Radio Host Steve Deace Likens Cruz to Ronald Reagan

Wednesday, 25 Sep 2013 12:14 PM

By Lisa Barron

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GOP critics of Sen. Ted Cruz are helping to set him up for a presidential run, just as they did Ronald Reagan more than three decades ago, says nationally syndicated radio talk-show host Steve Deace.

"Whether they’re calling his efforts to defund Obamacare a 'fraud,' sending Fox News personalities opposition research to use against him, or simply claiming to hate him, the sophomoric and treacherous behavior by the GOP establishment has helped elevate the junior Texas senator from a 'wacko bird' beloved by the base to a force of nature capable of something no movement conservative has done since Ronald Reagan," Deace wrote Wednesday in Politico.

His piece was published as Cruz continued an overnight talk-a-thon on the Senate floor in opposition to Obamacare, vowing to keep speaking until he’s "no longer able to stand."

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“Not since Reagan has a non-establishment presidential candidate had the comprehensive worldview and charisma capable of coalescing enough of the conservative/libertarian base to defeat the Republican ruling class in a national primary,” Deace said. “As a result, the grass roots has often been splintered, allowing the establishment candidate (John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012) to win a plurality of fractured support to secure the nomination.

"Cruz, however, is just as comfortable talking to the social conservatives at the American Family Association as he is talking to the libertarians at FreedomWorks," Deace continued. "He gets standing ovations from evangelicals in Iowa and tea party activists at an Americans for Prosperity summit."

“There may well be no other national figure in the Republican Party you can say that about right now,” he wrote.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and the GOP’s No. 2 in the Senate, John Cornyn of Texas, were opposed to Cruz’s tactic of trying to mount a mock filibuster against a stopgap spending measure to keep the government running but to defund Obamacare. A number of other GOP senators backed the two leaders, who worried that Republicans would be seen as attempting to shut down the government by forcing a debate on the healthcare law.

“The ruling class in both parties sees Cruz as a singular threat to a failed status quo,” Deace observed in his op-ed piece. “That means he’s a viable champion for conservatives and libertarians in the Republican base that utterly loathe the ruling classes in both parties.”

Deace used his op-ed
to reiterate a point he has made in the past about winning campaigns, saying that “Republicans win presidential elections when they do two things: unify the base in the primary and run on a credible, right-of-center populist economic message in the general. Neither McCain nor Romney was able to accomplish either of those things, and thus both lost.”

“If Cruz can translate that right-of-center economic populism into a real plan to lessen the burden of government on the American worker and small-business owner," Deace said, "you could very well be welcoming President Cruz to the White House 40 months from now.”

“Will it be the Republican establishment — which has done more to promote his brand name than Cruz or his staff could’ve ever hope to do themselves — that takes credit for it?”

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