Cruz: The Tea Party Texan Who Wants to Save America from Itself

Cruz: The Tea Party Texan Who Wants to Save America from Itself

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Everywhere Ted Cruz goes, people are frightened. To hear him tell it, the freshman senator from Texas can’t so much as cross the street without someone stopping him, putting a hand on his shoulder, and saying, “Ted, I’m scared. I’m scared for this country.”

In a sit-down interview with Politico’s Mike Allen on Thursday, Ted Cruz said people are worried about the country, in part, because things are “eerily similar” to the economic “malaise” of the Jimmy Carter years.

Related: The ‘New and Improved’ Ted Cruz Infuriates His Colleagues Again

Cruz sees hope on the horizon, but it’s not coming from current Republican leadership, which he characterized as risk averse and too willing to compromise with the president. Rather, Cruz said, conditions today are similar to those that propelled Ronald Reagan to the White House in 1980.

“If we’re going to pull this country back from the fiscal and economic cliff, the only way to do it is to replicate what happened in the late 1970s, where with abject failed economic policies, with misery and stagnation, a grass-roots movement swept this country. Millions of men and women became the Reagan revolution,” Cruz said.

The D.C. Republican establishment, Cruz pointed out, started out opposed to Ronald Reagan. “Remember, Reagan had just primaried a sitting Republican president in Gerald Ford. He was not beloved in Washington, D.C. But that campaign came from the people. So my energy is on trying to do everything I can to encourage, to mobilize, to energize that same movement.”

Hmm…  A cowboy-boot-wearing conservative candidate, despised by the Republican establishment, leading a grass-roots movement in a bid for the White House? Who could Cruz possibly be thinking of?

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A longtime reporter on the intersection of the federal government and the private sector, Rob Garver served as a National Correspondent, based in Washington, D.C., for four years. He has written for ProPublica, The New York Times and other publications.