What Hurts Most About Ted Cruz's Change of Heart

I wanted to clear up a few things about my perspective on Senator Ted Cruz, our on-air conversation and how the media is covering this.

Ted Cruz is a dear friend and my hope is that we will always be dear friends. He is a tremendous senator for the great state of Texas, and I look forward to voting for him in 2018.

RELATED: Glenn Questions Ted Cruz on What It Means to ‘Vote Your Conscience’

Cruz's endorsement of Donald Trump is his to make, and I really do not begrudge him his choice. I know the senator well, and I know this was not an easy decision for him, nor one he took lightly.

As it relates to my endorsement of Senator Cruz, if you go back to the radio show or the transcript, you will see/hear/read very clearly that I was NOT suggesting that in hindsight I SHOULD have endorsed Senator Rubio. It was far more nuanced than that (and I think far more clear than that). I think the transcript says it all, but just in case --- here is the point I was trying to make.

Ted is one of the most decent men I have ever met. He is objectively brilliant --- even according to the "liberal" professor/lawyer Alan Dershowitz. He comes from a good family that cares about our country and our Constitution. He has a number of amazing qualities as a man and as a senator. But, like all of us, he has his weaknesses.

RELATED: The Gift Ted Cruz Gave Us

As a "politician," he could be better. To many onlookers, he does not come off as approachable or real (though --- and I truly mean it --- he is much different in person). He does not instantly connect with people, especially at a distance. He is eloquent, but in a very academic way. As someone explained to me, if you want someone to argue in front of the Supreme Court, he is as good as it gets. But if you want someone to make your case in front of a jury of your peers, you could probably do better.

In my opinion, Senator Cruz has one quality that very few people in politics have, that for me was and is more important than all else. Principles. When people would make the argument that Senator Cruz is self-interested or self-aggrandizing or a me-first politician, I would argue with them and defend Senator Cruz as a man of supreme principles with no give and a backbone of steel.

RELATED: Those Standing on Principle Are in Good Company

On the other hand, there's Senator Rubio --- a strong conservative, though not AS strong as Cruz. BUT, he is a tremendous politician. He is charismatic, interesting, interested and all those soft qualities that great politicians have.

If I was going to endorse a politician, meaning someone who was conservative/constitutional/libertarian ENOUGH --- AND who had an easier path to the White House, I would have endorsed Senator Rubio (someone I could have easily pulled the lever for --- as well as others, like Senator Paul and others).

But I did not want to endorse a politician. I never have and never will.

I believe(d?) Senator Cruz was different. (I put the "d?" because I do not know nearly enough at this time.) That does NOT mean I don't admire the man. That does NOT mean he's not a great Senator. That does NOT mean he wouldn’t make a great president. And that does NOT mean I wouldn’t vote for him for all of the above. But, once you remove the unshakable and unmovable principles from his quiver, he is a politician --- which is fine, just not someone I would endorse in the primaries, nor campaign for.

As a reminder, I had NEVER before endorsed someone in the primaries. This was a unique experience for me.

The endorsement itself was hard on me for a number of reasons --- and these are MY issues, not the Senator’s and not anyone else’s. I won’t get into all the details on this topic (there is a lot to unpack), but these are my main concerns:

1) Are we to vote our conscience or is it a binary choice?

Cruz's sudden push to vote for Trump seemed like a dramatic shift from his previous "vote your conscience" clause (which is fine, it is his choice). However, I also felt like it was a slap in the face to people like me, who understand the calculus (it is ultimately binary since one of these candidates will be the president), but who reject the premise we HAVE to choose.

Again, this is not Cruz's fault I feel this way, but this is how I feel (and what I projected onto him) and why I reacted as I did.

2) What changed?

From my perspective, nothing has changed since the courageous decision to not endorse Trump at the RNC. Everything the senator has listed as reasons to endorse Trump now were known to him then. I would have been much more comfortable with the change of heart if Cruz said he prayed on it (which I know he did), he and his family forgave Donald Trump (as an aside, did Donald ask for forgiveness?) and #neverhillary. Okay.

I have said for a long time now, I do not know the right answer. I am very comfortable with people like Governor Jindal, Mark Levin and many others saying, "Trump is not a conservative, there is a lot I don’t like about him as a candidate or a possible president, but he is better than Hillary."

RELATED: Glenn: For the First Time, I Heard Ted Cruz Calculate

I am still not comfortable with my choice and might never be. I am sickened that I don’t have someone I am willing --- let alone want --- to vote for.

With all of that said, I do not repudiate nor regret my decision to both endorse and campaign for Senator Cruz. I don’t like where we are today (all of it) and know we would be in a far better position if Senator Cruz was the GOP nominee.

This election has been hard on all of us (on both sides of the aisle and beyond). If Ted and I can’t figure out how to stand together 100% of the time just because we only agree 95% of the time, then the two of us have some work to do --- on ourselves and as friends.

Featured Image Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) (R) speaks to members of the media as radio talk show host Glenn Beck (L) looks on at Morningstar Fellowship Church February 11, 2016 in Fort Mill, South Carolina. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

This was one of the first homesteads in the area in the 1880's and was just begging to be brought back to its original glory — with a touch of modern. When we first purchased the property, it was full of old stuff without any running water, central heat or AC, so needless to say, we had a huge project ahead of us. It took some vision and a whole lot of trust, but the mess we started with seven years ago is now a place we hope the original owners would be proud of.

To restore something like this is really does take a village. It doesn't take much money to make it cozy inside, if like me you are willing to take time and gather things here and there from thrift shops and little antique shops in the middle of nowhere.

But finding the right craftsman is a different story.

Matt Jensen and his assistant Rob did this entire job from sketches I made. Because he built this in his off hours it took just over a year, but so worth the wait. It wasn't easy as it was 18"out of square. He had to build around that as the entire thing we felt would collapse. Matt just reinforced the structure and we love its imperfections.

Here are a few pictures of the process and the transformation from where we started to where we are now:

​How it was

It doesn't look like much yet, but just you wait and see!

By request a photo tour of the restored cabin. I start doing the interior design in earnest tomorrow after the show, but all of the construction guys are now done. So I mopped the floors, washed the sheets, some friends helped by washing the windows. And now the unofficial / official tour.

The Property

The views are absolutely stunning and completely peaceful.

The Hong Kong protesters flocking to the streets in opposition to the Chinese government have a new symbol to display their defiance: the Stars and Stripes. Upset over the looming threat to their freedom, the American flag symbolizes everything they cherish and are fighting to preserve.

But it seems our president isn't returning the love.

Trump recently doubled down on the United States' indifference to the conflict, after initially commenting that whatever happens is between Hong Kong and China alone. But he's wrong — what happens is crucial in spreading the liberal values that America wants to accompany us on the world stage. After all, "America First" doesn't mean merely focusing on our own domestic problems. It means supporting liberal democracy everywhere.

The protests have been raging on the streets since April, when the government of Hong Kong proposed an extradition bill that would have allowed them to send accused criminals to be tried in mainland China. Of course, when dealing with a communist regime, that's a terrifying prospect — and one that threatens the judicial independence of the city. Thankfully, the protesters succeeded in getting Hong Kong's leaders to suspend the bill from consideration. But everyone knew that the bill was a blatant attempt by the Chinese government to encroach on Hong Kong's autonomy. And now Hong Kong's people are demanding full-on democratic reforms to halt any similar moves in the future.

After a generation under the "one country, two systems" policy, the people of Hong Kong are accustomed to much greater political and economic freedom relative to the rest of China. For the protesters, it's about more than a single bill. Resisting Xi Jinping and the Communist Party means the survival of a liberal democracy within distance of China's totalitarian grasp — a goal that should be shared by the United States. Instead, President Trump has retreated to his administration's flawed "America First" mindset.

This is an ideal opportunity for the United States to assert our strength by supporting democratic values abroad. In his inaugural address, Trump said he wanted "friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world" while "understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their interests first." But at what point is respecting sovereignty enabling dictatorships? American interests are shaped by the principles of our founding: political freedom, free markets, and human rights. Conversely, the interests of China's Communist Party are the exact opposite. When these values come into conflict, as they have in Hong Kong, it's our responsibility to take a stand for freedom — even if those who need it aren't within our country's borders.

Of course, that's not a call for military action. Putting pressure on Hong Kong is a matter of rhetoric and positioning — vital tenets of effective diplomacy. When it comes to heavy-handed world powers, it's an approach that can really work. When the Solidarity movement began organizing against communism in Poland, President Reagan openly condemned the Soviet military's imposition of martial law. His administration's support for the pro-democracy movement helped the Polish people gain liberal reforms from the Soviet regime. Similarly, President Trump doesn't need to be overly cautious about retribution from Xi Jinping and the Chinese government. Open, strong support for democracy in Hong Kong not only advances America's governing principles, but also weakens China's brand of authoritarianism.

After creating a commission to study the role of human rights in U.S. foreign policy, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote last month that the principles of our Constitution are central "not only to Americans," but to the rest of the world. He was right — putting "America First" means being the first advocate for freedom across the globe. Nothing shows the strength of our country more than when, in crucial moments of their own history, other nations find inspiration in our flag.

Let's join the people of Hong Kong in their defiance of tyranny.

Matt Liles is a writer and Young Voices contributor from Austin, Texas.

Summer is ending and fall is in the air. Before you know it, Christmas will be here, a time when much of the world unites to celebrate the love of family, the generosity of the human spirit, and the birth of the Christ-child in Bethlehem.

For one night only at the Kingsbury Hall in Salt Lake City, on December 7th, join internationally-acclaimed radio host and storyteller Glenn Beck as he walks you through tales of Christmas in the way that only he can. There will be laughs, and there might be a few tears. But at the end of the night, you'll leave with a warm feeling in your heart and a smile on your face.

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