The PJ Tatler

Ted Cruz for President?

He’s the darling of the Right, the scourge of the Left and hated equally by both wings of the Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Party. So what’s not to like? The freshman Texas senator is ramping up for what looks like a presidential campaign in 2016, and while many dismiss him as too abrasive, only a fool would count him out this early. Commentary’s Jonathan Tobin is no fool:

… the way he parachuted into Washington in January 2013 and quickly became the darling of the right indicates that he must be considered a serious threat to edge out others before they even get started. More to the point, Cruz is probably ideally positioned to win early primary and caucus states and then rake in the cash that will follow those victories before he tries to best the other first-tier candidates in the contests that follow. At worst, barring a mishap, I think he should be slotted in as likely to be part of a large field’s first tier.

Is he a lock to be able to carry out that scenario? Not necessarily. There will also not be as many debates in 2016 as there were in 2012, meaning that he won’t have as many opportunities to display his bulldog style or to eviscerate opponents in public. And the later primary schedule that year will make it easier for establishment types to wait before joining the race.

But the point here is that while Cruz may be considered an outlier in the Senate chamber, he’s likely to play better on the hustings in Iowa and other early states than establishment types think. Cruz may shoot himself in the foot in the next year and find others supplanting him among Tea Partiers and the rest of the party. But any assumptions on the part of the establishment that he will crash and burn is a huge mistake. Cruz may not be president but his path to the Republican nomination is no poke dream.

(Not sure what a “poke dream” is; probably a typo for “pipe dream.”)

Were the GOP to pay attention to its base, Cruz would probably win the primaries by landslides. Unfortunately, the GOP “leadership” will do everything it can behind the scenes to make sure Cruz gets nowhere near the top of the ticket. But that’s the problem GOP-leaning conservatives have: not only do they have to beat the Democrats in the general election, they have to deal with the Establishment doing its best to throttle their candidates in the primaries. Still, don’t be surprised when Cruz and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker soar to the head of the class once the campaign gets underway in earnest. And should Cruz decide not to run, well, there’s always a gig as Senate majority leader just waiting to be wrested from Mitch McConnell.

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