Texas Senator Ted Cruz made his candidacy for President of the United States official this week. He is the first Republican to officially jump into the presidential race. He chose my alma mater, Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, to make the announcement. Readers immediately inundated me with requests for my thoughts on his candidacy. Today's column will attempt to answer those requests. Mind you, these are preliminary thoughts, subject to change one way or the other as I learn more about Senator Cruz.
Before I list what seem to me to be more obvious pros and cons of his candidacy, let me say that it is extremely obvious that Mr. Cruz is wanting to "corner the market" on the Christian conservative vote and make them the ideological and political base of his campaign. The fact that he chose Liberty University, the largest evangelical Christian university in the country, to make his announcement makes it crystal clear. And if some of the early reactions to the senator's strategy are any indication of whether Senator Cruz succeeded or not, it may seem that he has taken a big step in that regard.
While the politically potent Religious Right of the Reagan/Bush era is only a shell of its former self, it is a stark reality that no Republican since Richard Nixon has won a presidential race without the enthusiastic support of Christian conservatives. Republican presidential candidates must at least APPEAR "conservative" enough to attract the base of religious conservatives or face a thumping in the general election. If you don't believe that, just ask John McCain and Mitt Romney. And even though G.W. Bush was no conservative, Karl Rove and Company did a stellar job of packaging him that way. And as we know, more often than not, image garners more votes than reality. Sad but true. Former Texas Governor, Rick Perry, attempted the same thing in his presidential campaign in 2012, but was never able to make it stick.
By casting himself as the "Christian" candidate, Ted Cruz is trying to follow the campaign script of fellow Texan (and the last Republican to actually win the White House), G.W. Bush. And, of course, Cruz actually worked in the Bush campaign, so he has first-hand experience with it. And this is not something that Cruz feels uncomfortable doing. He is the son of an evangelical pastor and graduated from a Baptist high school. Accordingly, Cruz can naturally talk the language.
Since Jerry Falwell passed away, there is no evangelical leader with the ability and clout to coalesce, lead, and speak on behalf of enough Christian voters to make a lot of difference in Republican politics today. Plus, as a whole, the Religious Right has compromised its principles (and showed itself very ignorant of New World Order issues) so many times, and has disenfranchised so many religious conservatives that, as a movement, the Religious Right really doesn't even exist today.
However, if one wants to get an idea of what the remnant of the old Religious Right is thinking today, read what my friend Richard Viguerie has to say. Richard is one of the original founders of what became known as the Moral Majority and then the Religious Right. He is still very influential with those who would identify themselves as part of the Religious Right. And Richard has glowing words for Mr. Cruz:
"Today's official announcement that Senator Ted Cruz of Texas is running for president changes everything in the 2016 presidential campaign.
"Ted Cruz isn't running for Vice President or Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Jeb Bush administration.
"Every Republican candidate for president will have to move to significantly to the right, starting with Jeb Bush and Scott Walker, and define their position on amnesty for illegal aliens, on fighting and winning the war radical Islam has declared on America, on spending, the deficit and the debt, and on repealing Obamacare, against the positions Ted Cruz will talk about and campaign on in the coming months.
"They will all have to move right to respond to Cruz, or be left behind by a grassroots conservative electorate fed-up with Republican candidates who are merely principle-free messengers for an out of touch Washington elite.
"Ted Cruz's base is the conservative movement, and although other Republican presidential candidates since Ronald Reagan, such as Gary Bauer and Michelle Bachmann, looked to movement conservatives for their support, they were never able to expand beyond their starting base of support into the top-tier of candidates.
"Ted Cruz is the first top-tier movement conservative candidate since Reagan."
See Richard Viguerie's complete statement here:
I don't remember Richard making such a statement about Rick Perry in 2012, so the above remarks regarding Senator Cruz from someone of the stature of Richard Viguerie mean that Ted has succeeded (at least initially) in establishing himself as the "Christian" candidate in the 2016 presidential race.
Before leaving this section of the column, let me say that I believe MUCH has changed from 2000, when G.W. Bush was first elected. The compromise and demise of the Religious Right as a political movement means that pseudo-conservatives, such as G.W. Bush, are going to have a much tougher time winning the support of principled freedomists--many of whom are Christians who are fed up with the compromise of professing "Christian" candidates--and many who would not even identify themselves as Christians, but who were once attracted to the political principles of the Religious Right, and who now have lost all respect for the old Religious Right in general and the Republican Party in particular.
Too, the candidacy of Ron Paul in 2008--and especially in 2012--has FOREVER changed the political landscape of America (for the better). The defection of the "Paul Revolutionaries" from the Republican Party has been massive. Yes, many of Ron's supporters are still very much involved in the GOP, but they are NOT LOYAL to the GOP. Meaning, any Republican candidate for President will have to EARN the vote of these people. They will not receive their vote simply because they wear the Republican label. Again, ask McCain and Romney, if you don't believe that.
Therefore, while it is still good strategy for a Republican presidential candidate to court the evangelical vote, it will not, by itself, carry the same momentum throughout the primary and general election seasons like it did with G.W. Bush in 2000. And as far as Cruz pulling the rest of the GOP field to the right, most every Republican candidate attempts to characterize him or herself as a "conservative" during the primaries, a Ted Cruz candidacy notwithstanding. Of course, Jeb Bush is counting on the big dollars of country club, NWO elites to buy him the nomination. Big-Government globalists everywhere must be salivating over another potential Bush vs. Clinton (not that Hillary has the Democrat nomination sewed up, because she doesn't) presidential election. It would mean the Crime Family (no matter which one would win) would be back in the White House.
At any rate, here are some of my preliminary assessments of Ted Cruz.
*The "Christian" candidate
His ability to cast himself early on as "the" Christian candidate will definitely be a plus as he approaches the primary season.
On a personal note, I would rather vote for an unbeliever who would preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States than a believer who would NOT preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. In my opinion, Christians on the whole are very naïve to vote for political candidates based on his or her "Christian" profession alone. Just about every politician in the country claims to be a Christian. That, by itself, means very little to the actual performance of most elected officials. It SHOULD, but it doesn't. But for the purpose of this column, I'm saying that Mr. Cruz's decision to not shy away from a Christian testimony should not be regarded as a negative--especially in light of all of the anti-Christian bias in the establishment media.
*His voting record in general
He has a cumulative voting record of 89% by The Freedom Index of The New American magazine. The Freedom Index is one of the best barometers of a congressman or senator's constitutional voting record that I know of. That Cruz is right at 90% on The Freedom Index is nothing but a positive.
See his rating on The Freedom Index here:
*His leadership against illegal immigration and executive amnesty
Senator Cruz must be regarded as one of the senate's most outspoken opponents of Barack Obama's executive amnesty order in particular and illegal immigration in general.
*As far as I can tell, Mr. Cruz is solid on the Second Amendment and pro-life issues
For me, these two issues are deal breakers. I will not vote for ANY candidate that compromises either one of these two issues. In this regard, potential GOP presidential candidate, Dr. Ben Carson, is going to have problems, as he is on record as strongly advocating additional gun control.
*His place of birth
Much was made in the Republican Party over Barack Obama's birthplace. In my personal opinion, those concerns were very legitimate. I'll say it outright: I believe Obama's U.S. birth certificate is a forgery. In all likelihood, Obama is indeed the first President of the United States to not be born in the U.S. But, unfortunately, he won't be the last.
The Republicans nominated John McCain for President in 2008, and McCain was not born in the United States, either. Yes, he was born on a U.S. military installation overseas and his parents were both Americans. So, in the minds of everyone in the Republican Party, McCain met the "natural born Citizen" requirement of the U.S. Constitution. But with Senator Cruz, there is no question regarding his place of birth. The man was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. His father was a native-born Cuban who became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2005, and his mother was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware.
This fact will probably not hurt Ted during the GOP primaries, but should he win the nomination, you can bet that Democrats will make it a huge issue in the general election, especially after all of the controversy that Obama endured over the subject.
Plus, if Ted Cruz should win the White House next year, it would doubtless open the door for just about anyone to run for President no matter their place of birth. Remember, this was the issue that stopped Arnold Schwarzenegger from running for President not too many years ago.
Obviously, many take the position that as long as a person is born to a U.S. citizen, he or she automatically becomes a U.S. citizen, regardless of the location of his or her birth. But there is no question that Democrats will make Ted's birthplace an issue in the general election, should he win the Republican nomination.
*His pro-war foreign policy
In my opinion, this is where the establishment Republican Party in Washington, D.C., is at its WORST. G.W. Bush's preemptive war doctrine turned the national GOP into a pro-war leviathan. Like most every Republican in Washington, D.C., (except Rand Paul) Cruz has bought into the global "war on terror" apparition that is spawning the New World Order abroad and a Police State at home. There is nothing about Ted Cruz that leads me to believe that he would do anything to stop America's militarism and hegemony that is wreaking havoc around the world and that is leading our country toward nuclear war.
And one further note on this point: though it is going to be difficult for Rand Paul to win the Republican nomination, as he is the establishment elite's most dreaded candidate, Dr. Paul would in all actuality be the most formidable Republican presidential candidate in the general election.
More people than ever are not voting. More people than ever are claiming to be political independents. More people than ever have developed strong opinions against both major parties in Washington, D.C. And one of the biggest reasons for this phenomenon is the Warfare State that both parties in D.C. have created. In reality, Rand Paul's foreign policy is in sync with more Americans across the board than any other potential candidate from either the Republican or Democrat party. Again, pro-war Republicans might look askance at Rand Paul, but in a general election, his appeal would be massive. Look at how popular Dr. Paul is becoming on the college campuses of America. But if the national GOP follows suit, they would rather lose with a candidate like John McCain or Mitt Romney--or any other pro-war candidate--than win with a constitutional foreign policy candidate such as Ron or Rand Paul. But we'll see. Rand is not officially in the race yet.
Ted Cruz is married to Heidi Nelson Cruz. Heidi will be lauded by everyone in the establishment media as very smart, educated (she is), and nothing but an asset to Ted's presidential efforts. But Heidi gives me nothing but red flags.
Heidi worked in the White House for Condoleezza Rice. Heidi is head of the Southwest Region in the investment Management Division of Goldman Sachs & Co, and was also an active member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Heidi is an international investment banker who was invited to be part of a working group at the CFR which reviewed a notorious 2005 paper called "Building a North American Community." This project was headed by longtime CFR member Robert Pastor and is universally regarded by constitutionalists as the prototype for a North American Union. Of course, Condoleezza Rice, herself, is a longtime CFR member.
In my opinion, there is no more nefarious organization in the country than the CFR. Without a doubt, it has been the most influential organization over America's foreign policy affairs of any organization to ever exist. It is the CFR that has long pushed the United States into regionalization and globalism. It is the CFR that is most responsible for pushing America into a New World Order. CFR members litter the presidential administrations of both Republicans and Democrats, which is why no matter which party assumes the White House, nothing changes in the direction of America's foreign policy. And, of course, Goldman Sachs is, by far, the largest and most influential international banking system in the country. Everything that is harmful to the economic independence of America is spearheaded by Goldman Sachs.
Yes, I realize that there are good people who have been part of the CFR (Admiral Chester Ward, for example), and doubtless there must be a few good folks who work for a company as large as Goldman, but Heidi's longstanding connections with these two organizations do give me pause. Mind you, at this point, I am not condemning, just pointing out red flags.
*His infatuation with Israel
Ted Cruz recently spoke before the non-partisan group "In Defense of Christians" (IDC). In so doing, he began to laud, not the Christians who are suffering in the Middle East (which the organization is designed to help), but the modern state of Israel. When he did this, he was booed by the audience. Cruz became very angry and walked off the stage, saying, "If you will not stand with Israel and the Jews, then I will not stand with you."
But that was not the point. The IDC is all about helping persecuted Christians in the Middle East. And, yes, sometimes it is Israel that does the persecuting. Senator Cruz apparently has no cognizance of the fact that Christians are often persecuted by both Muslims and Jews. Either Mr. Cruz didn't understand the purpose of the IDC and the plight of Christians in the Middle East, or, the for the sake of a publicity stunt, he deliberately chose to throw the Jewish factor in the face of those folks knowing the sensitivity of their feelings at Christians sometimes being persecuted by Jews. No one but Ted Cruz knows his heart in the matter.
See the IDC website here:
As he is trying to establish himself as "the" Christian candidate, it is understandable that Cruz would try to ingratiate himself to conservative Christians. And, unfortunately, most evangelical Christians and pastors have the same basic approach to Israel that they have to civil government. The misinterpretation of Romans 13 causes them to say, "Obey government no matter what." And the misinterpretation of Genesis 12 causes them to say, "Support Israel no matter what." Both of these positions are not only unscriptural, they are very dangerous to America.
Instead of demanding that Middle Eastern Christians "stand with Israel," Senator Cruz should have encouraged them to stand faithful to Christ, which is the message that those folks needed and were looking for. And given Senator Cruz's outspoken Christian profession, this is the message they thought they would hear him give. After all, why else would such a group invite him to speak in the first place?
When the day comes that an American Christian senator (and maybe President) will lend credence to suffering Christians in the Middle East being more loyal to the political policies of a foreign country (in this case, the United States) than to them being faithful to their Savior, Jesus Christ, demonstrates that something is VERY, VERY wrong with the religion of American Christianity.
There you have it. These are my preliminary thoughts on the presidential candidacy of Senator Ted Cruz. I reserve the right to adjust these thoughts, one way or the other, as I learn more.
P.S. Last week, some of you who receive the email version of this column had several copies of the column appear in your inbox. Please know that my office would never allow such a thing to happen if we knew it was happening and could stop it. There was some sort of malfunction in our computer system (we have tens of thousands of subscribers) that caused some people (not everyone) to receive multiple copies of the column last week. I assure you we will be watching this and will correct the problem as soon as we can. Hopefully, you will only receive one copy of this week's column in your inbox. Thank you for your understanding and patience.
© Chuck Baldwin