DES MOINES, January 28, 2016 — On the eve of the last Republican debate before the Iowa Caucus, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, locked in a virtual tie for the lead in Iowa, Ted Cruz brought Texas toughness to Iowa.
A rally at Noah’s Event Venue in West Des Moines was packed beyond capacity. Forget trying to see or hear the warmup speakers.. A separate room with a projector was needed to handle the overflow.
This event was a humbling reminder that the people want to hear the candidates themselves. There was just no way to get through the crowd to access the main room.
Media elite reports matter on the coasts, not in Iowa, and certainly not among this crowd. Reporters, newspeople used to being treated like the British Royal Family, were relegated to the hallway, including CNN’s Gloria Borger.
With several socially conservative candidates, Cruz is seeking to unify the evangelical vote to coalesce around him. What separates Cruz from Trump is that Trump is more of a pragmatist, a competent manager.
Cruz is ideological. He is conservative to the core, and always has been.
At this rally, Cruz was preceded by like-minded socially conservative speakers like Bob Vander Plaats is CEO of The Family Leader and Tony Perkins head of the Family Research Council.
Both of these men have significant sway among values voters. In addition to stumping for Cruz, they were joined by a major Iowa power player Congressman Steve King who also joined the campaign. King Country is Cruz Country.
Then came the Texas cavalry. First Congressman Louie Gohmert spoke on behalf of Cruz., then former Texas Governor Rick Perry.
Perry has a sharp tongue and a fantastic memory that contradicts unflattering media caricatures of him. Winning three elections and governing Texas takes plenty of brains. As soon as Perry walked in the door, he looked at me, and remembered a man he has only met among many on a couple of times in the distant past, saying with humor “Good God you’ve cleaned up since I last saw you!”.
Texans don’t mince words, and Iowans like bluntness. It was a perfect fit.
Senator Cruz came out swinging, having a field day over Donald Trump’s decision to boycott the upcoming Fox News GOP debate. Cruz noted that “Donald is a fragile soul” saying that apparently Mr. Trump considers Megyn Kelly very, very scary afraid she may ask a question that may make “his hair stand on end.”
Senator Cruz pointed out what everyone knows: America has already had a “narcissistic, self-involved president in Washington for the last seven years,” a man who “behaves like an emperor” leaving the question as to whether Trump would behave similarly.
Cruz bragged that he “did the full Grassley,” a tribute to Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley for visiting all 99 Iowa counties. Cruz repeated the refrain about why tough questions are a must. “This is a job interview” offering Donald Trump the chance to have a one-one debate between the two conservative leaders.
He suggested that Mark Levin, Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh as moderators he proposes for this Saturday. He chided “Gentle Donald,” saying to the audience that Trump did not fear Megyn Kelly or even Ted Cruz.
“He’s afraid of you.”
Cruz has humility and the temperament to be president, and would not be an imperial dictator like we have seen the past seven years.
At this appearance there were about “119 hours” until the Iowa Caucus and Cruz empathized with why people are angry and frustrated saying that.
“The American people feel a profound sense of betrayal”
from elected leaders of both parties.
Cruz said that every candidate in the GOP primary will say they are a conservative. There is one true test to separate the conservative wheat from the chaff.
“Show me your record. Show me that you’ve walked the walk.”
“If you’re really a conservative, you shouldn’t have to tell anybody” that you are one.
Cruz said that the test of true conservatism would come down to “seven battles.” These are the core values that must define conservatism:
- Opposition to Obamacare
- Taking on the Washington cartel and the cronyism that is bankrupting our kids
- Illegal alien amnesty
- The battle over Iran and radical Islamic terrorism.
On those seven issues, Cruz gave examples about how he has led while others have just talked.
On guns, Cruz noted that “After Newtown, President Obama could have brought people together.” He “chose not to.”
Turning to the Second Amendment, Cruz reminded the audience that it is not about target shooting or skeet shooting, even though Cruz admitted that those are both fun activities.
The Second Amendment is based on the “God given right to protect our families and protect our children.”
And then, one of the most popular day one actions for all conservative candidate, in a Cruz presidency, on day one “We will repeal every word of Obamacare.”
Cruz made it clear that past actions have to be judged. Promises to do the right thing are not good enough because “Nobody in history has ever grown a backbone after getting to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.”
The mullahs would be on notice. “I intend to rip to shreds this catastrophic Iranian nuclear deal.”
Cruz joked about how much of a nuisance all the campaigns with their commercials, phone calls and mailers can be.
The Iowa Caucus is the political equivalent of a “quadrennial infestation of locusts.”
“Mailers make really good kindling in your fireplace. They just light up quick.”
He implored to attendees to call their friends and relatives to help caucus for him. Support from loved ones carries more weight than a mailer. Besides, “It’s actually a good idea to call your mom anyway.” The crowd laughed heartily at that remark.
He told attendees how they could vote for him ten times. “We’re not Democrats. I’m not suggesting voter fraud” instead suggesting that If each person in attendance brought nine people with them on caucus night, that would make his support tenfold.
He again blasted those who are trying to win the Iowa Caucus by sheer cult of personality rather than through the traditional retail politicking.
This “race will not be won on TV” it will be won “friend to friend, neighbor to neighbor, Iowan to Iowan.”
Raucous, sustained cheers followed by people staying around for another hour as Cruz took pictures with every person who wanted one.
Ted Cruz is the son of Pastor Rafael Cruz, a fiery man who survived imprisonment and torture in Fidel Castro’s Cuban jails. The Cruz family has seen real evil. They will not be scared of anything or anybody on the campaign trail, be it a competing candidate or a tough moderator.
Cruz is the real deal, and he is made of steel. He is Texas tough, and Iowa voters in droves seem to enthusiastically respect that.