Pence's Outstanding Performance, Cruz Bombs Convention, Fallout
|Gary Bauer ran for the 2000 Republican|
Presidential nomination; lost and
then supported the nominee:
George W. Bush for President.
Coming on the heels of the remarks by Senator Ted Cruz, which I will address in a moment, the stakes were exponentially greater. The mood of the convention hall was radically different when Pence spoke than it had been just an hour before.
Thankfully, Mike Pence rose to the occasion. He delivered an outstanding performance, validating all the reasons why Donald Trump selected him to be his running mate. Here are a few highlights of his remarks:
"At the very moment when America is crying out for something new and different, the other party has answered with a stale agenda and the most predictable of names. People in both parties are restless for change. . . And Democrats are about to anoint someone who represents everything this country is tired of.
"You know, Hillary Clinton wants a better title and I would, too, if I was already America's secretary of the status quo. . .
"As this election approaches, every American should know that while we're filling the presidency for the next four years, this election will define the Supreme Court for the next 40.
"We all better think very carefully -- very carefully -- about what this means for our Constitution and limited government. Elect Hillary Clinton and you better get used to being subject to unelected judges using unaccountable power to take unconstitutional actions.
"So let me say, for the sake of the rule of law, for the sake of the sanctity of life, for the sake of our Second Amendment and for the sake of all our other God-given liberties, we must ensure that the next president appointing justices to the Supreme Court is Donald Trump."
If it fails, Hillary Clinton will become president, and I believe we will see the end of the country we love.
Beyond the traditional set of values issues -- the sanctity of life, marriage and religious liberty -- the left is pressing us on so many fronts -- global warming, massive regulations, terrible economic policies, unconstitutional executive orders, assaults on the Second Amendment. Any thought of regaining control in four years is a pipe dream!
Four more years of this left-wing radicalism and it won't matter. Hillary is already signaling her intentions to grant a massive amnesty beyond Obama's wildest dreams and bring in 500% more Syrian refugees than Obama.
Cruz Bombs Convention - I was on the convention floor last night. I have only been here a few days, but it feels like weeks! There was a lot of healing taking place -- until last night, when a wound was reopened. The headlines this morning were unanimous -- unanimously bad.
All week, the process of bringing together the newly empowered populist wing of the Republican Party with traditional Reagan conservatives was step-by-step falling into place. Delegates pledged to Trump were bonding with delegates pledged to Cruz, Kasich and Rubio. Polling has been showing that the Trump/Pence ticket was gaining strength and momentum.
Donald Trump graciously reached out to Senator Cruz and offered him a prime time speaking slot, even though the senator initially declined to tell the Trump campaign what he intended to say. Even up until the last minute, senior aides were encouraging the senator to endorse his party's nominee.
The content of Cruz's speech was 98% good. But that two percent -- what was said and unsaid -- was devastating. Not only did he fail to endorse Trump, the phrase "vote your conscience" was interpreted by many as a call to not support the nominee. It didn't take long for the Clinton campaign to seize on Cruz's comment.
The mood of the convention, which had been building toward unity, quickly turned to anger. Boos erupted from the convention floor when it was clear Cruz wasn't going to endorse.
I enthusiastically endorsed Ted Cruz for the Republican presidential nomination. I have admired and appreciated how he has fought for conservative values. Sadly, his performance last night fit into an unflattering narrative of the senator.
I have to wonder: If Cruz or Kasich had won the nomination, would they have allowed Donald Trump to speak at their convention if he refused to endorse them?
Fallout - The fallout from Sen. Cruz's speech was immediate. As Cruz made his way through the convention hall after his speech, one state GOP chairman was so furious with Cruz, he had to be restrained. His own campaign chairman from Virginia told a reporter that he was "very, very disappointed in him."
Sarah Palin, who backed his insurgent Senate primary bid in 2012, wrote, "Cruz's broken pledge to support the will of the people tonight was one of those career-ending 'read my lips' moments."
Phil Robertson, patriarch of the Duck Dynasty clan who also endorsed Cruz, said this morning, "I mean, give me a break, Ted, go ahead and endorse [Donald Trump]. You lost, he won."
The senator also got an earful from his fellow Texans at a delegation breakfast this morning. One of the delegates said rhetorically, "Do you realize that you can unite this party like no one in this party?"
Senator Cruz spoke eloquently last night about uniting "behind shared values" and casting "aside anger for love. That is the standard we should expect from everybody."
Unfortunately, when the eyes of the nation were on him, I felt Sen. Cruz fell short of meeting his own standard. He missed a great opportunity last night to heal wounds and unite the Republican Party.
That was not how Ronald Reagan handled a similar situation in 1976.
For what it's worth, Senator Cruz did tell members of the Texas delegation this morning that he would not be attacking Trump and would be "watching and listening" to Trump's speech tonight. Perhaps he will hear something he likes and will get on board sooner rather than later.
Tonight Donald Trump has a chance to demonstrate his qualities and to rise above it all. This is a good time to be praying for our country.
Gary Bauer is a conservative family values advocate and serves as president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families
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