Lots of people in the Republican party are fed up with Sen. Ted Cruz, but Sen. Rand Paul is the guy who is doing something about it.
On Monday, the conservative news website, Breitbart News, published an op-ed by Paul, where the senator from Kentucky took Cruz to task -- without ever actually naming the guy who may be beloved by the Tea Party conservatives, but has earned some pretty impressive dislike from the elected members of his own party -- for his hijinks that Paul said have encouraged divisions within the party:
"I don't claim to be the next Ronald Reagan nor do I attempt to disparage fellow Republicans as not being sufficiently Reaganesque. But I will remind anyone who thinks we will win elections by trashing previous Republican nominees or holding oneself out as some paragon in the mold of Reagan, that splintering the party is not the route to victory."
Paul based the whole thing around Reagan, the guy that every Republican with presidential aspirations wants to grow up to be. Cruz has bucked the authority of party leaders and has made it routine to oppose anything that smells of compromise while likening himself to President Ronald Reagan. Because the Gipper is second only to God among Republicans, comparing yourself with him is on the level of calling yourself the Lord and Savior. In some circles -- the ones on the far sides of the inter-party divide -- it's worse.
Paul went over how one does not become the "next Reagan" by pretending to do what Reagan would have done.
"Every Republican likes to think he or she is the next Ronald Reagan. Some who say this do so for lack of their own ideas and agenda. Reagan was a great leader and President. But too often people make him into something he wasn't in order to serve their own political purposes."
Of course, Paul and Cruz are both angling to be on the top of the 2016 Republican ticket, so it's not exactly a shock to see Paul call Cruz out in a backhanded fashion over Cruz's claims to Reagan's legacy. At the same time Paul himself is hoping a little of that Reagan magic rubs off. He put out the op-ed in Breitbart pleading for people to find some tolerance and stop splitting the Republican party up.
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Meanwhile, Paul also penned an op-ed that appeared in Time. In the piece, which came out Sunday, Paul urged President Obama to take a strong stand against Vladimir Putin's moves in Ukraine, calling it "a gross violation of that nation's sovereignty and an affront to the international community." Paul goes on to argue that the government needs to deny all aid to the Ukraine, because of corruption.
Cruz then stepped in and gave a shout-out to Reaganism while distancing himself from all things Paul on ABC News on Sunday. Cruz loves to quote Reagan and he brings the guy up whenever there is the slightest opportunity.
"I'm a big fan of Rand Paul. He and I are good friends. But I don't agree with him on foreign policy," Cruz said. "I think U.S. leadership is critical in the world. And I agree with him that we should be very reluctant to deploy military force abroad. But I think there is a vital role, just as Ronald Reagan did... The United States has a responsibility to defend our values."
Despite clearly stating in the Breitbart piece that Paul wasn't trying to draw any comparisons between himself and Reagan, he quoted Reagan often enough in the Time op-ed to make us wonder. Paul doesn't think Cruz is the Reagan of this era, but he's hoping that some people start thinking Paul has got a little Reagan-ism going for him. Can't blame him. A lot of people liked Reagan.