Texas Senator Ted Cruz isn’t one to hide from controversy or scandal. He has been one to take on the issues of the day head-on, even making fun of himself in the process. At CPAC in Orlando, the theme that has been talked about consistently the entire time has been contrasting the previous venue in National Harbor, Maryland, to the open and warm destination in Orlando.
As Cruz began his speech this morning, he wasn’t worried about jumping into both controversy and CPAC’s change in venue.
“Orlando is awesome!” Cruz crowed to a roar from the crowd. “Though,” Cruz continued, “not as nice as Cancun.” The crowd broke out into hysterical laughter.
Cruz’s speech centered on the one thing that liberals should fear: Unity and power in the Republican Party and the message the party needs to take to Americans around them. As Cruz spoke, his manner and style were less that of a lecturing politician and more that of a charismatic preacher, giving the good news to his flock. Other speakers this morning have stood behind a podium delivering their speeches, as you’ve largely come to expect from CPAC, Cruz paced the stage, connecting with the members of the audience and filling them with hope for the future.
He spoke of the Democrats and their control over the White House and Congress as the “dark empire” comparing them and their plans for the country to the primary villains of the Star Wars universe. “The media here looks at the men and women gathered here, at the young people gathered here as dangerous radicals. This is the Rebel Alliance!”, Cruz spoke, “And Vader, and the Emperor, and let’s be clear they aren’t your father, are terrified of the rebels who are here, and I am proud to tell you, Gina Carano is standing with us!”
Cruz went on to compare the Republican Party to the Democrats, stating that Republicans truly want the diversity of thought that the Democrats claim. I cringed in my seat as Cruz compared the Democrats to the hive-minded Borg of the Star Trek franchise. As a sci-fi geek, it was the wrong direction to go immediately following a Star Wars reference, however, Cruz was quick to realize his mistake. “I think I just committed a cardinal sin, mixing Star Wars and Star Trek.” That you did, Ted. That you did.
Cruz then took on the draconian and hypocritical shutdowns, imposed by tyrannical leaders, showing how the left’s policies don’t make sense. He spoke about the protests and how the lockdown and social distancing measures seemed to not matter when it came to the violent protests that plagued the country in 2020. At the protests, he said, “No one will get infected.” Cruz continued, “But if you go to church and sing Amazing Grace, everyone is going to die. It is all political theatre.”
His speech continued in a direction that I have longed for a leader in the Republican Party to adequately convey. I have hoped for a leader who could accurately communicate that Conservatism is the new punk rock. The liberties we enjoy don’t just protect our rights to freedom of speech, religion, and the right to bear arms, but to those with whom we are allowed to, and should, vehemently disagree. It is an issue that we can all unite around, and one we can bring our ranks together. “It is a love of liberty,” Cruz stated.
“Liberty is powerful, liberty is persuasive, liberty is fun,” Cruz said. He’s right. What should unite us isn’t our fight against someone or something, rather our ability to believe that others can have beliefs and practices with which we might disagree, but that we would be willing to defend. Respect for individual rights and freedoms doesn’t start with our ability to defend our own rights, but our willingness to defend the rights of those with whom we might disagree.
Cruz continued with a brief tribute to Rush Limbaugh, highlighting his importance to not just conservatism, but to conservative media. “Before there was Hannity, before there was Tucker, before there was Ben Shapiro and Steven Crowder, there was Rush Limbaugh.” As many of us have discussed here at RedState since the passing of Rush Limbaugh, we have agreed with this sentiment. Conservative media would never have been possible, without the trailblazing of El Rushbo.
Cruz finished with some funny anecdotal connections, talking about SNL’s constant targeting of Trump. “We hate Donald Trump,” Cruz paraphrased of SNL. “Yeah, no kidding,” he quipped. He also stated that there’s some statistic out there that said that 60% of the women named Karen voted for Joe Biden. Somehow, that isn’t surprising. He spoke of Biden’s ascension to the presidency as a return to business as usual in Washington DC, moving away from the Trump years. He warned of going back to the government “of the lobbyists, by the lobbyists, and for the lobbyists.”
In closing, Cruz played off a particularly vocal member of the audience, who continued to shout “Freedom!” throughout parts of the speech — “In the words of William Wallace, FREEDOM!!”
Watch Cruz’s speech below.
I was also able to bump elbows with the good Senator in the hallway. Here’s the resulting picture.