Image 01 Image 03

Ted Cruz Campaign Like Obama’s? Not Really

Ted Cruz Campaign Like Obama’s? Not Really

Not all first-term Senators with presidential ambitions are the same.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz became the first “official” contender to announce he is running for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016.

One of the more bizarre narratives to quickly form after Cruz made his announcement, has been the comparison between him and President Barack Obama. While there are some similarities — both first term Senators, both graduates of Harvard, both are prone to more grandiose type speeches and both lacked executive experience, that’s where the comparison really ends.

However, there are some who arguing Ted Cruz being a first term Senator leads to him being a bad President, were he to win the nomination and ultimately the election in 2016.

This accusation is not just being thrown around by random people on social media. It’s appearing in Commentary Magazine. After listing a handful of points of comparison between Cruz and Obama the post concludes:

In short, Ted Cruz is not, except for his highly distinguished academic career and legal clerkships, dissimilar to the present incumbent of the White House. It seems to me that the last thing this country needs come January 20th, 2017, is a right-wing Barack Obama.

Charles Krauthammer made a similar point on Fox News during Special Report saying, “We already tried a first term Senator.” 

The implication is they obviously think Barack Obama has been a bad President and as such, Ted Cruz would be a bad President because they were both first term Senators.

I’m not sure how that becomes a pre-cursor to failure or success. Obama’s record stands on its own. It really doesn’t have much to do with the fact that he went to Harvard. Nor would that prevent Ted Cruz from being a good President.

History will still has to judge Barack Obama’s place among all Presidents, but despite his lack of experience, Obama has three major wins in his Presidency, two of which have largely been ignored during these Cruz/Obama comparisons. All three highlight the stark differences between the two men. 

The first of course is Obamacare aka The Affordable Care Act. There is not shortage of studies and analysis that have shown this law to be nothing but a disaster. While the President and Democrats were selling the bill as providing “affordable” healthcare coverage they have been reduced to making it about “insurance” with the affordable aspect falling completely apart.

Second (and Third), Obama appointed Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. Kagan is 54 years old. Sotomayor is 60. The two of them are going to be issuing rulings long after the 2016 Presidential winner is out of office. Add to that the district and appellate court judges Obama has appointed and his legacy lives on for some time.

There are many other examples of Barack Obama using rhetoric and not his vast experience to push the country to the left.

The question is: Why would it be so terrible for Ted Cruz to do the same thing, but in doing so, push the country back to the right?

If you’re a conservative, wouldn’t you feel comfortable with the judicial nominations of a President Cruz?

No candidate should be above criticism and that includes Ted Cruz. If you don’t like him, then make a valid case. Merely throwing out a few inconsequential similarities between the two men and proclaiming “He’s a conservative version of Obama!” is just silly.


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.


Not slamming Cruz–I’m sure we agree on most major issues, but legislators know how to do two things: hold press conferences and attend meetings.


    Back in 2008, Conservatives were fond of pointing out that Palin had executive experience but Obama did not.

    But here we are bending backwards on ‘Executive Experience’ and idolizing candidates as rockstars instead of being objective about their ability survive the Hunger Games of the general election and the job of POTUS.

      LEEJAN in reply to Aucturian. | March 24, 2015 at 2:35 pm

      Let’s see. We had SENATOR Truman who became president.
      We had Governor Carter who became president.
      Can we stop with the babbling and consider the character, integrity, and intellect of Senator Cruz.

    pesanteur in reply to windbag. | March 24, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    >>”but legislators know how to do two things: hold press conferences and attend meetings.”

    And that’s been true of every legislator ever in the history of America and into the future?

Thank you Jay Caruso, at first I thought you had written a Cruz hit piece and see you haven’t.

I don’t believe a man can stand in front of thousands of people, speak for 45 minutes with out a written speech or teleprompter and LIE ! Or at least not give himself away as a pretender.

So if he is not lying then he IS our best hope.

Reductio ad Hitlerum:
Hitler liked dogs.
George Bush likes dogs.
George Bush is exactly like Hitler.

Reductio ad Obamaum:
Obama was a first-term senator.
Ted Cruz is a first-term senator.
Ted Cruz is exactly like Obama.

Yeah, no. We’re going to need a slightly more sophisticated argument than that.

    NC Mountain Girl in reply to Amy in FL. | March 24, 2015 at 10:05 am

    Too bad elections are almost always decided on gut feelings rather than on rational arguments.

    What matter is how that mass of voters who are semi interested in politics and who tend to become bored with issues of ideology see the candidates. This block often overcompensates for what they perceive as the shortcomings in the last guy they voted for, To the extent they see Obama as too far to the left, Cruz will suit them. To the extend they see the problem with Obama as a lack of experience in a first term Senator and the Democrat nominee is not Senator Warren, Cruz may have a problem.

“He’s a conservative version of Obama!”

The operative word being “conservative”. As much as I despise “liberal Obama”, if he were a true “conservative Obama”, I don’t think I would have a problem with the man. Well, unless he was still the same arrogant narcissist he is now.

Most Senators have zilch experience running a business or the day to day executive operations of a government (like a governor or mayor). I think it makes sense to elect someone with a proven record of being an executive of something besides a political campaign.

I think this criticism is a little misguided. The analogy to Obama is of course unfair in many ways but the concern about lack of executive experience is a critic of Senators that long predates Obama. More generally I would like to see him have more experience in coalition building. This is an analogy with Obama that may have more weight going forward. He has some major wins but has not shown ability to build coalitions which is critical to being an executive leader. More generally he might actually be better to the Conservative movement to remain in the Senate to build an organized block. Somewhat like Paul Ryan being more valuable in the house then in the executive. Despite these concerns Cruz is my current 3rd choice behind Walker and Rubio. Cruz would also be a very potent VP option for Walker.

    pesanteur in reply to Giuseppe. | March 24, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    “Cruz would also be a very potent VP option for Walker.”

    Cruz will not be a VP. And I’m curious why Rubio over Cruz?

      Giuseppe in reply to pesanteur. | March 24, 2015 at 5:04 pm

      My interests are tilted towards foreign policy and Rubio has been a stand out in that area. I also suspect he is more likely to win if nominated but that is close. I suspect you are right that Cruz would not take the VP but that is a shame as if he doesn’t get the nomination this round I would love to see him get the visibility and experience the VP would give him.

Henry Hawkins | March 24, 2015 at 10:25 am

I hear the assumptions about first term senators. I suspect that a lot of people don’t want to seem hypocritical after years of blaming part or all of Obama’s ineptitudes on being a first term senator w/o executive experience. That’s a very slim reason to write off a good candidate.


Obama – Senator
Bush – Governor
Clinton – Governor
Bush I – Neither
Reagan – Governor
Carter – Governor

I see no practical pattern.


Yes, both Obama and Cruz went to Harvard Law. Cruz graduated magna cum laude, was primary editor of the Harvard Law Review, as well as executive editor of the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, plus he was a founding editor of the Harvard Latino Law Review. Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz said, “Cruz was off-the-charts brilliant.”

Obama hides his student records, and that shows an enormous difference between first term Obama and first term Cruz.

The ‘first term senator’ curse is illusory. Obama is the only example in recent times, and he has mountains of ineptitudes that would exist whatever route he took to the White House. To believe the ‘first term senator’ curse is to believe that Obama would have been a better president had he come to DC as a first term governor rather than a first term senator.

In a nutshell, Obama is the only reason we doubt first term senators for president, but Obama’s status as a first term senator is among the least of reasons he’s a bad president.

    Janelle in reply to Henry Hawkins. | March 24, 2015 at 10:58 am

    Henry, he lacks a great deal more than experience. The only vote he cast was in favor of late term abortion.

    Sammy Finkelman in reply to Henry Hawkins. | March 24, 2015 at 12:04 pm

    Abraham Lincoln wasn’t even a first term Senator, because Stephen A. Douglass was selected as Senator in 1858.

    Both Theodore Roosevelt and Calvin Coolidge were first term Governors who served about two years (half most Governors’ terms now) before they became Vice President.

    Woodrow Wilson was a first term Governor, with no other career in polictics.

    Franklin Delano Roosevelt had served 4 years as Governor. Also William McKinley, after a dozen years in Congress, where he became responsible for an important piece of legislation.

    Taft, Hoover and Bush I had various Executive Branch positions, including Cabinet Level (for Bush, CIA Director) and were all failures as president.

    Harding and Truman, JFK and LBJ were somewhat longer serving Senators. Nixon had been Senator for 2 years before becoming Vice President and had never served in any executive position.

    Ford was a member of the House of Representatives for 25 years.

    Eisenhower was a general – and the military had its own politics.

    Reagan was a public figure, but he had been Governor, as had been Clinton and Bush II. Carter was a one term Governor who had a knack for getting the media to write about him. He served out his term and then ran for President, where he was generally considered a failure.

    Obama had the least political experience since Woodrow Wilson and Dwight David Eisenhower.

    But Wilson gets points for being a writer about politics going back 27 years, and a president of (southern connected) Princeton University in New Jersey, and Eisenhower was a world famous general and also had been president of a university – Columbia.

    He had more political experience than the 1940 Republican nominee, Wendell Wilkie. (some major party nominees had even less, but they weren’t remotely serious contenders in the genersal election)

    Obama just did his time in the Illinois state legislature where

    He always voted at his party’s call,

    And never thought of thinking for himself
    at all!!

    But he pretended to.

      Insufficiently Sensitive in reply to Sammy Finkelman. | March 24, 2015 at 12:55 pm

      He always voted at his party’s call,
      And never thought of thinking for himself
      at all!!

      He though so little, they rewarded he
      by fawning adulation from NBC…

      and ABC, CBS, NPR, PBS, MSNBC, NYT, LAT and all those sisters and cousins and aunts at the Universiteeeeeeeee

So the Republican Party will be principled enough to deny Cruz a chance, and the Democratic Party will be unprincipled enough to give Obama (and Warren) a chance, and the Republicans will have their principles and the Democrats will have the White House. Got it.

    Giuseppe in reply to cbenoistd. | March 24, 2015 at 10:46 am

    Putting aside Cruz for the moment because the analogy is unfair in many ways; do you really want the Republican equivalent of Obama?? Look what he has done to the Democrats??? He. Is going to leave with a decimated party. Bush left us with problems but we still had a deep bench and history on outside. What do the Democrats have? They are living in borrowed time in almost every issue and they have no bench to lead the next generation. Obama’s presidency is going to look worse and worse to them in the future. Do you doubt it?

      cbenoistd in reply to Giuseppe. | March 24, 2015 at 11:24 am

      What good is a deep bench if the chattertariat has eliminated all by two by the time my state’s primary comes around, and one of them is going to be thrown under the bus on Meet the Press for the sake of party unity?

Insufficiently Sensitive | March 24, 2015 at 11:15 am

The ‘first-term Senator minus executive experience‘ is an absolutely fair criticism of both Cruz and Obama. But there’s so much more beyond that label that it’s reduced to low import in the long run.

Though the MSM neglected that aspect of Obama. It will trumpet it as a fatal disability for Cruz.

Obama came into politics with heavy support by the organized Left and the Chicago machine, which both expected to profit post-election. Cruz has no such machines behind him – the Tea Party doesn’t function that way.

Obama’s educational process is concealed, with the MSM complicit. Cruz’s is open, and will be mined by MSM for real or created flaws. Likewise for the circumstances of birth and upraising.

Obama intended ‘fundamental change’ for the US, via maximized autocracy. Cruz intends restoration on Constitutional grounds.

Good readers, this is but the forward. I’ll spare you the succeeding dozens of paragraphs because you largely embody them already.

Experience…. Obama has more experience at being President than any possible 2016 candidate and he is still a flaming piece of crap. Experience, in his case, is way over rated.

Experience only counts if you learn something from it.

    Insufficiently Sensitive in reply to Anchovy. | March 24, 2015 at 6:14 pm

    Obama has more experience at being President than any possible 2016 candidate

    Actually not at doing the job a President must do. He’s been in the White House and on TV and on vacation, and has verbally beaten up the Republicans and given his supporters ‘waivers’. He’s used his three-letter agencies to punish his enemies and restrict the economy, but actually worked with Congress to achieve legislative goals? Not since his two ‘supermajority’ years. Nor has he done much to see that existing laws are enforced, and his foreign policy resembles the work of an enemy of the US.

One major difference between the two not mentioned by the American Jewish Committee founded Commentary is each one’s attitude toward Israel.

Obama is openly antagonistic and Cruz, openly embracing. Big delta in foreign policy thinking.

Most of the Federal government operates on autopilot with nudges from the President, etc. I don’t believe the argument should be regarding executive or bureaucratic experience, but which direction Ted Cruz wants to guide the country. Right now, America seems to be in a funk. I wouldn’t mind a cheerleader who could dismantle or cripple some of the factors making the country miserable. The bully pulpit matters; it’s mostly mindset anyway. A strong positive leader is what America needs….

Henry Hawkins | March 24, 2015 at 7:13 pm

The biggest difference is that Obama’s base will never oppose him, while any conservative president who left the conservative reservation would get eaten alive by his/her base.

Midwest Rhino | March 25, 2015 at 12:43 am

* Obama was a community rabble rouser, Cruz argued in front of SCOTUS nine time. But Obama has been unanimously rejected for lawless acts by SCOTUS thirteen times, so there’s that.

* The MSM swallowed and regurgitated every lie Obama spewed, including that he never heard Rev. Wright say those damnable things.
The MSM attacks Cruz on everything. Even O’Reilly tonight blamed Cruz for shutting down government by demanding Obamacare be voted out. Actually Billy, the last House demand was small, and was later implemented by Obama anyway, as much of the ACA was illegally delayed and changed by BO, iirc. Reid said “I won’t do this (budget) piecemeal”, Boehner still yields.

The latest House bill, passed … sent back to the Senate two major changes: a one-year delay of key provisions of the health insurance law and repeal of a new tax on medical devices that partially funds it. The steps still go too far for the White House and its Democratic allies.

* They blame Cruz for the cost of the shutdown, but it was Obama spending to close parks unnecessarily, like the mall to the veterans, but opening it for illegals. MSM loyally labelled it the Republican shutdown, and R’s fully blame Cruz.

* Cruz came out as a Christian believer, while Obama joined his black liberation theology church, aligned with Farrakhan. Cruz’s Father escaped Castro. Obama’s father was a drunk, socialist, polygamist, abuser of women. And Obama’s mentors were communist. The MSM doesn’t remember Obama’s father had three wives at once.–US-Presidental-hopeful-HASNT-said-father-.html

Cruz is the opposite in almost all ways, not just politics. He is only the same in being a junior senator with big ideals, and little executive experience. But Obama is just a shifty community organizer for which some probably foreign interests found a use. Cruz paid off his loans. Who funded Obama, and got the stoner in Harvard? I bet Jarrett knows.

    Insufficiently Sensitive in reply to Midwest Rhino. | March 25, 2015 at 9:44 am

    No wonder the lefties hate flyover country, it contains folks who collect their ‘down the memory-hole’ objects and wave them unmercifully about. Thanks Midwest Rhino.

Comparing Ted Cruz to Obama is like comparing Chris Kyle to John Boehner.

The spurious argument that Ted Cruz is a bad choice simply because he is a first-term senator . . . because Obama is ridiculous. Obama would be just as offensive and ill-suited to the role of president of the United States of America if he had been First Lady of Arkansas and of the United States, a one-term (and elected for a second) senator, and Secretary of State.

The problem is / was not simply Obama’s inexperience at governing but his entire worldview. He’s had six years of on-the-job training, and there is no evidence that the experience he’s racked up as chief executive has better prepared him to be president. Indeed, it seems quite clear that no amount of experience would make Obama fit for the office he holds.