Let’s hope the junior tea party senator from Texas doesn’t perish the way “Tail Gunner Joe” did, in disgrace.
“Sen. Cruz actually set the pace for the elections for 2014 and 2016. He fully energized this room, got them ready,” Rose Wing, president of the group, told the MDJ’s Jon Gillooly.
What Ms. Wing should be wondering, however, is why Cruz was preaching to a room full of true believers. Why isn’t he busy building the tea party brand in Democratic strongholds, say Chicago, New York and Los Angeles?
The answer is the 42-year-old is hustling to build the Cruz brand just three unremarkable years into his Senate career. His success depends entirely on attracting media attention by pandering to tea party nihilists and throwing bombs on far-right radio and TV talk shows.
After three unaccomplished years in the Senate, McCarthy used the identical strategy. In 1950, he launched his hunt for the phantom “205 known Communists in the State Department,” cynically exploiting America’s post-war fear of the Red Menace and the new technology of television.
By all accounts, Ted Cruz is brilliant, graduating from Princeton cum laude and Harvard Law summa cum laude. He’s far too intelligent to believe the Internal Revenue Service could or would be shut down, but Cruz told Cobb conservatives what they wanted to hear anyway: “The simplest and best solution is we need to abolish the IRS.”
Cruz’s disingenuousness doesn’t end there.
“When I was a kid, my dad used to say to me over and over again, ‘When we faced oppression in Cuba, I had a place to go to. If we lose our freedom here, where will we go? There is no place to go,” Cruz declared.
The GOP ladies can be excused for believing Cruz was talking about Communist oppression.
It seems America was once the enemy of Cruz’s father, Rafael, who, as a young Communist, fought alongside Fidel Castro against Fulgencio Batista, Cuba’s U.S.-supported dictator. After Rafael was captured, tortured and released, the tale goes, he bolted Cuba.
Cruz continued his prevaricating: “We have never seen an administration in Washington like this administration undermine the Bill of Rights, undermine the Constitution that protects our God-given rights,” he said.
Cruz echoes McCarthy here, who baselessly accused President Harry Truman of coddling Communists. To make his point, Cruz points to Sen. Rand Paul’s straw man.
The Kentucky senator, another young tea partier on the make, filibustered for 13 hours, demanding to know if President Obama would authorize drone strikes to kill Americans on American soil.
“We spent 13 hours talking about a scenario that won’t happen and can’t happen,” Sen. John McCain growled with disgust after Paul’s meaningless performance.
Cruz, who cheered Paul from the sidelines, declared victory for the little people when Attorney General Eric Holder confirmed what everyone already knew: the president has no authority to kill American citizens in America.
Throughout our history, such self-serving demagogues have generally enjoyed short-term notoriety, even adulation, often followed by an embarrassing one-way journey to Palookaville. McCarthy made the trip. So did Newt Gingrich. So will New York Democrat Anthony Weiner.
Cruz is on the same path, having ticked off not only Democratic leaders, but influential Republicans like McCain and Sen. Lindsay Graham with his brash, disrespectful, look-at-me antics. It’s not a good start for a young senator who thinks he’ll be around for the long haul.
“It’s always the wacko birds on the right and left that get the media megaphone,” McCain said dismissively of Cruz.
Kevin Foley is a public relations executive, author and writer who lives in Kennesaw.