April 01, 2015

Happy birthday, Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz set the Republican world on fire with his recent announcement of his candidacy for president.
Eduardo Rafael Cruz (his real name) has a number of advantages. These include a high name recognition, a strong (if perhaps overstated on the national level) "core" of support and more.
Does this mean that he should be considered a frontrunner?

Cruz aficionados might say yes, but in an (unofficially as of this time) crowded GOP field, not so fast.
Republicans have a near-mirror choice in Rand Paul, after all, who is less strident, relatively, than Cruz, and plays ball better with fellow Senators, among other things.
Unity is never something to ignore, even if endorsements by senators, or governors, are overrated.
Zingers against fellow Republicans can be funny for the crowd, but sometimes they backfire.

Well, if we don't anoint him the favorite, is he one of a group of favorites?
I'd say probably not, at least not right now.
Let's start with that glut of potential candidates. Until more of them declare themselves actual candidates, then succeed or falter in traction with both polls and donors, it's hard to say too much in general.
Let's move on, then.

Next?
Even if Cruz does have an enthusiastic core, as noted above, that's only half the issue.
Very rich donors may not cotton to him, especially if he continues to take stances like wanting to kill the Export-Import Bank.
Even a moneybags who might otherwise like him, like Sheldon Adelson, for both his tea partyism and his stance on Israel, has called him "too right wing."
Republicans will probably take that to heart.

Besides, the Israel half of the issue probably won't play well in New Hampshire; fellow libertarian-type Republican Paul will surely draw better there.
Even if he doesn't get too snowed there, a poor finish and poor funding will hurt.

Perhaps, though, as some have said, he's like Barry Goldwater; he really cares about moving the GOP even further right, and winning nomination, let alone election, follows behind that.
Rhetorical wins aren't necessarily real wins, though. Sure, Nixon adopted some chunks of Goldwater's "Southern strategy," and Reagan was a water-carrier, but neither even tried to get rid of Social Security or privatize the TVA.
Even if Cruz overcomes his self-handicaps, he's not likely to be nominated.
Since, as of right now, Hillary Clinton is the odds-on favorite, irrational Clinton hatred means the GOP muckety-mucks want to be especially sure to have an electable candidate.
If Ted Cruz seems to have some lasting power in the primaries, but not to be electable, a stop-Cruz movement will gain momentum.
Due to this, he probably has uphill sledding in 2016. But, what about future campaigns, if this is true? Well, 2020 would be interesting. If a Democrat wins in 2016, especially if it's Hillary Clinton, "electability" will be even bitter. And, if a Republican is in the White House, I'm not sure that even Eduardo is that much of a one-man band marching to the tune of cluelessness/
Extending things further out? Unless he stops moderates his tone or appearance at least a little bit, it's going to be the same set of problems. Plus by 2024, if he stays in the Senate, he'll have baggage. And 2024 will be a Senate election year to boot. He could, under Texas' "LBJ law," seek both offices at the same time, but that probably won't sit well. So, for the future?
No chances for Havana Ted to be at 1600 Pennsylvania without an invite, that I can see.
Ted, your equivalent of 15 minutes of fame is about up.

As for why I am wishing Ted Cruz a happy birthday today, check your calendars. Also, if you know what an acrostic is (there's a hint throughout the piece), you have a further answer.

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