Sen. Ted Cruz hit the stage at The Resurgent Gathering Saturday to a (mostly) receptive crowd in his own stomping grounds, the great State (and former Republic) of Texas. The notorious conservative warrior sat for an open-ended interview with Erick Erickson, and true to form, happily engaged questions directly and without apology, and even got a few zingers in.
But also one crazy guy snuck in past registration and started screaming at the stage with a sign I can only assume was made 15 minutes earlier with a scrap of cardboard and crayons.
But we’ll come back to that.
In the wide-ranging conversation, the Senator bluntly addressed everything from term limits to White House blockage on entitlement reform, and somehow, also managed to slip in a passable accented quote from Austin Powers 2.
Some of the more memorable moments:
-Erickson asks, “How’s Washington?”
But … Cruz was also quick to note that in spite of the circus, they’ve actually been getting a lot done (more than usual, that is).
-The debt: Both parties very much to blame. It admittedly exploded under Bush, and then doubled under Obama. It’s a disgrace we’re not seeing any serious reduction under GOP leadership.
-The best answer to the debt and deficit spending? Term limits. Cruz believes the culture of incumbency is the root cause of out-of-control budgets, and that’s part of the reason he has authored the Term Limits Amendment.
-Entitlements: Medicare/Social Security comprise â…” of our ballooned spending. Breaking with the President, Cruz lamented that we’re unlikely to see any entitlement reform for the foreseeable future because Trump is simply against it.
Then it got fun!
There had been murmurs of protesters gathering outside the building. Then suddenly we got an extremely loud murmur in the form of a dude (who seemed to have missed the dress code email) standing up in the middle of the room with a protest sign yelling, “You’re a coward, Ted! Stand up to Russia! Stand up for all Texans!” This continued for a minute or so. Security politely provided him the opportunity to relocate to another table outside the conference hall.
Senator Cruz apparently had been protested before. Who knew? Anyway, as the unidentified gentleman was exiting the room, Cruz commented on two facets of the incident:
1) “The definition of a ‘coward’ is someone who simply yells like that instead of being willing to ask serious questions and engage in a real discussion.” (Boom.)
And 2) The media has created a culture of misinformation and fear-mongering that fosters these types of hysterics, with young people who may not understand the issues, but are enraged nonetheless. Or, as Ted put it, “That young man, bless his heart, couldn’t tell you a thing about Russia–he’s just angry, and that’s the latest thing on his screen.”
Back on track, the interview hit a few more quick hot buttons:
-In his opinion, the lesson the Democrats learned from 2016 was that Hillary was too moderate, and they need more Warrens & Sanders out front. The wrong lesson.
-He recently gave an interview to GQ (which he sensed was hostile), and at one point he simply explained to the obtuse reporter, “Look, here’s what you have to understand: there’s GQ America, and there’s Field & Stream America.”
-On the President’s disastrous press conference with Putin, the Senator was critical, but guarded: ”I don’t think the President of the United States ought to be apologizing for Russian aggression against the United States.” However, in his opinion the Democrats’ reaction has been “unhinged”, particularly in regard to throwing around the term “treason”, which Cruz noted is a specific and serious criminal offense, defined by federal code, and PUNISHABLE BY DEATH; a horrible press conference is not treason.
-On the insanity of rhetoric on social media, Cruz shared an anecdote of a Twitter critic whose actual username included the claim that Ted Cruz “AteMySon”. It was only the wise council of the Senator’s staffers that prevented him from mischievously responding, “He was delicious … ”
Erickson piled onto the warped satire by adding that according to Austin Powers (the second one), babies are the other white meat. Not to be outdone, Ted Cruz–I kid you not–responded in a flawed, but respectable Scottish growl, “GET IN MAH BELLY!” I was there. It really happened.
-Jokes aside, Senator Cruz addressed his re-election campaign, emphatically asserting the race with Beto O’Rourke is REAL. The Cruz team is taking it “DEADLY SERIOUS”, and he would urge supporters to speak out, organize, donate, and show up in November…
Afterward, the Senator stayed around to visit with attendees and take photos for some time. And I’d be remiss if I left out that Cruz at one point was heard to express appreciation for The Resurgent’s recent article defending him against unfair criticism by Politifact. I mean, I bet whoever wrote that one is feeling pretty cool right now.