As was the case when Scott Walker’s college credentials became a news story a few weeks ago, some have found their cause du jour with which to hit Ted Cruz. For Cruz, it’s a question of experience. Does he have enough?
What constitutes presidential experience is vague but from what I’ve seen, it is mostly conservative media that is questioning Cruz’s creds. It seems some believe they are duty-bound to question his credentials given the repeated talking points from our side over the last 6 years regarding the resume of Barack Obama.
As you may recall, back in 2008 the best answer Obama’s team could come up with for how he was qualified to run the free world was that he’d learned a lot about the job he was running for by running for the job. To call it circular would be an insult to circles. It’s spherical. All roads lead to “yes we can.”
The fear then, as it is now with Cruz, is that throwing a man with such limited experience into the Oval Office would be a disaster.
And now, using the same arguments from then, some here at RedState are saying that while putting Cruz up there isn’t guaranteed to be a disaster, it’s worth exploring whether or not it’s worth the risk.
If you want proof there is such a risk, they say look no further than than Barack Obama. One time community organizer and generally inexperienced dude, who has taken this country in generally awful directions in just about every way you can imagine.
But is that the result of inexperience?
Before I unpack that, let me get some housekeeping out of the way.
Ted Cruz is a graduate of both Princeton University and Harvard Law. He was a domestic policy advisor to then-Governor George W. Bush. He was the associate Deputy Attorney General in the U.S. Justice Department. He was the Director of Policy at the FTC as well as the longest serving Solicitor General of Texas in the history of the state, and the first American of Cuban heritage to hold the position.
Oh, and he presented nine oral arguments before the Supreme Court, not to mention he’s a sitting U.S. Senator.
But for the sake of this article, let’s pretend none of that is impressive. Let’s pretend it doesn’t constitute experience or, at least, not enough experience.
The fact is that for all this lack of experience, for all of our yells that he was the “Organizer in Chief,” and for all of our dismay at how awful of a president Barack Obama has been, and he is awful, let’s not lose sight of the fact that he has been incredibly successful.
It was Rush Limbaugh who, back when Obama was merely a President-Elect, said of the one-time community organizer, “I hope he fails.”
The gasps of horror from the talking heads could be heard for miles. “How dare he hope America fail?” they shrieked!
And yet, that’s not what Rush said. Rush said he hoped OBAMA would fail. Because success for Obama was bad for America. It was the exact opposite of wanting America to fail.
Now look at where we are.
Barack Obama has expanded the size, scope and authority of the Environmental Protection Agency way beyond anything the wildest environmental wacko ever could’ve dreamed. Through regulatory powers, the EPA has deemed carbon dioxide a pollutant. To put that in perspective, I’d like you to breathe out. Congratulations, you’re a polluter. Hell, the EPA is now officially in the business of regulating puddles. PUDDLES.
The EPA mandates and requirements on coal have been devastating to the industry to say the least, he’s prevented the Keystone pipeline as well as funnelling billions of dollars to green energy proponents and donors while mandating new, virtually unattainable standards for cars in the hopes of pushing the country towards hybrids.
Do you think these were environmental successes in his mind? Or did he fail?
Immigration policy, and specifically the desire to have the most open border and amnesty granting policies available, has been something that Obama has mentioned in every single State of the Union Address. When Congress didn’t do his bidding, he simply stroked his pen on an executive order and made it happen. And now what he wanted, is.
Are you thinking he is happy at how events unfolded? Or did he fail?
Does Barack Obama seem like someone who feels he failed at passing his own idea of health reform?
And what about the culture? Six years later with Buzzfeed and Vox taking over the new media landscape, with bathrooms for boys who choose to be girls in elementary schools, with medicaid expanding, with food stamps more in use than ever, with all of this, are you under the impression this president has failed in his mission?
If so, you and I clearly have different definitions of success. Success is determined by completing objectives. Whether or not those objectives sit well with you has no impact on its status as a success or failure.
So, for the purposes of getting back to the point of this article, what should this teach us?
It should teach us that the right person, with ideas that are attainable and support that is galvanized, with the right inflection in their voice and the right determination in their spirit, can lead a movement. And whether or not they proposed a sufficient number of boring pieces of legislation in a gridlocked congress, or whether or not they signed a sufficient number of bills in a governor’s mansion, are irrelevant to their ability to succeed as a president.
We called president Obama’s inexperience the most dangerous thing about his nomination. We were wrong. The most dangerous thing was his ability to do what he set out to do. And like a prophet, El Rushbo’s words come true:
If I wanted Obama to succeed, I’d be happy the Republicans have laid down. And I would be encouraging Republicans to lay down and support him. Look, what he’s talking about is the absorption of as much of the private sector by the US government as possible, from the banking business, to the mortgage industry, the automobile business, to health care. I do not want the government in charge of all of these things. I don’t want this to work. So I’m thinking of replying to the guy, “Okay, I’ll send you a response, but I don’t need 400 words, I need four: I hope he fails.
I like many others, hoped he would fail, too. But he didn’t. And experience or lack thereof had nothing to do with it.
We were wrong to pretend there was any amount of experience that instructs you to be President of the United States. There isn’t. There is no job you can hold that makes being president easier. Either you’re cut out for it or you’re not.
If you honestly want to make the case that [mc_name name=’Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’G000359′ ]’s far more extensive elected office experience makes him more qualified than Ted Cruz, well good luck with that.
None of this is to say that Ted Cruz has what it takes. Maybe he does, maybe he doesn’t. But I won’t be disqualifying him based on an arbitrary and ultimately meaningless set of bullet points on a resume.