We’ve been keeping our readers apprised of “Conservatives Speak!” – the online forum where conservatives had the chance to ask the 2016 presidential candidates their questions. The question period has ended, and we sent a selection of six of the ten most popular questions in the forum to participating candidates.
Today, Texas Senator Ted Cruz responded with his answers to the questions our participants thought the most important.
1. Bob Owens: Why do you think the Founding Fathers considered the Second Amendment the next most important right after the freedom of speech?
The Second Amendment, as Justice Story so rightly noted, is the palladium of all liberties. The Second Amendment rights aren’t just for protecting hunting rights, or safeguarding your right to target practice. It is a constitutional right to protect our children, families, homes, lives, and to serve as the ultimate check against governmental tyranny.
2. Matthew Vespa: How would you reverse President Obama's ambitious environmental regulatory agenda and protect fixed-income seniors from rising energy costs?
The Obama administration has been utterly lawless, seeking to impose their radical leftist ideology on the American people regardless of the cost or legality. I will roll back all of President Obama’s overreaching regulations and end the war on affordable energy -- including the Clean Power Plan. I have introduced the American Energy Renaissance Act to provide a clear, comprehensive template that will empower the private sector to create good-paying American jobs, spur economic growth, expand opportunity, and make energy more affordable.
3. Cortney O'Brien: How high of a priority will it be for you to defund Planned Parenthood during your first term in office?
In the Senate, I have led the fight to defund Planned Parenthood, and I will continue to stand for life. We must stop treating the sanctity of human life as a business transaction. If I’m elected President, on the first day in office, I will instruct the US Department of Justice to open an investigation into Planned Parenthood and to prosecute any and all criminal violations. I will continue to defend the right to life of every person, born and unborn, and I will welcome the opportunity to defund this life-ending organization from the Oval Office.
4. Moe Lane: If elected, who specifically (please give a name) would you nominate to the Supreme Court?
This issue is incredibly important, and the sad reality is this, Democrats, when they make Supreme Court appointments they bat almost 1000. Their appointments are liberal activists and they vote left-wing on every major case. Republicans, we bat about 500: about half the Republican nominees turn out to be total disasters. Earl Warren, Bill Brennan, John Paul Stevens, David Souter, Harry Blackmun the author of Roe vs. Wade. Every one of those was a Republican appointee. But when it comes time to nominate someone, they don’t want to spend the political capital to actually confirm a proven constitutionalist. The other Republicans in the field do not have the record to give us any reason to believe they would be any different.
The next president could get one, two, three, four Supreme Court Justices. I have spent my entire adult life fighting judicial activism, fighting to defend the Constitution. I give my word that every justice I put on the court will be a principled conservative jurist, a constitutionalist who follows the law and does not legislate from the bench, and I will be willing to spend the political capital to ensure the justices get confirmed because their task is protecting the constitutional liberties that are the very foundation of our nation.
5. Joseph Cunningham: As a parent and a teacher, I'd like to know: what are your plans on bringing about change in education in America, such as school choice?
School choice is the civil rights issue of the 21st century. I am a passionate advocate of school choice. Education is too important for it to be governed by bureaucrats in Washington taking choices away from parents and kids. We should be empowering parents to choose the best education for their kids. And we need to end programs like Common Core.
Educational opportunity thrives on choice, ingenuity and diversity: The Department of Education squelches all three. I will work to eliminate the Department of Education and restore the states’ constitutional power, and liberates students and teachers from a failed top-down approach.
6. Editor's pick: Kelly Brady | Berkley, MI: What does it mean to be a conservative in 2016, and ideally, how should that change - if at all?
Right now, we’re bankrupting our kids and our grandkids. Our constitutional rights are under assault each and every day, and America has receded from leadership in the world. It’s time to get back to the vision of the framers and protect the unalienable rights given to each of us by our Creator.
I have been a champion of Opportunity Conservatism for decades. We must preserve the principles that have made this nation the greatest beacon of liberty and apply them in innovative ways to once again unleash unprecedented freedom, prosperity, and opportunity.
The policies of Barack Obama stifle jobs and wages, and the people who are hurting the most are young people, minorities, single moms, are those who are finding it nearly impossible to achieve the American Dream. Every conservative should focus every policy on easing the means of ascent up the economic ladder. Our free market system has served as the most incredible engine of growth for millions of people from all over the world who come with nothing and achieve anything. We need to champion jobs, growth, and opportunity.
If the American people continue to rise up and speak the truth, we will get back to the free market and constitutional principles that have made America the last best hope of mankind.