. Graham, on: March 25, 2015, see the article HERE.


In debating whether the Texan is too inexperienced to run, the right has to decide whether the current president is a disastrous failure or a disastrous success.

First-term senator. Son of a foreign-born father. Electoral longshot. Harvard Law Review editor. Constitutional lawyer. Lauded orator.

Is that Ted Cruz? Or is it Barack Obama? It’s both, of course. The similarities between the two men are somewhat superficial—you’d be hard-pressed to find many parallels deeper than what’s listed here—but it’s enough to have set off a debate among conservatives about whether Cruz is a “Republican Obama.” And that debate offers a view of a different and more interesting debate in the same group, about whether President Obama has been a disastrous failure or a disastrous success.

Liberal pundits have tended to write Cruz off as simply unelectable. Conservative commentators are much more likely to consider him a serious candidate, but many have reservations. Take two of the most influential conservative opinion journalists working today.

“First-term senators, we already tried a first-term senator,” Charles Krauthammer says. “Cruz talks about you have to walk the walk rather than just talk the talk. You have to have done something, but that’s not his record in the Senate. He’s a good rhetorician, but when [Wisconsin Governor Scott] Walker says I ran the state, I took on the unions, I took on liberals and I won I think it is going to be a strong argument.”

Similarly, Erick Erickson presents Cruz—along with fellow Senate presidential possibles Marco Rubio and Rand Paul—with what he described as a “fair and relevant question”: “For six years, Republicans have said the nation made a mistake electing a one term Senator the President of the United States. Why should you, a one term Senator, be the GOP’s nominee?” Erickson writes at RedState. “Given Republican rhetoric against President Obama for six years, it is fair and relevant. I look forward to their answers.”

Both writers work from the assumption, commonly voiced among Republicans and conservatives, that Barack Obama has been a disastrous failure. That was the leading motif of the 2012 election, as is generally the case when an incumbent is running. Mitt Romney said Obama was a failure on a range of fronts, from domestic policy to the economy to foreign affairs. Unfortunately for Romney, one thing Obama didn’t fail to do was win the election.

Considering the president’s record, from Obamacare to Dodd-Frank, gay rights to environmental regulation, and culminating in reelection, suggests an alternative scenario: that Obama has actually been, from a right-wing perspective, a disastrous success. Successful in that he has implemented his agenda quite effectively; disastrous in that his agenda is bad for the nation.

In fact, that’s the answer the Cruz camp offers. In the course of a great piece explaining why Obamaites don’t think Cruz is the new Obama, Dave Weigel quoted Cruz spokesman Rick Tyler explaining why Cruz actually is the new Obama—and why that’s positive. “Although I don’t like it, and conservatives don’t like it, which part of his experience are we questioning with Obama?” Tyler said. “He got Obamacare done, and we didn’t like it. Did he achieve that because of his inexperience? I don’t think so. Did he get it because he’s ineffective? We might not like it, it’s been a disaster, but he’s delivered on his agenda. As far as I can tell he’s been running rings around Republican leaders.”

Tyler’s answer may be self-serving, in that it fits with Cruz’s premise for a campaign—that other Republicans are unwilling to stand up to the president, but Cruz has done so on issue after issue, often to the fury of Republican leaders. But it’s also tough to dispute, at least on issues like health care, gay rights, and environmental regulation. The case gets more tenuous on foreign policy, for example, but it’s still hard to paint Obama as fitting in the mold of a feckless Jimmy Carter (or perhaps in the mold of the current conservative caricature of Carter) when he’s got such a litany of accomplishments.

Erickson’s RedState colleague Ben Howe makes the same case, calling Obama an “incredibly successful” president. “I like many others, hoped he would fail, too,” Howe writes. “But he didn’t. And experience or lack thereof had nothing to do with it.”

Meanwhile, The Weekly Standard‘s Jay Cost complements Howe’s piece in an article about the skills a president needs. While he doesn’t connect it directly to Obama, Cost notes that having a good relationship with the Congress is only one path available. What he doesn’t need to say is that neither Obama nor Cruz has a good relationship with Congress. A second path is to play the outside game: “The president applies pressure on Congress indirectly, by influencing public opinion. The thinking is that if the president rallies the people, Congress will follow along.” This is, of course, what Obama has done, and is presumably what a President Cruz would, too: use powerful speeches to appeal to the electorate directly, and then turn that into leverage on legislators. (Cost argues that Congress is really the root of the nation’s political dysfunction, which puts him on the same page as liberal political observers like Matt Yglesias.)

Perhaps, like Lyndon Johnson, Obama will see his legacy defined by the collapse of his foreign policy, overshadowing his domestic achievements. But if his legacy ends up being built on Obamacare and the rest, Obama’s reputation among conservatives could be a mirror image of Ronald Reagan’s among liberals. The left still disdains the Gipper’s supply-side economics and social conservatism, but progressives have generally come to admit that Reagan was a highly successful president and an incredibly talented politician.

During the 2008 campaign, Obama himself famously named Reagan as a transformational president whose model he wished to emulate. Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign could help return the favor by affirming Obama’s own legacy of transformation.


My initial reaction was … WHOA Bucky, ain’t no way that Cruz is another Obama, but then when sanity returned, I determined that a conservative Obama is EXACTLY what we need.

There’s no denying that Obama has been successful in running rings around our do-nothing RINO congress-wimps. And yet he was only an inexperienced one-term Senator while our “team” is loaded with 20-year veterans in a supposedly co-equal branch of government – how’s that worked out for us?

I don’t know about you guys, but I’ll gladly accept a President Cruz who has as much success in executing a conservative agenda as Obama has had with his anti-American activities. And though at first, negotiating with Congress might be difficult, they’ll come around when they realize that they’ll benefit more from cooperation than from rebellion. We still need to replace a number of them with real conservatives and then we can get the country back.

A final thought: I spoke to a couple of friends and both my son and daughter over the last couple of days about Cruz and they all said the same thing, “I love him, but he can’t win.” Not long ago, I had that same opinion, but it’s beginning to change. He’s got all the tools, but what he needs to do is convince the voting public that not only can he win, but he is just what we’ve been clamoring for – a leader that can resell the voters with an optimistic, patriotic message. He just needs to shed the “unelectable” label and convince voters that, given a chance, he CAN win.




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13 Responses to Can Ted Cruz be a conservative Barack Obama?

  1. I.R. Wayright says:

    Teddy never rode the choom bus. There is your major difference, plus he didn’t grow up with a chip on his shoulder.

  2. Kathy says:

    The author mentions O’s failures on foreign policy, but gives him credit for winning the election, when in fact, if he hadn’t cheated, that would failed too. And what would he have accomplished had he not run those rings around Congress? Absolutely nothing. He had to do it all with EOs, lies and general underhandedness.

    On the other hand, Cruz will instead go about it in a forthright manner, just as he would in dealing with Congress were he president.

    Yes there are similarities in enthusiasm for each of their goals and their education, but naturally it stops at character.

    • Garnet92 says:

      So true Kathy, he won both elections based on lies and fraud – pretty typical for him. If one could rerun his campaigns and presidency – this time truthfully and honestly, the name “Barack Obama” would be no more than a footnote in history.

  3. Hardnox says:

    Good piece and thought provoking.

    Yes, I believe Cruz could win (and BIG) given a fair chance. Sadly he has the left and even players on his own team that wish him ill and will work tirelessly to undermine him.

    The problem with Cruz is that he will upset the applecart for everyone at the feeding trough, therefore the daggers are being sharpened.

    Imagine Cruz as president… I can!

    • Garnet92 says:

      Agreed Nox, the mountain Cruz has to climb is to convince people that he CAN be elected. It won’t be easy – like you said, he’s going to upset the applecart and a lot of our “representatives” are only in DC to fatten their wallets.

  4. clyde says:

    Cruz doesn’t despise this nation. Cruz is not owned by Soros Inc. Cruz is not owned by the unionistas. Too bad those ostensibly on our side are too busy trying to make THEIR OWN king. As much as I like both Krauthammer, and Erickson, I have serious disagreements with their opinion about Cruz.

    • Garnet92 says:

      I’m with you Clyde. Normally I like Krauthammer and Erickson, but I think that they’re wrong and aren’t helping by creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  5. CW says:

    While I understand the author’s point, calling Obama “transformative” is like saying Lance Armstrong is an athlete who raised the bar in bike racing. If perfecting the art of cheating and fraud is to be admired than we have really reached a new low. Cruz should stay as far away as possible from comparing himself to a low-life con man like Barack Obama.

    Like you, Garnet, I have no problem with Cruz’s lack of “experience.” In fact I am far more inclined to be wary of those candidates who’ve been state governors, as the nature of that position – unlike that of POTUS – requires the type of practiced compromise that the moderates just love. When someone brags, “I know how to work with people on the other side of the aisle!” I feel instant disappointment. I want someone who can sell people on restoring the Constitution we’re supposed to have; not someone who is a winner at the art of compromise.

    Go Ted!

    Ditto to Clyde’s comment on Krauthammer and Erickson. They’ve both been drinking too much of the establishment Koolaide.

    • Garnet92 says:

      Good points CW, and I agree. I’ve changed my mindset on the experience issue. I placed a lot of value in what Walker, Perry, Jindal, et al bring to the table, but none of them possess the charisma that Cruz can use to remind voters that we have more in common than differences when it comes to lower taxes, limited government, belief in the Constitution and the rule of law, etc,.etc.

      With his speaking ability, his ability to think on his feet, and his consistent positions on Obamacare, border control, the 2nd Amendment, etc., I think that he can do what Reagan did and bring back optimism to the populace.

  6. upaces88 says:

    ​After he fought against it for soooo long against Obama HCB…:
    Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), one of the chief opponents of Obamacare in Congress, will sign up for health insurance under Obamacare while he runs for president.

    According to the Des Moines Register, Cruz’s wife Heidi will leave her job at Goldman Sachs to campaign with her husband. That report said the family had used her Goldman Sachs health plan, but in light of her plans to go on an unpaid leave of absence, the Cruz family will now rely on Obamacare.

  7. upaces88 says:

    Would you vote for a man who openly says he would repeal ObamaCare?
    Would you vote for a man who openly says he favors a fair tax and wants to abolish the Internal Revenue Service?
    Would you vote for a man who opposes Obama’s efforts to offer illegal aliens amnesty and promises to secure the borders?
    Would you vote for a man who decries a federal government “that wages an assault on our religious liberty”?
    Would you vote for a man who wants a federal government that “works to defend the sanctity of human life” and would “uphold the sacrament of marriage”?
    Would you vote for a man who defends our Second Amendment rights and condemns the effort ban ammunition?
    Would you vote for a man who condemns a federal government that seeks to dictate school curriculums and wants to repeal “every word of Common Core”?
    I am of course speaking of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) who has announced his candidacy to be the presidential candidate of the Republican Party.

    Please….Keep Reading:​

  8. upaces88 says:

    ​After he fought against it for soooo long:
    Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), one of the chief opponents of Obamacare in Congress, will sign up for health insurance under Obamacare while he runs for president.

    According to the Des Moines Register, Cruz’s wife Heidi will leave her job at Goldman Sachs to campaign with her husband. That report said the family had used her Goldman Sachs health plan, but in light of her plans to go on an unpaid leave of absence, the Cruz family will now rely on Obamacare.