Ted Cruz recently said that New Hampshire is “a great state for a liberal Republican like Donald Trump” because it is full of moderates and independents.
Ted likes to strike a pose as the “true conservative” in the race. Ever since he was elected to the Senate, he has repeatedly styled himself as an “opportunity conservative.” What is this “opportunity conservatism” that Ted has based his whole campaign on? The following excerpts come from Ted’s 2004 love letter to George W. Bush called “The Rise of Opportunity Conservatism” in “Thank You, President Bush”:
“The vision of “opportunity conservatives” is simple and direct: they formulate and articulate conservative policies with the single-minded focus of easing the means of ascent for those on the bottom of the economic ladder. Opportunity conservatives consistently preach expanding the pathways for all Americans to have a chance to achieve the American dream.
Prominent opportunity conservatives include Ronald Reagan, Jack Kemp, and George W. Bush. Indeed, the patron saint, so to speak, of “opportunity conservatives” is Ronald Wilson Reagan. As President Reagan observed, “Government has an important role in helping develop a country’s economic foundation. But the critical test is whether government is genuinely working to liberate individuals by creating incentives to work, save, invest, and succeed.”
This is an important revelation about Ted Cruz: what he is saying here is that he is basically George W. Bush and Jack Kemp on economics.
“Conservative policies, properly conceived, expand opportunity for those at the bottom of the economic pile seeking to work their way up. In other words, contrary to conventional political thought, conservative policies inure dramatically to the benefit of the poor and disadvantaged, whereas “liberal” policies, in practice, often foreclose opportunity and make it harder for the economically disadvantaged to improve their position in life.”
Stop right there.
The average American middle class and working class household has the same income it did in 1997 and 1996 respectively. Every single year George W. Bush was president we had a trade deficit. The trade deficit with China exploded under George W. Bush’s watch. Millions of jobs were lost and thousands of factories were shipped overseas. Real median wages have stagnated since the early 1970s. The number of people in poverty has actually grown as the middle class shrunk while George W. Bush was president.
An “opportunity conservative,” however,” believes that low-taxes, deregulation, free-trade, cutting social programs, and busting unions makes life better for those on the bottom! The economic vision of the Club for Growth, US Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable and Wall Street Journal editorial page is social justice!
“President George W. Bush is an opportunity conservative. He regularly conceptualizes and articulates his policies in terms of their direct impact on expanding opportunity for the economically disadvantaged to move forward.”
Just so that wasn’t clear, Ted Cruz advocates the economic policies of George W. Bush.
“It is only fitting that the party of Abraham Lincoln – who heralded our nation, “conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal” – would champion opportunity, and defend increased choice and freedom for all Americans.
Today George W. Bush carries the mantle of Lincoln as an opportunity conservative, defending the promise of the Declaration and the vision of our great nation. And the future of the Grand Old Party depends upon ensuring that the that vision comes to pass, that the policies we espouse facilitate the ability of every man, woman, and child to hope for and be able to realize the American dream.”
Lincoln and George W. Bush are linked in the pantheon of “opportunity conservatives” with “Outsider” Ted, Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp.
I could post some more excerpts from this essay, but it will suffice here to say that Ted praises W. for the No Child Left Behind Act, the Bush tax cuts, and W.’s attempt to partially privatize Social Security in 2005.
“Education represents the most critical vanguard in the ongoing battle for civil rights, and President Bush’s consistent leadership in attacking the “soft bigotry of low expectations” and in insisting upon reforms that actually produce results for low-income and minority children is emblematic of opportunity conservatism.”
“Outsider” Ted was so busy brownnosing W. to advance his own career that he even praised his record on government spending:
“To be sure, some fiscal conservatives have criticized President Bush because government spending has continued to grow over the past four years. But those concerns are often overstated—not giving proper weight, for example, to the enormous additional military and homeland security spending required by September 11. Domestic discretionary spending unrelated to defense or homeland security grew 15 percent in the last year of the Clinton administration; in the first three years of the Bush administration, that number dropped to 6 percent, then 5 percent, then 3 percent.
Nevertheless, there is much to be said for the lament that government continues to grow too fast. But a president cannot stop it alone. With a congress seemingly addicted to spending … rather than tilt at windmills the president has focused instead on articulating and advancing the opportunity conservative message.”
Heidi Cruz has a separate essay in this book devoted exclusively to the greatness of George W. Bush’s pursuit of free-trade agreements. We will get to that tomorrow.