Guest column by my friend Steve Stone, in the form of a letter. I certainly don’t agree with every word (although I do agree with much of it), but it’s well worth pondering his astute analysis:

Dear Friends and Patriots,

I assume you either watched or heard Ted Cruz last night.   Wasn’t that something?  It was, wasn’t it?  But, what was it?

The media’s talking heads are pretty much of one accord on this one.

In their infinitely wise assessments they’re fairly united in the opinion that Ted Cruz committed political suicide, or if he didn’t he at least set himself up for it later this year.   But, did he?

Ted was making a brilliant speech, right up to the end.  It was the
couple of sentences at the end that set off the firestorm.  It was when he used
the Never Trumper code words “Vote Your Conscience” that the crowd
reacted like they’d been jolted with a cattle prod.  Was that the reaction Ted
expected?  If not, why not?

I know I’m not on very solid ground in my analysis of this event, and
may never be.  The truth is, we may never know with absolute certainty why
Ted Cruz chose to give the speech he did, when he did.  But, after watching
the man for a couple of years and hearing him speak many times on many
subjects, I think I may understand. Maybe. Maybe not. But, I’m willing to
add my two cents to the giant blustery babble of superheated air on this one.

Maybe you can prove me wrong. I’m sure I can’t prove myself right.  But,
I’ll launch and let you be the judge.

Ted Cruz is a man without political fear.  Hasn’t everyone figured that
out already?  He does what he does because he believes his actions fit the set
of principles he strives to live by. We all have to make compromises from
time to time, but Ted Cruz is the last one to compromise on any point of
principle.  He’s as iconoclastic in that regard as one can get.  It’s what makes him Ted Cruz.  I’m of the opinion he made the speech he did as a statement of principle. He’s communicated many times he believes Donald Trump is not a conservative and not a man who lives according to the same set of principles most conservatives profess to believe in.  The whole “deal-making” thing Trump always talks about is antithetical to Cruz’s personal
philosophy. What he did in his speech was to lay out a list of the nation’s
dilemmas in a format that made two essential considerations — those of
liberty and freedom. Then he exhorted everyone who was tuned in to
ensure they go to the polls on Election Day and vote. Lastly, he said all
should vote their conscience, up and down the entire ballot.


It’s true he didn’t give an endorsement of Donald Trump. Not doing so
was a matter of principle, and he made his speech as a demonstration that he
would not yield principle for the sake of expediency or party unity.  He puts
principles ahead of such things.  Perhaps instead of railing on about how
Ted is trying to wreck the Republican Party, we should dissect the practical
application of voting one’s conscience.

In this election the voters will see as many as a dozen names of
candidates running for President. Some states may have as few as four.
Let’s just consider only that four.

We’ll see one candidate for the Green Party. The enviro-whackos may
vote Green.  Most people don’t even know the Green Party exists.  I’m
thinking no real Republican or conservative does, or will vote Green. So,
Ted didn’t throw any votes to the Greens, did he?

Moving up the list you have the Libertarian Party candidate, Gary
Johnson.  Johnson, who admits to being a lifelong dope smoker and who
holds all kinds of views that aren’t conservative.  There are some Never
Trumpers who’ve already stated they’ll bolt the Republican Party and vote
Libertarian.  There are some Republicans who have shredded their party
cards and signed up as newly minted Libertarian Party members.  Does
anyone think Ted Cruz had anything to do with that?  Does anyone think his
speech will start a stampede of RP members to the eager arms of the LP?

Personally, I think not.  In fact, I think there are a few Never Trumpers
whose resolve to maintain their party unity at all costs will only be
stiffened.  The LP won’t gain any votes as a result of that one speech. I just
can’t conceive of it happening.  And, I know Ted Cruz isn’t voting LP.

Now, let’s take a very brief look at the Democratic Party and their
candidate. Really? Who’s kidding whom here?  No one who is a conservative or even just a person with a conscience will change their vote to the Democrats. Ted spoke of a conscience. How can anyone with a
conscience vote for someone as tainted and corrupt as Hillary Clinton? It
just won’t happen. The very notion that Ted’s speech could result in a single
added vote in the “D” column is just silly.

That leaves us with the Republican Party candidate, Mr. Donald James
Trump. It also leaves us with the fact that Ted Cruz pledged to support the
party’s nominee. But, it was a dumb pledge in so very many respects.  It
doesn’t take a lawyer of Ted’s caliber to understand that pledge isn’t a
contract, and isn’t enforceable. Just what constitutes “support”? Is it the
same as “endorse”?  Maybe. I guess it depends on how you look at it.   Did
Kasich endorse Trump?  Did Rand Paul?  Marco Rubio didn’t utter the
word in his speech (at least I didn’t hear it) but he did encourage listeners to
vote Trump.  That was a tacit endorsement. Are tacit endorsements equal to
“full” endorsements? Does Marco get full credit, or just partial?  What
about the Libertarian guy, Gary Johnson? Am I wrong, or did he not take
the very same pledge, then bolt the party to run under a different banner?

Everyone knows the pledge was a dumb mechanism to try to box Donald
Trump in and hopefully get some ammo against him in case he bolted the
party and ran under a golden banner that just said TRUMP.  The pledge
wasn’t intended to do anything to or for anyone else. We all knew it at the
time, and most of us thought it was dumb. Now people are willing to trot it
out as if it is holy writ and Ted Cruz is some kind of apostate for not putting
a MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN tattoo on his forehead. But, I digress.

If a thinking person votes his conscience in this election, and assuming that person has some actual understanding of the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, Natural Rights, and Natural Law, their choice is already made.   They won’t vote Green, the party of the enviro-whackos. There’s just too little there to vote for.   They may vote for the Libertarian Party candidate, but if so, they’ve already decided to do so.  It won’t be Ted Cruz or his words that will push them from the RP to the LP, and it won’t be the hyperbolic media reaction that will do it, either.  To vote LP you have to have already accommodated yourself to some positions the average conservative just can’t buy into. There’s really no point in discussing the Democrats.  Anyone who claims to be a Republican or conservative, yet would consider voting for Hillary for any reason at all is in bad need of a lobotomy, or perhaps recently had one.  So, even if I’m to play the “lesser of evils” game when making my consideration, I still end up in only one place.  That place is the Republican Party, voting for Donald J. Trump.

So, when you distill it down, what did Ted Cruz really do? Did he set
himself up to fall?   Did he position himself in an unlikely spot to say “I told
you so!” the day after the election?  Did he do one of those things, or did he
give us an exhibition of what principle looks and sounds like?  Did he
remain true to his principles?  When I dissect his statements, I find he did.

My dissection of the speech tells me it was something very difficult for the
average voter to grasp. It was something so-called pundits misconstrue,
either willfully or because they don’t have the capacity for analytic thought.

Because politics is a blood-sport I expect Ted Cruz to suffer for his speech.   There will be hot debates for years over the meaning and the effects of it.   It may play a role in the outcome of the election, but my own analysis and belief is it most likely won’t.  Cruz will suffer because most won’t have a clue of what he did or why. Too many will consider the speech a major back-stab at the party and the party nominee.  Too many will consider it the act of a selfish egomaniac. Too many will fail to connect act and words to principle.   That is my expectation. If it’s not Ted Cruz’s expectation, then I’ve misjudged him completely.  I’m certain he understands the reaction of last night and today.  I’m certain he’s willing to pay whatever price he has to.

It’s his way.

Now, I’ve had my say and will be quiet.

In Liberty,

For another excellent analysis, please see this Facebook post by one Emma Rachel Gray.

Here’s something I had to say on it. And this. Here was Erick Erickson on it. And, finally, Scott McKay had a smart take on it.

Clearly, there are plenty of people who think Ted Cruz struck exactly the right balance last week….