For conservatives, intellectualism can often be a stumbling block.
A politician may be a gifted orator with a logical, detailed message, but reason cannot be forced on those with an agenda, especially when that agenda is wrapped up in bromidic insults instead of facts.
Once distracted from the flow of their thought processes, and unwilling to engage in emotional demagoguery, conservative often stumble when accosted or caught off guard.
Which is why it is gratifying to see presidential candidate Ted Cruz perform so well in a recent standoff with leftist activist group Code Pink.
Protestors stormed a campaign event where Cruz was speaking against the Obama administration’s Iran Deal. After being shouted down, Cruz listened, calmly, to insinuations that those attending were “religious zealots” in the same vein as jihadists and suggestions that he had no right to his opinion since it clashes with the opinion of world powers.
He then completely dismantled the idea that he was anti-peace, stating that such a bargain could not come at the price of emboldening rogue regimes and jeopardizing the safety of Americans, touting the Reagan mantra of “peace through strength.”
The intolerance of fringe groups disrupting civil political discourse is hardly anything new, or even that newsworthy since such demonstrations are the work of a tyrannous minority, so why is this exchange worth parsing?
Simply because Cruz handles himself so deftly. He stands stoically and listens as he and his supporters are insulted. And when he is cut off, he does not lose his temper and snap back at the protesters, which makes them look wronged, but takes up the banner of First Amendment protected speech and asks for equality, a word much relied on by the left.
He can cite specific historical examples from memory and remembers the personal details of American hostages in Iran, demonstrating a sense of awareness, caring and indefatigable spirit.
In short, he behaves like a true diplomat- deferential but not obsequious, phlegmatic but not apathetic, intellectual but not priggish. It’s the same style of leadership as practiced by Ronald Reagan, whose example of leadership Cruz frequently cites.
With all the talk of Americans not wanting another one-term Senator as a president, it is crucial that candidates like Cruz, Paul and Rubio can demonstrate their dynamism and qualification despite having little formal leadership experience.
That is precisely what Cruz has accomplished here, and it makes his domination of Code Pink activists more than a moral victory for conservatives. It adds another impressive qualification to a resume already replete with demonstrable skill.