Ron Paul and Ted Cruz: A Freak Show Update

06 Nov

It’s been a while since we’ve devoted a post to the Freak Show, but a couple of items this week were too, um, freaky to pass up.

First, Ron Paul. Kevin Drum writes, “Way back in 2012, when he was running for president, Ron Paul seemed to some people like a breath of fresh air. Sure, maybe he was a bit of a crank, but at least he didn’t sanitize his beliefs in order to avoid offending people. He said what he meant, and he meant what he said.”

Well, maybe not. Earlier this week we got the unfiltered Ron Paul stumping on behalf of Ken Cuccinelli’s failed campaign for governor of Virginia. From Drum’s article:

“Jefferson obviously was a clear leader on the principle of nullification,” the former Texas congressman said of the third president. “I’ve been working on the assumption that nullification is going to come. It’s going to be a de facto nullification. It’s ugly, but pretty soon things are going to get so bad that we’re just going to ignore the feds and live our own lives in our own states.”

….He tore into the Constitution’s 17th Amendment. Ratified in 1913, it’s the one that allows for the direct election of U.S. senators by popular vote. “That undermined the principle importance of the states,” said Paul.

He criticized the 16th Amendment, which allowed the federal income tax. After the crowd chanted “End the Fed,” Paul decried the printing of more money by the Federal Reserve.“We need someone to stand up to the authoritarians,” he said. “They’re dictators.”

….He stressed that the constitutional “right to keep and bear arms” was not for hunting, but to allow rebellion against tyrannical governments. “The Second Amendment was not there so you could shoot rabbits,” he said. “Right now today, we have a great threat to our liberties internally.”

To sane Americans, this Ron Paul does indeed sound like a kook. As Drum says, “[T]he most remarkable part of all this is that the rest of us–centrists, liberals, non-insane Republicans, the press, etc.–are expected to shrug off this kind of thing as nothing more than a sort of boys-will-be-boys stemwinder, not to be taken seriously. Remarkable indeed.” Ed Kilgore asks, “can you imagine a statewide Democratic candidate anywhere, much less in a ‘purple state,’ associating himself or herself so conspicuously with such ravings? No, you can’t.” Exactly.

Now on to Ted Cruz. Andrew Sullivan had a post yesterday that was perfectly titled: Ted Cruz’s Jeremiah Wright. Who’s that? Why, it’s Ted’s father, Rafael Cruz. David Corns has a rundown of many of the incendiary things the elder Cruz has said, including the videos. In response to Corn’s reporting, Ted dismisses his father’s rants as “a joke”. Good luck with that! Corns followed up his original reporting by asking, “Does Ted Cruz Believe His Critics Will be Condemned by God?”

There might be a much bigger issue regarding Ted Cruz’s response to the article about his father. In July, the senator, with his father by his side, accepted the blessings of fundamentalist pastors in Iowa (see above) who are adherents of Christian Reconstructionism, a view that holds that God anoints individuals to be “kings” who strive to influence or control key institutions of society (say, the government) as a prelude to the second coming of Christ. The blessing of Ted Cruz contained this line: “Father, we believe that no weapon formed against [Cruz] will prosper and every tongue that rises up against him in judgment will be condemned.”

This blessing seems to suggest that the pastors believe that those who criticize Ted Cruz will be condemned by God. This certainly seems in sync with Rafael Cruz’s remarks and his preaching at religious gatherings of fellow evangelicals. But a serious question is raised: does Ted Cruz himself see his detractors as being on the wrong side of God? Can those who raise inconvenient questions about him or his father expect to receive a mighty smiting from above?

This is no joke. Such a mindset—my detractors are destined for hell—could certainly affect how Cruz would govern, should he reach the pinnacle of power. Given that he willingly accepted this blessing, it would hardly be inappropriate to ask Cruz what he thought of it. Actually, I did. Along with those queries noted above, I asked his office whether Senator Cruz believes that his critics will be condemned by God? No answer yet on that, either. I suppose those who report unflattering facts about the senator may have to wait until Judgment Day to see if those Cruz-courted pastors have it right.

This is the kind of mindset I was thinking of back when I said anyone who truly believes we are in the Biblical End Times is not fit to hold public office. I’m not against religion or Christianity per se; I just don’t think people who believe they are about to usher in the End Times should be running the country for the rest of us.

And lest you think the two Cruz’s don’t have much of relationship, let’s remember that unlike Barack Obama and Jeremiah Wright, Ted Cruz routinely trots out his father as his spokesman. As Corns points out, “According to campaign disclosure records, Cruz’s Senate campaign paid Rafael Cruz about $10,000 in traveling expenses in 2012 and 2013. And in August the conservative National Review noted that the father-son duo had forged a ‘political partnership,’ reporting: ‘Cruz has kept his father, a 74-year-old pastor, involved with his political shop, using him not merely as a confidant and stand-in, but as a special envoy. He is Cruz’s preferred introductory speaker, his best messenger with evangelicals, and his favorite on-air sidekick.’ Put it this way: Rafael Cruz is far closer to Ted Cruz and his political endeavors than Jeremiah Wright was to Obama and his campaigns.”


Posted by on November 6, 2013 in Current Events, Politics, The Freak Show


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21 responses to “Ron Paul and Ted Cruz: A Freak Show Update

  1. mitchethekid

    November 6, 2013 at 10:40 pm

    All of these end timers are a danger to society. The scariest thing about them is they truly believe in their fantastical delusions. They must be stopped.

  2. mitchethekid

    November 7, 2013 at 10:52 am

    And Andrew Sullivan is fantastic. I’ve been a “Dish Head” for 10 yrs.

  3. meursault1942

    November 7, 2013 at 10:54 am

    Hasn’t Ron Paul been saying all of that for years, though? Nullification, elimination of the 16th and 17th Amendments, “guns protect us from tyranny!”–none of that stuff is new for him.

    • watsonthethird

      November 7, 2013 at 11:29 am

      I think Drum’s point was that when he was running for president in 2012, he toned things down–e.g., during the Republican debates–and came across as a plain spoken kind of guy. But deep down he’s always been radical, which was on full display while stumping for Ken Cuccinelli. Anyway, always a good reminder of what these folks are about and how truly radical they are.

      • banh

        November 7, 2013 at 1:46 pm

        Yep, Watson, liberty is extremely radical. Personal freedom and free will are too. Back on the farm it doesn’t seem to be very important to the cows, pigs and chickens, and they gossip constantly about that damned horse that insists on jumping the fence for some freedom. Farmer Orwell just doesn’t know what to do.

        Elementary, Mr. Watson. I’m sure you like freedom with some of your personal life choices, so what the hell’s the difference? Radical? If it doesn’t match your security paradigm and collective mentality parameters it’s radical? Let me ask you, do you believe in the decriminalization or legalization of pot, abortion rights, or any other personal choices? Are you that radical?

    • banh

      November 7, 2013 at 1:53 pm

      Ron Paul has always been consistent, but he also knows that if he got too passionate about the freedom message during campaigns there is a radical media machine which would have run him over worse than they already did. Now, he can take the gloves off. He’s not held media prisoner anymore in the Beltway and he can use his bare knuckles.

      The gun-free crowd is in for a rude awakening. Tyranny is not an outdated word, as much as the media tends to make it sound ancient. Tyranny exists all over the world. Use the replacement word of your choice, it’s the same thing. Semantics don’t change oppression of cultures.

      • mitchethekid

        November 7, 2013 at 3:26 pm

        Ron Paul has a following because he’s a libertarian. But he also expouses ideas that are radical in the sense that they only appeal to a fringe group. What he was suggesting was the same thing that Sharon Angle suggested. If you don’t like the outcome of an election, take up arms against the government. I seriously doubt that the “gun free” crowd is in for a rude awakening. What exactly is the nature of this coming to consciousness that you suggest? Do you actually believe that a tiny group of armed and enraged citizens can over-through the government? The Tea Party tried it; sans weapons and got their ass handed to them. The public rejection of their tactics, the scorn over their obsession with theocracy and social issues and their alienation of growing demographics is only just beginning.
        There is a reason why people like the Pauls cannot win national elections. With Rand it’s now his defensiveness over his plagiarism, his support of discrimination and his denial of being associated with racists. His father has a much longer history but he’s more of an anarchist than a Libertarian.
        Oh, and welcome!

      • watsonthethird

        November 7, 2013 at 5:48 pm

        Welcome, banh. No, I don’t think we live under tyranny. I understand that it exists, but it’s a mighty stretch to claim that we live under tyranny in the United States. I get that there are some conservatives who believe that, and there are blowhards on the radio that go on about this everyday, such as Mark Levin.

        As for Paul taking his gloves off, yes, let’s have him take his gloves off and tell us what he really has in mind.

  4. bardolf2

    November 7, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    One of the problems here is that the Mother Jones article uses too many ellipsis …

    Ron Paul gives long speeches and to cut and paste what he said into a call of revolution against the federal government may not be representative.

    Take things one by one and see if they sound so bad.

    1. We should rely on more local governance where the government is more responsive to the citizenry. Is that inherently a problem?

    2. He criticized a federal tax policy which encourages rich people to offshore their money and makes people pay at the same or higher rates than corporations and banks.

    3. He stressed that people may need to defend themselves against an increasingly intrusive government. I’ll remind everyone that his biggest beef is with government stopping minorities and locking them up for drug laws which are designed to lock up ‘poor trouble makers’.

    The whole 17th amendment thing seems kooky of course, but we don’t have direct popular election of the president because we think it disenfranchise those living in less populous states.

    • watsonthethird

      November 7, 2013 at 5:44 pm

      Hi bardolf. I agree that taking those things as you stated them doesn’t sound so bad, as you put it. But calling for nullification and suggesting that we’ve reached the point where we need to take up arms against the government is going a bit far, don’t you think? This is where he starts to lose a lot of us.

      • bardolf2

        November 8, 2013 at 4:13 am

        (Math nerd here!) I will admit that while the Mother Jones article cuts short Ron Paul’s ideas with ellipsis … (like an ellipse is a cut short conic section) Dr. Paul has been hyperbolic in his nullification rhetoric (like a hyperbola is an excessive conic section).

        I’m not so sure how much of the end times scenarios is actually being believed among politicians of any ilk. I tend to think that the too big to fail corporations and mammoth size governments are both on borrowed time all over the world. Things like BitCoin will eventually succeed and makers/farmers/thinkers will eventually become less and less dependent on the insurance and guarantees produced through efficiencies of scale.

        As far as taking arms up against the government, I understand the idea of rebellion more along the lines of a resistance of sorts to possible overreach. The analogy here is with the resistance in India to British rule. IMO, the tyranny of government is probably worst at the local level because yahoos vote to have the SWAT teams do basic law enforcement and some police officers take the war on drugs metaphor was too literally.

        I give you exhibit A in this weeks tyranny:

        In summary, I give Ron Paul a lot of leeway with his rhetoric if only for his stand against the imprisonment of minorities in the war on drugs. If you ask if the idea of prepping for a large scale confrontation with law enforcement is nuts, the answer is yes.

        PS. The ideal conic section is a parabola which correctly illustrates important physics like the motion of a baseball, the design of a satellite TV receiver and cutting a a cone not too short and not too long but parallel to the cone. We need less ellipsis and hyperbole and more parables to move ahead in this complicated intertwined world.

    • mitchethekid

      November 7, 2013 at 7:05 pm

      Fair enough, but how much more evidence is needed that the far far right, the Tea Party types are totally unhinged and disassociated from the reality that their appeal is to a very small group of people. Now; instead of accepting responsibility for their failure to shut down the government and to get lunatics elected, they’ve decided to attack Chris Christie. Twice elected in a very blue state who is pro life, anti gay marriage and a fiscal conservative. They portray themselves as victims and always blame others for their own miserable performance. What I’d like to know is how does Cruz think he can run for President when he was born in a foreign country while his father hurls birther accusations at the President? Is it just me or does any one else notice that this guy thrives on divisiveness, sees the word in absolutist terms and attacks his fellow senators with a vengeance that rivals the very definition of retribution.

      • bardolf2

        November 8, 2013 at 4:32 am


        Please don’t make me defend Cruz. I am pro-life but have never seen the GOP make it a huge focal point in congress like the budget show down so I take the candidate X is pro-life with a mound of salt.

        I will say that many of the Tea Party members that I know are sincere in their concerns about the financial burdens on the next generations being piled up today. Retired Spook on B4V seems sincere in his beliefs and is no stranger to modern problems like having a 30 year old divorced daughter move back in while she looks for work. I don’t think anyone really understands the economy and the implications of a large national debt and that gives an opening for demagoguing for fun and profit.

        There is an unhinged aspect, but that is from believing that watching TV news of any sort gives an accurate portrayal of reality. Fox News, CNN, MSNBC whatever have no financial interest in telling you that many of ones own problems are related to oversized material appetites.

      • mitchethekid

        November 8, 2013 at 7:39 am

        Well, I won’t make you defend him because I will probably end up getting enraged. With that said, there is a reason he’s the most vilified Senator alive. He’s been brain washed by his father since he was able to crawl and if any mode of thinking is a threat, it’s the one shared by him, Palin, Bachman, etc. People who are absolutely convinced of their own rightiousness and who divine conformation through being criticized. I guess you concur that the slander towards the President is valid, but I would rather not believe so.

      • bardolf2

        November 8, 2013 at 10:32 am


        No way do I support the attacks on Obama from the birthers.

        I might think Obama is beholden to the financial industry, I might question if he got into Columbia and Harvard on his own merits, I might play around with the notion that he had help in writing his memoirs, but I think he is unhindered legally to be President.

        I know zero about Ted Cruz’ father and have little interest in either Cruz or his father.

      • mitchethekid

        November 8, 2013 at 11:05 am

        Good for you my friend. I was having breakfast a bit ago and told my girlfriend about you. (She always asks about the blog.) Now my respect for you is justified.

      • watsonthethird

        November 8, 2013 at 11:29 am

        I know zero about Ted Cruz’ father and have little interest in either Cruz or his father.

        Actually, you now know more than zero about Ted Cruz’ father. lol. The first Corns article I linked to has a number of videos if you care to view them.

        As for Ron Paul, here is a portion of the video from which Drum and others have excerpted. When he gets to the part about the Second Amendment being there specifically to stop the intrusion of the federal government, and how it’s going to take strong people to essentially carry out this nullification, to me it’s pretty clear what he’s talking about and who he’s inciting.

      • bardolf2

        November 8, 2013 at 5:23 pm


        Not really fair to have my first knowledge of Cruz’ father come from a dubious political blog like this! When I have time to kill I’ll watch the video, again I like Ron Paul’s ideas by and large but as we get older we sometimes get crazier.

        The trick is to be crazy like Cruz when you are still young.

      • mitchethekid

        November 8, 2013 at 5:46 pm

        We’re not dubious. We’re purveyors of fact based opinion. Do yourself a favor and research the history of Rafael the father and the fantastical evangelical assertions he has made his entire adult life. The man is a lunatic and his son is a mini-me. Which explains why he is convinced he’s the 3rd Blues Brother. Without the talent. On a mission from god.

      • watsonthethird

        November 8, 2013 at 5:56 pm

        Dubious?! Why, we’re upstanding citizens trying to educate the masses. 🙂

        As for Cruz’ father, a Google search of “Rafael Cruz” is a good place to start.

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