He has a plan to take the GOP nomination from Donald Trump. But first he must heal old wounds
Ted Cruz was trying to play nice in Waukesha, Wis. Wearing Texas boots, blue jeans and his Princeton class ring, he rolled through a campaign speech perfected long ago, a precise list of one-liners delivered in a growling, apocalyptic style. Think Moses on high, tablets firmly in hand.
After each complete thought–abolish the IRS, stop amnesty, beat back federal regulators “who have descended like locusts”–he paused, chuckled and nodded his head, as if suddenly impressed. This tactic to elicit applause infuriates his rival Donald Trump, the Queens-born brawler, whose own rambling run-ons and fragments are more suited for the barstool than the pew. “Five-second intermission between sentences,” Trump complains of the Cruz rhetorical style. But for the former college debater who argued nine cases before the Supreme Court, the spaces between words work like a metronome, building suspense, adding somber layers of gravitas.
So it was something to see when the most hated Senator in Washington began to sound like the Great Unifier for the Grand Old Party before an American flag the size of a prairie barn and an entranced crowd. This was a Senator who had campaigned for months as the anti-Establishment, anti-Washington rebel, deriding his own party’s leadership as a criminal cartel of bloodsuckers. This was a Republican who had been called a “jackass” by his own former House Speaker and a “wacko bird” by John McCain. For months on the trail, Cruz would joke that he might need food tasters to eat in the U.S. Senate dining room. And now he was suggesting the long war would come to an end, with himself as the cohering force.
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