The PJ Tatler

Ted Cruz: CPAC's Real Winner

Yesterday our very own Bridget Johnson reported that Senator Rand Paul had won the CPAC straw poll. Yep, Ron Paul’s son is as good at organizing for that completely irrelevant poll as his father. Isn’t it shocking?

No, not really. This is how the Pauls operate and we’ve seen it for years now. They bring in busloads of college students who burst out in loud screams when one of the Pauls comes on stage and who vote for them in the straw poll and… that’s that.

Yes, they’re great at rallying students to their cause. Of course that’s wonderful and all, but it also means they’re always over-represented at events like CPAC. They win. Whoopty do. So would I if I bused in my entire extended family and their friends.

Congratulations. Sadly it means nothing.

Governor Scott Walker came in second. A great result, but — as Josh Farris points out at the Facebook group Ted Cruz 45 — he has some problems of his own:

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Many people support Walker at this moment because he has done such a great job in Wisconsin, not because they know enough about him to be able to conclude that he would make a good president as well. Good governor = votes. But what happens when his opponents put some real pressure on him? We’ve already seen that foreign policy is his major weakness and that he even makes gaffes when asked about it. That’s a bit problematic for anyone who wants to become president.

The only reason he gets away with that at this moment is that he’s the flavor of the month, just like Rick Perry was a few years ago. Once he starts being attacked, questioned and criticized by conservative bloggers, journalists and his rivals for the nomination, support for him will almost certainly drop.

So that leaves us with the man I consider to be the real winner of CPAC: Ted Cruz.

Reagan conservatives normally don’t do very well at CPAC. When one of them does, it means something. Cruz is many things, but he isn’t a “flavor of the month.” He’s too outspoken, principled and well-known. People who support him do so because they know him and share his views.

And guess what? The CPAC poll and other polls, both online and offline, show that there are a lot of such voters in America.  On top of that and in contrast to Rand Paul, he doesn’t have to bus anyone in to help him win; his supporters take care of that by themselves.

Yes, Cruz did better than expected and has used CPAC to prove that he’s a real contender. He couldn’t possibly have asked for more.