“Why did we lose? It wasn’t as the media would tell you: because the American people embraced big government, Barack Obama’s spending and debt and taxes. … That wasn’t what happened. I’m going to suggest to you a very simple reason why we lost the election: We didn’t win the argument,” Cruz said before pointedly lowering his voice. “We didn’t even make the argument.”Really? Good gawd, you people just had a presidential primary in which Ron Paul was one of the less batshit crazy voices, and your eventual nominee had to pretty much flush every past position he ever had in order to toe the new-and-improved anti-everything party line. Just how much more conservative does the Republican "argument" have to get? Is there some other tax that needs cutting? Is there something else the womenfolk are doing these days that pisses you off?
Ah, but this next bit is good. We may be witnessing the next re-branding of conservatism, as happens after every election in which conservatism gets trounced. Conservatives don't need to change what they're advocating for, they just ponder adding a new qualifier to it that makes it look like they might actually give a damn:
“We need to embrace what I call ‘Opportunity Conservatism.’ We need to conceptualize, we need to articulate conservative domestic policy with a laser focus on opportunity, on easing the means of ascent up the economic ladder,” he said.Oh, that's a good one. Let's see. I remember Compassionate Conservatism; that one was a riot, since Bush the Lesser tossed it aside the moment he got elected, meaning it never amounted to anything ever, but conservatives still spent the better part of later elections arguing that there was just too damn much compassion involved. I remember Crunchy Conservatism, which was an abortive attempt to marry conservatism with the notion that maybe conservatives could shop at Whole Foods and give a crap about the environment here and there, as long as it didn't amount to anything—but you kids today probably never heard of that one, because that one died a quick, tragicomic death. There were some others in there, I seem to recall, and then we found ourselves in the era of True Conservatism, in which every conservative who wasn't absolutely on the batshit side of things was deemed an apostate and chased from the party, case closed, problem solved. But Opportunity Conservatism? Hmm. That sort of sounds like Compassionate Conservatism without having to pretend at the actual compassion part. We want a tax cut for rich people because hey, the rest of you poor saps ought to have the opportunity of washing that rich bastard's car for sub-minimum wage. We want to cut regulations on how much salmonella companies can put in your peanut butter because goddamn it, you should have the opportunity to buy salmonella-flavored peanut butter if you want to. We want to ignore climate change because y'all really need the opportunity of being able to catch fish in your living rooms from time to time.
Mind you, this is precisely what Republicans have been trying to base all their policies on already—call it trickle-down, call it "helping jahb creators" or anything else, it's all the same crap—so true to his word, Cruz is arguing for just doing what the party's been doing and calling it good enough. Just tack a new word on the front, boom, we're done. Can't get much more "conservative" than that.