Ted Cruz, Thomas Sowell and Battles Worth Fighting…

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In my opinion Thomas Sowell is easily the smartest man in America. From Basic Economics, to Black Rednecks and White Liberals to his definitive dissection of the most recent economic collapse in The Housing Boom and Bust, his books are nothing short of brilliant. And of course it’s not just books, he writes a weekly column as well, does interviews, lectures and does research at Stanford’s Hoover Institute. His prodigious talents make him one of the great thinkers and writers of our time.

As much as I enjoy and agree with almost everything Sowell writes, I believe he’s wrong about Ted Cruz. He was not happy with Cruz leading the charge for the government shutdown last year and he’s not at all happy with him on his efforts to unseat RINO republicans.

On the shutdown Dr. Sowell suggested that there was no point fighting the battle because it could simply not be won. “Even if, by some miracle, the Republicans managed to get the Senate to go along with defunding ObamaCare, President Obama can simply veto the bill.” That is factually correct. There was no chance that Obama was going to sign any bill that defunded Obamacare… but that’s OK. Sowell is also correct that the GOP was going to get blamed for the shutdown by a bootlicking media. But the funny thing was, despite the Democrat’s and the media’s warnings that the sky would fall… it didn’t. During the “shutdown” 83% of all government spending went on unmolested, and perhaps most glaringly, only 22% of American people said they were inconvenienced by the shutdown at all! That’s a much lower percentage than the number of Americans who had a negative opinion of Obamacare at that same time, 44% and who wanted Obamacare repealed, 34%.

While the media sought to paint the shutdown as a GOP mistake, Ted Cruz gave the GOP leadership an opportunity to harness that attention to articulate why they were fighting to save the country from Obamacare. The fact that the leadership chose not to, or is genetically incapable of doing so is not Cruz’s fault. At a time when the nation’s attention was focused on government policies, Cruz gave the GOP an opportunity to show that “business as usual” was no longer going to fly. Not surprisingly, they failed to do so.

Dr. Sowell is equally perturbed by Ted Cruz’s willingness to attack the GOP leadership, which includes Senators who are up for election in 2014, such as Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Whip John Cornyn. Also his filibuster in October in an attempt to get the GOP to hold Obamacare hostage to the debt ceiling.

Dr. Sowell often compares (in a negative light) Cruz to George Washington. There is a United States of America today only because George Washington understood that his army was not able to fight the British troops everywhere, but had to choose carefully when and where to fight. Futile symbolic confrontations were a luxury that could not be afforded then and cannot be afforded now.

He makes a similar point using the illustration of the Dunkirk rescue: The British troops who escaped from Dunkirk came back to France four years later, as part of the massive invasion forces that stormed the beaches at Normandy, liberated France and pushed on into Germany for the final defeat of the Nazi regime.

In politics, as in war, you need power to win, and you don’t dissipate your forces fighting battles that you are sure to lose. Symbolism and emotional self-indulgence are just not worth it.

While admitting Dr. Sowell is right that Barack Obama’s veto pen would likely rule the day in most situations, I do not agree with his contention that fighting a battle is not worth fighting just because you know you’ll probably lose. That’s because there’s a difference between a battle and a war, and Americans are very much involved in a war. That war may not involve bullets and bayonets, but the stakes are as high as anything George Washington ever fought for. It is literally for the freedom that he won for us and the Constitution secured for us.

Whereas Dr. Sowell compares Ted Cruz’s battles to Washington’s at New York or to the British at Dunkirk, I think a better comparison is to Leonidas at Thermoplyae or the defenders of the Alamo. In both cases the battles were lost, but they inspired the winning of the larger war. Fortunately, in the war effort Ted Cruz is leading the consequences of losing a battle will surely not be fatal, probably even to a political career. But what they might do is finally arouse an American populace that has forgotten that liberty and prosperity are built on the Constitutional principles of individual freedom, limited government and free enterprise and not on government mandates and largesse.

Ted Cruz may lose many of the battles he fights, but the battles are worth fighting. For too long conservatives have acquiesced to the tactics of “establishment” Republicans and as a result we’ve had more than a quarter century of the winnowing of our freedoms and the unfettered growth of government. From farm bills to debt limits to welfare spending to Obamacare, the GOP’s willingness to play it safe has resulted in one unmitigated disaster after another, culminating in the reelection of Barack Obama in 2012. Maybe Dr. Sowell is right, maybe Ted Cruz’s tactics will lose the Senate for the GOP in 2014. If so, so be it. If the American system is going to collapse under its own weight – which is surely the case with the current trajectory – then let the damage be done so that we can get on with the task of rebuilding a nation based on liberty, the rule of law and free markets. I’m not convinced a majority of American citizens are suicidal however, and as Ted Cruz fights the good fight I expect more and more of them will stop and take notice of his message of (very) limited government. With all due respect to the Smartest Man in America, I believe that’s a message worth fighting for.

The product of a military family, growing up in Naples, Italy and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and being stationed in Germany for two years while in the Army, Vince spent half of his first quarter century seeing the US from outside of its own borders. That perspective, along with a French wife and two decades as a struggling entrepreneur have only fueled an appreciation for freedom and the fundamental greatness of the gifts our forefathers left us.

11 Responses to “Ted Cruz, Thomas Sowell and Battles Worth Fighting…”

  1. 1

    kevino

    It is OK to fight hard and lose, but what most in the GOP are failing to do is to articulate why supporting smaller government and constitutional government is a good idea. A stronger case needs to be made for law and order, and when the opposition advocates oppressive government (e.g. writing articles about how great Communist China is), they need to be called on it.

    The values need to be fought for. “This is SPARTA!”

  2. 2

    Bill Burris

    The examples used are of rear-guard retrograde actions, not surrender. Republicans can look back on their record on this abysmal law and honestly claim the fought it from the beginning and throughout its implementation and, in the end, Obama himself did exactly what they were trying to do; stop its enacting and the damage it would cause.

    Republicans can and should retreat to the high ground until they have sufficient numbers and the lines of communication of the enemy are stretched to the point that victory is all but assured.

  3. 3

    James Raider

    author

    Barack Obama’s veto pen would likely rule the day in most situations

    There is little doubt that “news” of Obama vetoing a bill repealling his favourite law would provide plenty of negative PR for the Dems. This would have been more than just a beach-head on the way to winning the battle.

  4. 4

    ilovebeeswarzone

    Vince
    i was hook on the last two paragraphs,
    TED CRUZ IS AN ALERT SMART THINKER ALSO,
    NO OFFENSE TO THOMAS SOWEL INTELLIGENCE ,
    HE TED CRUZ CARE FOR AMERICA AND HURT TO SEE THE PEOPLE HURT,
    AND SO DEPRESS BY THE REGIME IN POWER,
    HE HAS QUALIFICATIONS AND GIFT TO EXPRESS HIMSELF , SO THE PEOPLE UNDERSTAND,
    AS OPOSE TO THE CONFUSE SPEECHES OF OBAMA AS LONG AS THEY ARE THEY DON’T COMMUNICATE TO THE CITIZENS, ON WHAT THEY WANT TO HEAR,
    TED CRUZ KNOW WHAT THE PEOPLE WANT TO HEAR,
    HE IS ONE OF THEM HE LIKE TO SAY,AND IT’S TRUE, HE HEAR,THE PEOPLE SAY,
    HOW COME I CAN’T FIND A JOB IN AMERICA ? HOW COME I HAVE TO BE CONFORTABLE BY TAKING THE HELP AND FOOD STAMPS FROM THE WORKING CLASS? WHEN I’M NOT,
    I AM EMBARRASS TO BE FORCE TO LIVE LIKE IT, I HAD SO GRAND EXPECTATIONS OF THE FUTURE OF ME AND THOSE I LOVE, WHERE ARE THE JOBS? NONE
    TED CRUZ UNDERSTAND FROM THAT LEVEL TO UP TO THE TOP,
    THAT’S WHY HE IS COMMING LOUD AND CLEAR TO TELL THE PEOPLE,
    HE , TED CRUZ CARE , AND THINK HARD OF SOLUTIONS, HE HAD ONE WHICH WAS PUT DOWN BY A LEADER SAYING , NO NO NO I DON’T NEGOTIATE THAT BILL WHICH HE DIDN’T EVEN READ, IT WAS PASS IN THE LATE DAY BY ONLY DEMOCRATS WHO DID NOT READ WHAT THEY WHERE SIGNING BUT FOLLOW ORDER, NO MATTER WHAT OR WILL BE PENALIZE,
    WELL THE TED CRUZ COULDN’T TAKE SUCH ARROGANCE, HE KNEW THE DIFILCULTY BUT IT HAD TO BE EXPOSED AND HE DID, AND THE PEOPLE LOVED HIS COURAGE,
    HE WILL COME BACK AND NO ONE WILL SHUT HIM BECAUSE HE KNOW HE IS RIGHT ON,
    THE OLD CRUE IS TOO SILENT BUT THEY FOUND A TONGUE TO CRITIC TED CRUZ ON THAT SHUT DOWN, BUT IT WAS OBAMA WHO SHUT DOWN THE GOVERNMENT , HE HAD BEEN READY FOR IT WEEKS AGO, SO TO MAKE THE SIGNS CARBOARDS, AND SAID TO THE UNION WORKER, MAKE IT AS PAINFULL AS YOU CAN, FOR THE OLD VETERANS COMING TO THEIR YEARLY TRIP TO THEIR OWN PLACE OF REMEMBRANCE, YES THEY HAD A PAINFULL TRIP NOT FROM TED CRUZ, BUT FROM OBAMA’S ORDERS,
    GO TED CRUZ WE LIKE WHAT YOU COME OUT WITH, BECAUSE AS TOMAS SOWEL,
    YOU THINK HARD, AND FOR THE PEOPLE, NOT FOR THE GOVERNMENT,
    AND YOU FORCE THE REPUBLICANS TO ACTIVATE THEIR BRAINS TO FIND SOLUTIONS BETTER THAN TED CRUZ, THAT TAKE THINKING

  5. 5

    Taqiyyologist

    I really need to buy those Sowell books.

    I’m quite sure that studying them would make me smarter.

    Just reading the reviews, even, makes me want to place an order.

    I agree he is probably the smartest man in America, or a serious contender.

    I’m 42? Christ, folks. SMH.

    I’m such a racist: I’ve been reading Dr. Sowell for more than twenty years, now. I think the Boston Herald carried his columns (or the Globe, but I’m pretty sure — yeah, NOT.) And I was reading 4 newspapers a day at the age of 19.

    Walter Williams has always been one of the great minds in my lifetime, too.

    Either I’m a racist, or hey! maybe I care about SUBSTANCE — ideas and attitudes and truth and love — more than I care about skin color.

    Nah, I’m sewing up a buncha white hoods right now. Must be that.

  6. 6

    ilovebeeswarzone

    Tagiyyologist
    NICE TO HAVE YOU COMMENT,
    NO YOU CAN’T BE, i would bet on it,
    NO RACIST EVER CAME FROM YOUR COMMENTS,
    WE CANNOT BE RACIST BY MENTIONING THE COLOR
    OF A PERSON, WE TALK ABOUT,
    BYE

  7. 7

    FAITH7

    @Bees#4 – Hey Bees – Ted Cruz has a lot of courage and I admire him for that. He is I believe in his heart of hearts trying to get some sense into the minds of some very stupid people. I do believe some of his battles are with those establishment RINO’S another bunch of stupid ( and I dare say lazy) people.

    These people don’t continually have to make or create ‘new legislation’ to pass new laws just to make their constituents ‘think’ they are doing something (constructive) while in office…heck we have so many laws that one day we will be breaking laws that we didn’t even know existed. The Republicans need to take a law passing break and get together and figure out a way to explain their position to the people and a way to make them understand what is so great about this country and about ‘being an American’ -American freedom and liberty and get the brainwashed people to THINK! Think about what kind of a future they ‘really’ want…socialism/communism isn’t it.

    What the indoctrinated ”think’ is the Liberty and Freedom (they want at this time in their lives) is in reality just a bait and switch tactic (used by communists and socialists) for stealing away their ‘real liberties and freedoms’ later…which is why these communists go after the young and impressionable…their minds are easily swayed….I mean look at all those young people that voted for Obama and are now sorry they did so…albeit ‘some’ feel he has not gone far enough to the left…but that is only ‘some’.

    Obama, they are finding is just an empty suit – a liar and a wanna be dictator…

  8. 9

    ilovebeeswarzone

    FAITH7
    HI,
    ABOUT THE OTHER COMMENT RELATING TO THE TEACHER,
    I AM OUTRAGE AS YOU ARE,
    THEY ARE A BUNCH OF DEGENERATES IF THEY ALLOW THAT TO BE TAUGHT IN SCHOOL
    I DON’T CARE ABOUT HOW THEY ARE TRAINED, THIS IS WRONG,
    THE PARENTS SHOULD BE TOLD AS SOON, AND NO NEED TO GIVE A NAME
    SO TO PROTECT THE ONE SENDING IT,
    I’M NOT SURE IF YOUR COMMENT IS FROM HERE OR ANOTHER POST,
    I JUST WANTED TO SUGGEST THE PARENT TO BE TOLD,
    BYE

  9. 10

    Wordsmith

    editor

    I’m with Sowell. He remains a clear-headed conservative thinker.

    Cruz speaks to our emotions and makes us feel good. Beyond that…?

    Conservatives are united on principles. What is disagreed upon is tactics and strategies and pragmatism. Politics is the art of the possible. And I think what Cruz has been selling is snake oil to a frustrated conservative base that currently has an all-or-nothing mindset.

    Ben Shapiro:

    And Medved on the comparisons to noble military sacrifices:

    Every day during the crisis, excited callers to my radio show draw parallels between today’s GOP stalwarts and the doughty band who fought to the last man at the Alamo or the 300 Spartans who perished at Thermopylae in 480 B.C. Is it merely coincidence, I’ve been asked, that the number of Republicans in today’s House and Senate comes to a combined total of just about 300? (Actually, 278 — but close enough).

    Doomed role models

    It does little good to point out the obvious problem with invoking such fierce examples as role models for today’s conservatives: United Flight 93 crashed and burned, killing all on board; William Wallace was drawn and quartered by his English enemies; the defenders of the Alamo were slaughtered; and the 300 Spartans were overwhelmed by invading Persian hordes. The problem with doomed, hopeless struggles is that they’re doomed.

    In response to such common sense observations, enthusiasts snarl about gutless RINO (Republicans In Name Only) cowards, appeasers and turncoats. All who dare question a laughably impractical and self-destructive strategy selfishly place their own safety above commitment to a worthy cause. Sometimes, they argue, decent men must take a selfless stand against the odds and prepare to sacrifice themselves for higher principle.

    Such arguments rest uneasily on two faulty assumptions:

    First, today’s impassioned conservatives hardly sacrifice their own interests. In most cases, they gain rather than suffer at all for their self-righteous theatrics.

    Consider Sen. Cruz, R-The Alamo, now a household name and a presidential front-runner after just nine months in office. As recently as Sunday, he insisted that Tea Party conservatives were “winning” their struggle to instantly uproot the Affordable Care Act. Such pronouncements win him eager admirers and mountains of campaign cash.

    As for the House conservatives who deride all notions of compromise, the redistricting in 2010 leaves them with little chance of serious liberal or moderate challenge in their lopsidedly GOP districts. Only two of the 232 House Republicans represent a district listed as “toss up” or “leaning Democratic.”

    Ideological cheerleaders

    And as to right-wing organizations such as The Club for Growth, Heritage Action for America and Tea Party Patriots, they risk nothing at all. The activists and entrepreneurs who run these operations enjoy surges in publicity and membership while donations roll in.

    Similarly, the loudest voices in conservative news media are hardly courageous when urging their favorite politicians to take ideologically pure positions. In talk radio, for instance, any host who regularly wins as much as 5% audience share in major markets counts as wildly successful. Ideological purity is the proven road to pulling together that niche following. While Braveheart and his fearless Scots earned death, media figures who claim to follow that example earn millions.

    The second problem with the analogy between today’s Washington brawls and history’s fateful battles involves their long-term impact. We remember the little band of Spartans and the Alamo defenders only because their sacrifice proved so consequential.

    The defense of Thermopylae delayed Persian invaders long enough so that other Greeks could rally to win the decisive battle of Salamis.

    Col. William Barret Travis and his Texans gave Sam Houston (who chose to avoid a sacrificial confrontation of his own) the chance to surprise and defeat Santa Ana’s overconfident troops at San Jacinto.

    Conservative dead-enders

    “Standing up for principle” amounts to a noble spectacle only when your stand advances the principle you care about. Despite the superheated rhetoric comparing today’s conservative dead-enders to history’s military heroes, their actions hardly count as selfless. These conservative are advancing their own interests at no real risk, while their romance with martyrdom promotes victory for the other side.

  10. 11

    ilovebeeswarzone

    WORDSMITH
    WHICH SIDE ARE YOU?,
    YOU AND THOSE OLDIES ARE NOT IN TUNE WITH A YOUNG ENERGYCAL AMERICA LOVER,
    WHO CAN’T TAKE THE FALSE LIBERAL PROMESSES AND FAILURE, ON THE OBAMACARE
    TED CRUZ IS YES EMOTIONAL, WHAT’S WRONG WITH IT,
    OBAMA IS NOT, NO ONE WANT A COLD DEADBEAT AS PRESIDENT,
    SO IT’S A PLUS FOR HIM, HE HAS A GREAT GIFT AND HE IS TALKED ABOUT BY PEOPLE LIKE YOU WHO LIKE TO STEP ON ONE COMING OUT OF THE RANKS OF SLEEPERS AND IS AWAKE AND READY TO MOVE ON TOP OF THEM, WHAT CAN YOU ALL DO BETTER THAN THAT?
    COME ON, BRING IT ON ,NOT IN WORDS BUT IN ACTIONS, LIKE HE DOES,
    YOU ARE ALL HAS BEEN JEALOUS OF ONE’S GIFT TO EXPRESS HIS DREAM FOR AMERICA, WHILE YOU ALL ARE WAITING FOR IT TO BE HANDED TO YOU,
    IT’S TIME PASS THAT YOU ALL MOVE YOUR BUT INSTEAD OF YOUR MOUTH.
    AND CONTROL YOUR INNER INTAKE OF POISON ,BECAUSE IT WILL KILL YOU ALL,
    I SUGGEST YOU TURN YOUR NEGATIVE ON THE RIGHT ENEMY,
    YOU WISH TO BEAT, AND GIVE A GOOD WORD TO THIS YOUNG MAN WITH GUTTS TO COME OUT AND TELL THE PEOPLE WHAT THEY NEED TO HEAR,
    OR WOULD YOU PREFER TO REPLAY THE SAME 2012 TUNE
    WHERE YOU ALL SUNK THE ROMNEY BOAT,

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