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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Ted Cruz

It's hard to believe, but we didn't have our first official hat in the ring for the 2016 presidential election until yesterday, when Ted Cruz, senator from Texas, announced in front of a throng at Liberty University, where they believe Earth is only 6,000 years old. But wait--the crowd had to be there--the students were forced to go.

Cruz is perhaps the most odious of the potential candidates, but that's a high bar, given the things that Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, and Ben Carson have said. I see Cruz as a minor candidate, Michele Bachmann 2.0, garnering a small but fevered fan base, and he and the other right-wing kooks will devour each other while the big-money candidates, most likely Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, and possibly Marco Rubio, will float to the top.

Cruz is an interesting case. Judging by his resume, he's a brilliant legal scholar, but he seems to be confused about the Constitution, saying this about the Obama administration: "This is an administration that seems bound and determine to violate every single one of our bill of rights. I don’t know that they have yet violated the Third Amendment, but I expect them to start quartering soldiers in peoples’ homes soon." Like many Tea Party radicals, he seems to think the government should stay out of our lives, except in the instances of pregnancy and marriage.

He is also a climate change denier, who now thinks it's all a hoax because it used to be called global warming. But it is getting hotter, and has gotten hotter every year for several years now. Last year was the hottest year on record. Just because it snows doesn't mean there's a grave threat facing the world right now. Of course, Cruz is not a scientist, he just ignores them. Time to shudder: he's on the Senate Science Committee.

From what I've read, Cruz is hated by most of his fellow Republican lawmakers. His slash and burn style, threatening to shut down the government over everything, has not earned him much congeniality points. He is one of those "principled" kooks, who care not for the normal functioning of society, but would rather blow it all up in the name of some vague shibboleth.

It's hard to imagine Cruz getting elected--his reputation for stupidity and not playing well with others precedes him. He is behind the curve on gay marriage and net neutrality, and his idea to close the IRS down and put them on the Mexican border is bizarre (who would collect taxes, the border patrol?) He opposes Obamacare even after he enrolled in it, and his views on immigration are just a tad hypocritical--he's an immigrant, but from Canada, which I guess is okay. It's just those dirty brown Mexicans he wants to keep out (and ISIS, who I guess have all sorts of cells in Tijuana).

As for the Canada thing, most think because he is the child of a U.S. citizen, he is consider a "natural born citizen," which the Constitution requires for a president. But this is interesting, because Barack Obama, who was of course born in Hawaii, has faced accusations that he was born in Kenya, and thus was ineligible to be president. But no one disputes his mother was an American citizen, just as Cruz's is. Oh, the delicious irony!

I last wrote about Cruz when he recited the text of Green Eggs and Ham on the Senate floor, totally misunderstanding the meaning of the book. Cruz won't win the White House, but he should provide comedians lots of fodder for late night television. I imagine Jon Stewart is rethinking his leaving The Daily Show.

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