Texas Senator Ted Cruz seems to be re-emerging from the humbling way his Presidential campaign ended when he was the last man standing against Donald Trump.
That was perhaps the ugliest period of the campaign and solidified, at least temporarily, the “Never Trump” movement among many in the conservative portion of the Republican party.
After trashing Senator Cruz with the playground nickname of “Lyin’ Ted” due, apparently, to he and his wife exercising a margin loan against their assets at Goldman Sachs where Mrs. Cruz worked in order to help finance their campaign, the language and charges only continued to deteriorate.
Don’t Throw Stones, Donald!
[How ironic this all looks retrospectively. The President-elect still has not released any of his tax returns, providing a spurious explanation that his bevy of accountants and attorneys have advised him against releasing anything currently under audit by the Internal Revenue Service. But he has many years’ worth of returns that are not being audited. In addition, there was the less than subtle shot that, despite the Senator’s claim that he represented the “anti-establishment” far more legitimately than Donald Trump, his wife worked for – dare we say the words? – Goldman Sachs!]
Donald’s sleazy charges against the Cruz family reached the sub-basement when he quoted that paragon of journalism, The National Enquirer, which suggested that Ted’s father, Raphael, was connected in some way to Lee Harvey Oswald, the assassin of John F. Kennedy. The clear unstated inference was that Rafael Cruz was somehow connected to the death of President Kennedy. At the time Donald was quoted in Politico as saying, “I mean if that was The New York Times, they would have gotten a Pulitzer Prize for their reporting.”
Cruz Crashes at Convention
On a personal level, it is not difficult to understand why Senator Cruz and his family, following Mr. Trump’s victory in the primary, would be hesitant to support him with enthusiasm. When he agreed to speak at the Republican Convention, there was an expectation that the page would be turned, that any remaining bitterness would be forgotten and a ringing endorsement would be delivered from the lectern.
But Donald had made no effort to repair their relationship which would have taken little effort, and it was clear that the Senator was not going to deliver the message expected by Mr. Trump’s supporters, even those in the Texas delegation. He was booed and left the stage with some personal integrity intact but embarrassed, having fallen deeply into the shadow of a candidate whose credentials were suspect.
As the Obama administration draws to an inevitable close, the reality of a Trump inauguration sinks in and a Republican House and Senate is sworn in, Ted Cruz has reappeared, enthusiastically promoting causes for which he was ridiculed while Obama ruled and which now may find favor in a Trump administration.
Fearless Friend of Israel
He is leading the effort in the Senate with Marco Rubio to move the American Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. He is promoting with Lindsey Graham a reduction in American financial support to the United Nations until there is a material change in Resolution 2334. He is leading the charge to reduce taxpayer support to the Palestinian Authority until it is prepared to acknowledge Israel’s existence as the homeland of the Jewish people and it stops using that money to provide compensation to the families of “martyrs”. He is working on replacing Obamacare against which he filibustered for 21 hours, knowing the leadership of his own party ridiculed his actions. And he is a proponent of term limits in the House and the Senate which everybody loves to talk about, but no one serving in either body ever wants to raise.
Regardless of one’s perception of Cruz – he has been criticized legitimately as one of the “least liked” figures in Washington, he remains very ambitious and confrontational, some of his ideological views might be viewed as too extreme even by those who largely admire his courage – he has been an unwavering friend of Israel’s in the American government. He has opposed the JCPOA since the minute it was proposed, has never subscribed to the notion that engagement with Iran would persuade them to become positive actors in the region, nor slow their inevitable development of a nuclear military capability.
A New Cruz?
Senator Cruz has accepted some unalterable realities. He lost the election. Donald Trump will become the next President. He has decided to run for a second term in 2018 and he could be opposed in a primary by Rep. Michael McCaul, a powerful, rich, conservative, more popular figure. But he also realizes that he will be working with a House and Senate both controlled by Republicans, a Republican Executive branch, and a Cabinet whose members have already impressed him.
It will be very interesting to see whether he can get some of these early legislative initiatives moving through Congress and signed by the President in the first months of the new Administration. With a dose of humility and self-examination that must surely accompany his recent experience, he has the opportunity to tangibly reform the operation of government in a way his theatrics of the past never could.