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Friday, April 18, 2014

Politics

Ted Cruz, Presidential Extremist

ted cruz6(Source: Jeff Malet, maletphoto.com)

If there is a story that is not news but a distraction, it is the “Oh, Canada” revelation that Ted Cruz is a citizen of Canadian as well as a citizen of the United States.

Unsurprisingly, Cruz has renounced his Canadian citizenship. If there is any news value in this story, it is that Cruz is also renouncing a system that provided universal health care for his parents—his Cuban expatriate father and his American mother—and him during the first four years of his life, until the family moved to the United States.

On the same day the national media was consumed with Cruz’s dual citizenship, the Senator was at a Heritage Foundation Town Hall in Dallas, promising to do everything he can—vote to shut down the government, refuse to raise the debt ceiling—to cut off all funding for Obamacare.

That he renounced his Canadian citizenship isn't news. The real news is that an extremist like Ted Cruz is a serious candidate for the presidency.

The event was a perfect fit for Cruz, an ideological extremist beloved by the angry white (and racist) Tea Party wing of the Republican Party that wants to put someone like him in the White House.

All red meat all the time. In Dallas, Cruz ran through the same trope we’ve all heard from him. Obamacare is a fraud that will destroy the American health care system. (I guess like the Canadian Medical Care Act destroyed health care in Canada.)

Cruz’s position on health care is so extreme—and one can’t say "extreme" too extremely when describing Ted Cruz—that Mitch McConnell won’t sign onto it, although the Senate Minority Leader is facing a primary from a Tea Party candidate in Kentucky almost as extreme as Cruz.

McConnell recognizes that shutting down the government would be bad for the Republican Party. And perhaps what remains of the congressional institutionalist he was before an extremist right-wing rump began bullying him leads McConnell to believe shutting down the government would be bad for the Senate. Never mind the country.

While McConnell is trying to divine how far the extreme right wing of the Senate will go in their campaign to defund Obamacare, Cruz is traveling the country stoking the base that is bucking up 14 senators who have signed a pledge to block the continuing resolution that will continue funding of the government after September 30.

The same 14 who are backing Cruz’s Defund Obamacare Act of 2013. The same 14 who oppose a path to citizenship for immigrants living in the U.S. (which the Senate has already approved). The same 14 who are ranting about gay marriage destroying the nation.

Cruz is Michele Bachmann with a Harvard Law Degree. Or Louie Gohmert with impulse control.

The real news is that an extremist like Cruz is a serious candidate for the presidency of what some describe as the world’s greatest democracy.

“A path to citizenship for those who are here illegally is profoundly unfair to the millions of immigrants that followed the rules,” Cruz said in an MSNBC interview. The path to citizenship Cruz opposes is supported by 55 percent of Americans.

Cruz would even deny a path to citizenship to residents of the U.S. brought her as children by their parents, the “Dreamers” for whom President Obama provided a reprieve from deportation and the legal right to work, if only for two years.

Gay marriage? Again, no daylight between Cruz and Bachmann. Or as the great American statesman George Wallace (whose position on states’ rights is no different from that of the junior Texas Senator) liked to say: “Not a dime’s worth of difference.”

Gay marriage will destroy our First Amendment, Cruz said in an interview on Christian radio program:

If you look at other nations that have gone down the road towards gay marriage, that’s the next step of where it gets enforced. It gets enforced against Christian pastors who decline to perform gay marriages, who speak out and preach biblical truths on marriage and that has been defined elsewhere as hate speech—as inconsistent with the enlightened view of government.

Anthropomorphic climate change? Cruz denies it.

Restrictions on gun ownership? Cruz opposes them.

Allen West is gone. Michele Bachmann is on her way out. Steve King might have gone so far around the bend that he is vulnerable to a Democratic challenge. The Canadian story will come and go.

Ted Cruz and the angry extremist base supporting him will be with us for a while.


Lou Dubose is the editor of The Washington Spectator.


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