National Review Endorses Cruz For President Despite Years Of Criticism

The editors of National Review endorsed Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) for president, despite having criticized him for years for his attacks on fellow Republicans, deceitful campaign tactics, and flip-flopping.

National Review Endorses Ted Cruz

National Review: “Ted Cruz For President.” In its March 11 endorsement of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), National Review noted his “forthrightness” in defending conservative principles and argued that Cruz's “combative” style would ultimately be good for conservatism, the Republican Party, and America:

That forthrightness is worth emphasizing. Conservatism should not be merely combative; but especially in our political culture, it must be willing to be controversial. Too many Republicans shrink from this implication of our creed. Not Cruz. And this virtue is connected to others that primary voters should keep in mind. [National Review, 3/11/16]

National Review Writers Previously Called Cruz A “Duplicitous,” “Defeatist” “Boob”

National Review Contributing Editor Deroy Murdock: Cruz's “Duplicitous Effort” In Iowa “Smacks Of Voter Intimidation.” In a February 20 column, National Review contributing editor Deroy Murdock criticized the Cruz campaign for several election-related misdeeds. They included spreading the rumor that rival presidential candidate Ben Carson would be dropping out of the GOP primary race the night of the Iowa caucuses, sending around fliers that appeared to “resemble a legal notice from the Election Police” in an “duplicitous effort” that “smacks of voter intimidation,” and using Photoshop to make a fake photo of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) shaking hands with President Barack Obama. Murdock called the “deceptive campaign tactics” an “ugly picture.” [National Review2/20/16]

Charles C. W. Cooke: “Cruz's Rhetorical Style Frankly Makes My Hair Curl A Little.” In a March 23, 2015, article, National Review author Charles C. W. Cooke attacked Cruz's speaking style, saying it “lands somewhere between the oleaginousness of a Joel Osteen and the self-assuredness of a midwestern vacuum-cleaner salesman,” and that it “will damage Cruz more than it will help him”:

Well, because for all his obvious talent Cruz's rhetorical style frankly makes my hair curl a little. Striking a pose that lands somewhere between the oleaginousness of a Joel Osteen and the self-assuredness of a midwestern vacuum-cleaner salesman, Cruz delivers his speeches as might a mass-market motivational speaker in an Atlantic City Convention Center. The country, he tells his audiences rather obsequiously, will be saved by “people like you” -- people, that is, who are willing to text the word “Constitution” to the number 33733, and to contribute generously to his political action committee. America, meanwhile, is held to be in grave trouble, and it needs to be rescued, NOW. There is potential everywhere, Cruz notes; if only we could tap into it -- if only we would believe.


If I am not alone in my reaction, this tendency will damage Cruz more than it will help him, for as The Weekly Standard's Andrew Ferguson observed trenchantly in 2013, he is pretty much incapable of turning it off. Indeed, by most accounts, Cruz speaks in exactly the same way when he is addressing CPAC; when he is meeting with small, friendly, informed groups; and, by Ferguson's testimony, when he is “at close quarters, only a few feet away, in the back seat of a car.” Britain's Queen Victoria, The Atlantic records, once complained that William Gladstone “addresses me as if I were a public meeting.” Watching Cruz this morning, one understands how she must have felt. Sure, the man is probably sincere. Certainly, he is one smart cookie. But to my skeptical ears, there is always a touch of condescension in the pitch -- a small whiff of superciliousness that gives one the unlovely impression that Ted Cruz believes his listeners to be a little bit dim. [National Review3/23/15]

Kevin D. Williamson: “Courting The Boob Vote, Cruz Is Campaigning As A Boob.” In a January 17 piece for National Review, Kevin D. Williamson attacked Cruz's strategy to go after Donald Trump's “New York values,” writing that “Cruz is campaigning as a boob”:

What to make of Senator Ted Cruz? He is a very, very smart man who apparently believes that the median Republican presidential primary voter is very, very dumb. There's some evidence for that proposition -- Donald Trump still leads in the national polls -- but Cruz's strategy rests on the proposition that these voters will enjoy being condescended to. He may very well have chosen the most effective strategy.


Courting the boob vote, Cruz is campaigning as a boob, a project complicated by the fact that there is a much bigger boob in the race: Donald Trump. Cruz, an affluent Ivy Leaguer, needed to distinguish himself from Trump, a very rich Ivy Leaguer, and what he came up with was: “New York values.” A Republican presidential candidate need not trouble himself too much about New York's votes in the Electoral College, and Trump himself had used the phrase to characterize his many departures from the traditional conservatism of the Republican party, of which he is a freshly minted member. Cruz, canny politician that he is, never bothered to go into much detail about what is meant by “New York values.” Sneering at them was enough.

But sneering at New York values isn't very smart for conservatives. Not in the long run. [National Review, 1/17/16]

Washington Editor Eliana Johnson: Cruz Changes Positions “To Stay At The Front Of The Parade.” In an August 27 piece for National Review, Washington editor Eliana Johnson noted that Cruz often changes positions on issues when it is politically convenient, highlighting his refusal to attack GOP primary rival Donald Trump because they're both Republicans despite having taken on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) days before:

When Donald Trump's presidential bid started attracting serious attention, it was perhaps unsurprising that Ted Cruz was the only other Republican candidate to offer kind words about his new rival. After all, the two tend to draw support from the same kind of primary voter. Odder, though, was Cruz's explanation for his praise of Trump. “I get that it seems the favorite sport of the Washington media is to encourage some Republicans to attack other Republicans,” the Texas Republican told NBC's Chuck Todd. “I ain't gonna do it. I'm not interested in Republican-on-Republican violence.”

This from a man who has garnered national attention mostly for attacking members of his own party's leadership. Indeed, just days after he evoked the sentiment of Reagan's “Eleventh Commandment” -- “Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican” -- Cruz took to the Senate floor to accuse Republican majority leader Mitch McConnell of telling a “flat-out lie.” According to Cruz, McConnell had assured him that a vote on the controversial Export-Import Bank would not be attached to a must-pass highway bill, when in fact it was. What had become of Cruz's opposition to Republican-on-Republican violence?


Whether praising Trump, changing his position on trade-promotion authority at the last moment, or getting as close as possible to Rand Paul on national security when the Paulite tendency was at its strongest, Cruz is always maneuvering to stay at the front of the parade. [National Review, 8/27/15]

Avik Roy: Ted Cruz's Plan Will Make Obamacare “Permanent.” In an August 14, 2013, article, National Review columnist Avik Roy attacked Cruz and Utah Sen. Mike Lee (R) for their effort to stop the Affordable Care Act by shutting down the government. Roy said the desired effect was unlikely to transpire and instead, “the opposite is far likelier: that a government shutdown will seriously harm Republicans in the midterm elections, ensuring Obamacare's permanence.” He also called Cruz and Lee “shutdown shock-jocks”:

Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, among others, believe that Republicans ought to use Congress's continuing resolution (CR) as an opportunity to defund Obamacare. The CR must be passed by Congress in order to keep funding the government. Cruz, Lee & Co. think Democrats will be so terrified of a government shutdown that they'll be willing to vote to defund their signature legislative achievement.

It's an interesting theory. But the opposite is far likelier: that a government shutdown will seriously harm Republicans in the midterm elections, ensuring Obamacare's permanence.

These shutdown shock-jocks start with a fair premise: Once the government starts doling out Obamacare's health-insurance subsidies on January 1, the law will prove difficult, if not impossible, to repeal. “We're now approaching the last stop on the train before Obamacare kicks in with full force and fury,” said Lee in July. “September 30, when the continuing resolution expires . . . that will be our last opportunity to defund Obamacare.”


“I am perpetually frustrated by what seems to be the surrender caucus in the Congress,” [Cruz] said to Sean Hannity, “the group that just wants us to give in, and who say, well, 'President Obama will never give in on his top priority.' Well, why is it that he gets to hold his principles, and it's assumed that we have to roll over, when the American people are with us?” (As a reminder, President Obama got to pass Obamacare because his party controlled 60 seats in the Senate. Republicans, today, control 46.) [National Review8/14/13]