Blog No. 63 Ted Cruz: Senator Shutdown Imagines America

As regular readers will be aware, is no friend of Ted Cruz. Nevertheless, it seemed that his first-off-the-blocks entry into the Presidential race should not go unremarked upon. Lest there be any misunderstanding, we do not consider him to be an acceptable candidate for the Republican nomination or, worse yet, a candidate in the general election. As we have remarked before, the only possible merit we can see to a Cruz candidacy in the general election is that his trouncing might put to rest the shibboleth that the way for Republicans to win the presidency is by nominating a “real” Republican or a “real” conservative.

Cruz Control. By Adam Zygis, The Cagle Post.

Any presidential quest is, to some extent, driven by a powerful ego that blinds the candidate to his or her own weaknesses and failings. But Cruz’s venture seems more so than most. To begin with, there is his stunning lack of experience. Jennifer Rubin, a conservative writer for The Washington Post who has been a frequent and trenchant critic of Cruz, succinctly summed it up:

He’s got less legislative experience than President Obama (who served in the state legislature) and Sen. Marco Rubio (who will be completing his first term and served for years in the Florida legislature and as speaker of the statehouse). Even Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has been in the Senate longer. Cruz has practically no executive experience (he was solicitor general, which is not unlike running a mid-sized law firm) while his competitors — including governors and former governors Jeb Bush, Rick Perry, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, Chris Christie and John Kasich — have loads. Arguably the only one less qualified and less accomplished in public service among the presidential hopefuls is Ben Carson.

In his brief time in the Senate, Cruz has wrought no legislative accomplishments and has shown no interest in doing so. He has preferred to devote himself to divisive and destructive tactics–most notably attempting to shutdown the government. Such tactics  have put him at odds with not only Democrats, but most of his Republican colleagues. One of the most persistent criticisms of President Obama–and one well justified in our view—has been his failure to work effectively with Congress. A “President Cruz,” however, would be apt to make Obama appear to have been a tower of conciliation and cooperation.

Turning to Cruz’s stance on the issues, not many readers of are likely to have found and read Cruz’s actual speech, but for your benefit we have selected a few nuggets to examine. So come along as we take a brief look at some of the wonderful things that Senator Cruz asked his audience to “imagine” that they might experience under his presidency.

Imagine in 2017 a new president signing legislation repealing every word of Obamacare. What of the “replace” half of the Republican promise to “repeal and replace,” and what of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act that are widely supported by Republicans such as insurance coverage for preexisting conditions? Those questions are left to the imagination of the audience with no hint of the answers.

Imagine a simple flat tax that lets every American fill out his or her taxes on a postcard. Tax returns on postcards have long been a romantic dream of some conservatives, but it is wildly impractical as a bright fellow such as Cruz, must surely understand. To take one simple example, what about capital gains and losses? Are they simply to be totted up on the back of an envelope and the net reported on the honor system? Actually, Cruz does really appear to believe in the honor system as he adds, Imagine abolishing the IRS, of course with no indication of what would replace it. We imagine the United States  rivaling Greece in unreported income and reaping the ensuing fiscal disaster.

And imagine a legal immigration system that welcomes and celebrates those who come to achieve the American dream. That is an aspiration in which we might all join, but Cruz conspicuously omitted any mention of the larger problem: millions of illegal aliens now residing in the United States—and his stubborn opposition to any route for their ever becoming citizens.

Instead of a federal government that seeks to dictate school curriculum through Common Core imagine repealing every word of Common Core. Common Core has been the subject of much misinformation and has become a target of many on the right. Cruz, however, ought to be aware that, as we have pointed out in previous blogs, Common Core does not prescribe curricula and that the standards it provides were developed by the states, and not the federal government.

It was no accident that Cruz chose an evangelical Christian university as the venue for his announcement speech. Not content with discussing the importance of Christian faith in his family history, he went on to lament that “roughly half of born again Christians aren’t voting. They’re staying home.” Ignoring those of us who would prefer that politics stop at the churchyard gate, he asked his audience to Imagine instead millions of people of faith all across America coming out to the polls and voting “our values.” And if anyone were in doubt as to what “values” he had in mind, Cruz went on to make it clear: Instead of a federal government that works to undermine our values, imagine a federal government that works to defend the sanctity of human life and to uphold the sacrament of marriage. As we have indicated, we are not inclined to disqualify any Republican solely on the basis of differing views on social issues, but to the extent that they become a centerpiece of a campaign, we view that as a serious negative.

There were more imaginings in Cruz’s speech, and for those who have the stamina and taste, the full text can be found here.  Senator McCain once famously referred to Cruz as a “wacko bird.” As followers of may recall, we prefer to think of him as an oozlum — the legendary bird that flies in ever decreasing concentric circles until disappearing into its own fundament. It is the flight plan he offers the Republican Party.

9 thoughts on “Blog No. 63 Ted Cruz: Senator Shutdown Imagines America

  • The perfect candidate for those seeking simple solutions to complex problems, especially those who prefer to let others do their thinking for them.

  • Received this “Breaking News”, from a friend. Have to share it.
    “Tea Party favorite Ted Cruz announced he is running for President of the United States in 2016. So, finally, Carnival is no longer the most dangerous cruise in America.”

  • I actually DID listen to the whole speech, believe it or not (I’m a true-crime buff, fascinated by sociopaths), and here’s what I don’t understand: why does everyone (friend and foe alike) seem to agree that he’s exceptionally smart? As you so eloquently pointed out, he didn’t have a single intelligent or well-informed thing to say. I thought he sounded dopey. Do people just “imagine” that he’s brilliant because he went to Princeton and Harvard?

  • As always, cogent insight into yet more Republican wackiness.
    I only take exception to your reference to President Obama’s “failure to work effectively with Congress”. He tried, I feel, but made the mistake of believing that his opposition were basically men and women of good faith who could be reasoned with. They were not; they were simply intransigent and opposed the president just on the principle of opposing him – not of offering any viable alternatives or trying to work out compromises.
    Fault can be found in all quarters but the scale weighs most heavily on the Congressional side.

    • An interesting idea, that I believe Rachel Madow also expressed on MSNBC. But I can’t imagine any presidential nominee in his right mind agreeing to put such a loose cannon on the ticket. (Look at the trouble Obama has keeping good, old Joe Biden on the reservation.)

  • I love this guy. He will fly too close to the sun ,the wax will melt and his crash will be spectacular . The question is what will he bring down with him?

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