I’ve actually never worried about Donald Trump becoming President. Sure, in the wacked-out landscape of American politics which allows the likes of Cliven Bundy to mooch off the American taxpayer while decent people (i.e., veterans who fight the wars that are the life blood of our runaway military spending lobbyists) starve, nothing really surprises me anymore.
But as Ted Cruz surges into first place in some polls out of Iowa, with its caucus often filled with social conservatives, he’s winning votes with a strategy that scares the bejeezus out of me and it should scare you too. I mean anybody that can generate so much disdain from within his own party, yet thrive in a national primary election, is scary. Of course considering his main competition, a bombastic fool and a lunatic Brain surgeon, it’s pretty obvious the GOP base is in the throes of lunacy anyway.
Cruz first made headlines for appearing onstage with “kill the gays” preacher Kevin Swanson at what was dubbed the National Religious Liberties Conference. Before introducing Cruz, Swanson warmed up the crowd with a lengthy reasoning for the need to eventually execute gays and lesbians. And Cruz has still not distanced himself from Swanson; to the contrary, Cruz welcomes the fanatical right-wing nutjobs willing to throw money at him.
But now he’s gone even further, touting endorsements in news releases of religious extremists such as Ron Baity. GLAAD lists Baity’s accomplishments, such as installing “Vote for Marriage” billboards all over North Carolina, comparing gays to murderers, and implying gays are worse than maggots.
“Since they cannot produce they must recruit young people to their perverted, warped agenda,” Baity said, according to GLAAD’s Commentator Accountability Project. “One cannot think of anything more nauseating, debased, lewd and immoral than recruiting precious young people into such shameful conduct.”
Cruz recently announced the names of more than 200 social conservatives who are endorsing him, including Baity and another North Carolinian, Flip Benham, father to the Benham brothers, who lost their HGTV show after being called out for antigay beliefs.
Flip Benham runs Operation Save America and has, for example, crashed same-sex weddings to protest.
“We’re fighting the devil and his lies in the world and the flesh, and moving it to a thing called the homosexual agenda — and it’s the devil’s agenda,” Benham has said in the past, according toRight Wing Watch.
Baity and Benham are added to a growing list of endorsements by radical social conservatives, including Sandy Rios of the American Family Association. Rios has said God will send natural disasters as retribution for same-sex marriage. She’s also told her radio listeners to “prepare for martyrdom” in response to marriage equality.
“I am excited by the growing number of endorsements we are receiving from pastors,” Cruz said in his latest release, touting the backing of Kentucky pastor Jeff Fugate. You’ll remember him as a prominent figure in rallies backing Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis when she refused to let same-sex couples marry.
“It is time to denounce the myth of separation of church and state,” Fugate wrote on Twitter November 17. “American history dispels & destroys this straw man.”
And on a recent show,MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow called out another of the endorsements that Cruz is touting — from anti-abortion activist Troy Newman. In her typical fashion, Maddow outlines Newman’s long history of supporting violence against doctors who perform abortions, and then asks whether Cruz also supports this.
If you have to keep reminding people what a “good christian” you are, you most likely are not. When you try to say what god meant when he said—-you are talking bullshit, you were not there. Ted Cruz is a fundamentalist christian terrorist and he kowtows to radicals that claim they speak for god instead of to god, or when they claim god has spoken to them.
Cruz is a Christian jihadist who poses a bigger threat to what remains of our democracy than any leader of ISIL.
More and more Republican insiders talk about a battle between Cruz and Marco Rubio for the nomination, or about a three-way, if you will, among Cruz, Rubio and Trump.
And in the voices of these insiders I hear horror, because Trump and Cruz are nasty pieces of work.
Cruz will work overtime in the months ahead to persuade you otherwise. The religious right already adores him, but to go the distance, he needs more support from other, less conservative Republicans, and he knows it. Expect orchestrated glimpses of a high-minded Cruz, less skunk than statesman, his sneer ceding territory to a smile.
You saw this in recent debates. He chided moderators for mean-spirited questions. He bemoaned the pitting of one Republican against another. The audacity of those complaints is remarkable: Cruz rose to national prominence with gratuitous, overwrought tirades against fellow party members and with a complete lack of deference to elders in the Senate, which he entered in January 2013, at age 42.
He likened Senate Republicans who recognized the impossibility of defunding Obamacare to Nazi appeasers. Radical Christian jihadists just love to say the name Hitler. As if they knew the first thing about the real horror stories of the actual Adolf Hitler. If they did, they could not make such off-hand comparisons.
“As Cruz gains, GOP senators rally for Rubio” said the headline of a story this week in Politico, which explained: “The idea of Cruz as the nominee is enough to send shudders down the spines of most Senate Republicans.” Support for Rubio is the flower of “anyone-but-Cruz” dread….even in his own party and his own fellow Senators.
Anyone but Cruz: That’s the theme of his life, stretching back to college at Princeton. His freshman roommate, Craig Mazin, told Patricia Murphy of The Daily Beast: “I would rather have anybody else be the president of the United States. Anyone. I would rather pick somebody from the phone book.”
It’s not easy to come across on-the-record quotes like that, and Mazin’s words suggest a disdain that transcends ideology. They bear heeding.
So does Cruz’s experience in the policy shop of George W. Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign. After Bush took office, other full-time advisers got plum jobs in the White House. Cruz was sent packing to the Siberia of the Federal Trade Commission.
The political strategist Matthew Dowd, who worked for Bush back then, tweeted that “if truth serum was given to the staff of the 2000 Bush campaign,” an enormous percentage of them “would vote for Trump over Cruz.”
Another Bush 2000 alumnus was quoted: “Why do people take such an instant dislike to Ted Cruz? It just saves time.”
His three signature moments in the Senate have been a flamboyant smearing of Chuck Hagel with no achievable purpose other than attention for Ted Cruz, a lurid rebellion against Obamacare with no achievable purpose other than attention for Ted Cruz, and a fiery protest of federal funding for Planned Parenthood with no achievable resolve other than attention for Ted Cruz. Notice a pattern?
Asked about Cruz at a fund-raiser last spring, John Boehner responded by raising a lone finger — the middle one.
More recently, Senate Republicans denied Cruz a procedural courtesy that’s typically pro forma.
“That is different than anything I’ve ever seen in my years here,” Senator John McCain, the Arizona Republican, told The Washington Post.
Many politicians rankle peers. Many have critics. Cruz generates antipathy of an entirely different magnitude. It’s so pronounced and so pervasive that he’s been forced to acknowledge it, and he spins it as the price paid by an outsider who challenges the status quo, sticks to principle and never backs down.
Wrong. It’s the fruit of a combative style and consuming belief that nothing exists outside one’s own interests that make him an insufferable, unendurable Senator, much less president. And if there’s any sense left in this election or mercy in this world, it will undo him soon enough.
Harvey A. Gold