My old boss Anthony R. Dolan, who was chief speechwriter in the Reagan White House when I worked there in 1988, is now advising Ted Cruz, and he has taken exception to a posting here two weeks ago by Max Boot called “Ted Cruz, the Anti-Reagan.”

The rejoinder that follows here was first sent to me by Rick Tyler, a spokesman for Cruz’s presidential campaign. I’m reprinting it in full, with no editing. Again, please note, this was not written by me.

“In attempting to stir up neocon opposition to Ted Cruz’s presidential candidacy in his recent post, Max Boot admits to not knowing Ronald Reagan.  As someone who did—having spent eight years with President Reagan as his chief speechwriter—I can readily attest to Mr. Boot’s accuracy on that point if not much else in his article.

“Mr. Boot’s most recent offering is a cause of some dismay, since he has a record of thoughtful and sometimes compelling contributions in what is also a thoughtful and compelling publication. He throws a lifeline though to those who wish to retain a good opinion of his judgment, verisimilitude and maturity because in the body of his article. Mr. Boot tells us he now advises Senator Marco Rubio—a current rival to Senator Cruz for the Republican presidential nomination. In saying this he offers a kind of explanation for the uncharacteristic emotional license he shows on the matter of Senator Cruz, sounding all too much like a French critic on the subject of German opera. His recent plunge into partisan politics raises the possibility Mr. Boot’s judgment is being affected by the allure that intellectual-journalist types sometimes see at the end of the campaign rainbow, that of official power. This offers the hope that what currently ails Mr. Boot is entirely temporary. Senator Cruz’s poll numbers, after all, are climbing. Senator Rubio’s are stagnating.  So it is possible that once the campaign is over Mr. Boot will go back to writing   articles that unlike his most recent one contain some semblance of the qualities he so rightly attributes to Ronald Reagan—veracity, fairness, and, yes, niceness.

“In the meanwhile though, it’s important to correct Mr. Boot’s misrepresentations about Senator Cruz. In doing so, however, I should make my own full disclosure. To wit: I am an adviser to the Cruz campaign—though here I can offer a note that readers will find reassuring as to why in this matter I suffer none of Mr Boot’s infirmities. As a person of surpassing spirituality I am, as it happens, immune to considerations of self interest, the blandishments of power or this-world inducements of any sort.

“For readers who may have the temerity to question my assurances of objectivity on the Boot-Cruz matter, here is the more specific—the harder evidence—to consider.

Syria and Libya.  Senator Cruz wants the United States to demur from choosing sides in the chaotically multi-sided Syrian civil war. In doing so he has adopted the same position as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, believing that no nation should enter another’s civil war without knowing the real nature of the forces it is backing and without having at least a reasonable expectation of an acceptable outcome. What Senator Cruz has made clear though is that as president he will incinerate terrorist strongholds in Syria and elsewhere.

“In much the same way, Senator Cruz has criticized as precipitous and ultimately catastrophic the policy of Barrack Obama and Hillary Clinton in Libya. That Obama-Clinton policy—which Senator Rubio vocally and publicly supported—toppled Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi  even as he was working with the West in suppressing terrorist groups. This approach has harmed, in Senator Cruz’s view, U.S. interests, resulting in a Libyan chaos that has strengthened Al Qaeda and ISIS and led to the loss of four American lives in the attack on the US enclave in Benghazi.

“Surely then, Senator Cruz’s positions seem reasonable enough and—I would add as someone who went through eight years of foreign policy crises in the Reagan administration —Reaganesque enough. After all, President Reagan, except for a brief and tragic expedition into Lebanon, stayed clear of direct interventions in the Mideast. And, as Senator Cruz recently noted about Libya: Rather than topple Gaddafi, President Reagan chose instead to send a corrective in the form of a wakeup call from the US Air Force and a bomb down his front porch. So, again, much like Reagan, Senator Cruz has made it clear he considers Assad, Gaddafi and their ilk anathema to all that America stands for in the world. But he has resisted the temptation to make the reflexive calls for intervention that foreign policy specialists and academics sometimes make too easily.

“But, oh reader, consider what these Cruz positions—and , if you will Netatanyuesque and Reaganesque positions—become in the hands of Max Boot, Senator Cruz is not just being cautious about undertaking regime change against those he also considers reprehensible dictators. No indeed, Senator Cruz is ‘egregious’—and he is ‘egregious’ because he ‘backs’ Assad and Gaddafi, and he ’embraces’ Assad and Gaddafi, and he gives ‘blanket support’  to Assad and Gaddafi.

“Now none of that is true. Nor is it fair or nice. But such is the emotional pitch at which Max Boot examines this Cruz position. And others.

“Immigration. Mr. Boot says Senator Cruz is against immigration. You read that right. Mr. Boot puts no ‘illegal’ in front of ‘immigration.’ Mr. Boot says Senator Cruz is just against ‘immigration.’ An allegation that as far as I know not even Senator Cruz’s most fervent critics have attempted.

“Mr. Boot’s emotional wattage, while circuit-busting, also gets his own candidate in trouble. In making an implicit comparison to Senator Rubio’s current position, he says approvingly that Ronald Reagan favored ‘amnesty’ and then criticizes Senator Cruz for disapproving ‘amnesty.’ In doing so, Mr. Boot seems unaware that in renouncing his formerly strong support for Schumer- Gang of 8 blanket amnesty, Senator Rubio has spent the last year trying to convince Republican voters his regret is sincere, really, really sincere. Now though comes Mr. Boot   nd his willingness to reopen that question, justifying perhaps this headline: KEY RUBIO ADVISER INDICATES RUBIO STILL FAVORS AMNESTY FOR ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS. There’s something to keep the rapid response team busy at the Rubio HQ.

“Now normally I would say here about Mr. Boot’s claim that Ronald Reagan today would favor amnesty for the more than 11 million illegal aliens currently in the U.S. that as one who worked on the texts explaining the Reagan administration immigration legislation (Simpson-Mazzoli), I can assure him such is not the case. Though if he is distrustful of my personal assurances on this point he might talk instead to one of my former colleagues and one of President Reagan’s oldest and most trusted followers, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher. The congressman can explain not only why comparing the Schumer-Rubio position on amnesty to that of President Reagan’s is an absurdity but why he recently endorsed Senator Cruz as easily the most Reaganesque of the Republican candidates.

“Free Trade. Senator Cruz’s quite detailed and explicit call for tax cuts, regulatory reform, spending restraint, sound money and free trade has brought accolades from conservative economists who range from supply-siders to tea-party libertarians. He understands Reaganomics. When, however, he voted against giving the Obama administration fast-track trade authority, Senator Cruz explained he has no intention of adding further to the powers of the most lawless administration in U.S . history. (In doing so he has again separated himself from a Republican congressional leadership which seems to laboring under the extraordinary misapprehension that the voters, in their historic 2014 rebuke to the President and his party, were actually demanding that GOP legislators collaborate more intimately with the Obama Democrats.)

“Now Mr. Boot has every right to think Senator Cruz’s vote on fast-track authority was unwise. But what he has no right to withhold Senator Cruz’s careful explanation and misrepresent his position as he does, claiming the senator has ‘turned against free trade.’ He owes his readers more.

“Intelligence gathering. Senator Cruz is against the government collection of metadata, the endless sweeping seizure of everyone’s personal data, phone call numbers, and emails. In a compromise piece of legislation that law enforcement and intelligence agencies find quite acceptable, however, he does favor mandating private companies hold onto such records.

“Somehow Mr. Boot contorts his support for the USA Freedom Act into implacable opposition by Senator Cruz to intelligence-gathering of the sort President Reagan advocated. Once again, the Reagan reconstuctionism here hits the surreal. Mr. Boot apparently thinks that President Reagan’s libertarian streak—as high as it was wide—would lead him to sanction a sweeping government invasion of personal privacy and the empowering of some future Lois Lerner to acts of repression against any citizen who incurs her displeasure.

“Democracy promotion and ‘neocons.’  Mr. Boot mentions President Reagan’s pro-democracy ‘crusade for freedom’ speech to the British Parliament in 1982. He then invokes neocon luminaries such as Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz and Jeane Kirkpatrick. All this is a prelude to excoriating Senator Cruz for being hostile to liberty and its champions.

“I apologize for this but I simply know no other way to untangle Mr. Boot’s confusions than to pull some rank again and cite for the reader some personal though I think quite relevant experience: The pro-democracy stuff was very much a part of my own White House portfolio. First, I should mention the draft from which President Reagan worked for his Westminster address was one that I more or less smuggled (with the help of National Security Adviser William Clark ) past a West Wing wall (manned by James Baker and David Gergen) that sought to keep the President’s eyes uncontaminated by anything too robustly anti-Communist. Second, the neocon luminaries were my colleagues, my allies, and my friends. Mr. Perle and I have stories to tell about confounding the State Department accommodationists not to mention the less annoying if more formidable forces of the international Communist conspiracy. (Stories I am not unready to tell, incidentally, as evidenced by the behavior of some of my Cruz campaign colleagues who, having heard perhaps one or two of the anecdotes before, will flee the room at the mere mention of Mr. Perle’s name.) And not too many years ago I helped organize the public relations operation that removed Paul Wolfowitz from the gunsights of House Democrats like then Congressman  Rahm Emanuel over to the presidency of the World Bank.  So too, as I write this now I look across the room at a souvenir from White House days—a Styrofoam cup from my office whose lipstick-smeared lid has below it the words: Jeane Kirpatrick Drank Here, July 13, 1984.

“In knowing Reagan, then, and helping with his democracy promotion, and in knowing the neocons, I do not think they would mind if I said that they were initially—unlike those of who had grown up in the conservative movement—not entirely sure about Ronald Reagan. Though as they grew to know and loyally serve Reagan—and heard his eloquence for the cause of human freedom and saw him stand for it at critical moments like Reykjavik—those doubts dissipated.

“Which leaves me to also say this: I regret Mr. Boot’s unfairness. But I hope he and other neocons will hear me further on this. I always knew Ted Cruz was the best polemicist of all the candidates. Just as I knew that his rhetorical style, though radically different than that of Ronald Reagan’s, could also successfully take the argument against the political and media elites to the American people. But, since that time I have also found that Senator Cruz knows how to run a political campaign—the indicator the American people look for in deciding whether a candidate knows who to run a presidency.

“And I’ve learned something else as well.

“‘Isn’t this guy great in the crunch?’ CIA Director William Casey once said to me after a Reagan triumph.  Recently I thought of that moment when I read a quote in the national press from a Cruz Texas constituent:   ‘He never lets us down.’

“Those who get to know Ted Cruz —his staff and others—feel that way. They know that he means it, that he’ll win the argument, that he’ll speak for freedom, that he will keep America safe and—because he has both tactical sense and strategic vision—bring victory to the democracies in the world struggle.

“Which is why I am hoping Max Boot’s article might do some good after all—as a prompt to what I hope neocons everywhere will hear, that I think Ted Cruz is also ‘great in the crunch’ and that he won’t ‘let us down.’

“I hope they will sign up.

“Or, as Reagan used to say, ‘Come, my friends and let us make a newer world.'”

Anthony R. Dolan served as Chief Speechwriter for eight years in the Reagan White House and in the administration of George W. Bush served as Senior Adviser to Secretary of State Colin Powell and Special Adviser to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

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