Thank—or blame— Phil Gramm for Ted Cruz. The retired Texas senator’s opposition to Hillary Clinton’s health-care plan in the early 1990s inspired his political career, says the man with the second-best odds of running against Mr. Gramm’s old nemesis this fall.
“Republicans’ initial response to HillaryCare was to come up with a watered-down version, partially socialized medicine,” Mr. Cruz says, during a visit to the Journal this week. A law student at the time, “I was yelling at the television set basically saying the heck with you, I’m just gonna go live on an island and fish, because nobody believes nothing.”
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Then Mr. Gramm emerged to declare that the bill “will pass over my cold, dead political body.” It was his labors against “what everyone said was inevitable, that both infused spinal fortitude in other members of the Senate but also began impacting the public debate,” Mr. Cruz says. “Victory ultimately depended on convincing the American people. That’s the only way to win the biggest and most important political battles: You’ve got to make the case to the people.”
The performance is echt-Cruz—a historical parable that carries a moral lesson for the present; that stresses the abiding fecklessness of Republican elites and the importance of raging against the machine; and that ends with a canticle to “We the People.” It is also somewhat awkward, given that Mr. Gramm is sitting at Mr. Cruz’s elbow as he tells the tale.
But the younger Texan’s fortunes do now belong to the people—2,472 people, to be precise: the delegates who will decide the Republican nomination at the Cleveland convention in July.Read the rest of this WSJ op-ed HERE.
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