In politics you go after your opponents – except of course when railing against the president provides political gain.
Ted Cruz, a Republican and tea party darling, is in a runoff race against Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst in the Texas Senate race and he’s shifted his tenor, going after President Obama policies.
Cruz says his focus hasn’t changed.
“From day one this race has been about who would be the strongest Senator to stand up to Barack Obama, to defend free market principles and the constitution,” Cruz says. “Liberty is under assault. Our nation is going broke. Barack Obama is the most radical president in history.”
Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto, a fellow at the Center for Politics and Governance at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas and NBC Latino contributor says Cruz’s pivot makes perfect sense.
“It’s such a softball,” she says. “If you want to give the conservative crowd red meat you just go after Obama. There was some talk that the Republican primary had gotten really negative so maybe he wants to pull away from the negativity.”
Cruz criticized the president’s announcement on Friday which would give work visas to some DREAM Act-eligible undocumented immigrants.
“The president’s announcement last week was unprecedented,” Cruz says. “It was an arrogant disregard of the law. What the president announced last week — he said he didn’t care what the law said — he refused to endorse the nation’s immigration laws and decided to unilaterally enact amnesty to 800,000 illegal immigrants.”
Dr. Defrancesco Soto says Cruz is making these statements despite the fact that the Texas Republican party may agree with similar changes in immigration.
“The Texas republican party, which is pretty darn conservative, is not opposed to an idea like this,” she says, adding that the Texas GOP passed a platform at their convention a couple of weeks ago, which called on the government to institute a federal guest worker program.
But Ted Cruz remains undaunted and unmoved. He says he will continue to bash the president’s policies and threw his weight behind Marco Rubio as a contender for the vice presidential nomination.
“Senator Rubio has an extraordinary gift for communicating conservative principles in a way that brings Americans together, much like Ronald Reagan did,” Cruz says admiringly.
“Republicans need to stand unapologetically for conservative principles but do so in a way that inspires and motivates and brings Americans together.”
Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto, NBCLatino contributor, Communications Director for Latino Decisions and Fellow at the Center for Politics and Governance at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, at Austin.