When Senator Ted Cruz spoke last week at CPAC, he brought more than a speech designed to fire up the base, though certainly that was part of his rousing appearance oat n the conservative conference.
"Our people look for a cause to believe in. Is it a third party we need, or is it a new and revitalized second party, raising a banner of no pale pastels, but bold colors which make it unmistakably clear where we stand on all of the issues troubling the people?" - Ronald Reagan, Speech to CPAC 1975
Cruz's broad speech addressed agenda items that matter most to conservative voters in this country, and did so in uncompromising terms. He spoke not of improving Obamacare, but repealing "every single word" of it. Not of fixing the IRS, but of abolishing it. He talked of auditing the Fed, repealing Dodd-Frank, and cleaning up the mess that has been handed to Americans and future Americans by administrations past.
Cruz spoke of winning elections. In contrast to other speakers, he says that we only win when we stand clearly for our ideals. We cannot, as in years past, walk the mealy-mouthed politician's path. We must walk the Reagan way, strongly and with a defined purpose. Conservatives win by sticking to our principles, clearly articulating them, and boldly pursuing them.
There was more to the speech, though, than policy prescriptions and winning elections. Cruz spoke of children and the future, and of believing in America again. School choice, freedom of opportunity and the chance to achieve the American dream. As the Senator pointed out in a blogger briefing this weekend, these are not exclusively conservative ideals, they are American ideals.
The Senator also held that every single person attending CPAC was, by definition, young, because of a shared belief in America's future.
Americans want to be young again. We want those ideals that we remember from our childhood: the idea of America as the shining city, a torch burning into the night, lighting the way to freedom; The land of opportunity we were all raised to admire. Echoing the vision that Reagan shared with us, Cruz paints a bold picture of a nation returned to its place of honor on the world stage.
In elections this year and in 2016, this is something we will all need. Ted Cruz said this weekend that he brings a radical message of hope and change. A clever line, but no less true for it. Americans do want change, and we want a return of hope. It is that innate American desire to believe in a better world that underpinned Barack Obama's wildly popular campaign in 2008. A desire that has been dampened nearly to extinguished by the realities of the Obama administration. It is what the Republican party and its millions of diverse voices across America can bring back. We can all be young once more, and proud.
But only if we can help change Washington. I hope we can. Let's Make DC Listen.