Ted Cruz, The Barn Burner

In 2013, the audacious upstart shut down the government on a hopeless quest to stop the President's signature policy. Love him or hate him, he is a vision of the future

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Marco Grob for TIME
Marco Grob for TIME

And Cruz’s brash gambit—which followed earlier clashes with veteran Senators John McCain and Dianne Feinstein as well as former Senator Chuck Hagel (now the Secretary of Defense)—made it pretty clear that Cruz isn’t planning on a long career in the Senate. No working his way up the ladder rung by rung to a lofty chairmanship. That’s the old way of doing things, and it requires at least a modicum of deference to seniority and an ability to address one’s bitterest enemies as “my good friend.” For that matter, the whole idea of the Senate as a deliberative body that’s slightly above the fray is passé, Cruz told me. “The Senate has become the battleground for the fight to turn this country around,” he said.

Instead, Cruz—like his fellow Tea Party freshmen Rand Paul of Kentucky and Marco Rubio of Florida—appears to be eyeing a path blazed by his nemesis, President Obama, in which the Senate is just a pit stop in a grander race. Though Cruz disagrees with nearly everything the President believes in, he appreciates Obama as a political tactician. “I respect President Obama as a man of deep principles, who is clearly willing to pay a steep political price for those ­principles—as he is doing with Obama­care,” Cruz said solemnly as the December sun slanted through his office windows in a downtown Houston skyscraper. “I also believe those principles are wrong and harmful for the country.”

When it comes to tactics, however, Obama is “absolutely” a role model, Cruz said. In his Senate race against an overwhelming favorite, Cruz followed the battle plan laid out by Obama’s 2008 upset of Hillary Clinton. He even required his top staff members to study the campaign memoir written by Obama strategist David Plouffe.

But Cruz demurred when asked if he intends, like Obama, to skedaddle from the Senate at the first possible opportunity. He was happy to talk about the sort of candidate the Republicans should nominate in 2016. “Look back over the last 40 years. Every time Republicans nominated a candidate who ran as a strong conservative, we’ve won. Every time we ran as moderate, Establishment Republicans, we lost.” When I asked if anyone on the list of frequently mentioned ­candidates—Rubio, Paul, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker … Ted Cruz—fit that bill, he answered, “I think it’s too early to say. As a voter in 2016, I intend to vote in the primary for whoever is standing up and leading the fight for economic freedom.”

After that, he talked about how fervent he feels about the fight for economic freedom.

Cruz at the Taste of Texas steak house with his wife Heidi and daughters Caroline, 5, and Catherine, 3.

Marco Grob for TIME

Cruz at the Taste of Texas steak house with his wife Heidi and daughters Caroline, 5, and Catherine, 3.

Past and Future

Should Cruz and others on the right manage to turn the 2016 Republican primary into a test of conservative purity, he will be fighting on highly favorable ground. If conservative theorists could build a cyborg in a lab vacuum-sealed against the slightest contamination by heterodox ideas, the result would be Rafael Edward Cruz. I say that because it is very nearly Cruz’s life story.

The lab was called the Free Enterprise Education Center. It was the creation of Rolland Storey, a wealthy Texas conservative who sought to identify promising young minds and mold them in an atmosphere of foundational conservative texts. Storey’s acolytes read Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, Ludwig von Mises and Frédéric Bastiat. They memorized long passages of the Constitution and toured Rotary and Kiwanis luncheons dazzling audiences by reciting entire sections verbatim. They were like Spartans of the conservative mind, and Cruz was their Leonidas—winner of the annual speech contest four years in a row. (The topic was always freedom.)

These lessons lodged so firmly, Cruz says at every opportunity, because he had already learned from his father about the nature of tyranny, under the repressive regime of Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. His father’s experience as a young ­Cuban—a boy soldier in Fidel Castro’s revolution who came to be deeply disillusioned by Castro’s new brand of ­oppression—convinced both father and son that government is best reined in. Cruz shudders to imagine his life if his father had not had a land of liberty to escape to in 1957. “It’s an incredible blessing to be the child of an immigrant who fled oppression,” Cruz offered. “It makes me appreciate how precious and fragile liberty is.”

At Princeton—where he became a national debating champion—his mentor was the brilliant natural-law theorist Robert George. He wrote his thesis on the Ninth and 10th Amendments—the ones that fence in the federal government. His time at liberal Harvard Law School was like a missionary voyage, Cruz’s father jokes, and friends from those years recall a bright young man itching for political arguments. After Harvard, he clerked for the conservative appeals-court judge Michael Luttig, then served as a law clerk for U.S. Chief Justice William Rehnquist. It was the perfect preparation. George Will, the dean of conservative columnists, sized up Cruz and pronounced his background “as good as it gets.”

Democrats may harbor similar feelings, for they’ve made Cruz a favorite target, comparing him to the run-amok Senator Joseph McCarthy of communist witch-hunting fame. “There is an effort to demonize Ted Cruz,” Carvin says, “not only because he is a talented and effective advocate but because the other side thinks he has higher aspirations.” They’re right about his ambition. But Cruz is no McCarthy, who melted away in an alcoholic haze. No: Cruz is a more formidable foe, one built to last. He knows the difference between risk and recklessness, and his drink of choice is Dr Pepper.

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73 comments
Drewbai
Drewbai

Despite all the efforts of Senator Ted

Government funding has now gone ahead.
The loss he is spinning
as Tea Party winning
A logical error inside of his head

brotherskeeper
brotherskeeper

He  Should be awarded the CANADIAN "JACKASS'  of the Year (Of All Time) . Where are you conservatives on this issue the silence is deafening; he was NOT born in America . Unlike the President who was definitely born in America. He criticize the ACA "Obamacare"  I prefer Obamacares but he and his party DO NOT have a health care plan. What's your plan.Mr Jackass am sorry Mr Cruz .

dwol001
dwol001

When I see Ted Cruz in action, I am reminded of Senator Joseph McCarthy.  Look out Texas, you have a loose cannon on the prowl.

j45ashton
j45ashton

Clearly, TIME is losing its way.  Ted Cruz: winner of schmuck of the year.

Whatanotion
Whatanotion

Ted Cruz seems to be playing a scripted part of Good-cop/Bad-cop wherein he begins as the Bad -Cop and then by some enlightenment will change his stripes and like Paul of the Bible become the advocate of Affordable health care.  This will ensure the continued oligopoly of those few companies that can afford teams of lawyers to maintain the economic advantage of an illusion of scarcity of supply.   Let's watch.  

Leftcoastrocky
Leftcoastrocky

Cruz took what he had learned about tyranny and used it himself against not only the GOP establishment but the country.  How did he benefit?  His following with the wacko 20% of the country became more intense and his coffers quickly filled with donations.

lefteyestain
lefteyestain

republicans  are using this guy to clean up their image with the whole country and the Spanish people , nice strategy  they think people are going to buy that please hahahaaaa 

ericmbacon
ericmbacon

If Cruz is a vision of the future, we are in a lot of trouble. Especially poor people. He would rather cut taxes and spend more on corporate subsidies (corporate welfare) than raise taxes to fix roads and bridges (or anything for that matter).

jhoughton1
jhoughton1

Ted Cruz a vision of the future?  I deplore that idea and do not believe it will turn out to be true.  Just as Time is elevating a man who has said the right things but done nothing, they have given space to a man who has said the wrong things and done a lot of damage. 

RobertNguyen
RobertNguyen

Cruz must have felt like Romney and McCain ????

jmac
jmac

Wasn't Michael Scherer just on Crhis Matthews saying Snowden was the runner-up?   Not that there's a lot of difference between Snowden and Cruz - both egotists and ideologues who don't mind hurting the country.  

drudown
drudown

Let me get this straight.

TIME Magazine is going to "honor" a United States public official that has not the slightest qualms about LYING to the American People on matters that touch and concern our civil liberties, fiscal policy and Health Care reform? Oh, and he unilaterally tried to INJURE the ability of the United States to meet its own ability to honor US Treasury Obligations, i.e., in doing so, Sen. Cruz is expressly ADVOCATING for a VIOLATION of the US Constitution's Contract Clause, Full Faith and Credit Clause and needlessly impair the ability to provide for the People's Common Defense and General Welfare. That is worth "honoring?" Do tell.

To the contrary, the premeditated “shutdown” is 
the result of both Sen. Cruz and the Tea Party-led GOP’s own (1) dishonest conduct regarding its admitted REFUSAL to even fulfill the oath to UPHOLD THE CONSTITUTION and (2) concurrent failure to Faithfully Execute both the Supreme Law of the Land and basic 
the FUNCTIONS of Congress. The fact the “shut down” was effectuated in a
 pre-meditated manner tends to show Sen. Cruz' Scienter of either deliberate
and/or negligent recklessness towards both the Full Faith and Credit Clause AND
t he Contract Clause of the US Constitution. 

In this latter regard, by
 deliberately interfering with the Several State’s ability to honor their
 respective bond obligations- this alone constitutes an arbitrary deprivation of Procedural 
Due Process. [see, Young v. Rosenthal 212 Cal.App.3d 96, 119 ("Law prohibits
party from testifying falsely and/or effectuate larger plan to willfully and
repeatedly refuse to allow proper government procedure to go forward");
see CA Evidence Code Section 1222(b).] 

Moreover, the misuse of the Filibuster by Sen. Cruz and the
 GOP –that is, refusing to simply bring matters to a full vote likewise
 contravenes Substantive and Procedural Due Process owed to the People AND the
 Several States. [See, United States v. James Daniel Good Real Property (1993)
510 U.S. 43; Daniels v. Williams (1986) 474 U.S. 327 (“Fair process is required
 for any such intentional acts of the government or its employees causing
 deprivation of property interests”).] Incredibly, TIME chooses to "honor" Sen. Cruz after he makes such despotic suggestions such as "let's abolish the IRS" or the EPA- as if, in the end, so stating in AN OFFICIAL CAPACITY is not an admission of subversive Scienter. Which is it, TIME? Is Sen. Cruz "above the law" in your opinion? Or does the "Tea Party" wrapping paper make his REFUSAL to Faithfully Execute the Law somehow different? 

What, the CITIZENS of the Several
 States don’t have Due Process rights selectively incorporated via the 14th
Amendment? 

What, the case law OUTLAWING Gerrymandering based on race “is no
longer the law” because the Tea Party pays Sen. Cruz to say so? [see, Shaw v. Hunt 
(1996) 517 U.S. 899] 

What, the case law OUTLAWING Gerrymandering based on politics “is no longer the law” 
because the Tea Party pays Sen. Cruz to say so? [see, Davis v. Bandemer (1986) 478
U.S. 109]


That too, is a subversive 
notion, and is wholly without legal support.


Notably, because not a SINGLE member of the (once mighty) media has even asked Sen. Cruz to cite a single mandatory authority for, say, "abolishing the IRS," and Sen. Cruz clearly cannot
 cite to SPECIFIC provisions within the CONSTITUTION itself to even lend support 
to your collective "wishful" construction of our laws and Social 
Contract (i.e., the Doctrine of Enumerated Powers works and is), Sen. Cruz' entire "dog and pony show" is outside the ambit of lawful State Action.

Not 
unlike Sen. Cruz WASTING TAXPAYER RESOURCES citing the likes of Dr. Seuss in Congress, his WILLFUL and flippant disregard for our Bill
of Rights precedent is as outrageous as Sen. Cruz openly opining in a PUBLIC CAPACITY that "gee, let's abolish the regulatory agencies our progenitors put in place to PROTECT the People" insofar BOTH were established to LIMIT such 
transgressions of the People's Due Process rights and those reserved to the Several States under the 10th Amendment.

Finally, there is no greater INJUSTICE UNDER THE EQUAL PROTECTION CLAUSE than the most profitable United States Corporations paying an “effective” rate of ZERO when they receive the SELFSAME BENEFITS of the Federal and Several States’ concurrent jurisdiction. Not simply the Common Defense, but also Transportation, Health Care, Education and other necessary and proper administrative functions that touch and concern Interstate Commerce. How about honoring our elected leaders trying to FUND the State- not those that are "paid" to destroy our precedent and American way of life.


"Thy love afar is spite at home." - Emerson    

therealdude
therealdude

I really do believe he is a vision of the future of the Republican party...But not the US of A. The "establishment" seems to be losing against the Frankenstein they created and Cruz is the perfect example of that Frankenstein. Before the shutdown you could just hear the establishment types squirming and saying "shut up", just like they did when Todd Adkins told us all about "legitimate rape" and the woman's ability to shut it all down, right before the 2012 elections. But they can't say too much because they're too scared these people will think they're not conservative enough and get primaried.

ThomasHall
ThomasHall

Sen. Cruz is the most self-inflated extremist, self-serving GOP senator since McCarthy. He will eventually fade away. Name one law that he has passed since entering Congress.

NecessaryOne
NecessaryOne

Thank God it was the Pope who got named and not Bozo the Cruz!

jilli.brown
jilli.brown

"Love him or hate him, he is a vision of the future"

That is a really depressing thought.  God help us.

pddallmann
pddallmann

If this is a "vision of the future" here in America, then perhaps it is time that I consider a move to Canada. (I am being sarcastic.) Seriously, though, Cruz's antics were undertaken with a political agenda, an agenda that was borne out of ignoble intents. He demonstrated absolutely no concern that what he was trying to orchestrate may have or probably did pose irreparable harm to the citizens of this great nation that he was supposedly committed to serve. I can only imagine how our founding fathers would have viewed his actions. (Hint: they would not have liked it one bit.) I understand that Time has to remain somewhat objective in its selection of Person of the Year. I can assure the editorial staff, however, that Cruz's inclusion in this list will only shore up any mistaken belief that he or others may hold that he was doing the right thing. I do not know if Cruz is capable of understanding why he was included in the list. I would be remiss if I did not add that I do not understand fully why he was included in the list, given the state of ownership of the media in America today. I cannot help but wonder.


In the end, Cruz would NEVER win my vote as Person of the Year, nor would I even consider him at all as a possibility. I wonder if he would be included in the list if the worst had occurred, and the American economy had collapsed because of the antics of this man and his cohorts in the House? Just stop for a moment, and think, "What if?"

Irony
Irony

I loved his little Green Eggs and Ham segment. There he is, fighting tooth and nail against a then unimplemented Heritage Foundation policy for no reason other than Democrats adopted it, citing a book whose primary lesson is that you shouldn't reject new things for purely superficial reasons.

cent-fan
cent-fan

Oh sure, a guy who caters to the crowd that believes that Obamacare ranks as high or higher than the Stalin purges, slavery, or the Holocaust in the annals of crimes against humanity.  Way to push the comic book narrative that is the modern Republican Party and prove that Time itself reads like a comic book... a bad one.


I suppose all those failing old coots that had that small bout of cancer on another policy and the young whippersnapper that hits a tree with their car will tattoo a number on their arm to remind them of the horror of having medical coverage that they didn't have or couldn't get five years ago.


kenhirshuc
kenhirshuc

Your intro uses the word "audacious," I believe that "mendacious" would be as appropriate.

JamesGordon1
JamesGordon1

Since  many of  my  Texas  business owner  friends  will be  reading  this ,.Please  consider  moving  your  company to  North West Louisiana ,It  will be  the  best  decision  you and  your  family will ever  make. I  can hardly  believe  what that  change  has  done  for  my  bank  account .


JamesGordon1
JamesGordon1

I  went  from a supporter  for  contract  with America  ,supporting  George  Bush for  Governor  and  president , Hated  the  Clinton's ,and  listening to  Rush  3  hours a day ,,Now I am  a  person who  would  NEVER  vote  for  a  Republican, I  guess I  was  just too  close  to  their lies  to  keep  voting  for  them .Oh,,and I  moved  my  company  out of  Texas .

sacredh
sacredh

Ted Cruz: Enema of the State

HaydenS
HaydenS

Written by a biased liberal for a biased magazine. Whether or not I agree with Ted Cruz this article is just a pathetic example of what our media is.

seth586
seth586

Ted Cruz is a hero for all of us that want restraint on government power and freedom restored to the public. The self serving republicans and democrats needed this wake up call. Expect plenty more Ted Cruzes to be elected.

USNavy2014
USNavy2014

@ericmbaconDid you really just talk about helping poor people AND raising taxes in the same sentence? Liberals need to realize that they cant have both. Pick one or the other.

Leftcoastrocky
Leftcoastrocky

@therealdude If Cruz is a vision of the future of the GOP then it will be a long long time before a republican occupies the White House.

Ohiolib
Ohiolib

However, it looks like they're going to get primaried anyway. I suspect I'll be going through extra popcorn next year. 

therealdude
therealdude

@JamesGordon1 You sound just like me. Although now days I'm becoming so disappointed with Obama it's starting to make me wonder if it's even worth it to vote on election day. Not because voting isn't important. But I'm tried of voting for one guy, just to vote against the other. Just once in my life I'd like to cast a vote for someone because I believed they were good.

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

@JamesGordon1 It is OK. I can take your place. Having been a registered Democrat till Obama came along. Last time voted for a Democrat was in 08 with Obama. You can have MSNBC and Chris Matthews You can listen to Ed Schultz in my place. I guess listening to a President whisper secret messages to Putin about more flexibility did it for me. 

tom.litton
tom.litton

@seth586

I respect the libertarian position, and i respect the conservative position.  

What i don't respect is when you think that everyone does and/or should agree with you.  We don't, and you can't destroy America trying to force us into it.  Democracy doesn't work that way.

therealdude
therealdude

 Baloney. You can't be an advocate of social conservatism like he is and at the same time say you want "restraint on government power and freedom restored to the public". The two clash horribly.

ThomasHall
ThomasHall

@seth586 "Freedom restored to the public?" Thanks mainly to the Republicans, we live under a plutocracy--a country and government by and for the rich. Recall the crippling National Debt that the GOP, out of the White House, just noticed which was less than $800 billion through Carter? Reagan TRIPLED it during peace time, GHW Bush added to it with costly military invasions and GW Bush more than DOUBLED it yet again.

Cruz, the baggies, and the establishment GOP have deliberately sabotaged the weak economy and job growth which they mostly created with their deregulated rich Wall St. bankster fraud--not welfare or food stamp recipients, unionists, public employees, or undocumented immigrants--all those that the GOP and baggies attack out of ignorance, bigotry, fear, and greed.

But then again, what can one say about working class GOPeons who still blindly support the GOP which have historically NEVER represented them?

LeahPetersen
LeahPetersen

What about Ted Cruz using his government position to manipulate things to his advantage with no plan or offered alternative (and lose anyway after hurting a great many people) gave ANYONE but Ted Cruz "power and freedom"?

jilli.brown
jilli.brown

blah blah blah blah blah - the gop has been pimping that "restraint of government power and freedom restored to the public" hooey for decades now - how long will it take for them to actually follow through?  And how many rubes like seth here will fall for it before they wake up and see their ruse for what it is?

tom.litton
tom.litton

@ReneDemonteverde@JamesGordon1You realize that there is always a 3rd choice for president right?  You don't have to vote for the republican just because you don't like the democrat. 

Furthermore, you should vote in primaries.  That is where the real decisions are being made.

ThomasHall
ThomasHall

@ReneDemonteverde @JamesGordon1 The "flexibility" after the election that Pres. Obama mentioned to the Russian prime minister Medvedev NOT Putin was about the GOP's stupid effort to put the provocative, never-ending, SDI-spinoff anti-ballistic missiles in Poland to protect them, according to GW Bush, from "rogue nations" like Iran and North Korea neither of which have ICBMs capable for the task. 

In brief, you are uninformed as usual.

brotherskeeper
brotherskeeper

 Thank you Thomas Hall for stating the facts I notice Repubs ( the party of idiots) are allergic to facts they get all upset  when you state the facts. Please keeping attacking them with the FACTS . Notice they will attack your character and give you only snide remarks but they will never address the issueS at hand. IDIOTS BE GONE AMERICA DON'T NEED YOU. We have a country to rebuild It's facing clear and present danger from these idiots who have huge financial banking . 

LeahPetersen
LeahPetersen

Our Republican legislature in North Carolina has done everything BUT restrain power and has taken away as much freedom as possible. Why does anyone still believe these people?

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

@ThomasHall @ReneDemonteverde @JamesGordon1 Ha ha ha. Keep dreaming, and spinning. It will get you far. And put your butt far deeper in your you know where. It will keep you from seeing reality. You are pathetic. By the way you would do a better job at spinning than Carney. Why dont you apply for his ? Obama needs people adept in lying and spinning.

jilli.brown
jilli.brown

Well done reallife - a perfect display of the same intellectual immaturity so obvious in mr. cruz and his "supporters".  You can't justify your position, you just resort to sophomoric snark.

ThomasHall
ThomasHall

brotherskeeper--We are on the same page. Yes, facts mean little to the GOP. What can one say about working class GOPeons who still blindly support the GOP which has historically NEVER represented the working class?

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