Cruz warns of urgency in politics at Summit

The Colorado Statesman

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz brought a crowd of conservatives to its feet delivering a rousing speech on the night of July 19 at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas jokes that Congress should abolish the IRS and station its 110,000 agents on the southern border during a speech at the Western Conservative Summit at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver.

“I spent most of the week in Washington, D.C.,” said the Texas Republican. “So it’s great to be back in America.”

Cruz capped a full evening that included addresses by former Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, who now heads the Heritage Foundation, and radio host Dennis Prager, along with performances by Irish Tenor Anthony Kearns and artist David Garibaldi, who strode about the stage painting portraits — including Mother Theresa, George Washington and potential presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson — as stirring music filled the auditorium.

“It’s great to partner with Ted Cruz,” said U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, introducing Cruz. Lamborn was one of two chief House sponsors earlier this month of a bill Cruz introduced in the Senate to offer a $5 million reward for the abuductees of a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen, who was one of three teens kidnapped and killed by Hamas in June.

Cruz, who rocketed to national renown when he delivered a 21-hour filibuster against Obamacare last fall and was instrumental in the government shutdown over the same policy, is a darling of the right and often mentioned as a potential 2016 presidential candidate. He ran second, behind retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson, who addressed the summit the night before, in a presidential straw poll conducted by summit organizers.

Although he peppered his speech with humorous notes that drove the crowd wild — “You look at the etymology of the word politics,” he said in a trademark joke, “there’s two parts: ‘poly,’ meaning many, and ‘tics,’ meaning blood-sucking parasites” — when Cruz took the stage, he spoke in conversational tones and strode back and forth, inveighing the audience to join him on a mission to save the United States.

Former U.S. Sen. Bill Armstrong, who heads Colorado Christian University, thanks U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas backstage at the Colorado Convention Center on July 19 for his rousing speech at the Western Conservative Summit, which is sponsored by CCU’s conservative think tank The Centennial Institute.
Photos by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman

“The stakes have never been higher,” Cruz said. “There is today an urgency in politics like I’ve never seen.” Addressing 4th Congressional District GOP nominee Ken Buck, who sat in the front row along with his wife, state Rep. Perry Buck, Cruz said, “Ken, there is an understanding it is now or never.”

Cruz said he had three suggestions for Summit participants: boost the economy, defend the Constitution — “all of it,” he said to the crowd’s rapt approval — and restore America’s leadership in the world.

“We should fight to bring back jobs and growth and opportunity” in order end what he called the “Great Stagnation,” the moribund recovery under way since the economy crashed in 2008.

“The two most effective levers government has to facilitate job creation are tax reform and regulatory reform,” Cruz said. The “simplest and best” tax reform, he proposed, would be to “abolish the IRS.” Instead, the country needs to implement a “simple, flat tax that is fair.” But what to do with the 110,000 IRS agents? “We could put them on the southern border,” he added to guffaws and cheers.

“The most important regulatory reform we could pursue,” Cruz continued, “is we need to repeal every single word of Obamacare.”

Then he took some swings at Democrats and the media.

“The single biggest lie in politics is that Republicans are the party of the rich. That’s usually said by someone sitting in Martha’s Vineyard,” he said. “The rich have done just fine with big government — big business gets in bed with big government. The people that have been hurt the most by the Obama economy are the most vulnerable among us,” he added, listing constituencies usually claimed by liberals as core adherents: the young, single women and Hispanics.

Next, Cruz said, conservatives must defend the Constitution, claiming, “It seems this president is going down the Bill of Rights trying to violate each one, one at a time.”

Cruz praised the Supreme Court’s recent Hobby Lobby decision and blasted the Obama administration for a tangle of lawsuits involving conflicts over religious views and federal requirements that employers pay for birth control. “Let me give you a real simple rule of thumb,” he said. “If you’re litigating against nuns, you’ve probably done something wrong.”

Moving on to the 2nd Amendment, Cruz took a jab at Democrats’ gun-control efforts in his host state.

“In Colorado, like Texas, we define gun control as hitting what you’re aiming at. And I have to say, there are a couple of Colorado state legislators who define gun control as involuntary retirement,” he said to subdued applause. “Maybe next time, they’ll think twice before coming after our constitutional rights.”

The federal government needs to get its nose out of education, too, Cruz said. “We need to repeal every word of Common Core,” he said, adding, “We already have a common core in this country. It’s called the Constitution of the United States.”

It is the job of the federal government, however, to defend the nation’s sovereignty, he said, and that begins at the border.

“We are seeing a humanitarian crisis, but it is a crisis of his own making,” Cruz said, referring to the thousands of unaccompanied immigrant children who have attempted to cross the border. “It is a direct consequence of [Obama’s] own lawlessness.”

During a visit to a Texas border town before his trip to Denver, Cruz said “every single” border patrol agent he spoke with agreed that the influx of unaccompanied minors was due to Obama’s actions allowing undocumented immigrants who entered the country as minors to avoid deportation. “They’re coming because they believe they’re going to get amnesty,” he said.

“We are a compassionate nation, we are a humane nation,” Cruz continued. “When these children are here, we’re going to treat them well. But the compassionate thing to do is solve the problem. The compassionate thing to do is humanely and expeditiously to reunite them with their families.”

Also key, Cruz said, is “restoring America’s leadership” around the globe, which is a “whole lot more dangerous” because nations like Russia and Iran have stepped into the vacuum he said Obama has left on the world stage.

Cruz ended on an optimistic note, observing that attacking the problems he outlined is “how we turn the country.” These days, he said in a darkest-before-dawn summation, America seems like it did during the late 1970s when Jimmy Carter was president.

“We have the same failed economic policies producing the same misery and stagnation and malaise. We have the same feckless and naive foreign policy making the world much, much more dangerous,” Cruz said. But in that environment, he said, “something incredible” happened with the election of Ronald Reagan.

Ernest@coloradostatesman.com