Sunday, March 22, 2015
The Pilot Newspaper: Opinion
The only question will be, which of the candidates will be doomier? Lindsey Graham? Ted Cruz? Rick Santorum? Stay tuned.
We may have finally found something Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas is good at.
We know he’s not good at filibustering, as evidenced by his publicity stunt from 2013. As we all remember, Sen. Cruz vowed to “talk until he was unable to stand” in order to block a continuing resolution to keep the government going.
He was willing to do this, he said, to stop that bill to fund the government from moving forward unless it defunded the Affordable Care Act.
Except that, by prior agreement with Sen. Harry Reid, Cruz stopped talking after 21 hours, during which we were treated to the hilarious spectacle of a U.S. senator solemnly reading Dr. Seuss’ “Green Eggs and Ham” to a mostly empty room. After Cruz stepped down from the podium, the bill proceeded as scheduled, with Cruz himself voting for a procedural measure that allowed it to go forward.
Yeah, Ted, that’ll learn ’em.
We know he’s not good at understanding science, as evidenced by his recent confrontation with NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. Cruz, with that little smirk that tells you he really thinks he’s about score a point, chided Bolden and NASA for putting resources into earthbound studies of things like climate change.
“I would suggest that almost any American would agree that the core function of NASA is to explore space,” Cruz said. “That’s what inspires little boys and little girls across this country.”
Bolden, with much more patience than I would have exhibited, pointed out that NASA has always studied atmospheric phenomena (Hello? Weather satellites?) as well as Earth sciences. “It is absolutely critical,” Bolden went on, “that we understand Earth’s environment because this is the only place we have to live.”
He’s really terrible at understanding laws, as we found out from a recent demand conveyed via Cruz’s Twitter account: “We need to repeal every word of Common Core!”
The only problem is, “Common Core” isn’t a federal law. It’s an initiative by the National Governors’ Association (NGO) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) to establish educational standards that can be voluntarily adopted (or not) by the states. The Feds have offered monetary incentives to states to adopt the standards, but there’s no law called “Common Core.”
Yes, you heard right: Sen. Ted Cruz is loudly demanding that we repeal “every word” of a law that does not actually exist.
So what is the senator good at? Well, recently, at a campaign event in New Hampshire, Cruz trotted out the doom-and-gloom rhetoric that’s become standard for riling up the rubes: “The Obama economy is a disaster. Obamacare is a train wreck. And the Obama-Clinton foreign policy of leading from behind — the whole world is on fire.”
At this point, a 3-year-old in the arms of her mother piped up in a scared, quavery voice: “The world is on fire?” Cruz turned and shouted at her, “YES! The world is on fire! YOUR world is on fire!” So we’ve finally found something Sen. Ted Cruz is good at: scaring small and credulous children. Which is why he may be the perfect Republican presidential candidate. The entire Republican message in 2016 is going to read:
“Ignore reality, ignore the tangible measurable ways in which the economy is getting better, like an average of 274,700 new jobs created each month for the past 12 months. Ignore the facts that show Obamacare is succeeding, like a 16.4-million-person drop in the number of uninsured American adults and the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate that the program will cost billions less than previously thought (29 percent less than estimated in 2010).
“Ignore all that, and believe us when we tell you everything is terrible, the sky is falling, the world is burning (but not warmer), and we’re all about to die of Ebola spread by illegal Mexicans and black people voting illegally. Or be murdered in our beds by ISIS. Or something.”
The Republicans have proved since taking the majority that they can’t govern, but they can sure use fear to stir up the masses. And, sadly, that wins elections.