MANCHESTER, N.H.—Rand Paul has been methodically planning his run for president. Now Ted Cruz could come along and spoil the whole thing.
Both senators have a path to the Republican nomination that rests on the support of the Tea Party. And when forced to choose, that segment appears to prefer Cruz, whose speech to an activists’ gathering here over the weekend was the more enthusiastically received of the two.
Saturday’s Freedom Summit, billed as an early audition for potential 2016 candidates, provided a rare opportunity for right-wing activists to directly compare the Texan and the Kentuckian. The senators spoke practically back to back, and the crowd clearly loved them both. But Cruz’s theatrical delivery wowed them more than Paul’s comparatively cerebral appeal, and his rhetorical focus on conservative red meat found more favor than Paul’s detours into libertarian concerns.
“I like Rand Paul, I agree with a lot of what he says, but as far as charismatic leadership, I’ve got to go with Ted Cruz,” Robin Parkhurst, a state-government worker from Newbury, New Hampshire, said after hearing both men speak at the event. “Ted Cruz has the ability to deliver a message that resonates with people.”
I can live with either one, but if I had my druthers, I’d go with Cruz. What I’d really like to see would be a Cruz/Paul ticket, if only to avoid the Reagan/Bush disaster that ensued after Reagan left office.
Check out my new bestseller, Lightning Fall: A Novel of Disaster. You can get the Kindle ebook version from Amazon right now, or if you prefer, the book is also available in a trade paperback edition though Amazon.