Some Necessary Improvements: An Open Letter to Ted Cruz

Here are the suggestions of someone who wants Ted Cruz to succeed.

I have to preface this article with two disclosures. First, I endorsed Ted Cruz for the presidency many months ago. Second, I’ve donated three times to his campaign, to the point that I received a personally signed copy of A Time for Truth—which I had already read on my Kindle.

This is all to say that I am—and this is the best way I can possibly put it—a Ted Cruz fanboy. As such, the following is written from the perspective of someone who wants desperately to see Cruz succeed, because I believe he’s our last hope at this tipping point.

 

Mr. Cruz,

I’ve carefully watched your development since you were elected to the Senate in 2012. You came right out of the gate as a firebrand—a term used derisively by the left, but one I embrace with open arms. This thrilled me, because as a lifelong Republican, I’ve been disappointed time after time by the establishment. You call these people “campaign conservatives.”

Campaign conservatives promise us the moon, then once elected, deliver show-votes. It’s what they do. Like Carly Fiorina said, they’ve been swimming in the D.C. water for so long, they are immune to their own insincerity. Then you came on the scene, and immediately made waves.

I was in awe watching your 2013 filibuster. It was astonishing and shocking that a Republican who campaigned as a conservative was actually practicing conservatism. More specifically, what made an indelible impact on me was your determination to fulfill a promise. At the time, you very likely knew that your filibuster would not change a thing. You knew that Senate Republicans would roll over and allow the Democrats to win the game. But you stood on the Senate floor for 21 hours and did what you told your constituents you would do.

You told millions of Texans that you would do absolutely everything in your power to bring down the behemoth Obamacare, and you did.

With that act of defiance, you drew the ire of not only the Democrats, but of your fellow Republicans. Republican leadership execrated you for drawing a line in the sand, for having the audacity to challenge the established order. That was only the beginning. You’ve been a necessary thorn in the side of the establishment for your entire tenure in the Senate.

Daring, however, must be coupled with intellect. As I observed your speeches, and read your writings, I saw in you a magnitude of intellect the likes of which I’d never seen in a Republican politician.

You have a formidable mind, which you’ve used to play an incredible game of presidential politics. That’s not to say you’re not sincere. I believe you’re sincere, and that you truly believe in this country. However, the third point of the triangle is savvy.

To win at politics, no matter your good intentions, you must have a way with words. You must be able to take expansive ideas and condense them into accessible arguments–and this you do very well.

You have a trinity of attributes that are frighteningly uncommon in the Republican Party: daring, intellect, and savvy. However, there are two more attributes a politician must have to captivate voters, and those are aggressiveness, and sincerity.

I don’t doubt for a second your sincerity, and you’re certainly aggressive in your message, but where you often fail to use these two attributes is during the debates. Watching the debate on CNN, and the prior one on Fox, I was put off by your unwillingness to jump in the fray, and your sound bites—which have been rehearsed to within an inch of their life.

I understand you have one minute to get your argument across, but when I can find ten clips on YouTube of you making an identical point, using identical words, with identical inflection, it comes across as hyper-rehearsed, and thus insincere. It’s similar to listening to a televangelist deliver a sermon he’s given ten too many times.

Additionally, looking into the camera during the CNN debate was another off-putting way to deliver your message. It also reads “televangelist.” And nobody trusts televangelists.

Second, you’re a debate pro, and I believe that’s why you follow the rules of the clock so meticulously. While other candidates get their points across because they’re willing to put on the gloves, fight the clock, and get more time, you tend to hold to the rules, robbing yourself of time in a crowded field.

Aside from the fact that the moderators seem intent on completely ignoring you, your submission to the clock certainly plays a part in you getting fewer minutes.

John Dryden said: “We first make our habits, then our habits make us.” I think Dryden’s words are apropos in this case. You’ve created a set of habits to which you adhere. These habits have kept you from making any stumbles, or gaffes, which almost no other candidate can say. However, these habits of hyper-rehearsed language and non-aggressiveness in the debates have also led you to a dangerous place. You’re falling back into the middle of the pack.

Your habits are making you; they’re causing you to fade in a field in which you should be shining. I want nothing more than for you to succeed and get the nomination, but I’m afraid as the debates progress, and the primaries approach, you will begin to be forgotten because of these habits.

While Carly Fiorina and several other candidates will have one or two “it” moments per debate, garnering massive press and web circulation, your genial approach, and rehearsed sound bites are causing you to lose the circulation race. Less circulation means fewer Americans are hearing your message.

I want you to win. You have a proven track record of conservatism stronger than any single other candidate in the race. Given this, I felt compelled to warn you that from my perspective, your habits are beginning to impede your ability to get your message across.