U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz believes liberty is under assault, opportunity is crumbling and President Barack Obama’s administration is “utterly lawless.”
But he declared Saturday that he remains full of optimism about the future.
“The American people and only the American people can and will turn this country around,” Cruz told a crowd of more than 1,000 people gathered for a Freedom Rally at the Cottonwood Creek Baptist Church in Allen. “In the last couple of years, we have seen something extraordinary.
“We have seen the rise of the grassroots,” he said. “We have seen it here in Texas. … You inspire me.”
Cruz, a Tea Party favorite considered by experts to be a potential Republican presidential candidate in 2016, has drawn national attention for constant criticism of the Obama administration and the nation’s healthcare law.
He continued his crusade Saturday, calling on supporters nationwide to get involved.
“When the American people stand up and hold our elected officials accountable, it scares the living daylights out of them,” he said. “And liberty is never safer than when politicians are terrified.
“If we keep standing up, we are going to pull this country … back from the abyss … back to the Constitution that protects every American,” he said. “That’s what we’re doing together.”
Saturday’s rally was hosted by Texans for Freedom & Liberty, a nonprofit group dedicated to furthering “the cause of liberty and limited government” and supported by more than a dozen North Texas Republican groups including the North Texas Tea Party, Texas Faith & Freedom Coalition and Women on the Wall.
Calling for change
After being sworn in as Texas’ junior senator last year — following his unlikely election over entrenched establishment Republican Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst — Cruz gave a 21-hour speech about why the nation’s healthcare law needs to be defunded.
He later said Republicans lost the government shutdown battle because his party didn’t stand strong.
He was denounced by top leaders in his own party for what they called a “fool’s errand” and by Democrats for bringing the economy close to collapse.
On Friday in Austin, he continued his attack, saying the current president is lawless, dangerous and terrifying.
And on Saturday — amid cheers, standing ovations and flag waving — he continued.
“Liberty is under assault … in this country like never before,” Cruz said. “We have a president [who seems as though he] is going down the Bill of Rights trying to violate them one at a time.”
Cruz said that among Democratic leaders in Washington, D.C., he sees a “consistent pattern of lawlessness, the contempt for rule of law.”
And he said the Affordable Care Act is a mistake.
“This is not an issue about right or left. This is not an issue about conservative or Republican,” Cruz said. “To be honest, there ought to be Democrats lining up” in opposition to it.
“We need to repeal every single word of Obamacare,” he said, adding that other changes need to be made as well, including abolishing the Internal Revenue Service, auditing the Federal Reserve and repealing the Dodd-Frank Act.
Last year, the Democratic National Committee launched an effort to hold Republicans, including Cruz, accountable, called www.goppleasestop.com.
The DNC even launched robocalls targeting Cruz and Republican Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Rand Paul of Kentucky to stop the brinkmanship.
“Republican leaders have expressed no regrets about shutting down the government and bringing the U.S. economy to the brink of collapse,” the committee said in a statement. “The DNC will continue to hold these Republican leaders accountable and amplify the sentiment of Americans across the country telling them to please stop the reckless brinkmanship.”
Organizers of the rally said proceeds from the $10 admission tickets to the rally will be donated to three charities — the North Texas Military Association, North Texas Food Bank and Traffic 911.
Michael Quinn Sullivan, president of Empower Texans and Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, an Austin-based nonprofit organization, welcomed the crowd to the event.
“We elected a strong and courageous conservative in Ted Cruz,” he said, echoing the feelings of many who attended the event.
Les Roisum of Forney said he showed up to show support Cruz.
“We have a genuine concern that the country is going in the wrong direction,” he said.
But he and his daughter, Michelle, believe that Cruz can help turn that around.
“Ted Cruz is a gentleman of integrity,” she said. “He cares. He is not there to fall into the D.C. cesspool.”
For Michael Park of McKinney, Saturday’s event was a chance to uphold his New Year’s resolution to get more involved in politics.
“I want to get involved and not just complain,” he said, adding that Cruz caught his attention with his 21-hour speech last year.
“A lot of people complained that it was a losing strategy,” he said. “The reality is that it elevated the conversation, the debate.
“He brought the issue more to the forefront than if he had been in lockstep with the Republican leadership,” Park said. “Sometimes taking a stand is more important than winning the procedural vote.”
Bill Whittle, a conservative blogger known for PJ Media Internet videos, spoke to the crowd about the importance of the work Cruz and other like-minded leaders do.
And he introduced Cruz to the crowd as “our next president.”
At the end of the rally, a little girl asked Cruz whether he will ever become president.
“Thank you for that very kind question,” he said with a smile. “That, ultimately, is in God’s hands.”