Speaking to supporters at the Londonberry Fish & Game Club in New Hampshire this weekend, Senator Ted Cruz once again made it clear that the Second Amendment will play an important role in his campaign for president. In an hour-long speech, Cruz explained that he had taken every opportunity as a senator to fight against gun control measures proposed by the Obama administration and other liberal politicians.
“If y’all were sitting in the Senate Republican lunches,” Cruz said of the political atmosphere that followed the Sandy Hook shootings, “you’d have jumped out the window because the sentiment there was that ‘this is a freight train, it can’t be stopped, get out of the way.'”
He said that he was among the senators who fought against the new laws circulating Washington at that time, denying the conventional wisdom that further restrictions were inevitable in the wake of such a horrific event. Of course, we all remember President Obama’s eager push for those restrictions. And we all remember his angry rebuke of Republicans and gun groups following the failure of that legislation to make it past Congress. For anyone who enjoyed that moment, Cruz wants to take credit.
Cruz spoke of his support for legislation that would let soldiers carry their own firearms on military bases, his fight for Purple Heart awards for the victims of the Fort Hood murders, and his stance against background check laws that would have passed without heavy pressure from the NRA and other gun groups.
“What we were trying to do was real simple,” Cruz explained. “Slow things down.”
Cruz is, of course, on a mission to prove that he is the conservative to beat in the 2016 primaries. In that quest, there are worse issues to pursue than gun control. Not just because it is such an easy rallying point for many conservatives, but also because gun freedom is a powerful symbol for small government and greater liberty. Few Republicans are going to rush out on election day to vote for a candidate who is running a one-issue campaign, but Cruz’s stance on the Second Amendment is consistent with his positions across the board. Until someone can challenge him, he is indeed the conservative choice.
That, of course, is exactly why the big-money Republican donors are pouring their cash into the Bush coffers and not into his. They see Cruz’s conservatism as a thing to be feared. They see the mainstream media railroading him as they did Sarah Palin, clouding his ideas behind SNL impressions and late-night monologues.
It’s a valid concern, to be sure, but if we are ever to have the country that we want, we’re going to have to take some risks. Hillary Clinton is a weak candidate, the Obama legacy is in tatters, and there will never be a better time to take a big chance on a principled politician. We have to stop letting the New York Times and John Stewart tell us which Republican candidates are best for the party. Does that mean Cruz is the guy? Not necessarily. But whoever we decide to coalesce around, we should do it because he’s someone we believe in, not just someone who they approve of.