Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz, who has raised the hackles of Democrats and establishment Republicans for his outspoken stance against gun control, the current immigration bill and other issues, is sure attracting plenty of attention these days. The latest salvo against the ultra-conservative Senator comes from former New Mexico governor and Energy Secretary Bill Richardson, who said that Cruz should not be defined as “Hispanic” because he opposes immigration reform.
“Almost every Hispanic in the country wants to see immigration reform,” said Richardson in an interview with ABC News. “No, I don’t think he should be defined as Hispanic. He’s a politician from Texas. A conservative state,” added Richardson, who said he was “not a fan” of Cruz.
Richardson’s comments were swiftly criticized by Republican Alfonso Aguilar, Executive Director of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles.
“I’m very surprised that Ambassador Richardson made this comment — it is extremely insulting,” says Aguilar. “Your views on immigration should not define if you’re Hispanic or not. We are not a monolithic community, and this is a typical way of thinking for those who believe in identity politics, and it is narrow-minded,” adds Aguilar.
That being said, Aguilar did not agree with a recent comment made by Democratic strategist James Carville — known for his straight-shooting and acerbic commentary — who heaped some praise on Senator Cruz.
“I think he’s the most talented and fearless Republican politician I’ve seen in 30 years,” said Carville, who said he does think Cruz will eventually run for president.
For his part, Aguilar thinks the longtime Democratic strategist made those comments to encourage Ted Cruz to run. “Ted Cruz’ style and passion for opposing everything but proposing very little helps Democrats,” says Aguilar. He adds that he considers Cruz one of the smartest guys in the Senate, “but one thing he needs to learn is humility – Ted Cruz is just grandstanding, but he’s not leading,” he adds.
“On immigration, Cruz is criticizing the bill, but he is not offering clear solutions,” Aguilar says. “Opposing everything without proposing an alternative is not a way to lead,” he states, contrasting Cruz’ stance to fellow Cuban-American Senator Marco Rubio. “Rubio is risking his political capital by taking a stance on immigration, and that shows leadership,” Aguilar adds.
Despite the fact Cruz has been criticized by Republicans and Democrats for his brash style and at times uncompromising stance, some fellow conservatives are very happy with his style.
“The voters who elected him like his style; and he plays well to that base and the national Tea Party base which feels like it doesn’t have that much representation left,” says Latino Decisions senior analyst Sylvia Manzano.
And while many pundits and politicians bemoan the lack of bipartisan cooperation in Washington, it is undeniable that more polemical Senators Cruz seem to get plenty of attention.