Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Why did Texans vote for Tea Party Republican Senator Ted Cruz?

Have a hard time remembering a first time US Senator being a bigger media hog and arrogant then Senator Cruz of TX who took office less than a one ago.  Even the hard right Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) took awhile to get started.  Let me say that I donated to Cruz's opponent Texas Governor Lt Governor Dewhurst who seemed to have more common sense -- didn't realize how much more until the last month.  Cruz has no common sense -- zero, zip, nada.

Thought this open letter to Americans about Texas send Cruz to the Senate spoke volumes: 

Ted Cruz’s craziness is the unfunny, dangerous kind, @JasStanford4:33 PM on 01/30/2013 
Dear America, 
I think we might have messed up again in Texas. We thought Ted Cruz would be an educated, articulate senator with a positive vision of constitutional conservatism. But it turns out he might also be crazy, and not the Charlie Wilson “Let’s see how many Playboy bunnies fit into this hot tub!” kind of crazy. Ted Cruz’s crazy is the unfunny, dangerous kind, and we just gave him a six-year term. Sorry. 
It struck me that Texas might have let a charming sociopath loose in Washington when I read this morning about his efforts to bring assault weapons into a Senate hearing on gun safety. His aim, as it were, was to wave unloaded guns around to demonstrate how safe they are in the hands of “millions of law-abiding Americans for self-defense, hunting, and sporting purposes,” he explained. Maybe using them as political props falls under “sporting.” Unfortunately for him, DC has banned assault weapons, which cancels out the “law-abiding” bit. 
Trying to bring a gun to a knife fight is one thing. Picking a fight with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel might be burning a bridge too far. Emanuel pushed the Chicago Municipal Employees Annuity and Benefit Fund to divest $1 million in investments in three gun manufacturers and asked two locally headquartered banks to stop lending money to firearms makers who oppose gun safety laws. This drove Cruz to invite the banks and gun manufacturers to do business in Texas. “Both of your companies do considerable business in the City of Chicago, and you may be understandably concerned that there are risks to refusing to comply with the demands of a politician who has earned the nickname, ‘the Godfather,’” wrote Cruz. 
And then there was his explanation for being one of three votes against confirming John Kerry as Secretary of State: “I was compelled to vote no on Senator Kerry’s nomination because of his longstanding less-than-vigorous defense of U.S. national security issues, and, in particular, his long record supporting treaties and international tribunals that have undermined U.S. sovereignty,” said Cruz in a statement. 
It’s hard not to focus on Cruz’s cheerful venality in sliming Kerry’s commitment to national security. Cruz wasn’t even born when Kerry left the U.S. Navy as a full lieutenant after having earned a Silver Star, Bronze Star, and three Purple Hearts. And when Cruz was still in diapers, Kerry raised the stakes on patriotism by becoming the first Vietnam veteran to testify before Congress about the war, famously asking the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, “How do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam? How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?” 
Voters don’t require military service anymore in their politicians, but if Cruz’s statement is any indication, voters don’t require basic decency either. Cruz had a chance to serve when we were kicking Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait, but he was busy excelling at debate at Princeton.
That bit about Kerry “supporting treaties and international tribunals that have undermined U.S. sovereignty” raises a different alarm. Cruz’s campaign website had a page devoted to stopping Agenda 21, a black-helicopter conspiracy theory about the United Nations abolishing “‘unsustainable’ environments, including golf courses, grazing pastures, and paved roads.” We should have known better. 
So why didn’t the media raise the alarm when a possible demagogue was sailing toward a U.S. Senate seat? If there’s a media bias in Texas, it’s to ignore the ridiculous as unserious and unworthy of attention. Not spotlighting the absurdity deprives Texans of the unintentional high comedy of their elected officials who remain bathed in the flattering light of undeserved dignity. (Case in point: Rick Perry. In Texas, the media portrayed him as a serious, ideologically conservative leader, but once he crossed the state line… Oops.) 
Cruz rode a Tea Party wave from 4% in the polls into the U.S. Senate. It’s possible that this was not a marriage of convenience but of common interests. We’re not all crazy in Texas—a poll out today shows that a plurality of Texans support banning assault weapons—but it’s becoming increasingly clear that Cruz could be.

A little background on Senator Cruz:
Cruz the newest Latino GOP Senator was elected in November by tea party activists and notably gathered only a smattering of Latino votes.  Tea Party activists in Texas have been prone to attempt any and all political maneuvers to thwart President Obama including their recent call for their state to secede from the Union. Cruz finds himself tied to the most extreme elements of his party and seems unwilling at this point to differ from them.
Some of Cruz's comments made me go WHAT?  

Delaware state Attorney General Beau Biden chided Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) in an interview with MSNBC on Tuesday over Cruz’s statements on gun safety legislation. 
“Senator Cruz is new to the job here,” said Biden, the son of Vice President Joe Biden. “Over the course of this debate he’ll get the facts. The facts are that 40 percent of weapons transfers in America are done outside of federal licensees. Forty percent. So nearly half of weapons that are sold or transferred are done, not through Dick’s Sporting Goods or your local gun shop, where I have my shotgun from.”
Cruz, a freshman senator, said on “Meet The Press” Sunday that there is no gun show loophole for weapons sales.
“Any licensed firearms dealer, who sells at a gun show, has to have a background check,” Cruz said. “What it doesn’t apply to is personal sales, one on one, and that’s true, whether it’s at a gun show or not.” In that same interview, Cruz also accused President Barack Obama of exploiting last month’s mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut “within minutes” for the sake of pandering to his political base.
Raw Story (excerpt)
Then there is this one:
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) issued the following statement regarding Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) Assault Weapons Ban of 2013: 
Washington politicians shouldn’t be taking advantage of recent tragedy to try to push an aggressive gun control agenda. Real assault weapons—machine guns—are already functionally illegal, and they have been since 1934. This proposal would have done nothing to prevent the terrible murders in Newtown, but it would limit the constitutional liberties of law-abiding citizens. And gun control doesn’t work – the empirical data overwhelmingly demonstrate that strict gun-control laws consistently produce more crime and more murders.
The Second Amendment exists to ensure that law-abiding Americans can protect their homes and families, and I look forward to helping lead the fight to defeat this bill and to protect our constitutional right to keep and bear arms. 
Cruz also would have voted against the financial cliff agreement if he had been in the Senate:
During Senator Cruz’s appearance on CNN on January 3rd he retreated to Tea Party talking points on issues surrounding the now resolved fiscal cliff debate. Additionally Cruz indicated that he would be willing to use the upcoming approval on the debt ceiling to gain political leverage.  “part of the reason we got a lousy deal is that when you have divided government, whoever owns the defaults, whoever wins if there is inaction, has the advantage. With the fiscal cliff, if there was inaction, there would be a massive tax increase. That gave President Obama an advantage. Moving forward to the debt ceiling, I think it is the mirror image” said Cruz to an openly astonished Wolf Blitzer.
Cruz, a Latino of Cuban descent (his Dad was Cuban and his Mom a US Citizen) elected with Tea Party support, opposes citizenship proposals as amnesty, but supports increased visas for high-tech and temporary workers.
Cruz's comments on immigration reform regarding bipartisan immigration reform proposal:
I appreciate the good work that senators in both parties have put into trying to fix our broken immigration system. There are some good elements in this proposal, especially increasing the resources and manpower to secure our border and also improving and streamlining legal immigration. However, I have deep concerns with the proposed path to citizenship. To allow those who came here illegally to be placed on such a path is both inconsistent with rule of law and profoundly unfair to the millions of legal immigrants who waited years, if not decades, to come to America legally.
Senator Cruz doesn't think twice of running out with his comments unlike most Freshman Senators in their first month.  I want to know why Republicans put first term Senatosr Cruz and Flake (R-AZ) on Judiciary. Those assignments used to be reserved for more senior members who understand how things work but after both Cruz and Senator Graham (R-SC) tried to bring guns to the Senate hearings on gun control which Graham knew would never be approved, grandstanding seems to be the new norm for Republicans in the Senate. 

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