Senator Ted Cruz got something of rock star treatment before and after his strong speech to the South Carolina Freedom Summit. He began with a jab at Republican leadership for wanting to be rid of him. He complained that Americans are no longer confident their children will have a better life than they did.
He outlined a three-point program. The first point focused on economic recovery and his calls for a flat tax, abolishing the IRS (and sending its agents to the southern border), and repealing Obamacare got a good response.
His second point, defending constitutional rights, was particularly strong. His First Amendment comments included a strong defense of religious liberty:
We need to defend the First Amendment, our free speech, our religious liberty. You know all of us, are hearts were breaking as we saw what unfolded in Indiana and Arkansas as those states stood up to defend religious liberty and the modern Democratic Party in a perfect storm joined with big business to say their commitment to mandatory gay marriage in all 50 states trumps any commitment to the First Amendment. It wasn’t too long ago there was bipartisan consensus on the First Amendment. We might disagree between Democrats and Republicans on marginal tax rates but when it came to religious liberty we stood as one. How far we have come. And let me say Indiana was a sorting moment as Reagan would say, a time for choosing. There are candidates running in 2016, even candidates in the Republican field who when Indiana was being battled they were nowhere to be found. I can tell you this when it comes to standing for the religious liberty of Americans I will always, always, always stand with the First Amendment.
His Tenth Amendment portion highlighted opposition to Common Core:
There are other areas the federal government has no business being involved in and right at the top of that list is education. And we need to repeal every word of Common Core. Education is too important for it to be governed by unelected bureaucrats in Washington; it needs to be at the state level, or even better at the local level where we have direct control over it.
He returned to both themes later when he asked South Carolina Primary voters to support true conservatives by asking about their “fruits”:
If you say you support the First Amendment, where were you in Indiana? …
If you say you support the Tenth Amendment, if you say you oppose Common Core, when have you stood and fought on those principles? If you say you support life and marriage, when have you stood and fought to defend life and marriage?
William C. Duncan is executive director of the Marriage Law Foundation.