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.”