Sir Isaac Newton instructs us, in the Third Law of Motion, that for every action there is an opposite and equal reaction. It may be another way of saying that without Barack Obama there might not now be a Ted Cruz.
The political writers swarmed all around the Texas Republican Party's recent convention with the tale of how much enthusiasm Cruz aroused there as the party's prospective answer to Barack Obama and Harry Reid. "I tell you this," Cruz said at one Republican event, "as good as 2014 is gonna be, 2016 is gonna be even better."
"Something incredible is happening," he told delegates. "Something is sweeping the state of Texas; it's sweeping every state." He likened the "something" to "the Reagan revolution we saw in the face of stagnation, in the face of feckless, naive foreign policy, in the face of America getting weaker and weaker ... " Cruz won hands-down the delegates' straw poll for president. He wants to get it done -- the repeal of "every blessed word" of Obamacare; an end to the Common Core standards for public education; support for pro-freedom dissidents everywhere; rebukes galore to the "corrupt, bipartisan cabal in Washington." The delegates cheered and cheered -- in opposite and possibly equal reaction to the political and philosophical excesses of the past five and a half years.
It had to come to this, maybe. Barack Obama's policies of economic intervention and foreign policy retreat, along with his change of course on same-sex marriage, have conservatives, along with droves of moderates, ready for something very different. Newton, no politician -- a scientist, rather -- would likely have surveyed the current scene with solemn recognition.
Like George W. Bush, running as the un-Clinton, Cruz seems ready to run for president as the un-Barack. It is a posture that affords satisfactions; so it also poses real dangers.
At a political convention, depending on the issues at stake, the word can get around: We can do this thing. Sacred fire is lighted on the mountaintops. To the barricades! The Democrats had their turn in 2008, with Obama-Biden. Here now, in reply, come the thundering elephants.