Presidential hopefuls at Tea Party Convention in Myrtle Beach

19 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Cruz needles Romney in front of South Carolina activists.

HOUSTON — Ted Cruz delivered on Sunday what looked like a dry run of his 2016 presidential stump speech to the South Carolina activists who will help decide that election.

Ted Cruz urged archconservatives on Sunday to help nominate a Republican from their own ranks in 2016 or risk losing a third consecutive national election. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, reiterated his pitch on Sunday that if Republicans nominate a moderate candidate to be their presidential nominee in 2016, they’ll lose the White House to the Democrats again. In his first visit to the state, which will host the third presidential primary in February 2016, since October, Cruz told the state’s Tea Party activists that nominating a moderate in 2016 would lead Republicans to lose just like they have when those moderates led tickets in the past. Ted Cruz was in rare form at a tea party convention here on Sunday, dinging the Republican establishment but also cracking jokes and even whipping out an apparent Russian accent.

Cruz called GOP nominees like Mitt Romney in 2012, John McCain in 2008 and Bob Dole in 1996 “good, honorable and decent men” but not conservative enough. His remarks reflect the view that recent GOP nominees haven’t been conservative enough. “If we nominate another candidate in the mold of a Bob Dole or a John McCain or a Mitt Romney, all of whom are good, honorable, decent men,” Cruz said, according to the according to the Houston Chronicle“the same people who stayed home in ’08 and ’12 will stay home in 2016 and the Democrats will win again.” In his speech, Cruz celebrated Republicans’ midterm election sweep and mocked establishment Republicans who chided him in 2013 for his role in a partial government shutdown. The senator advised that candidates “speak the truth” and be “inspiring,” suggesting that Republicans can offer effective messaging on health care and jobs. Cruz’s appearance came days after Romney confirmed at the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting that he’s considering a third White House bid. But he also suggested they show some humor. “Would it kill Republicans to crack a joke?” he said. “I actually think for some Republicans it might.

Two years later, Cruz’s turbulent stint at the National Republican Senatorial Committee has ended, as the Washington newspaper The Hill reported Thursday. Romney weathered an uneasy relationship with the GOP’s conservative wing in 2012 in part because no single candidate among several conservative alternatives could sustain a viable campaign.

You know, lighten up a little. … So many Republicans run a Soviet-style campaign.” He proceeded to demonstrate, in a mock Russian accent: “‘This is a Politburo! The state’s junior senator implored those activists to judge presidential candidates toughly, asking them to look beyond their conservative rhetoric and evaluate their conservative records. “South Carolina is vital to ensuring Republicans nominate real conservatives lead this country,” Cruz said. “And what I would encourage you, for every candidate who shows up in front of you, is ask the question: Show me your the stripes on your back. You do that!’ And a lot of young people are like, ‘Forget that!’” He said the two Republicans in recent history who have most inspired young people were former President Ronald Reagan and former Texas Rep. John Cornyn was a recent exception; the Texan served four years as chairman and is now deputy majority leader.) But it’s also the case that Cruz, for most of the last 18 or 20 months, had been a vice chair in name only.

But … they had bold principles that gave people a reason to stand and fight.” “I have some strong opinions on that, but let me avoid getting ahead of myself,” Cruz said. “It’s a little like going on a first date and telling her the names of the kids.” Cruz also spoke more seriously about 2016, blasting as he has before the “mushy middle” — a term he has most recently linked to Mitt Romney, the failed 2012 GOP nominee who is considering running for a third time. “Every one of those Washington graybeards who goes on TV and talks about how the way to win is to run to the mushy middle … have you noticed these consultants keep losing over and over and over again?” Cruz said. “Who in their right mind would listen to someone who keeps getting whupped and giving us advice on how not to get whupped?” He singled out recent exampled of candidates who, in his view, weren’t sufficiently conservative, and went on to lose. He worked with outside groups such as the Senate Conservatives Fund, which backed not only candidates other than those hand-picked by the GOP’s own committee, but challengers to incumbents — including McConnell himself. The “Washington graybeards” warned that the fight over the nation’s borrowing limit was “too risky” and would cost Republicans in 2014, he said. “We just saw an historic tidal wave of an election,” Cruz said, adding that the “graybeards” still haven’t admitted their political calculus was wrong. And Cruz’s willingness to defy party leaders left him somewhat estranged — most notably when he helped instigate the 16-day government shutdown in fall 2013 in a quixotic effort to strip funding for Obamacare.

To Republicans who say such moves are too sweeping, Cruz again invoked Reagan, framing him as a bedrock conservative who battled the establishment of his day. Cruz did not acknowledge that Reagan, while animating conservatives and attracting Democrats from the middle, also fashioned a series of compromises with Democrats and moderate Republicans on taxes, budgets, immigration and Social Security, among other issues. Another conservative favorite, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, offered the convention a long indictment of what he called a welfare state that has locked millions of Americans in poverty. Pat Roberts and to help Georgia businessman David Purdue. “Senator Cruz was glad to spend considerable time and resources working to help secure a GOP majority,” said spokeswoman Catherine Frazier.

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