Is Ted Cruz the Rightie Jesus?

Dave Weigel must be the hardest working man in blogging, because he seems to post 35 times a day and nearly always says something new. And he writes that the race for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination is already heating up in Iowa. Rick Santorum, Steve “Cantaloupe Calves” King, Rand Paul, and Ted Cruz are the current contenders. Weigel says Cruz is the current front runner, with only 29 months to go!

My latest story was written during the FAMiLY Leader Summit in Ames, the annual meeting of social conservatives (which gets larger every year but wasn’t quite large enough for its current venue) where Ted Cruz is king and … actually, let me try a new analogy. Where Mike Huckabee is Moses, Rick Santorum is John the Baptist, and Ted Cruz is the big J.C.

Ted must’ve really wowed them in Iowa. The crowd also heard from Cruz’s dad:

His father, Rafael, a Cuban-born pastor, precedes him with a speech that’s one-third about his son and two-thirds about how candidates who promise “hope and change” are paving the road to serfdom. “In 1976 I was shocked when I saw a government starting to implement socialist policies in this country, which perhaps the majority of this country didn’t recognize,” he says. “Having seen socialism at work, I clearly recognized the socialist policies of Jimmy Carter.”

President Carter’s actual economic policies were about as “socialist” as a Paul Volker fan club, but of course it’s what Carter represents to the crowd that’s important, not what he actually did.

It’s a hit. More than one activist tells me that the senior Cruz’s story takes away an advantage that has belonged to Marco Rubio—the crowd-pleasing parable of Obama as Castro. After a short break, Ted Cruz himself arrives, walking back and forth across the stage in black ostrich-skin cowboy boots, delivering old jokes about the root words of “politics” being “poly” and “ticks” before getting to applause line after applause line about his battles in Washington.

Cruz is a paleolithic piece of work, of course, but I’ve seen him in videos, and he seems a little more polished than fellow Texan Rick Perry. And yeah, your average junkyard mutt is more polished than Rick Perry. It’s all relative. I’m just saying that it won’t surprise me if Cruz does become a serious contender.

Weigel also writes that Rand Paul is not going to have an easy time of it if he goes for the nomination.