Skip to main content

Ted Cruz for president? Sure, in 2020

By Ed Morrissey, Special to CNN
August 16, 2013 -- Updated 1154 GMT (1954 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Edward Morrissey: Ted Cruz has bright future with GOP, some say he's mulling presidential run
  • He says that would be great -- in perhaps 2020; same with young comers Rand Paul, Rubio
  • He says there are far more seasoned possible candidates in GOP governor ranks
  • Morrissey: Paul, Cruz, Rubio could well be presidents, but should wait till 2020, 2024

Editor's note: Edward Morrissey is a senior editor and correspondent for the conservative commentary website hotair.com

(CNN) -- From the first moment I spoke with Ted Cruz, it was obvious that the former solicitor general for Texas had a bright future in politics.

My first interview with Cruz, at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in 2010, came less than a month after Congress passed the Affordable Care Act.

Cruz, who was not quite 40 at the time and still contemplating his political future, already had the ACA firmly in his sights.

"We are facing from Washington the greatest threat to our liberty we have ever seen," he said, "I think we have to fight on every front to repeal Obamacare."

Cruz didn't want to shy away from a court fight, but predicted that conservatives would have to win with voters more than judges to succeed.

Edward Morrissey
Edward Morrissey

Less than a year later, Cruz would throw his hat in the ring to succeed Kay Bailey Hutchison in the Senate and continue his fight from Washington rather than Texas.

After only seven months in town, Cruz's political talents are obvious. His drive to push the Republican Party into a budget showdown over Obamacare reflects his passionate opposition to the ACA and a shrewd assessment of the temperature of the grassroots base. He's also a staunch opponent of the Gang of Eight immigration reform bill, a position based first on his principles but clearly consonant with many rank-and-file Republicans.

The immigration bill pitted him against another talented Republican newcomer, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, one of its authors and vocal proponents, although both are allied on the strategy to overturn Obamacare.

Cruz's rapid ascent has rallied conservative activists and has many speculating over his potential impact on the 2016 presidential race. In fact, enough people are speculating on it that Donald Trump and Ann Coulter have been moved to cast doubts on his eligibility to run. (Cruz was born in Canada, but his mother is a native of Delaware and a U.S. citizen, which would qualify Cruz as native-born under the broadly accepted definition of the term.)

Opinion: Ted Cruz can be president, probably

Cruz has recently begun to tour Iowa, usually a good signal of presidential ambition, while Slate reported this week that social conservatives in the state are pushing to get Cruz into the 2016 race.

Sen. Feinstein: 'I'm not a sixth-grader'
Sen. Cruz focused on defunding Obamacare
Rand Paul eyes presidential bid

No one doubts that Cruz has a bright future in the Republican Party, but that doesn't mean the future is now.

Cruz, like Rubio and Rand Paul, have only barely arrived on the national stage and are many years younger than their sell-by date. None of the three has held executive office yet. Both Paul and Cruz have only won one election in their career. All three have made an extraordinary impact as freshmen senators, but they are still mainly untested outside of a single electoral cycle.

Additionally, Republicans have more options: By the time 2015 rolls around and candidates have to commit to a run, a number of GOP governors will be staking out their ground as well.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will almost certainly use his considerable media presence and blunt style to launch the next phase of his career. Scott Walker has to win a re-election bid in Wisconsin in 2014; a win will re-establish his fighting credentials on budgets and reform.

Mike Pence got some attention early in the 2012 cycle as a potential presidential contender, but decided to go home to Indiana to add executive office to his already-impressive conservative credentials. Susana Martinez, who like Cruz was given a featured-speaker slot at the national GOP convention last year, should sail to a 2014 re-election in New Mexico, with approval ratings that have never dropped below 60%.

This wealth of proven executive talent, most from governors who have courted the conservative grassroots, makes the Beltway bids from freshmen senators look even more like long shots.

That's not to say that we may not see a President Ted Cruz in the future. With his talent and political savvy and his potential for staying power, no one should count him out in the long run. Like Paul and Rubio, though, his potential presidential future may be 2020 or 2024.

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.

Join us on Facebook/CNNOpinion.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Edward Morrissey.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
September 1, 2014 -- Updated 1221 GMT (2021 HKT)
Carlos Moreno says atheists, a sizable fraction of Americans, deserve representation in Congress.
August 31, 2014 -- Updated 1625 GMT (0025 HKT)
Julian Zelizer says Democrats and unions have a long history of mutual support that's on the decline. But in a time of income inequality they need each other more than ever
August 31, 2014 -- Updated 0423 GMT (1223 HKT)
William McRaven
Peter Bergen says Admiral William McRaven leaves the military with a legacy of strategic thinking about special operations
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1611 GMT (0011 HKT)
Leon Aron says the U.S. and Europe can help get Russia out of Ukraine by helping Ukraine win its just war, sharing defense technologies and intelligence
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1724 GMT (0124 HKT)
Timothy Stanley the report on widespread child abuse in a British town reveals an institutional betrayal by police, social services and politicians. Negligent officials must face justice
August 30, 2014 -- Updated 0106 GMT (0906 HKT)
Peter Bergen and David Sterman say a new video of an American suicide bomber shows how Turkey's militant networks are key to jihadists' movement into Syria and Iraq. Turkey must stem the flow
August 28, 2014 -- Updated 1516 GMT (2316 HKT)
Whitney Barkley says many for-profit colleges deceive students, charge exorbitant tuitions and make false promises
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1434 GMT (2234 HKT)
Mark O'Mara says the time has come to decide whether we really want police empowered to shoot those they believe are 'fleeing felons'
August 28, 2014 -- Updated 1432 GMT (2232 HKT)
Bill Frelick says a tool of rights workers is 'naming and shaming,' ensuring accountability for human rights crimes in conflicts. But what if wrongdoers know no shame?
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 0243 GMT (1043 HKT)
Jay Parini says, no, a little girl shouldn't fire an Uzi, but none of should have easy access to guns: The Second Amendment was not written to give us such a 'right,' no matter what the NRA says
August 30, 2014 -- Updated 1722 GMT (0122 HKT)
Terra Ziporyn Snider says many adolescents suffer chronic sleep deprivation, which can indeed lead to safety problems. Would starting school an hour later be so wrong?
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1330 GMT (2130 HKT)
Peggy Drexler says after all the celebrity divorces, it's tempting to ask the question. But there are still considerable benefits to getting hitched
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1849 GMT (0249 HKT)
The death of Douglas McAuthur McCain, the first American killed fighting for ISIS, highlights the pull of Syria's war for Western jihadists, writes Peter Bergen.
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 2242 GMT (0642 HKT)
Former ambassador to Syria Robert Ford says the West should be helping moderates in the Syrian armed opposition end the al-Assad regime and form a government to focus on driving ISIS out
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 1321 GMT (2121 HKT)
Ruben Navarrette says a great country does not deport thousands of vulnerable, unaccompanied minors who fled in fear for their lives
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 1319 GMT (2119 HKT)
Robert McIntyre says Congress is the culprit for letting Burger King pay lower taxes after merging with Tim Hortons.
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 2335 GMT (0735 HKT)
Wesley Clark says the U.S. can offer support to its Islamic friends in the region most threatened by ISIS, but it can't fight their war
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 2053 GMT (0453 HKT)
America's painful struggle with racism has often brought great satisfaction to the country's rivals, critics, and foes. The killing of Michael Brown and its tumultuous aftermath has been a bonanza.
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 1919 GMT (0319 HKT)
Rick Martin says the death of Robin Williams brought back memories of his own battle facing down depression as a young man
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 1558 GMT (2358 HKT)
David Perry asks: What's the best way for police officers to handle people with psychiatric disabilities?
August 25, 2014 -- Updated 1950 GMT (0350 HKT)
Julian Zelizer says it's not crazy to think Mitt Romney would be able to end up at the top of the GOP ticket in 2016
August 25, 2014 -- Updated 2052 GMT (0452 HKT)
Roxanne Jones and her girlfriends would cheer from the sidelines for the boys playing Little League. But they really wanted to play. Now Mo'ne Davis shows the world that girls really can throw.
August 25, 2014 -- Updated 2104 GMT (0504 HKT)
Kimberly Norwood is a black mom who lives in an affluent neighborhood not far from Ferguson, but she has the same fears for her children as people in that troubled town do
August 22, 2014 -- Updated 2145 GMT (0545 HKT)
It apparently has worked for France, say Peter Bergen and Emily Schneider, but carries uncomfortable risks. When it comes to kidnappings, nations face grim options.
ADVERTISEMENT