Ted Cruz talks to Shapiro on Crimea, Obamacare, and cronyism

By KTTH | March 19, 2014

Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz is a rising conservative political star, seen as an ideologically pure alternative to mainstream Republicans. He has stood firmly against many of the worst policies of the Obama administration, and joined KTTH host Ben Shapiro on Tuesday to denounce a few more, including foreign policy in regards to Russia, cronyism, and the continuing Obamacare debacle.


Ben Shapiro: Let me start with the situation in Crimea. President Barack Obama made an announcement yesterday that basically amounted to very weak sanctions against the leadership of Russia. What do you make of Obama’s response and what should the United States do with regard to Putin’s acts in Crimea?

Ted Cruz: I’m glad the president is finally doing something. But, it’s far too little too late. The Russian stock market jumped 3 percent in response to the sanctions because they were so weak. In my view, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggressiveness and acts of war against Ukraine is a direct product of the lack of leadership of the U.S. over the last five years. America has receded in leadership across the world. Into that vacuum has stepped nations like Russia and Iran and China. In my view, we should be acting far more vigorously to discourage Putin from further aggressiveness and far more vigorously to stand with Ukraine.

There’s a great deal we can do that stops short of military action. We should immediately move to install anti-ballistic missile batteries in Eastern Europe that were scheduled to go in until Obama canceled them at the beginning of his administration in an effort to appease Putin.

We should immediately sign a free trade agreement with Ukraine so that they can sell their goods here and we can sell our goods there. We ought to go in and help them build the infrastructure to receive imports of liquid natural gas.

Shapiro: Why do you think President Obama has been taking such a weak stance with regard to Russia?  It seems Obama has accelerated his cow towing to Putin, whether it’s over Syria or whether it’s about Iran. Why do you think Obama has been so conciliatory?

Cruz: Unfortunately, it’s a series of things. The Obama administration sees it as an ideological matter to believe that U.S. leadership to the world is fundamentally illegitimate. That’s the only thing that explains their stated philosophy of leading from behind. That’s a view that’s common in the faculty lounge of very liberal universities. It’s not a view that’s ever been manifested in the White House prior to this administration.

They seem not to understand one of the simplest and irrefutable principles of foreign policy from time immemorial, which is that bullies and thugs don’t respect weakness and appeasement. The only thing they understand is strength.

Shapiro: Meanwhile, Obama has been alternatively gutting Obamacare and pushing it as hard as possible. He’s been doing everything on a pop cultural front to push this. What do you make of the announcement that they’re ‘not gutting’ Obamacare, and what do you make of the Obama administration seeming desperate attempts to get young people to sign up?

Cruz: It’s even worse than that. The administration will not release how many of those people are previously uninsured. McKinsey and Company concluded only 11 percent were uninsured, that the vast majority previously had insurance. If that’s true, then the health care system of hundreds of millions has been jeopardized. My strongest reaction since the president has been doing a lot of pop culture – he’s sitting down between a couple of ferns, he’s hanging with basketball stars – is that he’s trying to say everything is hunky dory without taking responsibility for the over 6 million people who have had their health insurance canceled because of Obamacare. This president looked at the American people, looked at us in the eye, and willfully stated something that was deliberately false, which is that if you like your health plan you can keep it. That is false, and instead of pretending he’s paparazzi or a pop culture star, he ought to step forward and take responsibility for the millions of people who are being hurt.

Shapiro: There’s been so much talk about division in the Republican Party especially over Obamacare. You’ve been a leader in the fight against it, and some critics said your tactics with regard to the government shutdown, in regard to Obamacare, created artificial divisions. Do you think there are real and serious divisions in the Republican leadership about Obamacare itself or just with regard to the tactics to fight Obamacare?

Cruz: I think we’re having a debate about what the Republicans should stand for. There are some in Washington who would suggest there’s a conflict over either standing for principles or winning elections. They will say you have to win elections first. And they’re convinced that the way you win is you don’t take any risks, you don’t stand for anything. I think that’s a false dichotomy. I think standing for principles is how you win elections.

If you take a look at the last four congressional elections – 2006, 2008, 2010, and 2012 – three of the four we followed the strategies of Washington insiders. We kept our heads down; we didn’t stand for much of anything. And in three of those elections, we were clobbered. The one election that was different was 2010. What happened in 2010? The Tea Party rose up; we drew a line in the sand.

In my view, we should be unified behind standing for principles, standing for economic growth, standing for jobs, standing for repealing Obamacare, stopping the spending, stopping the debt, and making it easier for people to achieve the American dream.

Shapiro: There was an article from Politico about how the Republican consultant class has crept back into the party – all the people who brought us the presidency of Mitt Romney are back in charge of running major campaigns. What do you make of the renewal of the consultant class? What can be done to sever some of the connections between these folks running unsuccessful campaigns and the grassroots who would like to see the Republicans win?

Cruz: You’re exactly right. All across the country, there’s a profound frustration that Washington isn’t listening to the American people. People understand they’re not telling the truth. There’s a kabuki dance going on where they come home and say great things, then they go to Washington and vote the other way. That’s the most common sentiment you hear across the country. People say they’re not listening to us. That’s true of Republicans, Democrats, independents, Libertarians. It cuts across party lines.

There’s a consultant class, a lobbyist class that have prospered under the Obama administration. Meanwhile, the hardworking American family who’s not engaged in the corruption in Washington is finding it harder to feed their kids. Young people, Hispanics, African Americans, single mothers, are finding it harder and harder to achieve the American dream.

There’s a reason why the counties surrounding Washington are some of the wealthiest in the country. For them it’s good to be part of big government, but it’s bad for the rest of the country. We need to change Washington so they listen to the real considerations of the American people.

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