Freshman Sen. Ted Cruz says many things that need to be said and says them well. Moreover, some of what he says many, if not most, Americans believe wholeheartedly. Yet we must remember that the same was true of another freshman senator, who recently parlayed his ability to say things that resonated with the voters into two terms in the White House.
Who would disagree that if you want your doctor, you should be able to keep your doctor? Who would disagree with the idea of a more transparent administration in Washington, or a president being a uniter instead of a divider?
There are many things like this that freshman Sen. Barack Obama said that the overwhelming majority of Americans -- whether liberal or conservative -- would agree with. The only problem is that what he has actually done as president has repeatedly turned out to be the direct opposite of what he said as a candidate.
Cruz has not yet reached the point where he can make policy, rather than just make political trouble. But there are already disquieting signs that he is looking out for Ted Cruz -- even if that sets back the causes he claims to be serving.
Those causes are not being served when Cruz undermines the election chances of the only political party that has any chance of undoing the disasters that Obama has already inflicted on the nation -- and forestalling new disasters that are visible on the horizon.
Obamacare is not just an issue about money or even an issue about something as important as medical care. Obamacare represents a quantum leap in the power of the federal government over the private lives of individual Americans.
Chief Justice John Roberts' decision declaring Obamacare constitutional essentially repeals the 10th Amendment to the Constitution, which declares that powers not given to the federal government belong to the states "or to the people."
That central support of personal freedom has now been removed. The rest of the structure may not last very long, now that the Obama administration is busy quietly dismantling other bulwarks against the unbridled power of the government in general, and the unbridled power of the presidency in particular.
The Federal Communications Commission, for example, is already floating the idea of placing observers in newspaper editorial offices to "study" how decisions are made there. Nothing in the Constitution grants the FCC this dangerous power, nor is there any legislation authorizing any such activity.
The basic, brutal reality is that the federal government can do whatever it wants to do, if nobody stops it. The Supreme Court's Obamacare decision shows that we cannot depend on the justices to protect our freedom. Nor will Congress, as long as the Democrats control the Senate.
The most charitable interpretation of Cruz and his supporters is that they are willing to weaken the Republican Party the short run, hoping to take it over in the long run.
Like many political ideas, this one is not new. It represents a political strategy that was tried -- and failed -- long ago.
In the German elections of 1932, the Nazi party received 37 percent of the vote. They became part of a democratically elected coalition government in which Hitler became chancellor. Only step by step did the Nazis dismantle democratic freedoms and turn the country into a complete dictatorship.
The political majority could have united to stop Hitler, but they did not. They fought each other over their differences. Some figured that they would take over after the Nazis were discredited and defeated.
Many who plotted this clever strategy died in Nazi concentration camps. Unfortunately, so did millions of others.
What such clever strategies overlook is that there can be a point of no return. We may be close to that point of no return, not only with Obamacare, but also with the larger erosion of personal freedom, of which Obamacare is just the most visible part.
Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Stanford.