The provocative, apocalyptic Tea Party style of Michele Bachmann is out. Ted Cruz is in, as an optimistic motivational speaker, a friendlier arch conservative. At a dinner for New York Republicans on Wednesday night, the Texas senator played it safe, Yahoo's Holly Bailey reports, mostly talking about his inspiring biography as a Cuban immigrant's son, and how that made him appreciate that "freedom works." Cruz holds the same position on immigration as Bachmann and her ally, Iowa Rep. Steve King: total opposition to a path to citizenship for the 11 million people here illegally. But Cruz is a much better salesman. He tells The Washington Examiner's Byron York that the five amendments he offered to the bipartisan immigration bill were meant to save immigration reform, not spike it.
Eliminating one of the core parts of the bill — figuring out how to deal with the 11 million people we depend on for all kinds of things, from clean offices to free breadsticks at chain restaurants — is not eliminating immigration reform, in Cruz's view. "In my view, the path to citizenship is the most divisive element of the current bill," Cruz says. "It is designed by the White House to be a poison pill, to cause the bill to be voted down in the House of Representatives." Cruz says an "overwhelming majority of Americans" wants immigration fixed, and legal immigration rewarded. "Given that bipartisan agreement outside of Washington, my objective was not to kill immigration reform but to amend the Gang of Eight bill so that it actually solves the problem rather than making the problem worse." But Cruz does not mention that an overwhelming majority of the public also wants a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants — 63 percent of Americans, according to a Washington Post poll in April, or 83 percent of Americans, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll in May. Cruz's holds the same anti-"amnesty" position as Bachmann, he just knows how to make it sound reasonable.
At the New York dinner, instead of speaking at a podium, Cruz walked back and forth across the stage, as he often does, saying heartwarming and hopeful things like, "I am profoundly optimistic for this country because our ideas work" and "That's what it means to be American: Love, liberty and opportunity." It's almost enough to make you miss Bachmann's apocalypse-now style already.