“There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.” – Buddha
For the past several days, I’ve written to you about issues over which we disagree. This last note is not so much about a specific issue, but about the will to fight the D.C. establishment, and the need to go forward even when you know you cannot win—all to change the status quo.
When you speak, you often mention the great need to upend the status quo, but back in 2013, you rebuked Ted Cruz for doing just that. During the 2013 government shutdown, when Ted Cruz stood nearly alone, you said the following:
“Everybody could see this train wreck coming. I actually feel badly for John Boehner. I think this is Ted Cruz and President Obama’s shutdown. I think Ted Cruz’s tactics were wrong.
There’s no honor in charging a hill that you know you can’t take, only casualties, although Ted Cruz maybe got name recognition and money along the way. But President Obama wanted this shutdown. And Ted Cruz played right into his hands…
If you want to negotiate with someone, you need to empower them. President Obama has done everything possible to disempower the reasonable people…and he’s done everything possible to…say I will not negotiate. When you say that, you empower the flamethrowers.”
If the Republicans had unified, they could have defunded Obamacare. The votes were there in terms of strict numbers. That is factual. However, the establishment—the one you so fervently and frequently criticize—turned their backs on their constituents. Running for reelection, they told their constituents that they would do everything they could to defund Obamacare, then as soon as the heat was on, they fled.
Ted Cruz told his constituents he would do everything he could to eliminate the behemoth job-killer called Obamacare, and he did just that. Ted Cruz stood up to the establishment and Obama, and only a sliver of a fraction of the Senate stood by his side. These people never intended to do anything about Obamacare; they just wanted to keep their jobs.
You criticized Ted Cruz for allegedly leading the shutdown, calling his tactics wrong, but he was the only one who was in the right. He made a promise and then actually followed through with it. His cause was not a hill that could not be taken; it was an opportunity to show that no matter the fight, he would do what he said he would do.
Moreover, by leading the charge against Obamacare, and by delivering an historic 21-hour filibuster—even when he discovered that the great majority of his fellow Senators had abandoned the cause they pretended to support—he drew attention to the issue.
Through his tactics, Ted Cruz not only kept his promise to his constituents, but engaged the American people in a debate that they would not have otherwise had regarding the merits of the ACA.
There was honor in charging that hill; there was honor in keeping his promise; there was honor in drawing attention to, and educating Americans about Obamacare.
As I’ve said multiple times, I think you have the potential to lead this nation. I believe you are more than capable of crushing Hillary Clinton, or whomever gets the Democratic nomination (if Hillary’s in an orange jumpsuit by then). However, I want you to be the conservative you say you are. I want you to be the leader who will indeed upend the status quo, and cut out the decay in Washington. But I have my concerns.
I’m concerned not only about certain issues, but about your temperament. You say we need a candidate who will throw every punch, but seeing you take aim at Ted Cruz for doing just that makes you appear disingenuous.
As we’ve seen in this cycle already, despite Donald Trump’s lack of experience, he has resonated because people actually believe he will do what he says he will do. Folly or not to believe in Trump (I don’t), you need to follow that example.
A fight isn’t always about winning. Sometimes, a fight is about keeping a promise. Sometimes, a fight is about showing the world who you are. I want you to show me who you are.