I interviewed Ted Cruz and Joy Reid on Tuesday’s program.
The conversation with Cruz, the senator-elect from Texas who is likely to be a fixture in national policits for at least three decades, is a refreshing and encouraging march through the best arguments the conservative movemnt has to make. (The full transcript is here.) My first question was about the big push for a big deal with big tax hikes, and I liked the reply from Cruz:
I am very nervous about what this lame duck might do. The President, I think incorrectly, but I think he has read this election as a mandate to come even harder, even more aggressively at raising taxes, at increasing spending and growing the debt. And I think, I don’t think that’s right. And he seems bound and determined to raise taxes on Americans. And I very much hope Republicans hold the line and make clear we need to get the economy going. And jacking up taxes on small businesses and job creators is not the way to do so.
We also talk immigration, candidate recruitment and a host of other issues. Read it and start lining up the invitations for Cruz to address your state GOP convention or to keynote your industry gathering. Along with Kelly Ayotte and Marco Rubio, Cruz is the new breeze in the GOP Senate caucus. Add in three more GOP senators –John Thune, Rand Paul and Pat Toomey– and the GOP Senate media roster has its starting five plus a sixth man.
In the House the go-to talkers on the big issues of conservatism remain Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan, though there is a very deep bench of other Representatives who can make the case on various issues. The arrival of Tom Cotton in the House GOP caucus provides a very different kind of voice, and there are others as well.
All of these electeds are younger, better on television, and trained to talk and debate, and as Cruz put it yesterday, “we’ve got to win the argument.”
“And that’s what I intend to work very hard to do, is to work with candidates to help them do it, and help them do it on a national basis.”
How to do that with new candidates? “[I]t matters that you know what you believe,” Cruz continued. “You know, one of the things that doesn’t work is when you have candidates who are just reading talking points. I mean, one of the reasons why your and my hero, Ronald Reagan, was such an incredible leader is he knew his principles, and he articulated them from the heart. And that resonates and works with the American people. And we need candidates who can do that.”
My Washington Examiner column Monday ran down the Senate campaigns for which the GOP will need to recruit a dynamic, preferably younger and in every case a very smart candidate. There are 10 obvious GOP pick-up opportunities in 2014, and not all 10 have to be as conservative or as gifted as Ted Cruz, but all of them have to be smart and capable of waging a campaign where every statement they make —every single statement— is potential fodder for a hostile national entertainment/news complex that wants President Obama to have both Houses of Congress back under Democratic control for his last two years. Because it has become obvious that all campaigns are interconnected by the pulsing of the social media beast, every candidate has a stake in the competence, charisma and character of every other candidate. Every grassroots contributor and volunteer has to realize a team of candidates is fielded, and one weak player cab cripple the entire team.
As conservatives survey the emerging field they have to be willing to back likely winners if that candidate has a very good chance of taking away a blue seat, even if there are some issue differences. Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito, is, for example, a center-right representative, but she is a magnificent candidate to take on Senator Jay Rockefeller in West Virginia or to challenge for the open seat if Rockefeller retires. Capito would be a very strong candidate, and if her would-be challengers thought of the good of the country as opposed to their own ambition, they would clear the way for her to start raising money and positioning herself for the vote in 23 months.
Similar unselfish thinking would hopefully pervade the self-selection process in the other nine states, and in the best of all worlds, a largely consensus ticket of ten senate candidates would have emerged within the first couple of months of 2013, a caucus prepared to meet and talk and take defining positions that contrast with the big spending, budget-busting Senate Democrats they are running against.
I hope to have Congresswoman Capito on the program today, and to begin to profile other obvious nominee choices in the weeks ahead (like former South Dakota Republican governor Mike Rounds who will be challenging for the Senate seat presently held by Tim Johnson.)
I also call your attention to a transcript of my conversation with a new lefty guest on the program Joy Reid of The Reid Report. Joy is a columnist for the Miami Herald and a frequent contributor to MSNBC, and a fun, venom-free lefty. She is also very candid about what she wants from the lame duck Congress and from the president going forward. Sometimes the best thing a conservative can do is to let a lefty just state their objectives and their beliefs. Joy did that admirably well, and the reaction among many callers and emailers was disbelief.
Look folks, this is why a center-right conservative with whom you agree 75% of the time is far preferable to a Democrat with whom you never agree, no matter how pleasant the exchange or sincere the friendship. The GOP has to win the Senate in 20914 in order to begin to repair the damage.
Now, as to preventing more damage, please take a moment to call or email your congressman today to tell them that Congressman Tom Cole’s prescription of a quick surrender to the president is a recipe for disaster for the country and the GOP. It appears increasingly likely that we shall have to go over the fiscal cliff and make an argumnent about how to set the fractures after we hit the bottom because the president’s and Harry Reid’s positions include no entitlement reform and no spending restraint. Cole suggests that we thus fold and go home. He’s wrong. Very, very wrong. And the GOP grassroots have to communicate this today and every day.
Find out the name of your congressman and, lame duck or not, call him or her with a message that if tax hikes are coming, everyone gets them so that everyone understands the president’s tax and tax and tax again agenda doesn’t grow jobs or the overall economy. The Congressional switchboard is 202-225-3121