Ted Cruz’s victory in Tuesday’s Texas Republican runoff for the U.S. Senate nomination is the most impressive triumph yet for the still-strengthening tea party impulse. And Cruz’s victory coincides with something conservatives should celebrate: the centennial of the 20th century’s most important intraparty struggle. By preventing former president Theodore Roosevelt from capturing the 1912 Republican presidential nomination from President William Howard Taft, the GOP deliberately doomed its chances for holding the presidency but kept its commitment to the Constitution.
Before Cruz, 41, earned a Harvard law degree magna cum laude, he wrote his Princeton senior thesis on the Constitution’s Ninth and 10th Amendments, which, if taken seriously, would revitalize two bulwarks of liberty: the ideas that the federal government’s powers are limited because they are enumerated and that the enumeration of certain rights does not “deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
Both ideas are repudiated by today’s progressives, as they were by TR, whose Bull Moose Party, the result of his bolt from the GOP, convened in Chicago 100 years ago Sunday, Aug. 5, 1912.