Wednesday, March 25, 2015

My E-mail From Ted Cruz

Yesterday I received a fundraising e-mail from Ted Cruz. In past election cycles I received similar e-mails from Mitt Romney, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Ron Paul, proving that political donor mailing lists are quite incestuous. For what it’s worth, I’ve decided to do a line by line commentary of this particular appeal as an exercise of civic duty, hoping that it will help me form an informed opinion of this particular candidate.  Here goes…

The top of the letter features a teardrop shaped red and blue logo with the Senator’s name next to it in gray ink. Underneath it says,

"I am running for President because millions of Americans are standing up and saying “we want our country back!”

I have always hated this political formulation. I hated it when Obama used it in 2008 and I hate it now. The reason is because it suggests that the country has somehow been stolen. No, the country voted in a free election for the other guy. Nothing has been stolen. The country belongs to all of us. Voting for a different party or candidate does not constitute “taking the country back” from anyone. Maybe this is just a quibble, but it has always annoyed me.

My Fellow Conservative,

Ok. How does he know this about me? After all, I was deemed worthy of a fund raising letter from Hillary Freaking Clinton, for crying out loud!

"The United States is the greatest nation the world has ever known, but recently we have gotten off track."

To the great annoyance of my more progressive friends, I agree with the Senator about the greatness of this country. Whether we are the greatest that the “world has ever known” is debatable if you happen to be Greek, or of Roman heritage, but that’s a debate for another time. And yes, we have most assuredly gotten off track.

"We need to restore the strong values that made us great, so that we can leave a stronger and more prosperous nation for our children."

It would help if we could first come to agreement on which particular values did in fact make us great. It is this very core disagreement that is at the center of our discontent at the moment. Points off
for waiting until the third sentence before mentioning the “children.”

"Our country was built on freedom, enterprise and strong family values. It’s clear that these values are still held dear by the American people."

It is not at all clear to me that they do. Those who successfully engage in “enterprise” are daily vilified as greedy, self-absorbed children of privilege who aren’t paying their fair share. “Freedom” is under assault from a sizable portion of Americans who think that the rest of us are too stupid to make our own decisions in life. As far as “strong family values” is concerned, which ones?

"But Washington DC has become completely disconnected from the values of real Americans. That’s
why we are now more than 18 trillion dollars in debt, why wages have stagnated, and why our foreign policy is an absolute mess."

It would be hard to find a city more disconnected from real America than Washington DC. We are 18 trillion dollars in debt because as Americans we keep sending our elected officials mixed messages, “balance the budget! Don't you dare screw with my Social Security, and don’t even think about raising taxes! Oh, and if I lose my job pay me unemployment forever!”

"It’s time for new leadership."

Yes, it is.

"Politicians all too often promise one thing on the campaign trail, only to break those promises once elected."

I hadn’t noticed.

"You say you believe in these principles. Show me. When have you fought for conservative principles and what have you accomplished?"

The Senator cannot be accused of being unwilling to fight for his principles, but he also hasn’t accomplished much himself, having only been a Senator for a couple of years with no previous elective experience.

"My mission between now and 2016 is to help take America back to what made us great, so that we can move together. Thank you for adding your voice to this fight, and I hope I can count on yoursupport for the long road ahead."

Not so fast cowboy. I’m going to have to watch how you handle yourself in this campaign. I need to know more about you and your views. I know you’re smart. Your law professor at Harvard is on record calling you “off the charts brilliant." I know about all of the times you have argued cases at the Supreme Court where you were magnificent and won all those “best amicus briefs of the year” awards. In fact, although our current President fancies himself an “expert” on the Constitution, you actually ARE an expert and have the legal chops to prove it. But intelligence alone isn’t enough to be President. There’s also this business of temperament. So far in your brief Senatorial career, you have been a back bench bomb thrower, and that worries me a little. To govern successfully from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue requires the ability to persuade and build consensus, something that the current occupant has been unable to do despite his intelligence. Ronald Reagan might not have been in Mensa territory, but he somehow managed to get his agenda passed despite a VERY hostile Congress. Will you be able to lead a divided nation?

Ok, that’s it. If I get any more e-mails from other candidates, I’ll do the same thing.

You’re welcomed.