When Mitt Romney, the failed presidential candidate in the 2012 presidential election, pointed a scolding finger at Ted Cruz, the journal senator from Texas and current presidential candidate thought he must have died and gone to heaven. Romney is respected as a good man who might have made a pretty decent president had he not be such a bad politician. The main rap against Romney from the conservative base was that he was too gentlemanly and too timid, especially in the third debate, to have prevailed in an election that was very winnable. The National Journal reported on Friday that Cruz, keeping that in mind, unloaded on Romney with gusto.
Hitherto, Cruz had been publicly polite to Romney, but privately disdainful. In May, he told a private meeting of the Council for National Policy what he really thought of the 2012 standard bearer.
“We have had three elections since President Obama was elected. Two of them—2010 and 2014—were national referenda on Obamacare. It was the No. 1 issue, twice. Both elections were tsunami, tidal-waves for Republicans—historic victories,” Cruz said, according to an audio recording of the event obtained by National Journal.
“Now, in between the two tidal waves, the Republican Party, in its infinite wisdom, sought out and found the one human being on the face of the planet who had designed and implemented a program just like Obamacare. Literally—there are 7 billion people on Earth. You could have grabbed any other person and asked them, ‘Excuse me, sir, have you designed and implemented Obamacare? No? You’re a better candidate!'”
The problem was that the conservative alternatives to Romney each self-destructed. Rick Perry has his oops moment. Newt Gingrich has his moon base moment. Herman Cain had women problems, which vanished the moment he pulled out of the race. The only person who might have taken the nomination from Romney, Sarah Palin, had declined to run.
After Romney choose to scold Cruz as if her were a schoolboy, the man from Texas decided that it was gloves off time. He appeared on a local radio show in Texas and the mockery began, as Politico noted.
“Cruz said Romney hurt his chances in the 2012 presidential election by making the same mistake as Bush: toning down his attacks on Obama. Cruz pointed to a moment during a presidential debate when Obama insisted that he had called the 2012 Benghazi attack terrorism immediately, even though many conservatives believe he was slow to identify the attack as an act of terror.
“When Obama fired back at Romney in the debate, in Cruz’s retelling, the former Massachusetts governor responded, ‘I’ll just kind of rearrange the pencil on the podium here,’ rather than engaging vigorously with the president.”
Many believe that Romney performance in the third debate sealed his fate and condemned the country to another Obama term, with the lamentable results that have transpired. Cruz obviously means to do more than rearrange the pencil when he is engaged in a debate. After all, it would not do for Donald Trump to be the only candidate not afraid to fight with his full strength.