Texas is well known for its barbeque but, once again on Friday, Ted Cruz showed that he’s better at serving up red meat than any other resident of the Lone Star State.
In a speech to assembled crowd of social conservatives at the Values Voter Summit, the first-term Texas senator repeatedly brought attendees to their feet as he hit every note perfectly for the crowd. Cruz started the speech by referencing the one year anniversary of his failed filibuster on the eve of the government shutdown, segued to a story about his father drinking too much before finding Jesus in the 1970s and ended with the hope that Americans would “vote Harry Reid out” in November and elect a Republican president in 2016.
In between, Cruz attributed quotes from the Bible and offered unattributed quotes from Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan, telling the crowd that the GOP “need[s] to offer a choice, not an echo” and that “we don’t paint in pale pastels, we paint in bold colors.”
Cruz also spent a significant amount of time talking about the plight of Christians abroad, repeatedly citing Meriam Ibrahim, a Sudanese woman imprisoned for her faith. The emphasis seemed a deliberate attempt to build bridges to some evangelicals after Cruz was booed from the stage of an event for Middle Eastern Christians for offering what many attendees thought was tone deaf praise of Israel.
Yet, the Texas senator did not explicitly dwell on this controversial moment. Instead, he repeated the refrain “morning is coming” and praised the “Judeo-Christian” values of the GOP, which he contrasted with “the extreme radical” Democratic Party. He held out the hope that conservatives would win and achieve such goals as “abolishing the IRS” and “repealing Common Core.” After all, Cruz promised that, in 2017, “with a Republican president in the White House, we are going to sign legislation repealing every word of Obamacare.”
Cruz’s words electrified the room of social conservatives, and the refrain “morning is coming” was evident to many there as a line from Psalm 30. The question, though, for the Texas Republican, particularly if he runs for President, is how his message will resonate with those who think the line is a reference to Game of Thrones instead of a verse from Scripture.