In an August 15, 2013 piece in National Review Online, Bob Costa suggests that whatever else Ted Cruz is doing, he has the Republican establishment shaking in their boots. The fear is that Cruz may win the 2016 GOP nomination.
To be sure Cruz seems to be exciting the Republican faithful as no one has whose named is not Sarah Palin in decades. His organization is well run and has a great deal of grassroots support. This has certain Republican establishment movers and shakers worried. One such operative, Mike Murphy said, ““If Cruz runs, he is going to be the strongest candidate in that movement-conservative silo. He’s charismatic and highly intelligent and says what the base wants to hear. He could maybe even win the nomination, and on the way, he’d be a huge obstacle to Santorum, Huckabee, and Paul. But he’d be a disaster in a general election — a Republican George McGovern.”
Murphy, who worked for both John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012, seems to be positing the position that, sure, our guys lost, but someone like Cruz will lose even more. Mike Walsh, writing for the same publication, is singularly not impressed.
“Ok, kids, which side would you rather be on? The side of proven losers such as Romney and McCain, the superannuated GOP moderates (like Tom Kean, who left office 23 years ago), and the amazing one-trick wonders of Christie and Rubio, who managed to kill his career in record time and is now scrambling to grab ahold of Cruz’s coattails on Obamacare? Or the guys who actually want to fight? The thing that the krack kadres of kampaign konsultants forget is that there isn’t going to be any general election in 2016 — not a truly contested one, anyway — without a clear ideological choice between the two parties; winning is winning and losing is losing, and the point spread doesn’t matter.”
Walsh predicts that the preliminary fight for 2016 will pit the establishment against insurgents like Cruz and Rand Paul. Cruz or Paul or someone like them might win just because the GOP electorate won’t go with an establishment picked moderate for a third time in a row.
“So why not try a flip? Nominate the most conservative candidate and then wait for the ‘moderates’ to come home; the GOP couldn’t do any worse than it’s been doing. Cruz and Paul know the knives are already being sharpened for them by members of their own caucus; what have they got to lose? ‘If you set out to take Vienna,’ said Napoleon, ‘take Vienna.’ No wonder the milquetoasts of the GOP are already afraid. Why, that would upset the Peace of Westphalia, or something.”
If this seems familiar to anyone of a certain age who follows politics, one can only think back to 1980 and another crazy man who was going to lead the Republicans to defeat. His name was Ronald Reagan. Whatever happened to him?