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Sunday, April 05, 2015

Ted Cruz Launches His Campaign.

Special invitation to you: Reserve a place in my September 1 short online, Iowa Caucuses course.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz saw the handwriting on the wall this week. Terrible early poll numbers. He was in eighth place with 4% in the latest poll with Jeb Bush leading (16%), followed by Scott Walker and Rand Paul (13% and 12% each).

He decided to change the conversation by declaring his candidacy for president first and cut off his ultra conservative competitors like Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, Dr. Ben Carson, and Rick Santorum at the pass. They are the most faith-based and truly right of center contenders competing for the same Iowa voters that he hopes to attract on caucus night a year from now. 

My own feeling is “Good luck Ted.” These other 4 GOP candidates have done a terrific job of connecting with conservative Christians already. So, he’s going to have to cut into their base of support or find new likely caucus voters to add to his team. 

Then he has to deal with Rick Perry a fellow Texan although Cruz’s likely supporters are probably different from Perry because Cruz is an “insurgent” who went against the Texas GOP establishment to win his Senate seat. 

The other question is whether Cruz will be cruzified (pardon the pun) for his opposition to ethanol and the Renewable Fuels Standard. The Des Moines Register "Don’t expect U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz to shuck his opposition to the ethanol-friendly Renewable Fuel Standard.”  

His bigger problem is that he was born in Canada. To be eligible you have to be a “natural born” US citizen. That’s commonly assumed to mean that your mother has to be physically in the United States, an American territory or even a US military base when you see daylight.

His mother was born in the United States and his father was born in Cuba. Cruz argues that because his mother was born in Delaware he is a “natural born” US citizen. Most legal experts agree that he is eligible to run but it’s probable that his opponents in the GOP and if he gets the nomination his Democratic opponent will bring that up. Remember what the Republicans have done to Barack Obama and his citizenship, his Kenyan father, his mother living in Indonesia and other doubts. Unless his GOP opponents and the Democrats are a very forgiving bunch they will no doubt frequently drop hints on this or even do it as in “We forgive Mr. Cruz for being a Cuban born in Canada.”

I would add Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin to the obstacles Cruz faces in his quest for nomination. Walker lived in Iowa. 

Jason Stein of the Journal Sentinel had an excellent column on Walkers early Christian experience. He wrote, “Plainfield, Iowa — Before Scott Walker stood on a national stage, he crawled beneath the wooden pews and white steeple of First Baptist Church. His father [Rev. Llew Walker] preached and his mother ran the Sunday school in this Iowa farm town too small to have a stoplight. Growing up in the parsonage next door — in the shadow of the church — Walker learned his first lessons in faith, politics and living a life on public display.”

Walker even started “… a “Jesus USA Club” to do good deeds and seek donations for a new flag for the Plainfield City Hall,” as Stein reports. 
I know Ted Cruz can’t come even close to that!

BUT, his poll numbers shot up a week after the announcement. According to Real Clear Politics,“He came in third place among nine presidential contenders with 16 percent support, according to a survey from Public Policy Polling (D). In a similar poll near the end of February, Cruz was near the bottom with just 5 percent support.”

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