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The Ted Cruz Speech and the Attack on the Conservative Movement

  

             The great controversy of the Republican Convention recently over Senator Ted Cruz’s failure to endorse Donald Trump and the media pile-on that followed was a well-orchestrated ruse that served one purpose.  To attack and marginalize the conservative movement and concentrate power in the hands of Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC) and the RNC itself.  It succeeded, much to the detriment of the party and the country.  In effect, the GOP establishment has joined with and co-opted the Donald Trump Presidential campaign for the purpose of trampling the conservative base, which the party apparatus despises.  Conservatives are the real target of the RNC, not Democrats or the left.  It is not a good harbinger for the country, or Republican election prospects in November. And while it may benefit Trump temporarily, it will not last if he loses in November.

            The controversy centered around the Texas Senator’s speech in which he spoke of general conservative principles, an uplifting speech that dwelled on themes that should resonate with the audience at a Republican National Convention.  They included such conservative ideas as inalienable rights, liberty, freedom, and the Constitution, popular concepts amongst Republican voters.  He also advised the audience to “vote your conscience,” something that should not be controversial in the least.  Yet it was at that moment that the uproar against Cruz reached a crescendo. 

             The lead-up to the speech demonstrated just how coordinated this was.  Three days before Cruz gave his speech, he met Trump, the man who invited him to speak in the first place, and told Trump he would not endorse him.  Trump was okay with this.  Trump, his team, and the media had a copy of Cruz’s “embargoed” speech the day before or sooner and still agreed to allow him to speak.  Reince Priebus and the RNC also had a copy of the speech.  So did Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan.   So did his surrogates including Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee, and Chris Christy.   There was no surprise.  Everyone knew he was not going to endorse Trump but agreed to allow him to speak anyway.  

            But this was much ado about nothing.  This is, after all, America not a banana republic.  No one has to endorse anyone, even at a convention.  Ronald Reagan never endorsed Gerald Ford at the 1976 convention or beyond.  Reagan and his wife Nancy were angered by Ford’s rhetoric bashing Reagan as a warmonger.  Cruz of course was angry at Trump for the personal attacks on him, his wife, and father.  Trump accused Cruz of having an affair with five women. He questioned his US citizenship.  He insulted his wife’s looks and association with Goldman Sachs.  He mentioned, based on a National Enquirer story and photo, that Cruz’s father was involved with Lee Harvey Oswald in the assassination of JFK. 

            The orchestration of attacks by Trump surrogates and the media was full throated.  Paul Manafort, the Trump Campaign Manager, along with Newt Gingrich, Chris Christy, Mike Huckabee, and others, all parroted the same contentious rhetoric.  “Cruz did not keep his pledge to endorse the Republican nominee,” they said.  They questioned his “integrity and loyalty.”  None remembered that on March 29 2016, Trump himself in an interview claimed that he might not keep his pledge and endorse the Republican winner.  “It depends,” he said. Further, they conveniently overlooked that Trump had insulted Cruz’s wife and father, and so Cruz could not in good conscience endorse him.  Forgotten also was that not only did John Kasich, Jeb Bush and other prominent Republicans and presidential candidates not endorse him, they did not even show up.  Nor did John McCain and Mitt Romney, the two Republican Presidential candidates in 2008 and 2012.   

            The reality was that Cruz gave an excellent speech.  He congratulated Trump on his victory and then spoke of bedrock Republican principles.   For his trouble, he was booed off the stage and trashed in the media.  Of the many speakers who addressed the convention including Trump himself, none spoke of such principles.  Nor was there a word anywhere by Trump or anyone else about faith, family, traditional values, and protection of the unborn. 

            The purpose of this attack on Cruz by the Trump Campaign and the RNC was to discredit him and the conservative movement.  It was a concerted effort to split the party and cut it off from its conservative base rather than unify it.  The GOP, in other words, does not want to be a conservative party.  It wants to be something else.  A liberal, progressive, “populist,” big government party.  But not a conservative party.

            Furthermore, the Republican establishment never attacks Obama, Clinton, the Democrat Party and the left the way they attack Cruz and conservatives.  The reason is simple.  

 

            Republican Party leaders are threatened by the conservative base far more than by Democrats, hence hostile to it, for conservatives seek the one thing Party Elders fear more than anything else, even more than Democrats: to shrink the power of the federal government and thus halt the gravy train that Party Leadership and their preferred candidates, lobbyists, and crony capitalists all feed from. Democrat victories do not concern them. They will still have a place at the table. Elections and issues come and go. What matters is continued access to power, even if Rome is burning. Tea Party Constitutional types that actively seek to diminish the federal government and devolve power back to the states, balance budgets, and pay down the debt – now that is a threat. They prefer instead to continue the charade, the borrowing, spending, and growing of government, heaping massive burdens of debt upon future generations until the laws of economics assert themselves, and the federal enterprise collapses, leaving vast social upheaval in its wake. But by then the ruling class will be long gone, and our children and grandchildren will be left to reap the whirlwind. (from an earlier writing)         

 

            Principles such as liberty, limited government, the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and preserving our culture and heritage mean little or nothing to the Republican Establishment beyond election year sloganeering.  They are not discomfited by the lurching of the nation to the left, the size of government, the debt, the broken entitlements, the expanding welfare state, open borders, the unchecked power of the administrative state, the judicial oligarchy, Obamacare, the EPA, the assault on our culture, institutions, and values, and the breakdown of the civil society.  Rather they have funded and supported it, often enabling Democrats to get more than they could have on their own. 

            The issue for conservatives is that the party that was supposed to be the vehicle for conservative principles, the Republican Party, has failed us over and over again and has done so now for 28 years, since the end of the second Reagan term.  Not only have they not moved the ball forward on countless issues important to us, they have acquiesced and cooperated with Democrats in advancing fully their agenda. 

            As for our issues such as limiting the size of government, liberty, restoring Congress and the separation of powers, defending the Constitutional system, the Bill of Rights, free market capitalism, and traditional values, they have been inept and uninterested.

            Even on crucial cultural issues where the left has pursued a radical social engineering agenda that has undermined our traditions and civil society, Republicans have been missing in action.  The federal government has imposed such controversial policies as gay marriage, mixed-gender frontline combat units, requiring women to register for the draft, and the transgendering of bathrooms, showers, and lockers in schools throughout the land.  There has been a federal assault on religious liberty, in particular the Christian faith, and an attempt to nationalize (and smear) our local police and suburbs, while undermining the rule of law.  Much of this has been achieved through the bureaucracy or the courts, without a single vote in Congress, a breakdown in our constitutional system - and no discernable pushback from pulseless Republicans. 

            It is time to recognize that the conservative/liberty movement does not have a political party, a vehicle with which to press its agenda.  With the union of the GOP and the Trump team (which is already fraying), and the shenanigans at and after the Republican Convention, it is clear that conservatives have no place in today’s GOP.

Brief Bio: Richard Moss MD is a practicing Ear Nose and Throat Surgeon, author, and columnist who resides in Jasper IN.  He recently lost his bid for the Republican nomination for Congress in Indiana’s 8th district. Find more of his essays and blog posts at exodusmd.com.  Also find him on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.

 

 

 

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