By Stan Welch
Republican Presidential candidate and Texas Senator Ted Cruz was in Anderson Tuesday night, and he brought a few friends. In fact, it was quite an impressive entourage. A standing room only crowd showed up at the Anderson Civic Center to hear Cruz, who, according to several recent polls, is rapidly closing the gap between himself and Donald Trump just a few days before the South Carolina primary; and they came fired up and ready to rally. State Senator Kevin Bryant started the parade of conservative luminaries who came to the stage to endorse Cruz.
Bryant wasted no time in mentioning the recent death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, saying “The president does not appoint justices. He nominates them, and the Senate decides whether to confirm or not. I assure you, the President will nominate a liberal, progressive judge who will not favor first or second amendment rights, who will support abortion up to the moment of birth, and who will basically impose Shariah law in America. Is that what we want from our Supreme Court?”
When the cheers died down, Bryant introduced N.C. Congessman Mark Meadows, who led the successful effort to dethrone John Boehner as Speaker of the House last year. Meadows went to some lengths to share the credit for that successful uprising with Congressman Jeff Duncan, saying, “Jeff stood right beside me through that whole fight. He is a rock solid conservative, and the people of South Carolina should be glad to have him in the Congress.”
That, of course, brought Congressman Duncan to the stage,where he reminded the crowd that “The nation and the world are focused on the Palmetto State this week, to see if we are serious about taking our country back.”
Duncan went on to list the qualities he looked for in a candidate before committing his support to anyone. “Several of the candidates met my list of characteristics – belief in traditional marriage, a pro-life stance, other conservative criteria. But there was only one who had proved himself to be a fighter, time and time again. There was only one who had stood up, not just to the Democrats, but to his own party when they failed to meet their own standards. That man is Ted Cruz.”
Duncan then brought the house down by calling Dakota Meyer, Medal of Honor winner for his actions in Afghanistan. Meyer was awarded the Medal of Honor for his role in helping rescue thirty six fellow soldiers from ambush, as well as helping retrieve the bodies of four fallen comrades. The standing ovation he received lasted several minutes.
Meyer minced no words, saying that the United States is at war, and that there is no longer a place for political correctness. “We have seen true evil spread across the world in the last seven years, and now it is at our door. I want a leader with the courage and the know how to confront these issues that we face, and that man is Senator Ted Cruz.”
Fellow Texan and former governor, as well as a two time candidate for president, Governor Rick Perry came to the stage next to add his endorsement for Cruz. He offered an unusual reason for his support. “Ted Cruz is the best listener I have ever encountered in my public life. Ted listens to find out what you know, but more importantly, he listens to know what he doesn’t know. I’ve met a lot of people in Washington who have no clue what they don’t know and that is always trouble, folks. But Ted Cruz will gather extraordinary people and he will make an extraordinary Commander in Chief.”
Perry went on to add the three traits he looks for in a leader. “First, I look for humility. Ted knows who he works for. He works for the American people, and not the other way around. Secondly, he has courage. Even his wildest critics have to acknowledge his courage. And lastly, he has a real gratitude for being in the moment he is in. He is grateful to God for putting him in this moment in America’s history.”
With that Governor Perry introduced Senator Cruz to a raucous and enthusiastic crowd, which delayed Cruz for several minutes as he tried to reach the stage.
He praised those who had come to the stage before him for their solid conservatism, saying that they would crawl across broken glass with knives in their teeth to defend America and the Constitution.
He then shifted into his familiar litany of changes he would make on his first day in office such as repealing all of Obama’s executive actions; directing the Department of Justice to begin an immediate investigation of Planned Parenthood and its activities; direct the DOJ to immediately cease the persecution of religious liberty; tear up the Iranian deal concerning nuclear arms; and begin the process of moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
“And THAT’s just the first day” he declared to cheers and applause.”
But he had a few new points as well. He spoke fondly of Justice Scalia who was a personal friend, saying that as Ronald Reagan was to the Presidency, so too was Scalia to the Supreme Court. He assured the crowd that when he becomes president, every justice he nominates will be a solid conservative nominee with a proven record.
“Make no mistake, folks. The death of Justice Scalia raised the stakes of this election tremendously. The next President could reasonably expect to replace as many as three justices, setting the tone for the Court for a generation or more.”
Cruz has sworn to filibuster any nominees Obama puts forth in order to prevent their confirmation. The Senate is required to confirm such nominees.
He also referred to a plan to rebuild the military, which he had announced earlier in the day at a campaign stop in Charleston, aboard the WWII aircraft carrier Yorktown. The basics of that plan include restoring the size of the Army, which Obama has proposed cutting to just four hundred fifty thousand active duty soldiers to a minimum of five hundred twenty five thousand troops. He pledged to restore the air force, currently with four thousand aircraft, to six thousand planes.
The Navy, which is at its smallest size since before WWII, with just 272 ships, would be restored to at least 350 craft. Cruz said that much of the expense involved would be paid for by an audit of the Pentagon, to discover and redirect wasted funds.
Cruz also repeated his pledge to seal the borders, saying to loud applause that border security is national security. “There will be no more sanctuary cities,who pick and choose which laws they enforce,” said Cruz.
The Republican primary is this coming Saturday. The Democrats will hold their primary on the following Saturday, Feb. 27.