When I first met Ted Cruz, he was finishing up his clerkship at the United States Supreme Court. Driven, intelligent, and intellectually curious. Several years later, we reconnected; I was at a think tank in Austin, he was Texas’ new solicitor general. He saw himself then as he does now: a servant, eager to do right by our Constitution and the citizens.
At every turn, he did what was right for Texas. His commitment to the values of liberty was unwavering; he has held dearly to the premise that our nation is ruled not by the whims of men, but by the dictates of the Constitution.
His first nascent run for public office wasn’t to be. A possible shuffling of the electoral deck in the Lone Star State meant the Office of Attorney General might be open. He gave a few speeches – in which he sounded more like a fellow making an argument to an Appeals Court than appealing to voters – that served to introduce Texans to their highly competent and articulate defender.
When the Senate office came open, I must admit, I stayed out of the race. I was excited to see Ted run, but – as I told a radio talk show host during that 2012 run-off – I couldn’t get too excited. The rules of the Senate meant newbies wore wallpaper-colored suits and stood in the background for six years.
I’ve never been so proud to be disproved. Sen. Cruz tore up those dusty rules and shook up the senatorial club that had been casually bankrupting our nation financially and politically since the early 20th century.
That the old-guard senators hold him in such disdain is a ringing endorsement of his good work. At every step, Ted Cruz has done in the Senate precisely what he said he would do. Rather than be a doormat for the establishment, as new senators are expected to be, he kicked open the door of a body in desperate need of cleansing sunlight.
Some suggested that Ted needed to wait a few years before seeking the White House. In another time, maybe so; but his record in the Senate, coupled with the abysmal condition Obama is leaving our nation, has forestalled such notions.
The America bequeathed to us by our founding fathers is in peril. Fundamental freedoms have been under systemic assault for the last eight years, perhaps longer. We cannot afford to wait another four or eight years for a principled devotee of constitutional principles.
Whatever might have been, whatever the merits of the candidates who were but are no longer, Ted Cruz now stands alone in the 2016 field of Republicans and Democrats as the man who can put the federal government back in the borders defined by our Constitution.
We don’t need a candidate whose unrighteous anger appeals to the lowest common denominator; we need an aspirational public servant who will urge our better angels even higher.
We don’t need a bully or dictator-in-chief, we need a servant-president who honors the Constitution. We don’t need a socialist or a cronyist, we need a conservative who honors the rule of law.
If America’s better days are truly ahead of us, Ted Cruz is carrying the roadmap.
Michael Quinn Sullivan is the president of Empower Texans and Texans for Fiscal Responsibility.