The National Review's Bob Costa reports that Ted Cruz is, indeed, getting very serious about a presidential run.
Cruz won’t talk about it publicly, and even privately he’s cagey about revealing too much of his thought process or intentions. But his interest is undeniable
“If you don’t think this is real, then you’re not paying attention,” says a Republican insider. “Cruz already has grassroots on his side, and in this climate, that’s all he may need.”
“We all see a path, and he does, too,” says a former Cruz colleague. “This isn’t someone who needs to be told the obvious. He didn’t run for the Senate to get cozy, so no one who knows him is surprised that he’s at least looking at it.”
Cruz's interest isn't a surprising development when you look at it in the context of his career (which has been all about precociously seizing moments before their time) and his few months in the U.S. Senate, which have made it clear he won't defer for deference's sake.
So if Cruz jumps in, what can we expect?
As I wrote a few weeks ago, a Cruz bid could signal doom for Marco Rubio -- not because Cruz might actually win the nomination , but because Cruz draws from the same ideological base as Rubio.
Throughout the year, "very conservative" voters have been Rubio's strongest supporters in polls, but his push for immigration reform could rip that base from underneath Rubio.
And here's why Cruz is a perfect replacement.
Cruz gives conservatives the best of Rubio (eloquent, Hispanic, inspiring) without the worst of him (fraternization with Chuck Schumer et al).
Thus, the base's thought bubble: Hey, let's vote for the Hispanic who believes what we do on immigration. That way, we can address our problems with Hispanics without accepting amnesty.
This isn't to say Cruz will win; it's merely to say that he hurts Rubio big-time.
It also makes Chris Christie's path clearer.
Conservatives run a huge risk of splitting their vote among all the stud conservatives who might run (Cruz, Rubio, Walker/Ryan, Jindal, Rand Paul), which leaves the middle and left for Christie to gobble up while cons bicker about the Anti-Christie.
In essence, it'd be the same story as 2012, and could potentially be even worse for conservative activists because, it's much harder to agree on a candidate when there are loads of strong choices than when there are a slew of bad choices (it's harder to agree on what to do in Paris than in Mobile, Alabama).