The moment that all U.S. comedians have been waiting for: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) announced his presidential candidacy for the 2016 election. We knew this was his intent, but no one knew when. Now we have 593 days to watch him and the other 19 (at latest count) GOPers jostle for first place.
Cruz kicked off his campaign on Twitter at midnight, as Larry Wilmore said, the time for “booty calls.” He followed it up on Monday with a speech to a group of Liberty University students, some of them Rand Paul supporters, who had to pay $10 if they didn’t show up. The conservative Christian school was founded by Jerry Falwell, well-known for blaming the 9/11 tragedy on people in the United States. The same day Cruz unveiled his first 30-second video ad, jam-packed stock images of churches, baseball games, cornfields, etc.—probably to appeal to Iowans.
Cruz is famous only for convincing his GOP colleagues to force crises through obstructionist tactics and the demand that Democrats resolve the problems. His campaign website fails to point out that the only Cruz accomplishment since he joined the Senate two years ago was to shut down the government in October 2013. He hoped to find a sympathetic audience on the Fox network, but Megyn Kelly asked him:
“On your time in the Senate — this is what some of your critics point to — they say, yes you led the fight on certain issues, but what have you actually accomplished?”
Although he has seen only three of his 225 bills pass into law, he claimed that he had stopped “bad things from happening.” Kelly explained Cruz’ major problem, “But when you’re the president, you have to bring together coalitions to get things through. You can’t just be somebody who stops things. You have to be somebody who gets things through.”
His actions have caused Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), not always rational himself, to describe Cruz as a “wacko bird” after Cruz participated in a filibuster of incoming CIA Director John O. Brennan over drone policy.
Still behaving like the “wacko bird,” Cruz now claims to be a modern-day Galileo because people who think that the climate is warming are “flat-Earthers.” This follows an earlier claim that “the satellite data demonstrate that there has been no significant warming whatsoever for 17 years.” His simplistic approach using skewed perceptions may be convincing to some people who don’t understand the complexity of scientific evidence and the effect of ocean cycles on average global temperatures. His use of “global cooling” in the 1970s uses the same failures. On last Sunday’s Meet the Press, California Gov. Jerry Brown commented on Cruz’ climate denial:
“[Cruz] betokens such a level of ignorance and a direct falsification of existing scientific data, it’s shocking, and I think that man has rendered himself absolutely unfit to be running for office.”
Cruz’ own party is unhappy about his running for the presidency. Rep. Peter King (R-NY) told Wolf Blitzer on CNN that Cruz “over simplifies, he exaggerates and he basically led the Republican Party over the cliff in the fall of 2013. He has shown no qualifications, no legislation being passed, doesn’t provide leadership and he has no real experience. So, to me, he is just a guy with a big mouth and no results.” King was joined by other massive put-downs on the conservative Morning Joe Show.
detail=email A major question about Cruz’s candidacy is whether he is technically eligible to be U.S. president. He was born in 1970 in Calgary (Canada), and his birth mother is a U.S. citizen. His father was not at that time. According to the law in 1970, he could be a U.S. citizen only if his mother had been “physically present” in the United States or “one of its outlying possessions” for ten years prior to his birth, including five years after she reached the age of fourteen. Although Cruz was born on December 22, 1970, his birth was not registered until nine days later on December 31, leaving an unexplained time gap. Documents missing at this time are the Consular Report of Birth Abroad, which would establish the parents’ intention to register the infant as an U.S. citizen while they were living in Canada, and his mother’s own birth certificate.
The problem could be taken care of in the same way that McCain was declared eligible to run for president. He was born in the Panama Canal Zone while his father was stationed at a military base there. On April 30, 2008, the Senate passed the following resolution: “Recognizing that John Sidney McCain, III, is a natural born citizen.” Part of the justification was that he was born “on an American military base.” McCain never released his birth certificate so no one knows if he was born on or off the base. McCain’s situation, however, is a non-issue because, as with other people questioned about their eligibility such as Barry Goldwater and George Romney, because he was not elected president. Cruz could try to get a resolution for himself from the Senate—or go to the Supreme Court if his status is legally questioned.
Monday, Cruz announced during his speech that he was going to repeal “Obamacare.” Tuesday, he said that he would be going to the federal exchange to sign up for health care. He lost his healthcare after his wife took an unpaid leave of absence. Basically, Cruz will take advantage of a federal law that has lowered the cost of insurance premiums for all while doing everything he can to keep everyone from having this advantage.
Ted Cruz suffers from the same computer problems as other GOP candidates: TedCruz.com is a website stating “SUPPORT PRESIDENT OBAMA” and “IMMIGRATION REFORM NOW!” Tedcruzforamerica.com automatically redirects users to healthcare.gov, the federal health insurance exchange. Cruz’ own home page lacked Secure Sockets Layer protections to safeguard sensitive data, fooling users into volunteering this information on an imposter site. Even the protected pages listed nigerian-prince.com as an official alternative web address for Cruz’s campaign. During his coming-out speech at Liberty, students used cellphones to trash Cruz on the anonymous gossip app Yik Yak.
His “wacko statements” get so much attention that many people ignore Cruz’s determination to get the United States into war around the world. He has called for at least six invasions, air strikes, or covert coups d’etat including overthrowing President Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela, a supporter of the working class opposing a return of power to the elite. His response to ISIL in Iraq is to “bomb them back to the stone age” and to annihilate them within a couple of months. When Gen. Dempsey disagreed with him, Cruz said that Dempsey doesn’t know what he is talking about. Another way to fight ISIL, according to Cruz, is closing the border with Mexico to stop infiltration. Cruz wants war with Russia by arming Ukrainian fighters, and he proposes stopping all U.S. aid to the Palestine Authority of Mahmoud Abbas.
One of Cruz’s slogans is “Time for Truth.” Yet he usually lies. Out of 46 statements fact-checked by Politifact, Cruz had one true statement: “We have a federal government that thinks they have the authority to regulate our toilet seats.” He accused the Democrats of being a threat to the Catholic Church. He had no evidence for his claim that ISIS is “nailing Christians to trees.” When two Democrats joined the GOP to repeal the Affordable Care Act in the House, Cruz called this a “strong bipartisan majority.” A blatant Cruz lie was that “the jurisdictions with the strictest gun control laws, almost without exception … have the highest crime rates and the highest murder rates.” He promises to eliminate the IRS if he is elected and has claimed that they have 110,000 agents. The IRS doesn’t even have that many employees, and it has only 14,000 agents.
Cruz spreads conspiracy theories, for example the conservative falsehood that George Soros led a global conspiracy to abolish the game of golf. The candidate also claimed that Communists infiltrated Harvard Law School and that Islamic law threatens the United States. According to Cruz, President Obama wanted immigration reform to fail so that he could campaign on it in 2016. Cruz accused George W.Bush of leading an assault on Texas’ “sovereignty” afer Bush supported a treaty obligation by objecting to the execution of a Mexican national denied help from his consul.
Can Cruz win? Right now he has a four-percent rating Republicans, two points below “no one” and tied with “someone else.” Yet he has strong support from the Tea Party that wants someone who never compromises and never accepts concessions while always insisting on confrontation and viewing all critics as enemies. Cruz glories in opposition from the Republican party and rallies support from the far right-wingers who think that the GOP compromises too much, and he won the Senate over better-financed candidates with Texas GOP establishment support.
For a comedian’s take on Ted Cruz, check out Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show.