The message was simple: You can’t pick and choose which parts of the constitution you honor.
That was the theme coming from freshman Texas Senator Ted Cruz and the only member of Congress to attend the National Rifle Association convention in Houston, Texas. Cruz’s speech followed the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre, Texas Governor Rick Perry and preceded former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin at the NRA convention in his state.
Before Cruz spoke, a video was shown of his confrontation with Senator Diane Feinstein, where he launched into a spirited defense of the constitution and the second amendment. “I almost felt sorry for her,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA’s lobbying arm. “Cruz vs. Feinstein, she doesn’t have a chance.”
Cruz whipped the crowd into a frenzy as he received the loudest cheers and chants of “Cruuuuuuuz!”
At the NRA Comvention, shouts are not booing–people are shouting, “Cruuuuz.”
— Kasie Hunt (@kasie) May 3, 2013
“Welcome to Texas!” he said before giving them what they wanted to hear. ““The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, means it shall not be infringed!”
Cruz’s message was that “the constitution matters” and the second amendment as well as others are under attack. “Obama liberals want to disregard amendments — they want to implement Obamacare and take away our liberties,” he said.
— Leigh (@sybilll) May 3, 2013
Northern Arizona University political science professor and NBC Latino contributor Stephen Nuño says the NRA convention is a slam dunk for Cruz.
“How better to establish your conservative bonafides than to take the most uncompromising positions on immigration and gun control?” he says. “He’ll probably go after science and math next.”
Cruz also drew cheers for saying he and his friends Rand Paul and Mike Lee sent a short letter to Senators saying they would filibuster any legislation that sought to limit the second amendment.
In a surprise, Cruz issued a challenge to Vice President Joe Biden. He said the two should engage in an hour-long debate entitled “How do we stop crime?”
Nuño says conservative Republicans are short on ideas to actually stop crime.
“[They] have little of substance to contribute to the debate over crime other than to put more minorities in jail,” he says.
“Not that the Democrats are much better.”