Similarly, Erick Erickson presents Cruz—along with fellow Senate presidential possibles Marco Rubio and Rand Paul—with what he described as a "fair and relevant question": "For six years, Republicans have said the nation made a mistake electing a one term Senator the President of the United States. Why should you, a one term Senator, be the GOP’s nominee?" Erickson writes at RedState. "Given Republican rhetoric against President Obama for six years, it is fair and relevant. I look forward to their answers."
Both writers work from the assumption, commonly voiced among Republicans and conservatives, that Barack Obama has been a disastrous failure. That was the leading motif of the 2012 election, as is generally the case when an incumbent is running. Mitt Romney said Obama was a failure on a range of fronts, from domestic policy to the economy to foreign affairs. Unfortunately for Romney, one thing Obama didn't fail to do was win the election.
Considering the president's record, from Obamacare to Dodd-Frank, gay rights to environmental regulation, and culminating in reelection, suggests an alternative scenario: that Obama has actually been, from a right-wing perspective, a disastrous success. Successful in that he has implemented his agenda quite effectively; disastrous in that his agenda is bad for the nation.
In fact, that's the answer the Cruz camp offers. In the course of a great piece explaining why Obamaites don't think Cruz is the new Obama, Dave Weigel quoted Cruz spokesman Rick Tyler explaining why Cruz actually is the new Obama—and why that's positive. "Although I don’t like it, and conservatives don’t like it, which part of his experience are we questioning with Obama?" Tyler said. "He got Obamacare done, and we didn’t like it. Did he achieve that because of his inexperience? I don't think so. Did he get it because he’s ineffective? We might not like it, it's been a disaster, but he’s delivered on his agenda. As far as I can tell he’s been running rings around Republican leaders."
Tyler's answer may be self-serving, in that it fits with Cruz's premise for a campaign—that other Republicans are unwilling to stand up to the president, but Cruz has done so on issue after issue, often to the fury of Republican leaders. But it's also tough to dispute, at least on issues like health care, gay rights, and environmental regulation. The case gets more tenuous on foreign policy, for example, but it's still hard to paint Obama as fitting in the mold of a feckless Jimmy Carter (or perhaps in the mold of the current conservative caricature of Carter) when he's got such a litany of accomplishments.
Erickson's RedState colleague Ben Howe makes the same case, calling Obama an "incredibly successful" president. "I like many others, hoped he would fail, too," Howe writes. "But he didn’t. And experience or lack thereof had nothing to do with it."