Winston Churchill said that “kites rise highest against the wind, not with it.” What’s established, or “normal” may be incredibly powerful, but until you apply pressure against that norm, you cannot fly above it.
Never in my lifetime have I seen a politician like Ted Cruz . I believe this is because he follows Churchill’s advice. He has a core set of beliefs that he follows, and when they contradict the prevailing notions in Washington, he doesn’t back down, and he doesn’t bend in order to remain socially or politically viable.
There are several politicians who stand firmly in their beliefs–and I admire them for it–but what sets Ted Cruz apart is that he doesn’t just stand firm, he also pushes back. There’s a reason he’s caused such tremendous waves within the Republican Party in such a short amount of time.
For example, many of Cruz’s colleagues were aghast that he filibustered Obamacare in October 2013, his first year in the senate. The majority of the party simply backed down.
Why would Cruz stand for 21 hours against a seemingly unstoppable bill when he had little to no support? Because he promised the voters of Texas that he would. By filibustering Obamacare, Cruz not only kept his promise to his constituents, but he got people talking as well. The hashtag #MakeDCListen exploded on Twitter, the news was forced to cover the event, and more people were made aware of the nefarious nature of the ACA.
Cruz has done a great many things that have angered or confused his colleagues, but it was when he called Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell a lair that the real fire was ignited.
On July 24, 2015, Ted Cruz gave a speech on the floor of the senate in which he accused McConnell of making a promise behind closed doors, then promptly breaking that promise in public:
“I cannot believe he would tell a flat-out lie…What we just saw today was an absolute demonstration that, not only what he told every Republican senator, but what he told the press over and over and over again, was a simple lie…We now know that when the majority leader looks us in the eye and makes a commitment, he is willing to say things he knows are false.”
Senators were apoplectic. Cruz broke the rules–literally. Senate rule XIX, part two states:
“No Senator in debate shall, directly or indirectly, by any form of words impute to another Senator or to other Senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a Senator.”
The Ancient One (sometimes referred to by his Christian name: John McCain ) was appalled:
“I think it was outside the realm of Senate behavior. I would never contemplate going to the floor of the Senate and impugning the integrity of another senator. Just not something we do here. I really think it was a very wrong thing to do.”
Many other senators were also sent to the fainting couch by what Ted Cruz did. And now it’s coming back to bite the lone star presidential candidate.
As the field winnows, Ted Cruz is urging Republicans to unite behind him in order to stop Donald Trump, and Hillary Clinton. But according to CNN, leaders in the party may be too petty to come together:
“Senior Senate Republicans are calling on Sen. Ted Cruz to rebuild his strained relationships with his colleagues and apologize to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell before the party establishment considers consolidating behind his presidential bid.”
Senator Orrin Hatch even said:
“That was not proper as you know, and I raised hell about it. I’m a great believer of repentance and changing…It’s always helpful when you admit you’re wrong.”
Cruz isn’t biting.
The Texas senator allegedly told Fox News’ James Rosen that he wasn’t going to bow down to McConnell:
— James Rosen (@JamesRosenTV) March 16, 2016
Cruz said he will continue “telling the truth,” and “standing up to Washington.”
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) March 16, 2016
Thank you, Ted Cruz .
Thank you for being the only politician to stand up to corruption in your own party, not simply by refusing to be a part of it, but by calling out those who rig the game.
Refusing to participate in evil is certainly commendable, but true valor comes when one looks the devil in the eye, and yells his name, causing it to ring in the ears of the nation. That’s the difference between the many decent politicians in the Republican Party, and Ted Cruz .
Cruz may win the nomination; Cruz may not win the nomination. Regardless of the outcome, he can stand tall knowing that he didn’t compromise his values in order to secure a limited prize; that he didn’t kiss the king’s ring to get a seat at the table.
Ted Cruz rises highest against the wind not simply because he stands firmly in it, but because he walks defiantly toward it. I couldn’t ask for a better presidential candidate.