WASHINGTON — Newly minted Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz on Saturday offered an optimistic picture of conservatism’s future.
“We are on the verge of a rebirth,” Cruz declared to a conservative audience at the National Review Institute Summit.
Lambasting President Barack Obama’s inauguration speech as “an ode to liberalism” and as much of a lip-sync job as Beyonce’s version of the National Anthem, Cruz — who has been pushing his idea of “opportunity conservatism” — encouraged conservative not to lose hope, despite an emboldened Obama and Democratic majority in the Senate. (RELATED — Cruz: I’m “something that is not supposed to exist: a Hispanic Republican”)
“We can stop this, we can turn it around and in fact, I am right now incredibly, incredibly optimistic,” he said.
Cruz offered two paths for the movement to follow, one short-term and one long. His short-term plan, he said, is largely directed to the Republican majority in the House of Representatives — what he called “the last bastion standing between us and oblivion.”
“The first thing I would urge every Republican in the House of Representatives [to do] is stop reading the New York Times,” he said.
The Texas Republican further urged Republican House members to “stop bad things” that would harm the country, calling out in particular gun control, increased spending, higher taxes and burdensome economic regulation.
Cruz added that Republicans should use “leverage points” to get what they want done. The party should be willing, he said, to send the government into partial or temporary shutdown over the coming debt ceiling and continuing resolution negotiations.
Over the long term, Cruz stressed Republicans must “win the argument” and become the party of growth as a means to grow jobs, reduce debt, reduce poverty and increase revenues.
“You want to pay back debt you get the economy roaring and people back to work. Four percent growth per decade, 3 million people would rise up from poverty and be standing on their own,” he said. “We need to be unapologetically, relentlessly the party growth. And the policies of the Obama administration not only don’t produce growth, they kill jobs.”
Cruz returned to his long-standing message of “opportunity” as the second plank in his long-term plan for Republicans’ resurgence.
“Every domestic policy we as conservatives think about, talk about, fight about should be focused like a laser on opportunity. On easing the means of ascent up the economic ladder. That should be the focus of every single policy,” he said. “Our policies work. The other side’s don’t.”
Cruz said the Republican slogan in the 2012 campaign should not have been “you build that,” but rather “you can build that.”
“That was one of the best slogans of the last campaign, but I believe you take a different tact, because that was a slogan aimed at the 53 percent,” he said. “It was aimed at business owners. It was aimed at people who had already gotten there. I believe our message should have been at the people in the 47 percent.”
“The message of the left is a message of dependence. … I remain convinced the most significant, long-lasting legacy of Barack Obama is going to be a generation of leaders in the Republican Party,” Cruz said. “I’m convinced we are going to win this argument.”