After the amazing Ted Cruz triumph over Texas Lt. Governor David Dewhurst for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate, a couple political Twitterati including Rick Wilson and David Weigel mused that success has 1000 fathers . The implication, of course, that everyone wants to share in the success and no one wants to admit they were part of a losing effort.
That’s true, of course. As I tweeted: Winning > Losing. And it’s fun to be on the winning side.
In thinking about Ted Cruz’ win, though, his success really did have a thousand fathers. More, actually.
I could probably list 100 people, easily, who put it on the line, and early, for Ted Cruz. I’ll admit I came on board after Jim DeMint because of my love for both Michael Williams and Ted Cruz. Both are great conservatives. It was a matter of who could win. It didn’t take long for Ted to demonstrate that he was the guy.
Jim DeMint lead the way. Mike Lee pushed everyone far and wide for Ted. But that really wasn’t the beginning.
Ted Cruz spoke at Texas Americans for Prosperity events and was introduced to grassroots there. After that, Ted did the hard work of attending CPACs, multiple Tea Parties, and all sorts of conservative gatherings.
Every Texas Tea Party leader and many tea partiers themselves knew Ted personally. He and his campaign manager John Drogin gutted it up day in and day out doing the hard politicking that it takes to win when you don’t have millions to burn.
Club for Growth, Freedom Works, and Sarah Palin [her analysis here], to name a few, came in and fortified and energized Cruz supporters, pushing Cruz enough to rob Dewhurst of the primary victory and forcing a run-off.
And here is why Citizen United is so very, very important: Without SuperPACs, incumbents are nearly untouchable.
How many important donors could give to these PACs and not risk the wrath of the very powerful powers-that-be? Many. Otherwise, they’d have to curry favor with someone like the Lt. Governor or sit on the sidelines for fear of losing and being punished for disloyalty.
PACS give donors both big and small the ability to fight for politicians who represent them without fear of reprisal should their fight be lost.
So, Ted Cruz success had thousands of fathers, but mostly Ted Cruz succeeded because he is a great candidate, the right man for the time, and worked his tail off doing the old fashioned work of politics — earning one vote at at time.
Ted’s victory speech here.
Ted Cruz looks good going into the run-off election with Texas Lt. Governor David Dewhurst to be the Republican nominee for the United States Senate. How did this happen?
Well, Ted is a great candidate first of all: smart, principled, and hard working. He has been working the grassroots circuit for years. I first met Ted maybe three or four years ago when he was speaking at an Americans for Prosperity event in Austin. Since then, he’s faithfully attended Teaparty after Teaparty event. Ted knows every significant grassroots activist in Texas personally.
Ted’s hard work gave him name recognition among the around 30% of the most faithful, devoted conservative leaning political faithful in Texas. They came through and voted for him in the primary but Dewhurst still beat him with his higher name recognition and money, but I knew pretty assuredly that if Ted got into the run-off, Team Dewhurst was in big trouble.
Why? A couple reasons:
1. Most Republican voters have already voted and won’t come back out to vote.
2. The most dedicated will vote.
3. In a head-to-head, Cruz’s name recognition will increase.
The Dewhurst camp made a bad decision when they went so negative on Ted Cruz: The criticism was so outrageously over-the-top that people were forced to go look up the truth. When they went to investigate, many liked what they saw. I’m not sure if the negative ads didn’t help Ted Cruz.
Thursday night of last week, FreePAC, Freedom Works political action committee taught a stadium full of people how to get out the vote. [My interview with Matt Kibbe here.]
After that, there were rousing speeches from all sorts of Cruz supporters. Following the speechifying, Senators Jim DeMint, Mike Lee, and Rand Paul, Republican usurper Richard Mourdock of Indiana (who beat incumbent Senator Lugar), and FreedomWorks president Matt Kibbe gave a press conference. There were a couple reporters there and then about 20 bloggers.
[Aside: Journalists ask stupid questions. I got to roll my eyes in front of them instead of online. Example: “Do Republicans want to win the Presidency more or the Congress more?”]
The FreePAC event lasted late and so early Friday, I drove back to The Woodlands, Texas and then went to the TeaParty event where many state TeaParty leaders showed up and endorsed Ted Cruz. Also there: Senator Jim DeMint and former Alaska Governor Ted Cruz.
Combined, these events and others like them around the state have the troops riled for a big turnout tomorrow. The energy certainly seems in Ted Cruz’ favor.
Tonight, I had the very special opportunity to talk to former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz. Ted is running for U.S. Senate but first he must win a very expensive and very challenging primary against an opponent who is spending a million dollars a week to beat him. He’s still confident.
Ted received another big endorsement — this time from Governor Sarah Palin. He’s also been endorsed by Rand Paul, (and just now, RON Paul!!), Mike Lee, and a bunch of other people.
What Ted needs is your vote and money.
Have a question about Ted Cruz? He answers it here. Everything from social to fiscal to economic issues. Listen and share!
At Blogcon 2011 in Denver, Colorado, some fresh U.S. Senate and House hopefuls visited with bloggers. Here’s a little info on all of them:
Karen Harrington: Tough lady. Owns three restaurants. Bawdy, smart, funny and determined to win a tough election against Debbie Wassmerman-Schultz. Consider the following: If redistricting goes as planned, that shifts her district more favorably to Harrington. More importantly, a tight races keeps DWS from flitting around the country on behalf of Obama. She’ll have to stay back home and fight for her seat. We want her to have to work. Taped interview here.
Dan Lilenquist: Dan is a state representative in Utah and just won Legislator of the Year for how he has dealt with entitlements in Utah. Rumor has it that he may primary Orrin Hatch and win that seat. I’ve heard people I respect shrug and say that we shouldn’t be primarying Republicans this year. Hogwash. The new blood in the Senate has made a significant difference pulling the Senate to the Right. We need more constitutionally-based folks in there. Suck it up and get back to work Tea Party! Interview here.
Richard Mourdock: Richard is Indiana’s state treasurer and running against Obama’s favorite liberal Republican Dick Lugar. Again, tired of your ideals being sold down the river by a guy who works for the other side? Well, we need to continue to hold these Republicans accountable. See why here. Interview here.
With the national presidential election turning into a hot mess, keeping eyes on the Senate prize and adding seats there is an encouraging endeavor.
More unintended consequences. For doctors who offer payment plans for patients who can’t afford to pay up front, a new regulation by the government. It’s designed to “fix” problems, don’t you know:
Our new ad below. Learn more at StopTheCFPA.com.
“Of course I allow my patients to pay in installments. They couldn’t afford orthodontics otherwise. Does that make me a financial company?”
Legislation that has passed the House and is pending in the Senate would create a new regulatory agency with the power to regulate a small business that allows its customers to pay in more than four installments or applies late fees –Senate Bill § 1027(a)(2)(B)(iii)– This is the wrong way to fix financial regulation and the wrong way to protect consumers. Let’s get it right by working together on a commonsense solution without creating a new $410 million big government bureaucracy with powers to regulate businesses that had nothing to do with the financial crisis.
Robert Stacy McCain at the American Spectator (doing great work, by the way, subscribe to their magazine) writes about the Senate primary race in Arizona. A couple money quotes:
“Obviously, the gulf between my opponent’s rhetoric and the reality is so great it exceeds the geographic dimensions of our own Grand Canyon,” Hayworth says. “It’s more than a credibility gap, it’s a credibility canyon.… If he was really concerned about [the influence of political contributions], he certainly seems to have gotten over it very quickly.”
Whether McCain’s big money will be enough to secure his re-election, it undoubtedly gives him advantages against Hayworth, whose low-budget campaign doesn’t expect to match the incumbent dollar-for-dollar in the five months between now and the August 24 primary.
“We know we’re not going to out-raise him,” Hayworth says. “We’re not going to out-spend him.”
No way! John McCain is using big money to win an election? I thought he wanted money out of campaigns?
And then there is the recent hard tack to the right. It seems John McCain suddenly finds the border issue an important law enforcement issue:
But 2010 is not 2004, and in the intervening years, McCain led a legislative push to grant amnesty to illegal aliens — a very unpopular stance in Arizona, especially with Republican and conservative-leaning independents. (Arizona election law allows registered independents to vote in either party primary.) A Rasmussen poll last year found that Arizona voters considered immigration a more important issue than health-care reform and 65 percent said “enforcing the borders is more important than legalizing the status of those already living here.”
The immigration issue has “gotten bigger” in Arizona recently, Hayworth says, after a Cochise County rancher was found shot dead Saturday near the Mexican border, a crime that law-enforcement officials suggest was committed by illegal aliens or smugglers who have made the border an increasingly dangerous place.
“Border security is national security and it is time that we enforce the law,” Hayworth said in a press release reacting to the killing of 58-year-old Rob Krentz, whose family has owned a cattle ranch near the border for more than a century. “For thousands of Arizonans, border security is also quite literally a matter of personal security.”
I came thisclose to headlining the post “comedy gold.” What miracles hath this Hayworth primary challenge wrought!
From the man who once famously groused about conservatives’ desire to build a “goddamned fence” and then denied voting for it when pressed by Univision during the campaign, I give you John McCain — border warrior:
This is why primaries are so important. I’m guessing the reason that John McCain is finding his conservative soul is because his internal polling looks terrible.
So many of these politicians have sat in Washington, ignored American sentiment, and ignored their own constituents. There are many races where I feel less than enthusiastic about the primary challenger, but the incumbent has such a long history of betraying fiscal conservatism and self-aggrandizement, that I want them to go.
Politics should not be a lifetime sport with lush retirement package. But that’s how it goes now, in DC. Politicians get into office, get bought off by big interests, and then stay in office with the money received from those big interests. John McCain’s McCain-Feingold act made the problem even worse–but it turned out better for John McCain. The law protected incumbents.
Well, there should be no protection for incumbents. They should have to defend their positions, defend their votes and be at least marginally responsive to their constituents. I mean, at least pretend you give a damn what your voters think. Man.
Isn’t interesting how they keep debating on the weekend when no one is paying attention.
Leahy Wants A “Truth And Reconciliation” Commission
….to investigate Bush. Irony. Thy name is Democrat.
Spouting off on Twitter, as is my custom, I offended a Senate staffer who said that other Senate staffers (and maybe Senators themselves, who knows) were offended by my blanket statement that, to paraphrase, “Republican Senators are a bunch of inbred cretins”. Okay, so that’s not the nicest way to say what Thomas Sowell more elegantly wrote in his article “Republicans As Democrats.” I’ll quote him in a minute.
The context of my comment was the notion that the Stimulus Bill could somehow be magically turned into better legislation by Senate Republicans rather than the bill being an inherently horrendous pile of economy-hurting poop that needed to die. The staffer was telling me about the Republican alternative legislation that would deal with “the root cause” and lower interest rates to 4.0-4.5% for troubled home owners. He was shocked at my outrage.
Why was I outraged? Well, because as a tax-paying, small-business owning, home-owner who is refinancing right now to get near a 4.5% interest rate LEGITIMATELY, the bank is humping us because appraisers are afraid to stand by appraisals so are way under-valuing property making it a pain in the butt to get a good deal on a loan. So, when REPUBLICAN Senators writes legislation rewarding people who couldn’t afford the houses they bought given by banks who played with funny money at the Senate’s own behest (because of horrible laws encouraging lending to bad risks), are now troubled and they get an automatic 4.0% loan to “take the pressure off” and “save their homes” while I have to jump through hoops like a circus poodle when I have paid on-time, actually pay my taxes (a lot of them) and employ people, it ticks me off. [Yes, that was a long sentence. Taking a breath.]
So, let me get this straight: Republican Senators are just Democrat Senators but a little nicer? The new Republican policy is to reward bad behavior and punish those who follow the law, live within their means and employ people?
I get that if everyone loses their jobs, loses their homes and banks implode that it’s bad for the economy–and for my home value (which will lose more value). What I also get is that the GOVERNMENT caused this to begin with. Stupid law created the economic situation we’re in and we don’t need the government trying to bail themselves out by avoiding the inevitable. This situation is going to be painful for a while.
The solution, as I see it, is to start rewarding good behavior. Banks who are solvent should advertise and open their books. People will start putting their money there. Bad banks will fail. Aw, too bad. That’s what happens when you’re greedy or stupid or both. Bad businesses will fail who relied exclusively on credit. You know what? That is life. That’s capitalism. And it’s harsh and horrible. Companies who don’t live on credit will survive. Right now the “bailed out” banks aren’t lending anyway. They are holding the money and trying to stay solvent.
The solution is to free up the market by reassuring the market. Right now, businesses with money are afraid to invest. They have hiring freezes, traveling freezes, they are “hunkering down” (to use that reviled phrase) for the next four years of higher taxes and a miserable business climate. This fear is causing the economy to further implode. People are waiting to see what happens.
The solution is for President Obama to send a clear signal that taxes will be cut, corporations will be given tax cuts and room and reinforcement to grow. The solution is to cut the size of the government because it’s taking money out of the private sector.
Unfortunately for America, the solution is to do the very things that Republicans used to stand for and do and we’re stuck with a Democratic Congress and President. Well, the American people would prefer a real Democrat than a false one dressed up as a Republican. And besides, Barack Obama sounded more conservative than any Republicans anywhere during the election cycle. He may be forced to BE one, too. The economy cannot bear Democratic wish lists. It will sink an embattled ship and take Dems down with it. Seems like the Blue Dogs, at least, get this.
So, when I was saying that the Senate houses a bunch of “inbred cretins”, that’s what I meant. Republicans WILL NOT succeed by being Democrats-lite. Stand for principles already or be consigned to irrelevance for decades. That Senate Republicans do not get this is just maddening. They have killed the brand and continue, after losing big over and over, to do so. And Senate staffers are angry with ME and other conservatives for pointing this out?
I believe in Reagan’s 11th Commandment, too. It’s what kept me positive when I heard McCain bumble around during the run-up to the election. But enough is enough. Republicans cannot win by betraying principles–being corrupt, spending, bad-behavior-enforcing, unethical, pork-loving legislators. That’s what Democrats are for. That’s what is expected of Democrats. It IS their brand. And their constituents don’t care because they hope to be on the receiving end of the largess.
The problem for Republicans is that their constituents actually pay taxes. They are the silent majority. And right now, they feel unrepresented by either party. They hoped Barack Obama represented them. I think they’ve probably been dissuaded of that notion.
Thomas Sowell says it better than me and more eloquently than what I was barking at the Senate staffer:
Within 24 hours, however, Republicans in the Senate came out with a plan to have the government fix mortgage interest rates at four percent– and use taxpayers’ money to cover the losses that lenders would otherwise sustain.
It is painfully obvious that government intervention in the housing markets over the past several years has been at the heart of the boom and bust that has led to a huge economic downturn.
It was not the market, but the government, that pushed for abandoning traditional standards for making mortgage loans. That was what got both borrowers and lenders way out on a limb– and set off economic shock waves when the limb broke.
The last time the Republicans pushed for price controls was during the Nixon administration. It was very popular in the short run. But, in the long run, even Nixon admitted in his memoirs that it was bad for the country.
Price controls have been tried and failed, in countries around the world, going all the way back to ancient Rome and Babylon. Moreover, politicians intervening in the economy is the hallmark of Democrats.
What principle separates the Republicans from the Democrats? If they are just Tweedledee and Tweedledum, then elections come down to personality and rhetoric. If that happens, you can bet the rent money on the Democrats winning.
That’s right. Senate Republicans need to wake up. What sounds good around the negotiating table is absolute political suicide in the big picture. The Senate has become too much of what it’s meant to be: a chummy, insiderish, stop-gap against trends and bad, expedient laws. It has become a rubber stamp for bad laws.
The Republicans have consoled themselves that they’ve “worked together” with the other side, but have ignored that their working together has resulted in law that is bad for America. And then they’re mystified when Republicans, conservatives, libertarians and independents are outraged. “I thought the American people wanted bi-partisanship?” they muse. No. What the American people want is law that helps America. Sometimes, that means that Republicans are going to cause a monumental stink and NOT work together with the opposition, because that’s what’s good for America. And the press will hate it. And the libs will howl. And America will be better off because the Republicans stood on a principle. And shock of shocks, Republicans will WIN elections because they stand for something.
I was told I was crazy because I called the Senate Republicans “inbred cretins.” I suggested to the Senate staffer that I would be pleased to meet those who call me crazy. I’m one of those people who is too busy with work, kids, life and paying taxes to be condescended to by those who throw my money around like candy pouring from a pinata and then have the nerve to call me crazy.
You know, Republican, conservative, libertarian, and independent voters know when they’re being condescended to and scorned. It’s bad enough getting maligned by the Left, it’s a betrayal to receive that treatment from Republicans.
Republicans need to find their conservative-libertarian-constitutional DNA. Own it. Love it. Be it. Live it. Inbreeding just causes deformity and death. I’d like the Republican Senators to live as Republicans, not some Democrat clone.