Cautious conservatives packed a McKinney tea party rally Tuesday to decide if Ted Cruz has what it takes to battle higher taxes, the president's health care law, voter fraud, a government looking to steal their liberties and the mysterious United Nations' Agenda 21.
"Obamacare will be fought at the ballot box and in the Senate," Cruz said. "Now is not the time for conciliation and moderation. Now is the time to draw a line in the sand. If you elect me, I intend to lead the fight in the senate to repeal every word in Obamacare. I give you my word, Texas will lead the fight to turn our nation around.
"It is easy for us to be frustrated by what has happened in Washington," Cruz said. "In 2010, conservatives and the tea party helped win elections across the country, and it seems like nothing happened. We are frustrated by how slow change can be. I'm here to tell you that 2012 will be the second half of what we started, what you started, in 2010."
Cruz outlined the mission for the tea party.
"Number 1, we must defeat Barack Obama," Cruz said. "I am convinced that will happen. Number 2, we must win a majority in the senate and retire [Senate Majority Leader and Democrat] Harry Reid."
At the meeting in Allen at Cottonwood Creek Baptist church, where newly elected State Representative Scott Sanford serves as executive pastor, Cruz did not receive a pass as tea party members and guests listened intently to his speech. Then they hammered him with questions to find a hole in his armor and to make sure his views weren't actually more liberal than their own.
McKinney activist Jeremiah Joseph Hammer said he was encouraged by an auditorium full of people genuinely interested and actively engaged in the political process, some intelligent questions and a sense of genuine care and concern from everyone there. Hammer said he was impressed by "well thought-out questions asked by the audience: the first from a girl not yet old enough to vote, the second from a young man."
Cruz said that if he wins the July 31 runoff in the Republican primary for senate that he will go to Washington with them in mind.
"It is your future we are fighting for," Cruz said. "You might not be old enough yet to vote, but you are old enough to get on a phone bank or get on Facebook and Twitter and tell your friends and spread the word. I am honored you are here fighting right alongside us."
Cruz said he will take on go-along to get-along politicians in both parties and challenge the establishment as a senator from Texas.
"They view us as sheep," Cruz said. "We need to stand up and fight for liberty."
McKinney tea party officials said Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst was invited to the meeting in the Allen church across the Sam Rayburn Tollway / 121 from McKinney, but could not attend.
One McKinney tea party member challenged Cruz not to fall in line with other big government politicians if he wins the runoff and the general election in November.
"We are in a run-off against a Lt. Governor who is supposed to win," Cruz said. "We are not supposed to be here, and we were not supposed to make it this far. We are running against the establishment candidate. We should not be even with him in fund-raising but we are thanks to hard working grass-roots conservatives and the tea party.
"We are running the insurgent grass-roots conservative race in this election," Cruz said, adding the average contribution to his campaign is $165. "I am here tonight asking you to hold me accountable."
Cruz said Republicans win elections when they communicate their message effectively. "Democrats win when they obfuscate what they believe in," Cruz said. "The Democrats who have won were smooth-talking snake oil salesmen.
"Barack Obama won because he ran as a small government conservative," Cruz said, asking voters to imagine if Obama had run on what he had planned to do once he took office. Cruz ran down a list of the president's achievements.
He said under Obama bureaucrats are ignoring laws, changing rules and "jamming it down your throats."
One example Cruz cited is the health care law. Cruz said the president has been telling the "entire country it is not a tax" and then celebrating the Supreme Court ruling that "Obamacare is a tax."
Cruz has been picking up steam since the field has been narrowed down to two candidates in the May 29 Texas Primary.
"Down in the [Rio Grande] valley, they said they usually have 20 to 30 people show up to meet the candidates. They were packed. It is that way everywhere we go. In the valley, they told me 'You are the only candidate who has actually come here to hear what we have to say. Everyone else only comes in for a fund-raiser."
NO TIME FOR NICE GUYS
Cruz pointed to Sen. John McCain's choice to be nice when running against President Obama in 2008.
"You can see where that got us," Cruz said, adding where is it said that Republicans have to fight like little kids. Cruz said if you want to repeal Obamacare ... shrink the size of government ... throw out the tax code for a flat tax, audit the Federal Reserve, secure the border, battle the U.N. and open up natural resources for serious exploration and development, he is the choice for Republican voters.
"There are 35 Republicans in Washington who are terrified out of their minds by the prospect of tea party and conservatives winning elections," Cruz said. "We must pick up 10 to 12 to 15 strong conservatives in the Senate in this election."
Cruz waived off any suggestions that a moderate can save the Constitution.
"Has anyone ever gone to Washington and grown a backbone?" Cruz asked. "Politicians can strut like peacocks and give a good speech but we all know that talk is cheap. I've only had two heroes in my life. My dad and Ronald Reagan. I have spent my life studying and fighting for the Constitution.
"In Texas, all Republicans have an issues page on their Web site," he said. "The political consultants give them the same things to say. In Texas, the right answer is 'I am for the Second Amendment.' Even the Democrats say that. If you go to our Web site, we don't have an issues page. Instead, our Web page tells you what we have accomplished. As the scriptures say, 'You shall know them by their work.' I won a landmark case upholding that right."
Cruz said he's not concerned about David Dewhurst receiving the endorsements of the Dallas or Houston newspapers. He said the first three questions he received from The Dallas Morning News were about a need for a moderate, bipartisan compromiser.
"I just laughed when they asked me the third question," Cruz said. "I told them, 'If you are looking for a moderate, bipartisan compromiser, I am not your guy.' "
Cruz said Dewhurst deserves both endorsements if that's the criteria for picking a senator.
"For once in my life, I agree with the Houston Chronicle," Cruz said. "David Dewhurst is a moderate, and he should be proud of it."
Cruz said Texas needs a senator who will stand up to voter fraud.
"Voter fraud is a huge issue," he said. "Democrats argue voter fraud does not exist. We need to stand and be vigilant against it. The best defense against voter fraud is a landslide."
After his speech and question-answer period, Cruz did not rush off. Instead, he greeted voters and posed for pictures.
"I'll be here until the cows come home," Cruz said. "I am here for one single reason: To thank you. This election will be won by conservatives. It is the dead of summer. It is hot out. Everyone is on vacation. We are in the run-off. If conservatives show up, we win. Run-offs are won by grass-roots conservatives. If you agree that it is important that the next senator from Texas be a fighter and a conservative, then we need everyone here to get out our message, and bring 10 friends out to vote. The senate is the battlefield."
Cruz fielded a tea party question about the United Nations' Agenda 21 (www.un.org/esa/dsd/agenda21), calling it a war on U.S. sovereignty.
"You can count on me to be one of the leading defenders of U.S. sovereignty and the U.N. with every breathe of my body," Cruz said.
One of the questions from tea party dealt with population control.
"What this fight is all about is not health care," Cruz said. "It is about liberty and tyranny. You have a bunch of nanny state, good government nimrods who want to run our lives. They promise hope and change, and in every instance their good intentions have led to shared suffering and misery."
What was Jeremiah Joseph Hammer's view after hearing Cruz?
Hammer said: "My take on Ted Cruz after hearing him talk for the first time. Disingenuous. Egomaniac. Obsessed with war and fighting. Little differentiation between him and Dewhurst. ... Is likely being test marketed by GOP along with Marco Rubio for VP spot. ... As religiously misguided as Scott Sanford."
Cody Baker: "Tea Party 2.0!! We are awake!"
Steve Spence: "Tea Party carried 2010, and we do it again in 2012."
Carol Cole: "I am re-energized and inspired."
Pastor Stephen Broden, a former candidate for Congress in Dallas, said the tea party left the event energized by Cruz. Broden, who leads Texans for the Protection of the Constitution and opened the McKinney tea party meeting by reading the Declaration of Independence, estimated the attendance Tuesday at more than 500.
"There was an energy there, one of action," Broden, senior pastor at Fair Park Bible Fellowship, said. "The Tea Party is maturing, and [we] are ready to fight! The power is in 'We the people.' If each of you silverheads in here will talk to your children, we can win. They may think you are a kook, but you need to invest your time and help them recognize the urgency of the situation. We have seen a quickening in America. All three branches of government are rapidly moving to take away our freedom and liberty."
Notable: Want to hear more from Cruz? The candidate will be on the Wayne Richard Show on 1190 AM at 2 p.m. Saturday.
TownSquareBuzz asks: What are your observations and comments after hearing from Cruz?
David Dewhurst: www.daviddewhurst.com/Obamacare
Ted Cruz: www.tedcruz.org
TSB Photo gallery by Brian Bearden
More photos for TSB: http://pinterest.com/collinheadlines/tea-with-ted-cruz/