Monday, October 26, 2015

This Presidential Campaign Has Been Educational

Senator Ted Cruz in Waterloo, IA

As many of you know, I am a part of the Cruz for President campaign here in Iowa. In Iowa, people treat politics like many people in Texas treat football, as Senator Cruz has so often said. There is a popular notion here that if a candidate won't come and talk to the average, everyday voter, they don't deserve the support of the average, everyday voter. I don't think people in Iowa truly know how good they have it. I think this will be Donald Trump's undoing here. He holds huge(yuge, in Trumpese) rallies and doesn't actually speak to individual caucus goers. While to many, Iowans may seem entitled to be the first in the nation to weigh in on the election, they do take it seriously. Senator Cruz is at home in front of huge crowds, tiny little coffee shops or the lobby of the Dutch Country Inn in Kalona, IA.(Shameless plug for a friend of mine that owns the place)

I have had a chance to be around many of the Republican candidates, aside from Senator Cruz, and doing so has only strengthened my resolve in helping Ted win the nomination and then be elected President of the United States. I've met Rick Santorum(nice man), Bobby Jindal(very good guy), Mike Huckabee(spent too much time on TV, probably should have stayed there), Rand Paul(different?) and Carly Fiorina(sort of contrived). I've seen Jeb Bush(stilted and has no business seeking this nomination) speak in person. With all of that as a preface, Ted Cruz is unlike any other politician or public figure I've ever met. He is comfortable in his own skin. Many of these people would make a decent president. To be fair, a can of PBR would be better a better president than what we have now.

But I digress. Ted Cruz has shown himself to be the most highly educated man to ever seek office, yet he is also incredibly down to earth. He is never uninformed about a question asked by a random event attendee. I can vouch and say that no one that comes to Ted's events are there because they were planned plants to ask questions that he had already prepared answers for. Those of us involved with the campaign specifically stay out of the way when he speaks so that people that aren't as familiar with him get a chance to ask anything they like.

I've also had the chance to sit with Senator Cruz in a small group setting of just staff and volunteers. He doesn't change when the media isn't around. He treats everyone with respect and asks that we speak freely and with no filter. He listens and then speaks with an authority on the issues that I have never seen. His answers aren't focus grouped to death. His answers are sincere because they are based upon principle.
Ted Cruz talking to a group of staff and volunteers.

To illustrate this more completely, I was at the Iowa Grassroots Coalition Honest Assessment Forum this past Saturday. Ted Cruz was the headliner at the event(even if it wasn't billed that way). Bobby Jindal and Mike Huckabee also attended. Ted Cruz arrived early so that he could speak to the attendees before going on stage. Once on stage, he owned the room. The format was such that most of the time was reserved for questions of candidates. All three candidates answered the questions with little hesitation but only Ted was able to stir the room to standing ovations and sustained applause. After he spoke, he jumped down (literally) off the stage and headed back to talk to the people in attendance. Frankly, I felt bad for the two that had to follow him. Many left after Ted spoke.

I was amazed by the way that people that I know from Twitter and Facebook that were tacit supporters of Ted Cruz but had never seen him away from the Senate or a more formal setting reacted when his townhall event in Council Bluffs, IA was broadcast on CSPAN last Friday night. He also took open phone calls. People all across the country were able to see what I saw the first time I met Senator Cruz. He doesn't change. He doesn't have a private or guarded persona that changes when he is in front of the public or media. He is also a huge movie buff. He loves to quote movies and has held true to Reagan's use of humor when he is campaigning too. He often remarks that we should be happy warriors for liberty because we know that our cause is just. I can't agree more.

Another opportunity being involved with this campaign has afforded me is being able to meet people that I would not have had a reason to meet before. At a meeting recently with Iowa and nationally known talk radio host/columnist Steve Deace, I was not only fortunate enough to meet the aforementioned Deace but I also ran into Marlin Bontrager and his son Josh. I had seen them and the rest of their family perform at a religious liberty rally that Senator Cruz held in Des Moines back in August. Marlin and I talked and found out that I lived only ten minutes north of them and that I was looking for a church to attend during my time in Iowa. He invited me to church at Marion Avenue Baptist Church in Washington, Iowa. I took him up on his invitation. I was blown away. The church is the most alive church I've ever been to. I'm hooked. I can't see attending any other church. The welcome I received was unconditional and overwhelming. At the end of that first service, I was invited to come to dinner at the home of Marlin and his wife Becky. Oh, they have 10 children, 5 of voting age. A better group of children, I've never met. I had an amazing Sunday dinner and a great few hours of fellowship. The family travels the country and sings gospel music when they aren't farming just north of Kalona, IA. They are all huge supporters of Senator Cruz, by the way. If Senator Cruz wins Iowa by 7 votes, we'll know who made the difference.

With Senator Cruz's steady rise in the polls and his amazing group of staff, volunteers and donors behind him, I can feel the momentum building behind this campaign. I encourage all liberty minded folks to join the effort.

My involvement in this campaign has solidified my thoughts on remaining politically active for the rest of my life. I may not be cut out to hold office but I think, by supporting good and virtuous leaders and then holding their feet to the fire once they are in office, I can help in my own little way. I encourage all of you to do the same.

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