Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in Iowa Friday doubled-down on his argument to dismantle ObamaCare and attacked the GOP establishment and liberals who said his strategy led to an unnecessary, partial government shutdown.
Cruz, who appearance is a clear indication he is serious about a presidential bid, told supporters in Iowa on Friday — which you can watch in entirety below — that the fight he led to defund ObamaCare will carry them to victory in the 2014 midterm and 2016 presidential race.
“One of the things we accomplished in the fight over ObamaCare is we elevated the national debate over what a disaster, what a train wreck, how much ObamaCare is hurting millions of Americans across this country,” Cruz said at the GOP’s annual fundraising dinner in Des Moines, Iowa. “Senate Republicans didn’t stand together. Had we stuck together, the outcome might be very different. The House does now, but I’m confident that the U.S. senate will in time listen to the American people.”
The conservative, first-term senator made clear that future efforts will bypass the establishment, saying he will focus on grassroots efforts and taking his argument directly to the American people, much like the town hall-style meetings he helped lead this summer to garner support to defund ObamaCare.
“For everyone who says we need to think about winning elections in 2014, nothing energizes voters more than a grassroots election,” Cruz said. “We got our clock cleaned in ’06, ’08 and ’12. But we had grassroots in 2010. Republican strategists say let’s go back to ’06, ’08 and ’12. They say keep your head down; that’s how you win. What complete poppycock.”
Thus far, Cruz has made three visits to Iowa, which is slated to hold the first GOP nominating caucuses ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
For Iowans, Ted Cruz is the candidate they have been looking for, particularly longtime Republicans in Iowa who say wavering on conservative principles is at the root of the party’s inability to win elections. Nationally, that sentiment has grown with the defeat of Mitt Romney and the blown chance of taking back the Senate, which has caused an open, public intraparty fight over the soul of the Republican Party.
Much to the horror of the liberal media and establishment Republicans, even though Ted Cruz ultimately lost with the defund ObamaCare fight, he seems to be gaining steam in the intraparty fight. Furthermore, no one can discount that he also successfully persuaded the Republicans in the House of Representatives to follow him.
The event, which was the final and perhaps most important of Ted Cruz’s recent public tour, was used by Cruz to present his ideas and contrast them with the opposite ideas for the GOP’s national future.
Underscoring that divide immediately before the Cruz spoke, was the popular five-term Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, who barely acknowledged Ted Cruz in his preceding speech and said the way forward for the party nationally was by way of the route cleared by Republican governors.
The story of reform-minded, successful GOP governors across nation also wasn’t a story told by Republican candidates in 2012, nor is it being told in races such as the Virginia governors race, where it could have a tremendous impact.
Gov. Terry Branstad, now 66, is at the core of Iowa’s GOP establishment. He called Cruz “a bright, up-and-coming senator” before turning his attention to the tangible successes of Republican governors, including and beginning with Cruz’s own governor, Rick Perry of Texas.
“The results of conservative governors are making a difference,” said Branstad, who is preparing to seek election next year and is current;y cruising to victory.
He pointed to Gov. Walker in Wisconsin and Gov. Snyder in Michigan governors moves to reign in union overreach and debt as reasons for falling unemployment, and Texas’ reduction in regulation for rising job growth.
Cruz, during his 40-minute speech, argued ObamaCare was the main cause of the anemic economic growth, which is antithetical to American economic progress in the past.
“What I think is critical is we keep the focus on ObamaCare, we keep the focus on the fact that this bill isn’t working,” he told reporters after the speech.
“Shutting down the government, in my view, is not conservative policy,” he said. “A number of us were saying back in July that this strategy could not and would not work, and of course it didn’t. So there will not be another government shutdown. You can count on that.”
Skip to the 53:34 mark for Ted Cruz Speech