Presidential nominations should not be Lifetime Achievement Awards. When Republicans forget that, they lose. Examples: Bob Dole in 1996, John McCain in 2008. Democrats make mistakes too, but typically they head toward central casting. Examples: John F. Kennedy, Barack Obama.
The ideal GOP candidate would be intelligent, articulate, and debate-tested. The candidate, preferably with experience as a governor and not just as a legislative orator, would be able to unite social and fiscal conservatives and use wit and warmth to disarm media twits.
Will Republicans have such a candidate for 2012? Maybe. Mike Huckabee comes closest, yet fiscal conservatives trash his economic views. Congressional elections a year from now may signal a GOP comeback and bring new faces to the fore.
But you can be the first on your block to know the name of a strong candidate for 2020. He fits the specifications and, as frosting on the cake, has the last name of Cruz, a big plus for a political party that needs to capture the Hispanic vote to offset the Democrats' lock on African-Americans.
Meet Ted Cruz, the Republican Obama.
His Cuban father, Rafael, fought alongside Castro as a teenager for three years until the forces of dictator Fulgencio Batista captured, beat, tortured, and almost killed him. A bribe from Rafael's dad freed him. Rafael made it to America and in 1957 entered the University of Texas. He spoke no English and had $100 that his mom had sewn into his underwear.
Rafael learned English and was soon giving pro-Castro fundraising speeches to Austin civic groups. Later, when Castro revealed his Communism, Rafael apologized to the funders for unwittingly misleading them. Ted Cruz's aunt in Cuba fought against Castro until his forces captured and tortured her. Cruz at the dinner table learned of the evils of Marxism.
Cruz went to Faith West Academy in the Houston suburb of Katy and graduated from Second Baptist High School in Houston. He learned about the usefulness of markets at the Free Enterprise Institute and earned scholarship money by giving 70-80 speeches to local civic groups. Like dad, like boy, but the son extolled free market economics, not Castro.