In the horrific aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Ringside Politics bestowed its first "Turkey of the Year" award to then New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin for his woeful leadership, bad judgment and embarrassing statements. Since then, we have been recognizing "turkeys" from both of the major political parties. For example, in 2014, we gave the "Turkey of the Year" award to a very worthy recipient, Republican House Speaker John Boehner.
After years of putting the spotlight on "turkeys" we are pleased to announce our first "Champion of the Year." For 2014, there is no one more qualified for this honor than U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX).
Cruz is unquestionably brilliant and he has the academic credentials to prove it. He received his undergraduate degree from Princeton and graduated from Harvard Law magna cum laude. He was an award winning debater in college and the primary editor of the Law Review at Harvard. Eventually, he clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist, becoming the first Hispanic (Cuban father) ever to hold such a position. From 2003-2008, he served as Solicitor General for the State of Texas, successfully arguing five cases before the Supreme Court.
In 2012, he scored a major upset in the Texas Republican primary for U.S. Senate by easily defeating Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, the establishment's preferred candidate, and coasting to victory in the general election. He has been fighting the establishment in both parties ever since.
The U.S. Senate has never seen the likes of Ted Cruz. He does not play by the rules or the politics as usual game. Instead, Cruz acts independently, displays tremendous courage and a strong commitment to conservative values.
Last year, he led the fourth longest filibuster in Senate history to highlight the outrage of Obamacare. Although he was unsuccessful in achieving his goal of defunding Obamacare, Cruz succeeded in focusing the nation's attention on the failed program. When his actions led to a brief government shutdown, his critics said Cruz would cost Republican seats in the next election. As usual, the establishment was wrong and Cruz's emphasis on Obamacare helped the Republican Party win a historic victory in the mid-term elections.
In 2014, Cruz was undeterred by the relentless criticism. He fought the President's net neutrality initiative and the misguided effort to tax the Internet. Last week, he led a group of conservative Senators in demanding a recorded vote on the President's illegal executive decision to grant amnesty to five million undocumented aliens. Cruz's position upset Senators from both parties who wanted to spend the weekend at home, instead of working for the American people.
Cruz is unabashedly pro-life and pro-Second Amendment. In recent days, he has rightly criticized President Obama's unwise deal with the communist regime in Cuba. No matter how controversial the issue, Cruz can be expected to take a courageous stand, firmly rooted in the U.S. Constitution, traditional values and conservative principles.
Hopefully, he will run for President and give grassroots conservatives an alternative to establishment candidates like former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.
It is essential for a conservative like Cruz to win the GOP nomination in 2016. Otherwise, the party cannot win the presidency, as has been demonstrated in the last several elections.
Republicans need a presidential candidate who can articulate a clear, convincing conservative message and who is not afraid to debate. In the last election, Mitt Romney played defense in the last two presidential debates and lost the election. Romney had multiple positions on key issues, but, with Ted Cruz, Republicans have a leader who is steadfast and has the courage of his convictions.
He is the obvious choice for Ringside Politics Champion of the Year.