| Ted Cruz, Ted Cruz, Ted Cruz. He's an interesting figure, unfortunate for many reasons, not least of which is that this cretin is powerful enough to garner our interest. He's young, he's Hispanic, he's gifted oratorically, and he won in a very bad cycle for Republicans.
Enter the 2016 speculation, stoked by Cruz himself last week with some public strategic analysis. At a "gala" for the corporate front group the American Principles Project, Cruz said this:
You want to know why Barack Obama won 71 percent of the Hispanic vote? Tone on immigration contributed, but I think far more important was '47 percent...Republicans nationally, the story we conveyed is that the 47 percent are stuck in a static world. We don't have to worry about them...I cannot think of an idea more antithetical to the American principles.
Throughout the speech, Cruz "insisted Republicans didn't lose because of their actual policies. It was just how they expressed them."
Wrong again, Cruz. Republicans don't realize that their tone is only a symptom of their real problem: they are opposed to almost everything the vast majority Hispanics are rightly in favor of. Cruz's idea that Hispanics will vote for Republicans who speak more softly is actually very insulting to Hispanics, who he presumes not to care about the policies that affect their lives.
Cruz continued: "We need to embrace what I call 'Opportunity Conservatism.' We need to conceptualize, we need to articulate conservative domestic policy with a laser focus on opportunity, on easing the means of ascent up the economic ladder." So, essentially, stop making it so damn obvious that Republicans only care about the rich getting richer.
Though Cruz's unique qualities were always going to stoke 2016 speculation, he really is sticking his head out there and offering up his own vision for Republican strategy, wrongheaded though it may be.
"We've seen plenty of new senators come in with plenty of hype and attention (Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Marco Rubio), but those worked hard to keep expectations down. This is something else entirely," NBC's First Read blog read last week.
Cruz taking the mantle of a GOP desperate for relevance, youth and non-white support in 2016 is not a crazy idea on strategy (though it's an extremely weak one when the policies are the same).
Note: Ted Cruz's eligibility for president is debated, since he was born in Canada.