Ted Cruz Cut Deal With Religious Right Founder That Made George W. Bush President
"We are talking about Christianizing America. We are talking about simply spreading the gospel in a political context." -- U.S. Senator Ted Cruz' late friend Paul Weyrich, in a 1980 Dallas speech to fundamentalist ministers. Weyrich is widely credited as one of the top architects of the new right and the religious right.
While a September 8, 2013 Politico story from Stephanie Simon documented U.S. Senator Ted Cruz' ties to pseudo-historian David Barton (one of the more influential national middle-aged leaders on the Christian right), Cruz' ties to the politicized religious right are far more profound than that.
Indeed, as a 2011 book from Bush presidential administration member Timothy Goeglein reveals, back in 1999 Cruz already had high-level national-level political connections that helped make George W. Bush president - connections perhaps developed during his stint as a legal aide for Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist, but most certainly also tracing through his father Rafael Cruz' participation in the Paul Weyrich-cofounded Religious Roundtable that mobilized Christian conservative voters to help elect Ronald Reagan to the presidency in 1980.
Over the last several years, mainstream media, liberals and progressives alike have succumbed to a misleading narrative that depicts the Tea Party as secular and libertarian. But leading Tea Party Republicans in the U.S. Senate Ted Cruz and Rand Paul were raised within the bosom of the politicized Christian right and have access to its leadership, one of whom is former Texas U.S. Representative Ron Paul (consider this 2003 op-ed from Rand Paul's father, Ron.)
But Ted Cruz brings to the table his own formidable, even astonishing, elite connections that, in 1999, helped enable candidate George W. Bush's lock on the 2000 election Republican presidential nomination.
In 1999 Cruz, then a George W. Bush campaign aide, helped cement support from the religious right for Bush by arranging a meeting between one of the key architects of the movement, Paul Weyrich - who played a pivotal role in drawing evangelicals into electoral politics - and one of the Bush for president campaign top campaign leaders Timothy Goeglein, who went on to serve as Special Assistant to U.S. President George W. Bush and Deputy Director of the White House Office of Public Liaison from 2001 to 2008, and now works with Focus on The Family.
As Goeglein recounted in his book Man In The Middle - An Inside Account of Faith and Politics in the George W. Bush Era (2011, B&H Publishing Group), with book forward written by Karl Rove, George W. Bush had already sent a powerful message to conservative evangelicals that he was theirs when, during the December 14, 1999 Iowa Republican Primary Debate Bush stated that his favorite philosopher was "Christ, because he changed my heart."
But, reveals Goeglein, then-Bush campaign aide Ted Cruz helped play the inside track, by arranging a meeting between Cruz, Goeglein, and Paul Weyrich. Starting on page 34, Goeglein begins,
"In addition to the strong support Governor Bush was garnering in those early primaries, he was also gaining the support of key social conservatives in a systematic but off-the-record outreach effort where I was spending lots of my time. One of the most important such meetings occurred a month after I arrived in Austin. My friend and fellow campaign aide Ted Cruz, a former Supreme Court Clerk for Chief Justice William Rehnquist and later a candidate for the U.S. Senate from Texas, phoned me one day and told me Paul Weyrich, one of the leading traditional conservatives in the country, was in Austin and wanted to have breakfast to discuss Governor Bush's record and the campaign. Ted asked me to join him. Paul, who later became a close friend and ally, had a reputation for blunt talk and core, unswerving convictions, and so I knew the meeting would be foundational to our coalition efforts in the Bush campaign.
We met for a breakfast all of us thought would last an hour or so. It ended up going nearly three hours. Paul queried me and ted on nearly every issue possible in a spirited, lively session. I came to see the repartee among the three of us was rooted in common principles and values; and by the end of the breakfast, Paul told us, in all his years of following presidential politics, he had never felt more comfortable with the core convictions of a candidate on the issue he most believed in, the sanctity of every human life, the foundation of the traditional family, and American sovereignty. Te breakfast ended in unity and common purpose. This kind of one-on-one outreach was a cornerstone of the first Bush campaign, and conservative support was one of the keys to victory."
In other words, per Goeglein's account, Ted Cruz helped create the Bush Presidency. It's astonishing for an almost endless range of reasons, not the least of which is that it is doubly true as well - Cruz also served on the Bush campaign's elite legal team that fought the legal battles over the vote recount in Florida which in turn led to the wildly controversial Bush v. Gore Supreme Court ruling that installed George W. Bush in the presidency.
But Cruz' ties to Paul Weyrich are nonetheless even more jaw-dropping than that considering who Weyrich was. How did Cruz earn the friendship of the man who helped create the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority, and the American Legislative Exchange Council, ALEC ?