Ted Cruz recently announced his candidacy for President with a speech that had everything: feel good back-story, what he stood for, what he stood against, a shout out to Reagan, etc. I went into it hoping to see what he had to offer… I left a bit queasy.
The first reason for my uneasiness is that I can’t separate presidential-candidate Cruz from the leader of the “let it burn” contingent of conservatives during the government shut-down crisis of 2013. I struggle with the disconnect of a man using imagery of a government finally working under him in his speech above with a man who has been the raison d’etre of it not working recently. Back in 2013 it would have been one thing if he was standing for a position with a proposal to achieve it. Fellow Senators, however, painted a picture of someone with no plan, perfectly content to bring the ship down in the process. That’s a frightening approach from someone who aspires to be Commander-in-Chief.
A second reason is that some of the finer points he touched on just aren’t feasible. His flat tax, popular amongst many conservatives, is a plan that would save money for the wealthiest of the wealthy and hurt the pocketbooks of those on the lower end of the income spectrum. I take that back. It’s feasible but hardly seems just or fair. His plan to eliminate the IRS is fantasy. He can’t even get the number of employees the IRS has correct and his own people have commented that some agency would still need to exist to handle taxes and issues related to it.
Third, much of his “substance” was more about attacking President Obama than in having a solid position of his own. Cruz wants to repeal Obamacare if elected President. I’m fine with that, I’ve never liked the bill, but where’s his alternative outside of empty rhetoric? During the health care debate Republicans as a group initially denied that there was an issue with our system. Their later proposals have been little more than nods at special interests. On the issue of net neutrality Cruz seems to be on the side of President Obama… except he can’t be. Google Cruz and net neutrality and take a look at what you see. It’s an odd collection of commentary from a man who simply can’t be on the same side as the President. The result is someone who doesn’t even appear to know what the words mean. Again, a bit frightening from someone who wants to be President.
A short speech that left me queasy at first has me upset the more I think about it. I consider myself a conservative but when did that philosophy become one of simply being against the other guys and catering to the wealthy all while hijacking Christianity along the way? I didn’t touch on that last bit above but I will be in the near future. It’s a frustration I’ve had for years which reached a tipping point after reading Cruz’s speech.