Ted Cruz is no Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan challenged President Gerald Ford for the 1976 presidential nomination. Having lost in a close contest, Reagan was asked to address the GOP convention in Kansas City. Reagan endorsed Ford and his remarks at the Republican convention in Kemper Arena were gracious, positive and forward looking – a sharp contrast to Cruz’s defiant remarks at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland Wednesday night.

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By RJ Galliano | July 22, 2016

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Ted Cruz’s failure to endorse the presidential nominee of the Republican Party is a pivotal moment in the political career of this first term U.S. Senator from Texas. Either he has committed political suicide or he has positioned himself for a successful run in 2020 against a President Donald Trump or President Hillary Clinton, in which case his great 2016 gamble in Cleveland will have paid big dividends.

For someone who likens his conservative bona fides to President Reagan, Cruz should have taken a page out of the Gipper’s playbook, when then former California Governor Ronald Reagan challenged President Gerald Ford for the 1976 presidential nomination. Having lost in a close contest, Reagan was asked to address the GOP convention in Kansas City.

Ronald Reagan’s remarks at the Republican convention in Kemper Arena were gracious, positive and forward looking – a sharp contrast to Cruz’s defiant remarks at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland Wednesday night.

In sharp contrast, Reagan appears to resounding applause thanking President and Mrs. Ford along with “the distinguished guests here, and you ladies and gentlemen. I am going to say fellow Republicans here, but also those who are watching from a distance, all of those millions of Democrats and Independents who I know are looking for a cause around which to rally and which I believe we can give them.”

We later came to know them as “Reagan Democrats,” blue collar Americans all across the country who worked in retail, manufacturing, steel plants and coal mines. Donald Trump’s appeal to these same voters is amazing. But that’s not part of the Cruz base of support.

These are the voters who turned away from the Republican Party, when after Reagan’s presidency the GOP turned away from them and they were picked up by the Democrats, voting for Clinton and Obama.

By contrast, the self-absorbed Cruz was booed off the convention stage, after withholding his endorsement from Donald Trump who had graciously permitted him to speak, having come in second to the scrappy New Yorker.

Following his now infamous non-endorsement speech, Cruz approached billionaire bussinessman Sheldon Adelson’s suite at the Arena and was turned away.

Even Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson, a Cruz supporter during the primaries said on Fox & Friends Thursday morning, “I mean give me a break Ted, go ahead and endorse the man.”

Then Cruz appeared before the Texas delegates many of whom were clearly unhappy with his decision. Questioned about his pledge to support the GOP nominee he responded by offering the childish response of personal slight to him and his family bitterly complaining, “I am not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father.”

To paraphrase the Texas woman who was offered the last question of the morning meeting, ‘This is not about you, your wife or your father. This is about America,’ she scolded Cruz.

According to National Review Online, Cruz “made no plans to release the hundreds of delegates he amassed on the campaign trail,” which were obliged to cast their ballots for him instead of offering them to Donald Trump, particularly after he had clinched the nomination and as a magnanimous gesture.

Although Cruz didn’t head the anti-Trump faction, he was their de facto leader.

NRO also reported earlier in July and on Tuesday just ahead of Cruz’s Wednesday speech slot that “several senior Cruz campaign staffers are creating two affiliated non-profit groups…that will champion Cruz’s legislative priorities, maintain and expand his donor database, and coordinate his travel to early states.” Now, that’s the kind of deceptive and dishonest behavior that caused Donald Trump to tag him “Lying Ted,” and that’s just the tip of the Canadian iceberg.


RJ Galliano founded the Institute for U.S. Cuba Relations and served as editor of the U.S. Cuba Policy Report, archived at the Library of Congress. He is a SFPPR director and editor of SFPPR News & Analysis.