I gotta admit, I haven't been all that enthused about following the 2016 presidential electoral campaigns. As I've said before, I'm not getting paid to engage in full-time punditry. But it doesn't take a pundit to realize that Ted Cruz's presidential aspirations are a classic case of showboating and attention whoring.
Let's face it - a presidential campaign is perhaps one of the best ways of grabbing some well-needed spotlight time if you want to be somebody on the Beltway scene. Just ask Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, Rick Santorum and a bunch of others who clawed their way towards the brass ring back in 2012. There's plenty to gain from being "that guy who ran for president back in 2016" just so long as you don't slice your own campaign into the weeds.
As to why Cruz's presidential aspirations will wind up unfulfilled, it's not the citizenship issue that'll trip him up (unless he's revealed to be Stephen Harper's Manchurian Candidate). Like our esteemed current president, Rafael Edward meets all of the important qualifications: he's over 35, he's lived in the U.S. for over 14 years and his dear mum was a U.S. citizen when he was born, in spite of his dad being a commie canuck.
A long while ago, I said Ralphy was a shoe-in for the 2016 presidential candidacy. That doesn't mean he'll be a shoe-in for the actual Oval Office job.
Poor Ralphy might be the darling of the birther/Tea Party set, but the rest of the GOP world just isn't feeling him:
First, Cruz doesn’t have enough support from party bigwigs. To win the Republican or Democratic nomination, you need the backing of at least some of the party apparatus. At a minimum, your fellow party members shouldn’t hate you. Otherwise, you end up getting the Newt Gingrich 2012 treatment. That is, you get pounced on the moment you’re seen as a threat to win the nomination.
If we’re ever in a world where it looks like Cruz could win the nomination, you’ll very likely see such pouncing. You can read article after article about how Cruz has isolated himself in the Senate. It got so bad that he recently had to apologize to his Republican colleagues.
And the Cruz hatred doesn’t stop at the edges of the Senate cloakroom. Influential party actors dislike him, too. I can’t remember another Republican who united Ann Coulter, Pat Robertson, Jennifer Rubin and Thomas Sowell in opposition.
Ralphy's previous showboating has put him at odds with many of the establishment players within the GOP. Being the political equivalent of a firebrand evangelical preacher packs the pews full of far-right conservatives looking for that old time religion, but at the end of the day, the GOP establishment picks moderates who won't scare the mainstreamers with their talk of fire, brimstone and damnation, but have just enough fire to avoid being called a weak RINO by their peers. It's all a balancing act, you see.
Which is why your chances of seeing Ted Cruz being sworn into office on January 20, 2017 are about as remote as Jon Huntsman's.
But pissing off the GOP establishment isn't the only reason why he might walk away from his 2016 campaign empty-handed. The fervent pursuit of ideological purity for appearance's sake tends to create a lot of moral and ethical casualties along the way. To wit, Ralphy's begrudging move towards Obamacare:
The newly announced Republican presidential candidate told CNN's Dana Bash on Tuesday that he will sign up for health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act -- a law he has been on a crusade to kill.
"We'll be getting new health insurance and we'll presumably do it through my job with the Senate, and so we'll be on the federal exchange with millions of others on the federal exchange," Cruz said.
Asked whether he would accept the government contribution available to lawmakers and congressional staffers for their health care coverage through the ACA, Cruz said he will "follow the text of the law."
"I strongly oppose the exemption that President Obama illegally put in place for members of Congress because (Senate Minority Leader) Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats didn't want to be under the same rules as the American people," Cruz said, before repeating: "I believe we should follow the text of the law."
That's right, the same man who was captured on video calling Obamacare a "trainwreck" had no other choice but to buy a ticket and climb aboard, hoping that his supporters and the general public would have the common decency to forgive him (or at least forget).
To sum things up, you can expect Rafael Edward Cruz to run in the 2016 primary, but don't expect him to become the preferred choice of the GOP establishment and consequently, their favored front-runner for the election. Personally, my money's on Jeb Bush - established pol, plenty of name recognition and deep down, America loves its dynasties.
Take it from someone who does this punditry stuff for a living:
If Cruz were in the position of someone like Rubio or even Rick Perry, I'd be more bullish. But he's not nominee material at all.
— Jamelle Bouie (@jbouie) March 25, 2015