Our View: Ted Cruz was right -- Fighting the good fight is no vice

Posted: October 21, 2013

If it isn’t the most journalistically embarrassing event of the year, then the Houston Chronicle’s retraction of its endorsement of Sen. Ted Cruz certainly is in the running. That’s right. Having endorsed the man who spoke for 21-plus hours against the continuing resolution that funded the monstrosity known as Obamacare, the newspaper has changed its mind. But the retraction really says less about the Chronicle and Cruz than it does about politics in general.

The newspaper retracted its endorsement because Mr. Cruz is not Kay Bailey Hutchison, his predecessor. The editorial pines for the halcyon days of Mrs. Hutchison’s willingness to “reach across the aisle,” which is what, in Washington, they call a GOP surrender.

Mrs. Hutchison, the editorial opined, would have known what to do. “We miss her extraordinary understanding of the importance of reaching across the aisle when necessary. Neither sitting Texas senator has displayed that useful skill, and both the state and the Congress are the poorer for it.”

Thus, the editorial continued, “[w]hen we endorsed Ted Cruz in last November’s general election, we did so with many reservations and at least one specific recommendation — that he follow Hutchison’s example in his conduct as a senator.

“Obviously, he has not done so. Cruz has been part of the problem in specific situations where Hutchison would have been part of the solution.”

Yet the really mystifying sentence in the editorial is this: “One reason we particularly believe that Hutchison would make a difference in these hectic days is that if she had kept her seat, Cruz would not be in the Senate.”

One has to read that one three or four times to understand what it means. If Mrs. Hutchison were still in the Senate, Mr. Cruz wouldn’t be in the Senate, or, if Mrs. Hutchison were still in the Senate, Mrs. Hutchison would still be in the Senate. So much for editorial logic.

Strip this editorial of its thin veneer of impartial intellectualism, and one is left with what amounts to admonition of Mr. Cruz for sticking to his guns. That is, he should have voted for something he opposed in spirit of “reaching across the aisle.”

And that, indeed, is why the enlightened in town were angry at Mr. Cruz. He stuck to his principles of limited government and responsible spending. He refused to give in. Not giving the left what it wants these days is an unforgivable sin. It makes one an “extremist,” or an “ideologue” who is “holding the country hostage,” just like a terrorist. It goes without saying that such terms could never apply to a politician who wants federal bureaucrats to control one-sixth of the American economy, or to violate the conscience of anyone who disagrees with parts of a law for valid religious reasons. That kind of politician, if you believe the left, is nothing less than a saint.

And so Mr. Cruz and those like him are “extremists” because they refused, as the Houston Chronicle put it, “to reach across the aisle.”

Good for Mr. Cruz and his comrades. They refused to give in without a fight. We can safely ignore the Chronicle, and should remember another “extremist” that columnist Patrick J. Buchanan recalled the other day. He put Republicans in control of the White House for 20 of the 24 years between 1968 and 1992.

“Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice,” that man said, and “moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.”

Sen. Barry Goldwater was right. And so was Sen. Ted Cruz.