--former President George W. Bush
It’s remarkable to have Bush 43 in his retirement attacking a fellow Republican and Texan, but Bush knows he’s hardly alone.
Ted Cruz is called the “most hated man in Washington.” Democrats hate him for his policies, but the reputation also stems from Republican animosity. Cruz has made a name for himself by trying--and over Obamacare succeeding for a few days in October 2013--to close down the government rather than raise the debt ceiling, bust the budget, fund Obamacare, or pay for Planned Parenthood.
Republicans agree with Cruz on most issues, but pragmatists know shutting down government confirms a public image of the GOP as extremists who would defund popular government programs such as social security and medicare just to get their way.
Cruz doesn’t seem to care. He called his leader in the Senate, fellow Republican Mitch McConnell, “a liar.” His profile blossomed as a result of his many battles. Cruz was Trump before there was Trump.
So what are Cruz’s chances of winning the GOP nomination? Good, I would say. Cruz is young, 44, with superb credentials. While at Princeton, Cruz won the 1992 U.S. National Debating Championship and the 1992 North American Debating Championship, and that same year, was named U.S. National Speaker of the Year, as well as half the Team of the Year.
Cruz and his Princeton debate partner then represented Harvard Law School at the 1995 World Debating Championship, making it to the semi-finals. Famed Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz said, "Cruz was off-the-charts brilliant." After law school, Cruz clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist--the plumb of plumb clerkships. Even an Obama couldn’t match these credentials.
Cruz is Hispanic, a plus, and an evangelical Christian, a GOP plus. Cruz’s wife is a Goldman Sachs partner who took leave to help his campaign. He objectively has an impressive campaign organization geared not only to do well in the four early states (Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina) but pointed especially at March 1st's mostly Southern “Super Tuesday." Cruz could be #1 after “Super Tuesday” primaries or caucuses in Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, and Virginia.
Already, Cruz is the top Republican in one of the most important measurements of strength: “Cash on Hand.”
The ranking (in $ millions) is:
1 Hillary Clinton $33.0
2 Bernie Sanders 27.1
3 Ted Cruz 13.8
4 Ben Carson 11.3
5 Marco Rubio 11.0
Among Republicans, Cruz trails only Bush in “Money Raised,” (in $ millions including PACs as well as individually):
1 Jeb Bush $133.3
2 Hillary Clinton 97.7
3 Ted Cruz 64.9
4 Marco Rubio 47.7
5 Bernie Sanders 41.5
6 Ben Carson 31.6
Of course, Trump is self-financed, and may well obliterate all these figures with his own funds. Trump and Ben Carson are Cruz’s main rivals along with Marco Rubio. Carly Fiorina has faded, and right now, Jeb Bush seems to be self-destructing. Cruz is currently #5 in the national polls, #4 in Iowa and South Carolina (he would like to beat #3 Rubio in both), and way down in New Hampshire, but with a good organization.
Comment: I support Rubio, who would do better against Hillary than Cruz. Rubio is a smooth, skilled talker, and better looking than Cruz, who looks like a vampire (see Halloween frights, above).
Rubio speaks better Spanish than Cruz and his wife, unlike Cruz’s, is Hispanic (Colombian). Rubio, also a Tea Party conservative, is a practicing Catholic who sends his three children to parochial schools. If Trump and Carson fade, it may very well come down to handsome, poised Marco v. brilliant, well-organized Ted Cruz.