In her 8-page profile “The Man in the Arena, ” Texas Monthly’s Erica Grieder gives readers a detailed summary of Ted Cruz’s whirlwind first year in the U.S. Senate. It doesn’t take long to pinpoint her theme: Cruz is an extremely polarizing figure.
During his first year in the U.S. Senate, Ted Cruz has proved that he can throw a punch (and take one), rally his troops (and unite his enemies), and become the most influential freshman in Congress (if not the most reviled). The question is, Does that strategy lead to victory or defeat?
Grieder points out that, in his first year, Cruz has already gained more recognition than Senator Barack Obama. Does this mean big things to come for Cruz? When Ronald Reagan ran for the presidency in 1980, his win could largely be attributed to his optimistic outlook for the country and his success in voicing conservative ideals. Cruz has proven he can certainly master the latter. But, this skill could mean nothing if he succumbs to the same fate as Barry Goldwater, who rallied his base in 1964 against Lyndon B. Johnson, yet proved to be too polarizing for a general election. Cruz rejects this kind of outcome and stressed the urgency for a conservative victory:
“We have a limited window to turn this country around. We can’t keep going down this path without permanently jeopardizing the future for subsequent generations. “
Given Cruz's polarizing presence, though, some doubt he is the one to put America on the right track:
“There have certainly been a lot of rocks thrown.” He paused, and the low buzz of the fluorescent lights filled the silence. “But you know, I’ve observed before, given the choice between being appreciated in Washington, D.C., and reviled in Texas or appreciated in Texas and reviled in Washington, D.C., I’ll choose the latter one hundred out of one hundred times.”
Senator Ted Cruz is in that narrow category of figures you either love or hate. We’ll have to wait to see which feeling wins out if he runs for president.
What do you think? Is he the next Ronald Reagan - or Barry Goldwater?