(Slate) -- Ted Cruz announced today he is running for president. It is what it is. The first-term U.S. senator from Texas became famous as a conservative firebrand who made life hell for Congress' Republican leadership by helping force a government shutdown, ostensibly in a failed attempt to defund Obamacare, or at least make himself a semihousehold name. It'll be interesting to see if the man has a similar effect in the presidential primary. Will his mere presence force other candidates to veer hard-right in order to avoid looking insufficiently dogmatic, thus lighting aflame their chances in the general election? Or will he simply make Jeb Bush look palatably mild for the rest of the electorate? Time shall tell.
In any event, the conservative id now has an official candidate, which means some of his pet policy ideas will get a little more attention. My personal favorite, which he mentioned during his speech today, is Cruz's oft-repeated conviction that we should eliminate the Internal Revenue Service—or, as he now likes to half-jokingly put it these days, "abolish the IRS, take all 125,000 IRS agents and put them on our southern border.” Cruz says this would be his second priority, after repealing Obamacare (of course). And it's kind of fun to contemplate. The U.S.-Mexico border is 1,954 miles long. Assuming we rotated those 125,000 newly reassigned agents on three separate eight-hour shifts (gotta guard the border 24/7, after all), we could install one agent roughly every 250 feet. That's less than a football field, people. We could basically handle border security like the world's largest game of Red Rover. Weekends would be a little more porous, but that's what overtime pay is for.