• Ted Cruz, A Time for Truth: Reigniting the Promise of America, Broadside Books, 2015, 368 pages, $27.99.
The author’s full name is Rafael Edward Cruz, named after his father Rafael Bienvenido Cruz. As a student in Cuba, Rafael Sr. opposed “brutal dictator” Fulgencio Batista. Indeed, the photo section includes Rafael’s mug shot after “Batista’s thugs” beat him up. Rafael allied himself with Fidel Castro but abandoned the revolutionary when it became apparent he was worse than Batista and a Communist.
Rafael Cruz Sr. applied to the University of Miami, Louisiana State University, and the University of Texas, which gave him the nod. A Time for Truth charts how he learned English, secured his education, and made headway in the energy business. Ted entered the world in 1970, when Rafael and wife Eleanor were living in Canada, but they soon returned to Houston. Their son Ted, a name Rafael Sr. disliked because of association with the Kennedys, appears to have learned some lessons from his father’s experience.
In the early going, Cruz targets President Obama’s deal normalizing relations with Cuba, under which the author believes America will help the Castros pay for the imprisonment of dissidents. A Time for Truth also shows concern for conditions stateside, and as Rafael Sr. said, if we lose our freedom here, where do we go?
According to his son Ted, we stand close to losing it right now.
Rafael Edward Cruz went to Law School at Harvard, then clerked for Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist. He became friends with “Dersh,” liberal law professor Alan Dershowitz, and provides detail of Justice Stephen Breyer’s behavior in restaurants and Sandra Day O’Connor’s response to a tutorial on Internet porn. The author does not neglect Clarence Thomas, but gives more attention to key legal cases.
Jose Ernesto Medellin, an illegal immigrant convicted for the rape and murder of two girls, drew the death penalty, but then the World Court, a wholly owned subsidiary of the United Nations, intervened in the case. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice wanted to cave to the World Court and Ted Cruz says “she was wrong.” The U.S. Supreme Court agreed, ruling that the World Court had no authority to bind the U.S. justice system. This also means that “no president has constitutional authority to subvert U.S. sovereignty.” The nation’s own powerful agencies, as the author also shows, easily can subvert the rights of Americans.
The Sackett family of Idaho faced fines of $75,000 from the federal Environmental Protection Agency for filling in part of their property in the course of building a house. The Obama administration claimed that the Sacketts should be prohibited from taking the EPA to court to defend their property rights. As Cruz notes, all nine justices rejected that vision of government power over citizens. And he says it makes no sense that the federal government owns nearly 90 percent of Nevada.
Ted Cruz is perhaps best known for his antipathy to Obamacare and he takes the current president to task for pushing gun control and repealing a Clinton-era welfare-to-work law. The IRS targeting scandal, Cruz observes, resulted in not a single indictment. The “jihadist” attack at Fort Hood was called “workplace violence,” which leads the author to lament, “it is impossible to defeat an enemy when you can’t even admit it exists.”
The Texas senator also has a problem with fellow Republicans such as George W. Bush. He promised to revitalize the Reagan Revolution but instead “took the Republican Party down the path of bigger government, excessive spending and new entitlement programs that we couldn’t afford.” A Republican president, says Cruz, “should not add $5 trillion to the national debt.”
The author wants to promote economic growth, implement a simple flat tax, and abolish the IRS. In health care he would expand competition, empower patients with health savings accounts, and get government bureaucrats out of the way. Education is a civil-rights issue, says Ted Cruz, and it’s unfair to trap kids in bad schools because of their race. So repeal Common Core and expand educational choice through vouchers, scholarships and charter schools, he says. Readers on the conservative side may agree, but A Time for Truth also provides evidence that even in a Cruz administration, the status quo will prevail.
Cruz praises the way Tim Muris led the Federal Trade Commission, explaining that it’s a mistake for Republicans to view the agency they’re heading as the enemy. For Cruz, it is “far more effective to shape and direct the focus rather than directly attack the career professionals.”
The USA deploys 17 intelligence agencies, but as the late George Carlin observed, when it comes to political parties we are down to only two. This can be a problem for health reform because, as Cruz warns, “if it’s up to Washington, to the career politicians in both parties, that will never happen.” And in Washington, as the author explains, “principles are fungible, often lasting until the next election.”
Rafael Edward Cruz sees the nation again posed in 1980, with a weak president, enemies at the gates, a sputtering economy, and reformers waiting in the wings. Readers might recall that Ronald Reagan, a hero to Cruz, ended the Cold War but failed to eliminate a single bureaucracy. Reagan even spared the federal Department of Education, Jimmy Carter’s payoff to teacher unions. In 1980 or 2016, can a policy of No Bureaucracy Left Behind be the way ahead? A Time for Truth leaves room for reasonable doubt.
Lloyd Billingsley is author of the forthcoming Bill of Writes, a collection of his journalism.