(Explanation: For the next couple of weeks, I'll be reading and reviewing books by presidential candidates. This is part due diligence, part curiosity, and part endurance test. Stay tuned!)
Ted Cruz talks and writes the way one would expect a Texan - big, bold, and unabashed. He's proud of his roots, proud of his accomplishments, proud of his state, but most of all, he's proud to be an American. For this to show any clearer in his narration, he'd have had to have written in red, white, and blue ink.
A Time for Truth is part autobiography, part political statement. Cruz takes the reader through his past, including his father's history in Cuba, Ted's upbringing in Texas, his schooling, Harvard, early days serving on Bush's campaign team, then as attorney general, and then as Senator. He doesn't mind telling you that he was a bright student, but one who had his fair share of gaffs. You get the impression that what you see is what you get with Cruz: his book is so close to what he says in his speeches and debates, that I had the feeling of deja vu.
As for his political stance, Cruz sees himself as a Conservative's Conservative. He believes in fiscal responsibility, independence from European interference (one of his cases involved the World Court reopening Medellin vs. Texas), defending a strict interpretation of the Constitution including the first and second amendment, encouraging small businesses, and keeping the 'Promise of America' alive. He repeats the story of his father's flight from Cuba into America and, in one of the more touching moments of the book, his father asks him: "When we faced oppression in Cuba, I had a place to flee to. If we lose our freedom here, where do we go?" Cruz seems to take this question on as a personal responsibility - according to him, America offers what many nations can't and it's only through vigilance, courage, and hard work that she can continue to offer this to others.
I'm Pro-Life (the Catholic girl bit, you know), so I was interested in his stance on the various life issues. Most Conservatives I know are anti-abortion, pro-death penalty, and pro-war, but life issues aren't a large part of Cruz's message: I had to go back into the book to see if he even mentioned abortion (he did, in passing, and is pro-life). His stance on the death penalty was made clear in the passage about Medellin vs. Texas, referring to Medellin's sentence as justice for the families. As to war, while he supports Israel and believes we ought to defend her, he takes Reagan's view: that peace is best kept through strengthening the military to ward off any who might be inclined towards starting something.
Cruz is confident that he's up to the job of president, but his story does leave you with some questions. One of his points of pride is that he is willing to take on anyone, Democrat or Republican, in defense of what he thinks is right. An admirable stance and there's ample evidence of his doing just that in Time for Truth. But does he have the ability to work with a divided Congress, as his hero Ronald Reagan, did? (He's almost as fanatical about Reagan as I am (no mean feat), and quotes him and his politics liberally (I couldn't resist) throughout the book.) If his book reflects his true opinion of his fellow senators, it seems unlikely.
The book is a quick read, the prose good if not remarkable, and each chapter starts with a story of someone standing up to the establishment for the greater good: for instance, in chapter three, he briefly outlines Democratic Senator Kristen Gillibrand's struggle for justice for victims of military sexual assault. Cruz wants you to know from the outset that he is a man who doesn't mind standing up alone for what he thinks is right. And what he stands for is laudable - following the rule of law, creating a place for people to flourish, and supporting what made this country great to begin with.
A Time for Truth is the message statement of a man who'd love to prove to the world that he is the second Ronald Reagan, shoes that might be a little too big for anyone to fill.
Ted Cruz Snapshot:
Favorite Phrase: the Promise of America
Personal Heroes: His father, Ronald Reagan
Favorite Accessory: Cowboy Boots
Probable Favorite Superhero: Batman (the loner who isn't afraid to stand up to Superman)
Life Issues Stance: Anti-abortion, pro-death penalty, War: Peace through Strength
Next Review: America the Beautiful by Ben Carson (because that's what the used bookstore on my street had in stock.)
Thoughts? Opinions? Post below!
(Please keep them kind and light-hearted - I know politics and our country's future are serious and divisive issues, but this series is done in fun and comments should be in kind.)