Wednesday, May 04, 2016


Ross Douthat writes that Ted Cruz was the candidate of "True Conservatism," which is marked by "Ayn Randian" hard-heartedness, an opposition to "free-spending" government, and a determination to "stand on principle, fight hard, and win." I agree that this was the point of the Cruz campaign:
Wherever the party’s most ideological voters were, there he would be. If Obama was for it, he would be against it. Where conservatives were angry, he would channel their anger. Where they wanted a fighter; he would be a fighter. Wherever the party’s activists were gathered, on whatever issue -- social or economic, immigration or the flat tax -- he would be standing by their side.
The Cruz campaign, Douthat says, was a test of the theory that Republicans win big when they advocate conservatism with absolutely no compromise. Cruz "ended up running with it further than most people thought possible," Douthat writes, but he ultimately fell short.

Douthat's conclusion is that True Conservatism wasn't what Republican voters were looking for after all:
But it turned out that Republican voters didn’t want True Conservatism... the entire Trump phenomenon suggests otherwise, and Trump as the presumptive nominee is basically a long proof against the True Conservative theory of the Republican Party....

Trump proved that many evangelical voters, supposedly the heart of a True Conservative coalition, are actually not really values voters or religious conservatives after all, and that the less frequently evangelicals go to church, the more likely they are to vote for a philandering sybarite instead of a pastor’s son....

Finally, Trump proved that many professional True Conservatives, many of the same people who flayed RINOs and demanded purity throughout the Obama era, were actually just playing a convenient part. From Fox News’ 10 p.m. hour to talk radio to the ranks of lesser pundits, a long list of people who should have been all-in for Cruz on ideological grounds either flirted with Trump, affected neutrality or threw down their cloaks for the Donald to stomp over to the nomination.
The problem for Cruz was that a lot of True Conservatives aren't in it for the conservatism. They're in it because they think the tougher and more aggressive a candidate is, the more likely it is that that candidate is going to kick the asses of conservatives' enemies -- liberals, Democrats, RINOs, non-whites, Muslims, poor people, women who have abortions, gun control supporters, and so on.

Cruz was undermined when Trump came along with a different form of aggression -- one that, to Republican voters, seemed more likely to result in ass-kickings for their enemies. Trump spoke, and liberals had conniption fits! Plus, he'd been such a successful businessman! So he must be able to carry out all the ass-kicking he promises, which is more ass-kickings than Ted Cruz seems able to dish out!

So that's why Cruz lost the nomination. Yes, quite a few people thought he was following the correct path -- they actually might have been in it for the ideology. But others just wanted to see maximum ass-kickage, by any means necessary. And so they abandoned ideology for Trump.


Gerald Parks said...

Full Frontal ✔ ‎@FullFrontalSamB
Shouldn't #TedCruz have been forced to carry his unviable campaign to term?

Nuff said!

jsrtheta said...

Once it was stated that "conservatism will win if you run a true conservative," I knew Cruz was doomed. "True Conservatism" is popular with people who read NRO, and The American Conservative online, but in reality don't get out of doors too much.

Out here in the real world, they don't exist. There's plenty of people who claim to be conservative, but they just want free stuff for them, not those "other" people. You know, the "takers." Being an angry, resentful white guy does not imbue one with a reasoned, if internally fanciful, worldview. It just means the world is changing, as it always has, and Opie's directing movies now and a n**gger is in the White House and it sure ain't right.

The "True Conservative" philosophy has always been dishonest and morally bankrupt, and not anything anyone with a modicum of consciousness couldn't see through once they stopped to examine it. "True Conservatives" are nothing more than culturally deaf people like Cruz who actually think anyone outside of Texas politics actually gives a shit about. Texas itself is in many ways a museum of a non-existent past, one where the women still have big hair and the men still wear those ridiculous Stetsons and JFK got what was coming to him for being in bed with the Jews and "those people." A harsh judgment, I know, and there are certainly some really fantastic people there. But spend time outside of Austin and tell me anyone there has jackshit in common with the rest of the country. Hell, Arkansas is the Left Bank in comparison. (I admit I do like Arkansas.)

No one is ever going to elect a "True Conservative" as president (Reagan was no more a "True Conservative" than Velveeta is "True Cheese") because it is a belief system dependent on the perception that anything that is fun or enjoyable is evil, and, guess what? Life's too short for that shit.

Cruz wasn't a "True Conservative" anyway. He just wore the pin because it served as a flag of convenience for his overweening ambition. His real problem is that he is a creepy guy, not his politics, which were ludicrous to start with. He was the perfect foil for Trump, who understands that ideological purity don't mean squat if you can harness plain ol' rage. And if you can pants a guy, you're a stud.

mathguy said...

Maybe they didn't go for Cruz simply because he's such an asshole.

CH said...

OK, Mr. Ryan. I've lived in Texas, and outside (way outside) Austin, for 60 of my 64 years, so I know perhaps almost as much about the place as you do. Women's hairstyles and men's headwear are no doubt significant points for discussion, and lord knows we've managed to elect some yo-yo's (and to foist a couple of them on our betters to the north - must have been sunspot activity, I suppose). But when we look at the presidential contributions made by, say, California (Nixon, Reagan) and the ones being bestowed unto us in a bipartisan kinda way by the Empire State this very year, distinguished by nothing so much as their abysmal favorability/unfavorability ratings and poor reputations in general, I fear my benighted home state faces some stiff competition.

Just for the record, Lyndon generally wore a Resistol, not a Stetson, and very possibly wore one on the occasions when he signed the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act. Ann Richards was guilty of really big hair. Quel gaucherie, as they say in Arkansas.

jsrtheta said...

Touche! Well played, good sir!

KenRight said...

You don't know what you're talking about, Jeff Ryan. TAC is Trump/Buchananite non-interventionist populist conservatism.
National Review is Elitist imperialist/interventionist conservatism.
Cruz had no real supporters in TAC. His wife is Goldman Sachs, has more in common with Hillary, both being free traders, etc.

jsrtheta said...

Okay. Cruz and Hillary are the...same?


You may have a point about TAC. You have none with regard to Cruz and Hillary. That is just unserious.