Now that Ted Cruz, for the time being at least, is the front-runner, I’m starting to get emails from conservatives in Marin who are disturbed by his open expressions of Christian faith. Just like their Progressive neighbors, they’re worried about finding themselves in a theocracy. I therefore think Ted Cruz needs to start campaigning beyond the Evangelicals he’s courted. This requires him to say something along the following lines:
“Yes, I am a person of deep faith. My faith is the most important thing in my life. It informs my values and keeps me humble by reminding me every minute of every day that I am not the most important thing in the world.
“In addition to being a Christian, though, I am an American and a strict constitutionalist. I would never seek to impose my religion on others, although there is no doubt that my religion shaped my values.
“It’s because of my faith that I value life, liberty, and happiness. After all, my religion tells me that God gave us the gifts of life, individual freedom, and the capacity for joy.
“You can like or dislike the religious values that shaped me, but you should never worry that I will try to force my religion on you. The Founders, in their great wisdom, understood that there is no surer way to impose tyranny than to make government an arm of a church, temple, or mosque.”
I’m sure Cruz can come up with something better than that, but it’s a start. He really does need to assuage the fears of those who are not Evangelical Christians and are worried that they will be shut out of politics and the civic process.
Also, as a sort of random aside, I’m hearing from a lot of people that they don’t like it that Cruz is so masterful at plotting and planning. Pardon me for saying this, but Cruz doesn’t need to be anyone’s new best friend. He’s auditioning for the job of leader of the free world, and I’d like to think that he’s an adept planner and manipulator, who can handily deal with the world’s bad guys, and whose plans always keep America’s best interests at heart.
I’m someone who is lousy at both strategy and tactics — and believe me, the last thing you want in the White House is someone like me. You want someone who sees several plays ahead on the chess board and who (a) knows what moves to take to achieve his strategic goals and (b) has sufficiently mental flexibility to come up with new tactics if the original ones are no longer appropriate.
In other words, what a lot of people see as Ted’s failings — his faith and his almost too-sure grasp of strategy and tactics — are things I see as virtues in our President. The latter attribute will make him effective; the former will ensure that he never sees himself as a demigod.