Ted Cruz is not a tall man – in fact, he appears less so in person than on TV – but he captures the crowd with his booming voice and look you in the eye confidence.
So when he outlined his presidential plans to supporters at the Agricenter Tuesday, he spoke with conviction. His plan, should he get to Washington as president, would upset a lot of what he calls the “Washington cartel.”
“I will repeal Obamacare,” Cruz said as many people got to their feet. “I will make it personal, portable and affordable. I would abolish the Department of Education to end Common Core. I would rebuild the military and let serviceman protect themselves with the right to bear arms. What kind of administration is scared to give a Marine a gun, but will allow Iran to get a nuke?
“I would end sanctuary cities. Most on the stage in Cleveland (at the debate) had supported amnesty. I never will. I will pass fundamental tax reform with a flat tax. I will abolish the IRS,” to which the crowd roared its approval. “There are 90,000 employees at the IRS. Just imagine if those 90,000 were at the border. Those swimming across the Rio Grande would see 90,000 people there. They’d turn around and swim home.”
Cruz then turned to his campaign. He said “out of the 17 candidates I raised the most hard money. I got $14.3 million from 175,000 people in all 50 states. The donation averaged $68 – that’s the power of the grassroots.” He urged everyone to go to his website, tedcruz.org and take a look. “That’s TedCruz.org,” he said. “TedCruz.org,” he repeated to laughter.
The Texas senator said his father’s story – his beatings under the Cuban government of Batista, then subsequent flight to the U.S. – inspires him. “But really, my father’s story is so common to all of us. We each have that story in different ways, of people wanting to be free and wanting better things for their children. If we love our freedom here and lose it, where will we go?”
Cruz then opened the floor up to questions.
On the VA: “It’s a disgrace and there has been no accountability. I would make sure our veterans could see whatever doctor they choose.”
On restoring self government in the country: “I’ve been fighting what I call the Party of Washington. But how we get there is a campaign that must grow from the grassroots. We’ve got to stop carve-outs, subsidies and bailouts. We have to stop picking winners and losers. We need a balanced budget amendment and term limits.”
On Keystone and more energy: “Yes, yes and hell yes. I want an American Energy Renaissance Act – you can read about it at TedCruz.org – where we remove federal barriers to energy. It will bring back manufacturing.”
On changing Senate rules for majority votes: “The past few weeks we have debated it. I called out McConnell on his promises made, but his conduct is the opposite. The old bulls of the Senate castigated me, but I said ‘truth is consistent with the decorum of the Senate.'”
Cruz then went on to ask for our help. “Tennessee will have a critical role in the primaries. Ten days after New Hampshire and Iowa we will have what we call the SEC primary. Tennessee and other Southern states will vote then – earlier than in past years. We need to make sure we don’t nominate a Democrat lite candidate again.
“So I need a grassroots army and volunteers. I need you to go to TedCruz.org and contribute. I need you to phone your friends and neighbors.”
With his message delivered, Cruz graciously stayed for pictures with anyone who wanted one. A helper took cameras and shots for everyone as an armed guard stood by. I managed to get a picture with him and told him he was inspirational, but asked how he keeps up his energy? Cruz had already had two campaign stops in Mississippi and was heading for more in Arkansas and Oklahoma. He told me that he gets energy from the crowd and from speaking what he believes.
A lot of people would like to see him put those beliefs to use in Washington in 2017.