For political veterans, much of what we’re starting to hear about Ted Cruz has an eerily familiar ring. Too extreme. Unelectable. Scares people. A radical, not a conservative.
The American people will hear a lot about Cruz’s extremism in the year ahead, just as they were told about Reagan’s. It may cause them to hesitate before supporting him. But over the course of the campaign they’ll be able to make that determination for themselves. In fact, Ted Cruz represents the mainstream of conservative thought in this country, just as Reagan did two score years ago. Reagan’s victory vindicated everything we’d been saying for twenty years. A Cruz win next year would do so again.
Precisely 36 years ago Reagan was on his way to the Republican nomination. George Will and the church ladies of the party were concerned, even trying to lure former President Ford into the race. Reagan was just too conservative to get elected. A few years earlier Will had described Reagan’s support as “. . . kamikaze conservatives who thought the 1964 Goldwater campaign was jolly fun.” The reasonable, establishment Republicans settled on Bush 1 as their candidate, and it was game on. Marco Rubio is, or will be, their choice this time. Same song, same singers.
Even those of us in the Reagan campaign had concerns. In January of 1980 Reagan trailed Carter 62-33. This in spite of the fact that our embassy in Iran had been overrun, and hostages taken, a couple months before. Carter had earlier been openly humiliated by Brezhnev in Afghanistan. A weak economy, and soaring inflation, combined to give us the worst of both worlds, stagflation. The previous summer Carter had complained to the American people about their malaise. He seemed to be over his head. In the face of all these troubles, Carter still had a 2-1 lead. Reagan was too extreme.
The rest is up at American Thinker. Here’s the link.