17 votes

Why Ted Cruz is no Rand Paul


Senator Cruz represents no new thinking on the part of the GOP—quite the contrary, his whole public persona is based on amplifying the existing Republican stereotype. He’s the perfect movement conservative: articulate, combative, dramatic, but not particularly effective. He frames the conflicts he rides into as showdowns between freedom and socialism—Obama “is moving us day-by-day to being closer to a European socialist nation,” he once said—or, as in the Hagel confirmation hearings, between muscular patriotism and un-American subversion.

He’s avoided taking a clear stand on foreign policy, signaling at times that he thinks Obama isn’t aggressive enough in places like Syria—”We need to be developing a clear, practical plan to go in, locate the [chemical] weapons, secure or destroy them, and then get out. The United States should be firmly in the lead to make sure the job is done right,” he said in June—at other times saying that America should not act as “al-Qaeda’s air force.” He’s a hawk who will strike a dovish pose if a particular intervention, proposed by a Democratic president, isn’t popular.

This buys him some credit with young Ron/Rand Paul supporters who want to think the best of him because they like his posturing on domestic issues, but in an important sense he’s more dangerous to noninterventionists than an open enemy like John McCain or Lindsey Graham is, since Cruz encourages the antiwar right to be complacent and overlook the differences between someone who’s willing to stick his neck out on foreign policy—as both the former congressman and the present senator Paul have been willing to do—and someone whose foreign policy is basically defined by his Republican partisanship. Cruz deserves credit for the good things he’s done, including joining Senator Paul’s drone filibuster, but that credit should not extend to making any mistake about the man’s fundamental character.

Paul’s filibuster was also symbolic, but there’s a tremendous difference between the educational effect of what Paul did—his message was not just aimed at the Republican base—and Cruz’s pitch to the true believers. Cruz’s position is that the Republican Party only needs to be more Republican, as “Republican” has been defined by the talk-radio right in the past 20 years.

There are two problems with that. On a practical political level, that kind of Republicanism cannot win national majorities. And more importantly, it doesn’t deserve to. A Ted Cruz Republican—a Republican’s Republican—not only has no answers to the decline of the American middle class and the extraordinary ineptitude of U.S. global hegemony but refuses even to address the questions. Instead, we get outmoded cliches about socialism and free markets—when in fact what we’re looking at are alternative forms of mixed economy—and jingoism in foreign policy, if occasionally jingoism that opposes wars led by Democrats. These positions only distract from, or indeed exacerbate, the problems of our political economy and global strategy.

In drawing a contrast between Cruz and Paul, one shouldn’t downplay the conventional side of the Kentucky senator. He’s a conservative Republican very much in tune with the party’s activist base, he too draws contrasts between free markets and big government, and even in foreign policy he’s indulged some reflexive right-wing prejudices against foreign aid and sophisticated diplomacy. But that’s not the whole story: he knows his libertarian father’s point of view as well—which supplies reasons other than xenophobia for opposing foreign aid—and one gets the impression that Senator Paul recognizes both the virtues and limitations of the conventional Republican position and Paul père‘s libertarianism alike and is having to come up with a new synthesis of his own, one that doesn’t supply ready-made answers to every question and thus requires a great degree of prudential reflection. This is a practical effort, the fostering of a political philosophy through practice rather than theory or rabble-rousing p.r.

That’s not Rand Paul’s project alone, but he’s the most prominent of the truly post-Bush Republicans. Cruz, who seemed quite happy in George W. Bush’s Justice Department, is something else: a figure straight out of Rush Limbaugh’s dreams, the 2013 model of 2003′s Republican right.

Trending on the Web

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

yes... Rand Paul is no Ron Paul...why the divide and conquer?



"Take hold of the future or the future will take hold of you." -- Patrick Dixon

I Don't Trust Him

to be President, but he is a fine Senator, he's 3rd best at least.

I saw enough

Jon Stewart absolutely destroyed Cruz. Even makIng allowance for stream of conscious rhetoric his likening Obamacare to Nazism and appeasement was not only bizarre but factually wrong - the Munich agreement was in the 30's not the 40's.

Cruz' bloviating would be amusing if it weren't so annoying. I think the author is right on point about his partisan "principles" that boil down to "if Obama is for it I'm agin' it". That may play with the Rush crowd but I had hoped we would have higher standards.

Whether he is a neocon plant or just pandering to the yahoos I don't know. But all in all a lot of "sound and fury, signifying nothing"


This is the way I see it.

Cruz is a bridge to Paul.

My dad is the staunchest hardline conservative status quo proponent that I have ever met in my life.

John McCain was his hero.

His new hero is now Cruz.

No way he ever votes for a Paul ...

Unless of course ... his new hero tells him to.

God Bless.

Yea...Rand is

not Ron.

And Cruz may not be Rand.

And Mike Lee might not be Cruz.

But Ron could not win...we tried hard...twice.

Rand, Cruz and Lee can win and any of those three would be a helluva lot better than any prez in my lifetime.

Ron would easily have won

if he had been young enough to try it again in 2016. If Rand wins, it will be because his father laid the groundwork. Ron would have won because he inspires. He just didn't have time to get his message propagated through society. If Rand wins, it will be to the extent he demonstrates he believes in principle. If he plays the game too much, he will fail to inspire, and will not be able to win the way his dad would have.

Hahaha. What unrealistic

Hahaha. What unrealistic thinking. Would you take off your blinders for a sec?! He got less than 2% in 3 attempts, but the fourth would be "easy"???? Come on man. PLEASE get real.

Maybe if he "plays the game" enough and "fails to inspire" enough people he will fail miserably and get no votes, because you know, clearly that is what happens to people who know what the hell thy are doing in politics. Just look at McCain, Romney, and Obama, oh wait, they're all incredibly successful and it worked out better than if they told the truth. But don't worry, I'm sure that those and 99.9% of our past politicians have all been flukes and exceptions to your wierd little theory.

I'm sorry if you think I'm being a dick but this kind of incredibly unrealistic thinking is causing a massive fracture that could prevent us from making any positive changes. Just because the "lesser of two evils" strategy has gone so horribly, people seem to think it is preferable to just pick the greater evil. You work worth what you've got, and the reality is that I love the crap out of Ron Paul but he never stood a chance of being elected in the current environment. Not even a little bit. We want to see change, not just have a liberty candidate up there who loses with only 5% of the vote every single time.

Ron came a close second in the New Hampshire

primary in 2012 after coming in third in Iowa. With just a few percent more votes in Iowa, he would have won the Iowa caucuses outright. Then how do you think he would have done in New Hampshire? There would have been no stopping him for the nomination. Once he had the nomination in hand, and it would no longer be possible to ignore or belittle him, he would have mopped up the floor with Obama in the debates. Your ignorance is profound, but that is OK, as ignorance can be cured.

That is true, but....

Rand Paul is no Ron Paul.

Natural Order

You Took the words right out of my mouth



"Take hold of the future or the future will take hold of you." -- Patrick Dixon

C_T_CZ's picture

Is Cruz challenging government?

If so, it's a +1 for him in my book. I'm willing to keep an open mind about him - we can't win this fight alone.

“Real patriotism is a willingness to challenge the government when it’s wrong.”
― Ron Paul

Proclaim LIBERTY throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof

Mental Gymnastics and Grasping at Straws

That's all I see here.

It's one thing to be cautious, but people around here are downright evil. He hasn't actually done ANYTHING bad yet, people are just so suspicious that they refuse to support him.

I say, support the good politicians. Take what you can get when there are less than 20 members of our legal system that even remotely resemble liberty-oriented beliefs!

And always keep an eye on them, no matter how "good" they are (or look). Because even if they are legitimate liberty lovers when they start, it's easy to become corrupted. There is no politician that should ever be let "off the hook" as far as checking into what they do.

But they should be considered innocent until proven guilty.

When you use an issue like this to call someone out, you're fighting against liberty. There's just no reason for it. When he does something wrong, THEN call him out. Herp derp. Why is this so difficult?

It is an act of AGGRESSION to accuse someone of a crime they haven't committed. It is THOUGHT POLICING to consider people guilty simply because you are suspicious of their motives.

It Is Wise To Be Suspicious

A month ago it looked like Rand could get the nomination in a landslide, the only thing that might stop him would be a spoiler candidate. Now the establishment has one in Cruz. It would be foolish to deny where this is leading.

When it came to Drones, Syria and the NSA, the public was uniting. I was finding common-ground with my liberal relatives. Now the Obamacare debate has completely divided the populace along party lines. Ted's publicity stunt has destroyed the gains made by Rand.

This isn't "suspicion". This

This isn't "suspicion". This is accusation. There is a huge difference. It is one thing to warn, hey, this smells a little fishy, let's keep a close eye on the dude. That's not what's happening. People are outright accusing him of terrible terrible things, simply because you can envision a scenario where he turns out to be a bad guy.

He has agitated for war, what

He has agitated for war, what more do you want?

Ventura 2012

Wow, of all possible

Wow, of all possible responses this may have been the lowest on my list of expectations. What incredible irony considering who you're comparing him to....lol. I feel your reply demonstrates my point pretty well, so thanks.

Brilliant fact-free retort

Brilliant fact-free retort

Ventura 2012

Actually it is indeed a fact

Actually it is indeed a fact that your statement was incredibly ironic. You say Cruz is no Paul because Cruz lobbied for some war that you failed to cite or even name, yet Paul has supported several war bills and tougher sanctions. Your argument is based on extremely circular logic.

It is in fact, your retort, which was closer to "fact free". Although you did include a fact, it was completely unrelated to anything I said and failed to even rebut or adress a single point I made.

More snark from you

Simply type in "Ted Cruz Neocon" into Google. I do not agree with Rand Paul's support for sanctions but at least he seems to have done it under the mistaken belief that it will prevent all out war. Contrast that with Cruz' speeches to CUFI and absolute hackery against Hagel. Cruz is a Bachmann-esque Bush pedigreed plant. No one has been more of a critic of Rand and his incrementalism than I have, however at least Rand has the pedigree. If you think the neocons are not working full time to coopt the Tea Party then I dont know what to tell you.

Ventura 2012

+1 Brawler

Glad to be on the same side for a change. I haven't figured TelFiRE out yet, whether he's a troll, or just someone who thinks a certain degree of a lack of principle is a valuable trait to have in a leader.

More baseless accusations from you

I'm reminded of early schooling days, when children would yell absurd claims and then cite a powerful source: "look it up". Now it's "just google it". Sorry, but that's your job if you want to convince me of anything. Or are you just arguing for the sake of it?

Classic troll tactic. I sent

Classic troll tactic. I sent the legal brief by 1 day FedEx your highness, all sources cited just like you did haha.

Ventura 2012

It just infuriates me that

It just infuriates me that people can't handle people disagreeing with them. Look at how long I've been a member, look how much I've posted, see how my opinion has changed slightly over time and how I have NOT trolled anyone, EVER. I have a fucking opinion, and I'm fucking entitled to it. I'm not a god damn troll just because I don't agree with you. There are REAL trolls out there, and we have no word to use against them any more, because dicks like you have turned it into something they just use on anyone who they disagree with. It used to mean someone who sits around making comments with the sole purpose of making people angry. From my perspective, your latest falls squarely into that category. I'm not a god damn troll, you piece of shit.

Didnt say you are a troll,

Didnt say you are a troll, crybaby, I said you used an argumentative troll tactic to bitch and moan about sources when the info is common knowledge and you can look it up yourself if you think im lying. Some of us have lives you know. Do you want a diaper change along with you 50page brief milord?

Ventura 2012

Hear, hear! Caution is

Hear, hear!

Caution is advised with Cruz. That is all I'm saying.

"The United States can pay any debt it has because we can always print money to do that." — Alan Greenspan

Here is some supporting information:


"What if the American people learn the truth" - Ron Paul