Ted Cruz’s grassroots: The new Reagan Revolution?
October 25th, 2013
11:48 PM ET
10 months ago

Ted Cruz’s grassroots: The new Reagan Revolution?

(CNN) - Sen. Ted Cruz tried to compare his relationship with his favored grassroots Friday with the momentum that propelled Republican President Ronald Reagan into the White House.

The response to the economic malaise of the late 1970s was “the grassroots revolution,” Cruz told a friendly crowd in Des Moines, Iowa. “The Reagan Revolution.”

More than 30 years later, Cruz is trying to ride his own grassroots movement, one built around the Texas Republican’s opposition to President Barack Obama and his health care law. Cruz said the movement is dedicated to one word, “growth.”

Reagan’s policies were the exact opposite of Obama’s, Cruz told the crowd of about 600 Republicans at the Iowa GOP Reagan Dinner. Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley and Gov. Terry Branstad attended the annual event.

Cruz’s speech was all about the grassroots, something new to D.C. that “has official Washington absolutely terrified,” he said. “This new paradigm has been beta tested, unlike the Obamacare website." The paradigm’s first run-through, Cruz said, was the 1980 election that swept Reagan into power.

Part of the allusions to Reagan was likely as a unifying factor as Cruz and other speakers insisted that the “civil war” in the GOP is a myth and that what is really happening in the party is a natural evolution.

Declarations that such a rift doesn’t exist between the Republican establishment and others like the tea party were belied Friday by admonitions by Cruz and other speakers against some of the Republican leaders, especially in the Senate, who did not hold firm on Cruz’s efforts to defund Obamacare.

Cruz’s keynote speech was part of a two-day swing through Iowa for the freshman senator and is the third time he has travelled to the state of 3 million in the past three months. He received a warm welcome, with local speakers praising his “principled leadership” during the partial government shutdown.

For Cruz, that principle means running one direction and one direction only in elections. He admonished against wisdom that says Republicans run to the conservative right in primaries and then to the moderate left in the general election.

“What complete poppycock,” Cruz said. Candidates who do that, he said, “destroy any reason someone has to show up and vote.”

In addition to Friday’s speech, Cruz will speak at Republican Rep. Steve King's 6th Annual Defenders of Freedom event in Le Mars, Iowa. Cruz will be King’s guest at the congressman’s Col. Bud Day Pheasant Hunt Saturday. Cruz goes hunting several times a year, he recently told the Des Moines Register.

Presidential ambitions?

Cruz’s frequent trips to Iowa, a crucial early Republican caucus state, have helped fuel speculation that he is planning a 2016 presidential bid. The former Texas solicitor general has repeatedly demurred on his intentions.

Asked recently by CNN's Dana Bash when he plans to make his 2016 intentions known, Cruz said his focus is "entirely on the U.S. Senate." The reason he travels to other states, he said, was to "to energize and activate the grassroots of the American people."

The Iowa crowd and others like it have become Cruz’s preferred audience as he continues to form his anti-establishment tea party credentials.

Rising poll numbers among conservative voters show Cruz already well on his way to firmly ensconcing himself as a man off the anti-Washington people, after helping push the government into a 16-day partial shutdown when he attached a bill defunding Obamacare with one funding the rest of the government.

The grassroots

Cruz’s establishment detractors on both sides of the political aisle attacked him for the defunding maneuver, saying he knew all along the move would fail and would be completely untenable to Senate Democrats and President Obama, who vowed to veto anything harming his signature legislation.

But then, Cruz is in Iowa precisely because he’s not appealing to the establishment but rather to the tea party and the Republican base. That’s likely why he spent 21 hours on the Senate floor in the run-up to the government shutdown railing against Obamacare while lambasting Congress’s failure to “listen” to the American people about the evils of the health care law.

“21 hours is a long time,” Cruz told the crowd Friday.

“That's almost as long as it takes to sign up on the Obamacare website.”

The number one reason the defund tactic failed, Cruz said after the shutdown ended, was that Senate Republicans failed to back up their colleagues in the House of Representatives.

The Senate marathon was part of a series of populist maneuvers by Cruz before, during and after the shutdown.

In the months leading up to the shutdown, Cruz traveled the country railing against the ills of the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. During the shutdown, Cruz was one of the more vocal detractors of the government gating off federal parks and memorials.

After the shutdown ended, Cruz declared victory, lauding the 2 million people who signed a petition against Obamacare and saying that he has ruled out no strategy in his continuing efforts to dismantle the law, including another shutdown.

“We accomplished a great deal,” Cruz insisted of the shutdown Friday, elevating the national debate about the destructive impact of Obamacare.

The key to victory in the future, Cruz said, is to be bold. Playing it safe was why Republicans lost the elections of 2006, 2008 and 2012. The one real victory, of 2010, was because the party and grassroots didn’t shy from its principles of growth and freedom, Cruz said.

Keeping your head down, Cruz said, “that’s not how you win races.”


Filed under: Ted Cruz
soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. luke,az

    Mis-guided Cruz is a plant in the Republican party, placed there by the Democrats. He's crazier than Palin,Bachman and Rand Paul put together. Maybe not Rand Paul.

    October 26, 2013 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  2. Mike in Texas

    Appealing to the Tea Party and the Republican base = losing elections except in Republican Gerrymander Districts and ultra red states. Even then, guys like Mike Lee are in trouble in Utah after the 1st shutdown. Cruz talks a great talk but he is a man of no solutions or problem solving. He is the guy in the back of the room at a business meeting who criticizes others but offers no solutions himself. Come up with some ideas Teddy except Obamacare bad and government bad.

    October 26, 2013 01:21 am at 1:21 am |
  3. Thomas

    ." The paradigm’s first run-through, Cruz said, was the 1980 election that swept Reagan into power.
    The one real victory, of 2010, was because the party and grassroots didn’t shy from its principles of growth and freedom, Cruz said.

    I'm almost positive Reagan would have disliked Cruz and Palin , and they are one in the same.
    I would be curious to hear what Reagan's two children think of Mr. Cruz's comparison ?

    October 26, 2013 02:02 am at 2:02 am |
  4. Out of Texas

    Ted Cruz, you sir are no Ronald Reagan!

    October 26, 2013 03:06 am at 3:06 am |
  5. MaryM

    So Ted McCarthy Cruz is now the considered the male Sarah Palin. Such an honor!

    October 26, 2013 06:34 am at 6:34 am |
  6. Gurgyl

    Please do not entertain these clowns. Even third world like India is laughing at these. With these clowns, they lose like worst than crazy dogs in 2014. Reagan did not do any better to the nation either.

    October 26, 2013 07:26 am at 7:26 am |
  7. Rick McDaniel

    There is no doubt that the U.S. cannot afford the programs of Obama, which are nothing but hand outs to the public, paid for, by debt.

    October 26, 2013 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  8. Tampa Tim

    Ted is creating a new Republican Party based on some of the anti women's rights Taliban ideals. Who would have thought that a Canadian born Cuban could bring such craziness to a once major political party?

    October 26, 2013 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  9. nintex

    Every time this man opens his mouth more crazy comes out.

    October 26, 2013 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  10. Stuffit

    Guess which insider in the corrupt regime is a sorority sister and classmate of a senior executive of CGI (the company which was awarded the $664 million dollar no bid contract to develop the non functioning OBOZOCARE website. Impeach Obama now, lock him up and throw away the key.

    October 26, 2013 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  11. Gunderson

    After 100 years of Liberal Politics and Policies we are still living in the 1930's. The problem with Liberalisim is they don't think you can take care of yourself. So how did the country survive before? People had to do it, without big government programs. It is time to end Social Programs in the Federal Government. If a state wants to continue a program or programs they are free to do so.

    October 26, 2013 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  12. Evergreen

    Cruz, the Billion Dollar man. Regan was not about senseless posturing and manuvers aimed at accomplishing nothing. Reagan would have been outraged at the way you flushed 24 Billion Dollars of taxpayer money down the toilet. I am outraged how you are blowing it off as though 24 BILLION DOLLARS is no big deal as long as you got something out of it.

    October 26, 2013 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  13. Lynda/Minnesota

    Ronald Reagan? Get out of here, Ted Cruz.

    But, yeah, whatever.

    Sarah Palin thought she was going to be the next Margaret Thatcher, too.

    October 26, 2013 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  14. ak_steve

    Cruz said, "Reagan’s policies were the exact opposite of Obama’s". He is right. Reagan ADDED to our deficit. and Obama has decreased it.

    This apparently little known fact seems to slip by all those tea party folks who cling to the false information of the the far right ideology.

    October 26, 2013 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  15. A True Conservative

    Cruz is gaining in popularity.....CNN and the MSM must take him down or he may become a threat to the annointed ones......

    October 26, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  16. Larry

    "GENERAL CUSTER" CRUZ as leader of the Republicans-–just too funny and great news for the Democrats.

    October 26, 2013 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  17. don in albuquerque

    Hey Little Ricky Mac. Why don't you just start naming off these hand outs and see just how many can go straight back to Georgie the WarCriminal. Oh and Gunderson, be careful, your little Heidi of the Mountains facade slipped this morning. Total fraud and liar.

    October 26, 2013 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  18. freedom

    Better to have Reagan as a mentor, than Saul Alinsky and Rev. Wright -

    October 26, 2013 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  19. luke,az

    When are the moderate Republicans going to take back their party from these lunatic tea party terrorists ? Where are you Colin Powell, your party needs you to step up.

    October 26, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    @A True Conservative: "....take him down or he may become a threat to the annointed ones............"
    ---
    Better read up on Rafael Cruz's sermons to the Dominionists, and his declaration that "God has annointed Ted........."
    Read about the Seven Mountains agenda.............
    Then get back to us.

    October 26, 2013 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  21. sifto

    I do not think not will be as easy for MSM to take down Cruz the way they did Palin..He was proven so right with the Obamacare debacle–if Obama had only not refused to negotiate he would have not looked like such a fool when Cruz was proven right....

    October 26, 2013 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  22. Data Driven

    @A True Conservative,

    "Cruz is gaining in popularity"

    Latest poll from YouGov:

    43% of Americans have an unfavorable view of Ted Cruz; 31% have a favorable view.

    Sorry.

    October 26, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  23. Kinard

    It's so refreshing to see his picture plastered on printed media. Makes for fewer trips to the store to buy toilet paper. The cannery has a good time too, when the cage is lined with his likeness.

    October 26, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  24. Dan

    No, not a chance. Ted Cruz entering the primary does one thing: divide the conservative vote, ensuring Christie wins Iowa and dominates NH. That's it. Have people learned nothing by the last 2 primaries? I still think Rubio will win Iowa and SC. Cruz talks too much and this is just more ammo for the potent left wing extremist media.

    October 26, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  25. NameLindaHardge

    Ted Cruz is a complete moron. He talks loud and says nothing. What has he said will solve one problem in America? He will divide this country and fall it will.

    October 26, 2013 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
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