DELRAY BEACH, Florida, March 16, 2016 — With Florida Senator Marco Rubio exiting the presidential race, there is only one remaining plausible candidate for the White House. Texas Senator Ted Cruz is that man.
This is an easy decision. Of the three remaining Republican candidates, only Cruz has both the style and the substance required to be president.
Style issues are superficial, but in today’s world that matters. Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign lacked substance. He charmed enough people with his words.
Businessman Donald Trump has plenty of style. Many of his policy prescriptions lack specificity. Far too many of his supporters act as unruly as the Ron Paul supporters did in 2012. Anyone who disagrees with Trump in any way is demonized as unpatriotic or not a true conservative. This is straight out of the Ron Paul playbook.
While it is unfair to blame Mr. Trump for the behavior of his supporters, he shows no tendency to rein them in. Like Paul supporters, Trump supporters are brilliant at waging war but do not seem to learn how to make peace.
Saying “I won” is what Obama supporters do. Governing requires working with various groups of people.
Ohio Governor John Kasich has substance but is completely lacking in style. He knows how to govern. Getting elected requires connecting with people, and Kasich too often comes across as preachy, moralistic and grating.
Fairly or not, Kasich is boring, a man devoid of charisma.
Those are the superficial reasons to object to Trump and Kasich. What matters most is policy. All three candidates claim to be conservatives. Cruz is the only ideological conservative. Trump and Kasich are pragmatic conservatives. They both see deal-making, flexibility and compromise as positive attributes.
After seven years of a sharply ideological leftist, conservatives want to reverse gears and shift to the right. They do not want to compromise with Democrats. Every aspect of the Obama presidency needs to be ripped out by the root and branch. On several policy issues, Cruz has shown to be a doctrinaire ideological conservative.
Cruz has always opposed gun control. Kasich in the past has favored it. Trump supported the 1994 assault weapons ban. Trump now claims to support the Second Amendment. Taking him at his word requires blind faith. At the very least, he should be forced to answer why he supported the original plan and why he changed his position. Changing a position is not always a sin. Trump should explain his reasoning.
Cruz will only nominate strict constructionist judges in the mold of the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Trump said he would nominate his sister, a left of center judge. He then said he was joking. Again taking him at his word, Trump has never stated that strict constructionism is a requirement for a federal appointment. Kasich also has no record of being a strict constructionist.
Cruz has a lifetime record of being a supporter of the state of Israel. Neither Trump or Kasich are anti-Israel. Trump’s remark about being “neutral” on Israel is code for being anti-Israel. Trump does not have an anti-semitic bone in his body. His comments were made not out of malice but due to a lack of understanding of the issue.
Trump could very well turn out to be great for Israel, but Cruz has the stronger track record.
Cruz is the only one who has vowed to move the United States Israeli embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. While this is often seen as pandering, expressing discomfort at moving the embassy makes supporters of Israel nervous.
Trump voiced support in this campaign for higher taxes on hedge fund millionaires. He stated that Warren Buffett should not pay less in taxes than his secretary. This is dishonest rhetoric that should remain with Democrat demagogues Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Buffett pays capital gains taxes while his secretary pays ordinary income taxes.
Raising capital gains taxes is a terrible policy. Cruz is a supply-sider who would cut taxes for everyone to stimulate economic growth.
In terms of fighting the left, Trump can fight anybody. He loves to fight. So does Cruz. Yet there is a difference between fighting people during a campaign and fighting and winning in the political arena. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker broke the unions.
Kasich, even with a friendly legislature, backed down and saw his union reforms reversed. Cruz has successfully argued cases before the Supreme Court. He argued the DC vs Heller case that struck down gun bans as unconstitutional.
Kasich has supported the horrendous Common Core education standards. Cruz and Trump have both vowed to end Common Core.
Trump’s support comes mainly from those enraged over illegal immigration. Cruz would be just as tough. Kasich is not seen as an immigration hardliner. Cruz is Hispanic, and is able to show that wanting a secure border is not based on bigotry. Trump is not a bigot, but optics matter. Cruz can appeal to those wanting secure borders without turning away Hispanics.
On foreign policy, Rubio’s exit leaves the GOP without a Neoconservative candidate. Trump’s position on overseas affairs is the Ron Paul position. Cruz is a civil libertarian as well. All three men would aggressively fight ISIS, but there is no evidence that any of them would take on Iran. Overthrowing the mullahs is not likely to happen on their watch.
On most issues, Trump and Kasich both have a history of being moderate, pragmatic deal-makers. Neither man denies this. Trump says his skills would mean better deals. Kasich believes that working with people requires getting along. They both criticize Cruz as being too hard-edged.
Obama is hard-edged. So are Hillary and Bernie. Republicans are punishing candidates who compromise. Rubio was pilloried for compromising on illegal immigration. Jeb Bush was vilified for supporting Common Core. Trump is praised because of his refusal to compromise on that illegal immigration. Conservatives are disgusted with Republicans who compromise their principles.
As Cruz has repeatedly said, “When I say I am going to do something, I’m going to do EXACTLY what I said I would do!” His record matches his rhetoric.
Both Trump and Kasich would be better than any candidate Democrats offer. Neither one of them has a political history of lifelong conservatism.
Ted Cruz does. He is the only serious ideological conservative choice for president.