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
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 — 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 — and I agree! — 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. 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 — I also want to hear about the third leg lest the stool topple over.