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Ted Cruz’s Presidential Campaign Launch: Good and Bad

Senator Ted Cruz—who may prove to be the best (or least-bad) candidate America will see in the 2016 presidential race—just launched his campaign for the presidency in a markedly mixed way.

He launched it at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University and did so with additional pandering to the so-called “religious right” (which, in fact, is not part of the right). Among his unfortunate claims, Cruz said our rights “come from God Almighty”—which for an educated man in 2015 is ridiculous, and for a reader of Ayn Rand is exceedingly ridiculous. He also lamented that today “roughly half of born again Christians aren’t voting,” and he asked his audience to imagine “millions of people of faith all across America coming out to the polls and voting our values.”

But Cruz didn’t harp for long on such heavily religious themes. Instead, he turned to some important economic and political matters, about which he provided an indication of what he intends to do if he is elected president. Here are some of the positive changes he asked his audience to envision:

Imagine innovation thriving on the Internet as government regulators and tax collectors are kept at bay and more and more opportunity is created. . . .

[I]magine in 2017 a new president signing legislation repealing every word of Obamacare.

Imagine health care reform that keeps government out of the way between you and your doctor and that makes health insurance personal and portable and affordable.

Instead of a tax code that crushes innovation, that imposes burdens on families struggling to make ends met, imagine a simple flat tax that lets every American fill out his or her taxes on a postcard.

Imagine abolishing the IRS. . . .

[I]magine a legal immigration system that welcomes and celebrates those who come to achieve the American dream. . . .

[I]magine a federal government that stands for the First Amendment rights of every American. . . .

Instead of a government that works to undermine our Second Amendment rights, that seeks to ban our ammunition, imagine a federal government that protects the right to keep and bear arms of all law-abiding Americans.

Instead of a government that seizes your emails and your cell phones, imagine a federal government that protected the privacy rights of every American.

Instead of a federal government that seeks to dictate school curriculum through Common Core, imagine repealing every word of Common Core. . . .

Instead of a president who boycotts Prime Minister Netanyahu, imagine a president who stands unapologetically with the nation of Israel.

Instead of a president who seeks to go to the United Nations to end-run Congress and the American people, imagine a president who says I will honor the Constitution and under no circumstances will Iran be allowed to acquire a nuclear weapon.

Imagine a president who says we will stand up and defeat radical Islamic terrorism, and we will call it by its name.

That’s pretty refreshing. (Whether Cruz would follow through on this agenda is an open question.)

Of course, being a religious conservative, Cruz also indicated his desire to ban abortion (“to defend the sanctity of human life”) and to outlaw gay marriage (“to uphold the sacrament of marriage”)—but he did so much less directly than he advocated the aforementioned positive elements. He didn’t even say “abortion” or “gay,” so I suspect his goal was to pander to the staunch religionists but to do so lightly. Cruz also mentioned in passing that every American child has a “right to a quality education,” and he said a few other objectionable things. But, by and large, his speech was about as good as we could realistically expect from a politician today.

The most important political issues today—and the most important issues in the 2016 presidential election—are (1) the jihad against America (and the West in general) and what a given candidate promises to do about it; (2) America’s relationship with Israel (which Obama has destroyed) and how the candidate plans to rebuild it; and (3) the rights-violating atrocity known as ObamaCare and what the candidate promises to do about it. On these counts, Cruz looks pretty good so far and may be the best America will see in this election cycle. Time will tell.

For our part, as lovers of liberty and advocates of its moral and philosophical foundations, whichever candidate we end up supporting, we should enthusiastically encourage Cruz’s (and others’) good positions and constructively criticize his (and their) bad ones. That’s how to effect positive change where such change is possible.

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