Books by and about 2020 presidential candidates|
| Crippled America,|
by Donald J. Trump (2015)
by Cory Booker (2016)
| The Truths We Hold,|
by Kamala Harris (2019)
| Smart on Crime,|
by Kamala Harris (2010)
| Guide to Political Revolution,|
by Bernie Sanders (2017)
| Where We Go From Here,|
by Bernie Sanders (2018)
| Promise Me, Dad ,|
by Joe Biden (2017)
|Conscience of a Conservative,|
by Jeff Flake (2017)
| Two Paths,|
by Gov. John Kasich (2017)
|Every Other Monday,|
by Rep. John Kasich (2010)
|Courage is Contagious,|
by John Kasich (1998)
| Shortest Way Home,|
by Pete Buttigieg (2019)
| The Book of Joe ,|
by Jeff Wilser (2019; biography of Joe Biden)
by Michelle Obama (2018)
| Our Revolution,|
by Bernie Sanders (2016)
| This Fight Is Our Fight,|
by Elizabeth Warren (2017)
| Higher Loyalty,|
by James Comey (2018)
| The Making of Donald Trump,|
by David Cay Johnston (2017)
Books by and about the 2016 presidential election|
| What Happened ,|
by Hillary Clinton (2017)
| Higher Loyalty ,|
by James Comey (2018)
| Trump vs. Hillary On The Issues ,|
by Jesse Gordon (2016)
| Hard Choices,|
by Hillary Clinton (2014)
| Becoming ,|
by Michelle Obama (2018)
| Outsider in the White House,|
by Bernie Sanders (2015)
(click a book cover for a review or other books by or about the presidency from Amazon.com)
A Time for Truth
Reigniting the Promise of America
by Ted Cruz
(Click for Amazon book review)
BOOK REVIEW by OnTheIssues.org:
This is Ted Cruz's memoir, written in 2015 in preparation for his presidential campaign, and hence defines Cruz's campaign philosophy. Let's start that definition with the title Cruz chose: "A Time for Truth." Cruz defines the term in the introduction: "In the Senate, I've tried to do two things: tell the truth, and do what I said I would do.... Today is a time for truth. That is why I am writing this book." (p. xxvii). Cruz believes fervently that clear and unambiguous policies, implemented as promised with clear and unambiguous leadership, would transform America for the better.
Specifically, Cruz's introduction describes his Senate filibuster against raising the debt ceiling. Cruz's actions on the debt ceiling in early 2014 earned him national attention, but also alienated most of his Republican colleagues in the Senate. The "debt ceiling" defines the self-imposed limit on the national debt, which Congress routinely raises every year -- until October 2013 (a previous debt ceiling crisis took place in 2011, but Cruz had not yet been elected to the Senate). At that time, Senate Republicans blocked the debt ceiling increase, which would shut down all new federal spending and hence shut down a lot of the federal government. Cruz followed up that battle with another one in February 2014 -- much to the disagreement of most Senate Republicans. Cruz applied his mantra of demanding clear and unambiguous leadership, which in this case meant no compromise and a potential federal shutdown. He made few friends by doing so, which Cruz summarizes: "I didn't go to Washington to join a club. I didn't ever intend to become part of the 'fraternal order' of Republicans. Our country is in crisis. We cannot keep on doing what we're doing. There comes a point where the hole is too deep, where the debt is too much. It is now or never." (pp. xxvi-xxvii).
Cruz hence established his reputation as an uncompromising believer, who has few allies in the Senate or in the Republican Party. Cruz is ok with that, and counts on support from voters who prefer uncompromising believers to those who go along to get along. Others have taken on the mantle of the uncompromising believer before Cruz -- Senator Russ Feingold comes to mind on the Democratic side, fighting an uncompromising fight against corruption within the Congress; he too became massively unpopular in the Senate and unpopular within his own party. Feingold became so unpopular that he lost re-election in 2010 (but is running for his old seat in 2016). Cruz became similarly unpopular, but now is attempting to parlay that internal unpopularity into voter popularity -- and his strong early primary results indicate he's managing to accomplish that.
Cruz defines his political philosophy in great detail, focusing on "character issues" like the following:
- Don't be meek: When voting against John Kerry's nomination for Secretary of State, "freshmen are supposed to meekly go along with prevailing sentiments. That was markedly different from my view of the office, which is that I had a responsibility to stand for principles" (pp. 231-2).
- Don't be a liar: Upon meeting Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, Cruz said, "Harry, you and I are going to disagree on a great many issues, but you have my commitment right now that I will never lie to you." (p. 226)
- Don't be tolerant of bad laws: One of Cruz's models was an abolitionist Samuel Booth, who was pardoned in 1861; "He was an American hero who believed that he owed allegiance to the Constitution and brooked no tolerance for laws that in his view perverted the rights God had granted." (p. 226).
- Don't compromise: When invited to join the National Republican Senatorial Committee, a party leadership position, Cruz accepted on the condition that the NRSC would stay out of contested primaries; but "it soon became clear that the NRSC had every intention of supporting incumbents --in primaries--against conservative challengers across the country. That didn't sit right with me. I didn't formally resign from my position, but I stopped asking donors to support the NRSC." (p. 228).
- Don't soften your language: When interviewing Eric Holder for his appointment as Attorney General, Cruz asked Holder whether the use of drones was Constitutional, and Holder responded twice that their use would be "inappropriate." Cruz considered that answer an "evasion," and insisted that Holder answer a question "which is deliberately very simple, [but] you are unable to give a simple, one-word, one-syllable answer: no," to which Holder responded "with exasperation", "translate my 'inappropriate' to 'no.' " (p. 241).
The sum of the philosophy above is that Cruz portrays himself as the hardest of hard-liners, lambasting moderates as losers (p. 330) and favoring "moral clarity" over moderation (p. 304). That sort of purity makes Cruz unpopular among Senators and the Republican leadership -- but will it translate into popularity among voters? Maybe so, if enough voters believe that "ObamaCare is failing badly" (p. 385;) that "America's international standing [is] in tatters" (p. 288); and that, in general, America is on the wrong track and needs a complete turnaround. Cruz's strategy relies on that anti-Obama worldview in the primary electcion, and then in the general election persuading the American public that Hillary Clinton is co-responsible for Obama's negative outcomes.
The book itself is organized chronologically over Cruz's entire lifetime:, more or less by decade
- Chapter 1: 1960s: Cruz's father's escape from the "big jail" of Cuba to America, defining Cruz as a hard-core cold-warrior (still, as of 2016's opening of Cuba).
- Chapter 2: 1970s: high school career
- Chapter 3: 1980s: Princeton undergraduate career
- Chapter 4: 1990s: Law School and Supreme Court clerk career
- Chapter 5: 2000s: George W. Bush campaign
- Chapter 6-7: 2010s: Solicitor-General career and Senate campaign
- Chapter 8-11: Senate career
Cruz uses each chapter to outline the success of his no-compromise stance throughout his career. As of this writing, Cruz stands as the alternative to Donald Trump in the Republican primary. That race has come down to Trump as the dealmaker (requiring compromise) vs. Cruz as the hard-liner (no compromise). Cruz's strategy is to win a contested Republican convention -- which means winning over the Republican Party establishment that he has so alienated in the past. Cruz is only acceptable to the GOP leadership because Trump is even less acceptable to that same Republican Party establishment!
-- by Jesse Gordon, jesse@OnTheIssues.org, March 2016
| OnTheIssues.org excerpts: (click on issues for details)
Budget & Economy|
Milton Friedman: Capitalism isn't greed; it improves lot of ordinary people.
Ross Perot: 1992: No experience in running up debt or gridlock.
Ted Cruz: Adopt economic affirmative action instead of race-based.
Ted Cruz: Insidious affirmative action: we can't make it on merit?
Ted Cruz: Apply 10th Amendment: states decide on gay marriage.
Ted Cruz: In death penalty cases, describe brutal nature of crime.
Ted Cruz: End last-minute death penalty appeals: one week deadline.
Ted Cruz: There's a special circle of Hell for rapists & pedophiles.
Ted Cruz: Capital punishment for the very worst child rapists.
Ted Cruz: Won release for convicted murderer on DNA-based appeal.
Mike Lee: Federal government shouldn't own $14 trillion worth of land.
Ted Cruz: Federal government shouldn't own $14 trillion worth of land.
Ted Cruz: Law of the Sea Treaty undermines US sovereignty.
Ted Cruz: Liberal credulity coddles and excuses extremism.
Ted Cruz: Guide policy with true leadership of moral clarity.
ACLU: Censoring Citizens United would allow censoring a lot more.
Anthony Kennedy: World Court has no authority to bind US justice system.
Antonin Scalia: Congress decides if World Court has authority to bind US.
George W. Bush: Executive orders trump World Court within US.
John Roberts: World Court has no authority to bind US justice system.
Kirsten Gillibrand: First member of Congress to post official schedule daily.
Ted Cruz: World Court has no authority to bind US justice system.
Ted Cruz: Limits on individual campaign donations make things worse.
Ted Cruz: Campaign finance laws function as incumbent protection.
Ted Cruz: Citizens United is free speech; opposing it is censorship.
Ted Cruz: Enforce gun laws on dangerously mentally ill.
Ted Cruz: Assault weapon bans have had ZERO impact on crime.
Ted Cruz: Criminals like nothing better than unarmed victims.
Ronald Reagan: No federalized takeover; no socialized medicine.
Ted Cruz: Enumerated powers of Congress don't include ObamaCare.
Ted Cruz: Left calls it "single-payer," but that's socialized medicine.
Ted Cruz: Personal, portable, & affordable, after repealing ObamaCare.
Ted Cruz: ObamaCare is bad law, but Obama should enforce it, & hasn't.
Eric Holder: Constitution disallows drone strikes on US citizens in US.
Kirsten Gillibrand: Military sex abuse victims can't trust commander as arbiter.
Ted Cruz: Military sex abuse victims can't trust commander as arbiter.
Ted Cruz: Constitution disallows drone strikes on US citizens in US.
Ted Cruz: Benghazi: administration knew right away it was terrorism.
Ted Cruz: No more domestic BRAC until overseas BRAC closures.
Ted Cruz: American Exceptionalism: we liberate; others subjugate.
Principles & Values|
David Dewhurst: AdWatch: DuckingDewhurst.com drove "out-of-touch" narrative.
Jim DeMint: Senate Conservatives Fund favored primary underdogs.
Marco Rubio: OpEd: Ran inspiring Senate campaign as impossible underdog.
Richard Nixon: 1973: Resignation would be hammer-blow to future presidents.
Ronald Reagan: 1966 Gubernatorial nominee: running to change the country.
Ronald Reagan: Reagan Democrats: 1980s blue-collar Republican supporters.
Ted Cruz: Attended private grade school which had Jewish founders.
Ted Cruz: Domestic policy adviser to George W. Bush campaign.
Ted Cruz: First Amendment's purpose is not hostility toward religion.
Ted Cruz: Politicians from both parties have let us down.
William Rehnquist: 1970s "Lone Ranger" for often being lone dissenter.
William Rehnquist: Liked to wager one dollar on anything.
William Rehnquist: History of man is inseparable from history of religion.
George W. Bush: Reform is right thing to do, even if opinion polls disagree.
Ted Cruz: We need serious tools to protect against cybercrime.
Ted Cruz: PolitiFact is left-wing editorializing dressed up as fact.
War & Peace|
Ted Cruz: We have no greater friend than Israel in Middle East.
Welfare & Poverty|
Mitt Romney: 47% believe they are victims, entitled to you-name-it.
Ronald Reagan: Maimonides said handouts are lowest form of helping needy.
Ronald Reagan: Pitfalls of rationing scarcity rather than creating plenty.
Ted Cruz: If you really want to help needy, use private charities.
The above quotations are from A Time for Truth
Reigniting the Promise of America
by Ted Cruz.