For no other reason than he is in the news and, outside of America very few people will have actually heard of him, we start our journey with Ted Cruz. Ted Cruz is the man who, if the latest polls are to believed, is the only man standing in the way of the extraordinary Donald Trump and the Republican party’s Presidential nomination. The fact that one half of America appears quite keen to give Donald Trump the run of the White House suggests that America is no longer somewhere to take your children on holiday; but that’s another matter.
Now Ted Cruz isn’t a shoe in, as it appears most of his party don’t like him. He is, as you’d imagine being American and a politician, not short of an opinion and is part of a group who the elderly Republican and former failed Presidential nominee himself, John McCain called, “wacko birds”, a term a few bars short of a ringing endorsement. Cruz was actually born in Canada. His Dad was from Cuba, his Mum from Delaware, a state famous for being the place where more than half of all publicly traded US companies are incorporated. Interesting.
Cruz graduated cum laude from Princetown and then went one better at Harvard Business School graduating magna cum laude, a certificate worthy of a prominent place in the any downstairs loo. Cruz also represented Harvard in the World Debating Championship where he and a David Panton surprisingly lost in the semi-finals to Australia, a country not immediately associated with high-brow intellectual debate. After Harvard he worked for some senior judges becoming the first Hispanic clerk for a Chief Justice of the United States and later helped prepare the testimony in the juicy impeachment of President Clinton, when the former President pushed one a little too wide off the tee with one of his interns. Cruz went on to work on George. W. Bush’s Presidential campaign where he advised on all sorts from civil justice to immigration and where he was also responsible for assembling the legal team to make sure the famous Bush v Gore recount in Florida went their man’s way. Which it did, leaving Africa agog. Counting votes in democratic elections is indeed a tricky business. As a lawyer he later represented the likes of Pfizer, Shandong Linglong Rubber Company and Toyota after they all got themselves into a bit of legal pickle from variously: overcharging, stealing blueprints for tyres and unlawfully withholding documents in a product liability case involving a teenage quadriplegic. With ethics like that, politics beckoned.
Cruz won the 2012 Senate election in Texas in what the Washington Post called “the biggest upset in 2012”. Word clearly failing to reach Washington of Bradford City putting Arsenal out of the League Cup that year. Later there were some financial violations of ethics rules and a failure to report a $1m loan from Goldman Sachs but these both appear to have been filed under “inadvertent omissions”. Over time our man has sponsored a few bills, bills which make you worry a little bit more about what America does when it thinks no one else is looking. One bill prohibited the use of drones to kill citizens of the US within the US, another sought to prosecute felons and fugitives who tried to get their hands on a gun. He was also keen to expand offshore drilling and limit the powers of the Environmental Protection Agency and in 2014 tried to amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 that imposed limits on direct campaign contributions to candidates for public office. All sensible stuff.
Cruz has made a number of speeches and recently had a go at Obama over the ground breaking deal with Iran, accusing the administration of becoming the world’s “leading financier of radical Islamic terrorism”, which raised a few eyebrows. US foreign policy, were he to win the nomination and somehow get past the conniving and substantial resources of Hilary Clinton, would likely dance to a very different beat. So what does he stand for? It seems to be the usual Republican fluff. He is anti-gays, anti-tax, and doesn’t believe that global warming is anything more than a conspiracy against his local Houston benefactors. And that’s pretty much Ted Cruz. Curious chap, and a name that will either fade from the mainstream consciousness and end up as a tricky question in Trivial Pursuit, or one that will be sworn in as the next President of the US of A. Time will tell. God Bless America.