Ted Cruz, two legs and a wobbly stool

Ted Cruz at the Iowa GOP Reagan Dinner

Ted Cruz at the Iowa GOP Reagan Dinner

Last Friday, I had the chance to go to Des Moines and hear Texas Senator Ted Cruz speak at the Iowa GOP Reagan Dinner. I thought it was a good event overall. Kevin Hall over at TheIowaRepublican.com had some commentary on the event in general and while I agree with much of what he wrote, I won’t repeat it here. My focus is on the keynote address and the featured speaker, Ted Cruz.

This was my first opportunity to hear Cruz speak in person. I have to say that I was impressed! Cruz was articulate, passionate and right on the issues. He is after all white hispanic and these days his people could use some love πŸ™‚

I thought that Cruz did an admirable job addressing the elephant in the room. (Can I say that about a Republican event?) That is, he defended his epic 21 hour filibuster that resulted in the government shutdown. While many in the party have portrayed his actions as a failure, he argued that by motivating people and making them aware of the debacle that is Obamacare, we as a party won a victory. I am not sure that I fully agree, I think the truth is somewhere in between. I admire Cruz for taking a stand and leading in the fight, but if this was a victory I am not sure how many more victories we can stand. I still think it was a fight worth fighting, but as Napoleon said,

I may have lost the battle, but not the war.

Cruz is a very good speaker, he spoke clearly and passionately without notes. He wore a lapel mike so he could move about the platform and it made him seem closer to his audience β€” very effective. He managed to work some Texas street cred into his speech, even though his background is Harvard Law via Princeton, he managed to twice say a y’all. Though he couldn’t get too far away from his Ivy League education because in the same sentence he used the phrases: y’all’s help and fait accompli.

Cruz spoke passionately on two issues, growth and liberty. He suggested β€” and I agree! β€” that these are winning issues for Republicans. He even referred to Ronald Reagan’ three legged stool. My problem with Cruz is not what he said, rather it is what he did not say.

Growth and Liberty are only two legs of the stool. The third leg is Traditional Values, while I am not questioning the senators bona fides in this area, it was a notable omission in his remarks. Especially given that he was speaking to an Iowa GOP audience

In the Iowa GOP even many of the Liberty Folk especially those in positions of party leadership are doctrinaire social conservatives. One of the things that I think the party has done right under current leadership, is take a stand on the issues identified in the platform. Issues like life, marriage, educational choice and Second Amendment.Β  I find it puzzling that in a State where Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum were the previous caucus winners, that Cruz would not even mention social issues. I like Cruz, I like what he had to say about liberty and growth β€” I also want to hear about the third leg lest the stool topple over.

The thing I hate most about Politics

SCC Member Wes Enos

SCC Member Wes Enos

The thing I hate most about politics is that sometimes, you find yourself aligned with your adversaries and against your friends. I wish it were the case that the people I personally like were always on the same side of issues as me β€” unfortunately that is not the case.

I have watched the on-going saga of Kent Sorenson and the Bachmann campaign, the Paul campaign and the NICHE list from a distance. I really don’t know Sorenson, but as the evidence mounted, it began to look (at least to me) more and more like he had in fact at they very least violated Senate rules. So, when Sorenson resigned yesterday, I thought it was the right thing to do for the Senate caucus and the GOP. But, I still don’t know the man and I don’t really have a personal stake in his actions.

On the other hand I have served two terms on the State Central Committee with Wes Enos. Even though Wes and I have been on different sides of some battles at RPI (he voted for AJ’s first term) we have been on the same side (he voted against AJ’s current term) more often than not.

Today I learned that Wes resigned from his position as Deputy Chief of Staff for the Senate Republican Caucus under Senate Minority Leader Bill Dix. Wes had been a staffer on he Bachmann campaign and had publicly defended Sorenson against claims that he was paid to jump ship from the Bachmann campaign to the Paul campaign. I don’t have any insider information on whether Wes volunteered to resign or he was encouraged to resign but in the end I think it was a good move. The Senate Republican Caucus needs to be able to put this incident behind them and move on in preparation for the 2014 legislative session and the crucial 2014 midterm elections.

During the 2012 caucuses, Wes served simultaneously as a Bachmann staffer and SCC member. He was not the only one, RPI Chairman AJ Spiker, RPI Co-Chairman David Fischer andΒ  RPI Finance Chairman Drew Ivers were all paid Ron Paul staffers while serving on the SCC. After 2012, Wes saw the light and pledged to not serve concurrently on the SCC and a primary or caucus campaign again.

I believe that current events have made it impossible for Wes to continue to effectively serve on the RPI State Central Committee. The appearance of impropriety in the Sorenson pay to play scandal and Wes’ proximity to the parties involved has become yet one more impediment to RPI doing it’s job and working to elect Republicans.

In light of these events I believe that it is time for Wes to step down from the SCC β€” not because I believe that he did anything wrong, but because I think his presence will become more and more of a distraction in the days ahead.

Wes, it has been a pleasure to serve with you and I wish you and yours the best. I hope you can put this unfortunate chapter behind you and move forward.