Sam Brownback is the Brigadoon of Republican politics, popping out of the clouds every four years and into the collective awareness of those outside of his home state to run a failed presidential primary campaign. He needs to jump on the Cruz free publicity train merely to avoid being called “Sam Who”.
Rand Paul needs to distinguish himself from Cruz in personal ways because they aren’t that different when it comes to policy discussions. So his comments are understandable as well.
But make no mistake about the salient point here: Bob Dole was a horrible presidential candidate.
John McCain was a horrible presidential candidate.
Mitt Romney was a horrible presidential candidate.
And all for the reason that Cruz stated in his speech.
Why are conservatives, the people who supposedly value achievement and eschew participation trophies, so willing to give our bad candidates a free pass?
The GOP has long had an unspoken presidential candidate policy that almost automatically awards the nod to whomever has been hanging around the primary process the longest. This has produced some less-than-inspiring choices over the years.
Saying so doesn’t mean that they are bad men. It doesn’t disregard or diminish previous accomplishments. It simply points out the obvious.
Dole was a “safe”, milquetoast choice who was so uninspiring as a candidate that even Jack Kemp, one of the most dynamic thinkers and personalities in the GOP at the time, couldn’t energize the ticket.
Cruz is acutely aware of the fact that the GOP’s “lather, rinse, repeat” approach to presidential politics hasn’t been an overwhelming success in a while. Republicans have won the popular vote in a presidential election once in twenty-five years.
You can wrap yourself in an Electoral College blanket if it helps you sleep at night but those numbers aren’t comforting in the real, “What have you done for me lately?” world of politics.