Republican Texas Senator Ted Cruz has announced his candidacy for President of the United States. While critics, including some in his own party, dismiss him, Cruz is a smart, shrewd and brash politician. He is also arrogant, self-confident and power-hungry. Cruz recently told Fox News host Sean Hannity that his critics call him "crazy." Well?
In September 2013, Senator Cruz spoke in opposition of the inclusion of
the Affordable Care Act in a continuing resolution to fund the
government. His faux-filibuster lasted more than 21 hours, and he
opened with, "I rise today in opposition to Obamacare." Then, after
being recognized, he said he would speak "until I am no longer able to
stand." His effort was not a filibuster because the Senate had already
scheduled its cloture vote. But the Cruz show went on, including
reading from the Dr. Seuss's classic, Green Eggs and Ham. His daughters watched from home on C-Span as he read from the book, “You do not like green eggs and ham?”
But Cruz was so angry with Republican supporters of the Senate vote he played the appeasement card in his rant
from the Senate floor. "If you go to the 1940s, Nazi Germany," Cruz
said. "Look, we saw in Britain, Neville Chamberlain, who told the
British people, 'Accept the Nazis. Yes, they'll dominate the continent
of Europe but that's not our problem. Let's appease them. Why? Because
it can't be done. We can't possibly stand against them.'"
Senator John McCain (R-AZ) was furious with Cruz's remarks. "I resoundingly reject that allegation," McCain said.
"That allegation, in my view, does a great disservice. A great
disservice to those brave Americans and those who stood up and said,
'what's happening in Europe cannot stand.'"
Mr. Cruz became one of the architects of the 2013 government shutdown that ran from October 1 to October 16. As many
as 800,000 government employees were furloughed and another 1.3 million
had to work without pay. It is estimated that the shutdown cost the
U.S. economy at least $12 billion. Representative Peter King (R-NY)
reacted brusquely to Cruz's presidential announcement. "Shutting down
the federal government and reading Dr. Seuss on the Senate floor are the
marks of a carnival barker not the leader of the free world," King said
in a statement.
Unapologetic, Cruz has continued his relentless attacks Obamacare. So it was ironic that Cruz made this announcement
Tuesday: "We'll be getting new health insurance and we'll presumably do
it through my job with the Senate, and so we'll be on the federal
exchange with millions of others on the federal exchange." Because
Cruz's wife was taking a leave of absence from her banking job at
Goldman Sachs the family will no longer be covered by their health plan.
But his spokesman said Senator Cruz wouldn't take the government
contribution he is entitled to as a member of Congress under the ACA.
Cruz, a Harvard educated lawyer and Princeton debate champion, is quick
to come up with a witty quip. For instance, when the White House
announced its support for net-neutrality. "In short, net neutrality is
Obamacare for the Internet," he said.
"It would put the government in charge of determining Internet
pricing, terms of service and what types of products and services can be
delivered, leading to fewer choices, fewer opportunities and higher
prices." But experts say his comparison is inaccurate. "It takes a
special kind of wrongness to look at a plan that is focused on making
sure that no one can be blocked and argue that it means the government
gets to pick what services can be delivered," the site TechDirt wrote.
In a 2010 speech, Cruz launched a McCarthy era attack on Harvard. The New Yorker reported
that he said, “There were fewer declared Republicans in the faculty
when we were there than Communists! There was one Republican. But there
were twelve who would say they were Marxists who believe in the
Communists overthrowing the United States government.” A Harvard
spokesperson was quoted as responding, "We are puzzled by the Senator's
assertions, as we are unaware of any basis for them."
Cruz can be
too clever by half. For instance, take his opposition to those who are
advocating measures to reduce global warming. "What do they do? They
scream, 'You're a denier.' They brand you a heretic," Cruz told Texas Tribune
reporter Jay Root. "Today, the global warming alarmists are the
equivalent of the flat-Earthers. It used to be [that] it is accepted
scientific wisdom the Earth is flat, and this heretic named Galileo was
branded a denier." On this issue Cruz is a flat-wronger. According to NASA,
"Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that climate-warming
trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities,
and most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued
public statements endorsing this position."
the IRS," Senator Cruz said in his announcement Monday, "abolishing the
IRS ain't all that tough." But the IRS collects
$2.4 billion in taxes used to pay for the military, Social Security,
Medicare and other entitlement programs. Cruz proposes a flat tax.
However, if there are going to be federal taxes some agency will need to
Ted Cruz, 44, was born in Canada, but he has since
given up his Canadian citizenship. His father, Rafael Cruz, is a
controversial evangelical Texas pastor who believes his son is the
anointed one. In a 2013 interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network,
Pastor Cruz recalled he told his then four-year old son, “'You know
Ted, you have been gifted above any man that I know and God has destined
you for greatness.' And I started making declarations about the Word of
God to him every day.”
Pastor Cruz has reportedly
embraced the Christian Dominionism theology, which believes that
Christians are called to take "dominion" over every aspect of the
American culture and use them to create God's kingdom on Earth in order
to bring about the return of Jesus Christ.
In his announcement
Monday, Senator Cruz said, “God’s blessing has been on America from the
very beginning of this nation, and I believe God isn’t done with America
yet.” He continued, “I believe in you. I believe in the power of
millions of courageous conservatives rising up to re-ignite the promise
Cruz, a first-term Senator, is the first Republican
candidate to throw his hat into the ring. He will try to consolidate
his support among conservatives and Christian evangelicals. He has
repeatedly said that a moderate Republican cannot win the presidency.
In January he said,
"If we nominate another candidate in the mold of Bob Dole or John
McCain or Mitt Romney...the same people who stayed home in 2008 and 2012
will stay home in 2016 and the Democrats will win again. There is a
But many Republicans already believe that if Senator
Ted Cruz is their party's nominee there is no way they will win the
White House in 2016.
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Sunday, March 8, 2015
Democrats may be getting a little anxious. Hillary Clinton is stumbling into the starting gate. Since she became the prohibitive favorite for her party's nomination she has made some mistakes.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has yet to explain why she used a personal email account during her entire tenure at State (2009-2013) instead of using an official government email account. On the face of it, this makes no sense and calls in to question her judgment. Putting aside whether she complied with regulations, a private email server does not have the same level of security against hacking that a government managed server does.
The Russians, Chinese and Iranians very likely could have gotten access to Secretary Clinton's email traffic. And there was plenty of traffic, especially considering the 55,000 pages of emails she turned over to the State Department are only a portion of those she wrote while in office.
While Clinton has not talked about the controversy, her aides are fighting back by attacking the media. Her supporters also point out that she complied with the regulations (maybe), and that former Secretary of State Colin Powell also used a private email account. But that was five years earlier, when the State Department system wasn't as robust.
Leading Democrats are pressing for an explanation. Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-CA, said on NBC's Meet the Press, "From this point on...the silence is going to hurt her...She is the leading candidate, whether it be Republican or Democrat, to be the next president." Republicans have seized the issue with gusto. Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-SC, is chairman for the House Select Committee on Benghazi. He told CBS's Face the Nation, his committee doesn't have all of Clinton's emails. "It's not up to Secretary Clinton to decide what is a public record and what is not," he said, adding: "I don't want everything. I just want everything related to Libya and Benghazi."
Secretary Clinton's email-capade has opened up speculation as to her motive. The conservative National Journal reasons, "its greatest relevancy is what the emails might reveal about any nexus between Clinton's work at State and donations to the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation from U.S. corporations and foreign nations." Did the ultimate power couple leverage their positions of power for donations? Even Saturday Night Live got into the act. Cast member Kate McKinnon, doing an impression of Clinton, said, "Those emails are clean as a whistle. This is not how Hillary Clinton goes down."
Senator Chuck Schumer found himself defending Secretary Clinton on CBS's Face the Nation. "The bottom line is she's a national figure, a potential presidential candidate. People are going to shoot at her," he said calling it a “slight bump in the road six months from now.”
Hillary Clinton is rumored to be putting her campaign team together, and she may announce her intention to run for president sooner rather than later. However, her handling of the controversy over her use of private emails while at the State Department has exposed one of her great weaknesses: transparency. This may well be her Achilles heel.