Who's Ted Cruz? Getting to Know the Next Senator from the Tea Party

Cross-posted at AlterNet

The power center that Dick Armey and FreedomWorks have been aggressively building in the U.S. Senate around reigning extremist Jim DeMint will almost certainly welcome Ted Cruz in January. The Republican convention gave most Americans their first look at Cruz, who has become a Tea Party folk hero after crushing the establishment candidate, Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, in a bitterly contested primary.

Ted Cruz loves to portray his victory as an upwelling from the grassroots, as he did during his Tuesday night speech from the platform. “I have the honor of standing before you this evening for one reason, because thousands upon thousands of grassroots activists stood united, not for a candidate, but for the sake of restoring liberty.”

It is certainly true that his impressive come-from-behind primary victory captured the fervor of anti-government Tea Party activists as well as conservative evangelicals that Cruz has been courting for years at religious right gatherings. But it wasn’t an act of spontaneous combustion. Pouring gasoline on the prairie fire were national right-wing super PACs and Dick Armey’s FreedomWorks. Club for Growth Action dropped millions into the race on Cruz’s behalf; Jim DeMint’s Tea Party-backing Senate Conservatives Fund also kicked in with seven-figure spending. (DeMint has since cut his formal ties to the group so that it could create a super PAC.) A FreedomWorks spokesperson said after Cruz’s primary that wins by candidates like Cruz would “force Romney to the right.”

Cruz also benefitted from endorsements by an impressive roster of right-wing figures. During the primary he bragged that he was the only candidate this year supported by all four of his favorite senators: DeMint, Mike Lee, Rand Paul, and Pat Toomey. he Cruz campaign used video of a Palin campaign visit for its GOTV efforts. After his primary win an excited Breitbart blogger quoted Sarah Palin’s celebration on Facebook. She wrote that Cruz's victory was a win "both for Ted and for the grassroots Tea Party movement," and that the “message of this race couldn't be clearer for the political establishment: the Tea Party is alive and well and we will not settle for business as usual. Now, it's on to November!”

While the media accurately describes Cruz as a darling of the Tea Party and its corporate backers, he also had strong backing from religious-right figures. Cruz has campaigned for support at the Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit and the Freedom Federation’s Awakening conference, where he said “we are engaged in spiritual warfare every day.” James Dobson and David Barton are among the religious-right leaders who backed Cruz; Rick Santorum endorsed Cruz on Glenn Beck’s television show.

Cruz embodies Ralph Reed’s desire to merge the Tea Party and religious right. In his convention speech, Cruz talked about the Tea Party movement as a “Great Awakening” – a not-so-subtle shout-out to religious-right leaders who are calling for a spiritual great awakening that they believe will turn the nation back to God and its Christian roots. At Rick Santorum’s event on Wednesday afternoon, Cruz mocked media conversations about divisions between different “chunks” of Republicans, declaring the party united. “We’re all here because we believe in values and principles bigger than ourselves,” he said.

Perry: 'King' Obama Leading a 'Clear Attack on People of Faith'

During the presidential campaign, Rick Perry was one of the first candidates to embrace the theme that Obama is waging a “war on religion,” a message that was quickly embraced by Mitt Romney. As Perry ponders another run for the presidency, he told Family Research Council head Tony Perkins on today’s Washington Watch Weekly that he believes President Obama thinks he was elected “King” and is leading a “clear attack on people of faith”. How? Perry cited the contraception mandate, the Department of Justice’s stance in the Hosanna Tabor case, where the administration argued that religious groups are not categorically exempt from the Americans with Disability Act, and his own gut instinct.

Yes, Perry said he instinctually feels that the Obama administration is putting together a campaign of “intimidation to churches using IRS as a tool to keep anyone from making any statements about a political election,” even though the rule on church electioneering came about in 1954 and there is no evidence that the administration is actively investigating churches for breaking the rule.

Perkins: You were out on the campaign trail quite a bit early on in the Republican primary, your message obviously on jobs, the economy, which Texas has been leading in the nation in the creation of jobs, but you also touched on the issue of religious liberty and religious freedom. Do you see a growing hostility in America in the wake of this administration towards religious—

Perry: Led by this administration, when you think about the clear messages that they send, whether it’s by fiat—and that’s one of my great concerns about this president, we didn’t elect a King Mr. Obama, we elected a president, we expect the rule of law to be maintained in this country, go to Congress, pass legislation—he’s pushing these programs through whether it’s a clear attack on the Catholic Church and their opposition to contraception, those are purely wars against religion. When you think about the ministerial exception that he went to the Supreme Court to try to overturn, you know thank God he lost 9-0, even his liberal judges wouldn’t go that far, so clear attack on people of faith. My instinct is, I don’t have clear evidence, but my instinct is through other agencies there is this intimidation factor to our places of worship that you best not be in job of anything that we decide is political. For instance, clear intimidation to churches using IRS as a tool to keep anyone from making any statements about a political election.

Harvey: 'Christians Should Keep Their Kids Away' From Comics' 'Gay Agenda'

Mission America’s Linda Harvey today on her radio program warned Christians to “keep their kids away” from comic books because they have now succumbed to the “ever-present gay agenda.” After reading a blog post by Christian writer Danzil Monk, Harvey said that comics like the Green Lantern and X-Men are now part of the “homosexual agenda” and promoting “lies in our culture.”

I grew up reading comic books. I was a huge Archie and Veronica fan so when I learned that Archie was rolling out a gay character I felt like part of my childhood had been revised according to the ever-present gay agenda. The new character, Kevin, was injected into the story in 2010 and the writers made him a military hero, trying to advance that part of their political goals. Well now this year Kevin was shown entering a homosexual so-called marriage with another male. There had been plans for the glorified Kevin to have even his own comic book. The original Green Lantern character Alan Scott was reintroduced earlier this summer as himself in his long ago days of youth but with the new information that he had really been a homosexual all along as a young man. The Marvel Comics X-Men character Northstar was introduced as a homosexual way back in 1992 and just recently the storyline had him marry a longtime boyfriend. Batwoman, Kathy Kane, was introduced several years ago as a lesbian. In 2005 Marvel introduced a new series called ‘The Young Adventures’ including characters called Hulkling and someone called Wiccan who the publishers decided to make a homosexual couple. Some of these stories are complete with full-on males kissing males, and so on. And some people claim there’s no homosexual agenda?

My friend Danzil is correct that probably it’s only true believers in Jesus Christ who will ultimately stand up against such lies in our culture and try and reverse these trends. I know comic books are not all that important in the grand scheme of things but if we believe that then Christians should keep their kids away from them and we should also be willing to speak out against one more area of depravity.

Right Wing Round-Up - 8/30/12

Right Wing Leftovers - 8/30/12

  • Do you want to take a "Monumental" cruise with Kirk Cameron and Gary DeMar? Of course you do!
  • Longtime Newt Gingrich aide Rick Tyler is reportedly joining Todd Akin’s Senate campaign.
  • The University of Texas at Austin has announced that "no formal investigation is warranted into the allegations of scientific misconduct lodged against associate professor Mark Regnerus" for his anti-gay parents study.
  • FRC prays that God will "prevent the advance of evil in any national party or platform. May He intervene to advance good and inhibit evil in the GOP and Democratic Party Conventions."
  • Flip Benham says "the DNC hates the God of the Bible. It hates the God of our Pilgrim Forefathers and Founding Fathers. It hates the God (Jesus) who made America great and made her strong."

Another Romney Abortion Flip-Flop: No Exceptions for Health of the Mother

In an interview with CBS News on Monday, Mitt Romney said he disagreed with his own party’s support for criminalizing abortion without exceptions: “My position has been clear throughout this campaign; I’m in favor of abortion being legal in the case of rape and incest, and the health and life of the mother.”

Of course, Romney’s position on the legality of abortion has been anything but clear. Now his campaign denies that he supports allowing abortion when a woman’s health is in jeopardy, as he told reporter Scott Pelley. Instead, they say he only supports allowing abortion when a woman would die without one.

Marjorie Dannenfelser of Susan B. Anthony List, a major anti-choice group, in an interview with Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association insisted that the Romney campaign told her that Romney does not in fact believe in exceptions for the health of the mother, contradicting what he said in the Monday interview. If he did, Dannenfelser said, he would not have received the endorsement of her anti-choice organization.

Watch:

 

Ralph Reed's Distinction Without a Difference

Joe Hagan of New York Magazine caught up with Ralph Reed at the RNC and the two had a rather spirited discussion over religion and politics that eventually took on the issue of the contraception mandate and the Religious Right's vehement opposition to it.

Hagan asked Reed why conservatives are so outraged about this issue but don't seem to care that people are required to pay taxes that fund all sorts of things they find objectionable and immoral - like war - for which there are no exemptions. 

And the best explanation that Reed could come up with was "I don’t think it’s the same":

The Health and Human Services mandate that requires employers to include contraception as part of health insurance provisions, which upset the Catholics —

Not just Catholics. Liberty University, Ohio Christian University — [they are] going to be required to subsidize health services that in their classrooms, they teach is a sin.

The students don’t have to partake of these services.

I’m not talking about the students; I’m talking about the university and the denominations of the church behind it.

So you’re saying they’re paying for a service they don’t intend to use.

Yeah. Well, and that they believe is a moral evil.

But the government wages wars that we all pay for but many of us find to be fundamentally wrong on a spiritual and every other level. Isn’t that the same?

I don’t think it’s the same.

One is a personal choice that may end the life of an unborn child, the other is going to end the lives of thousands of already-born people.

No, not true.

How is that not true?

Because, well … because we allow for an exception, in the draft laws, for conscientious and religious objectors. No respected denomination in the history of this country, not the Quakers — when they were really committed pacifists, less so today — but I’m talking about during the 18th and 19th centuries. Look at the Revolution — where it was a big issue for Quakers. Nobody forced them to serve. It is true they were required to pay taxes, but no evangelical or Catholic is saying they should be required to pay taxes. You see? I think any fair-minded analysis in mainstream theology would say we’re all required to do that.

Reed says the two things are different because nobody is saying people of faith shouldn't be required to pay taxes ... yet one of the Religious Right's most fundamental positions is that tax dollars should never be used to pay for things like abortion because that would result in forcing conservative Christians pay for things they morally oppose. In fact, one of the Religious Right's primary complaints about health care reform is that it "will force taxpayers to fund abortions."

Reed's position seems to be that everyone ought to be required to pay taxes, but those taxes should not be used to force some conservative Christians to fund things they oppose but can be used to force other people fund things that they oppose because ... well, just because.

New Ad Highlights Romney's Right-Wing Agenda for the Supreme Court

Taking over the Supreme Court is an obsession on the far right, and Mitt Romney is on course to do their bidding. Romney selected none other than Robert Bork to serve as his chief judicial advisor. 

Just last week Romney deflected a question about abortion by saying it would be decided by the Supreme Court. He neglected to mention that he’s committed to overturning Roe v. Wade by appointing right-wing judges.
 
A new ad out today from People For the American Way takes Romney to task for his misleading remarks and highlights his extreme agenda for the Supreme Court.
 
 

AFA's Buster Wilson: God is using Hurricane Isaac to Punish New Orleans for LGBT Festival

American Family Association's Buster Wilson, who is the general manager of their radio network, is blaming Hurricane Isaac on the city of New Orleans for hosting Southern Decadence, the annual LGBT festival. Wilson joins other pastors in linking the festival to natural disasters which hit New Orleans in the past.

Watch:

John Derbyshire: Blacks are 'Radically Ill-Fitted for Life in Bourgeois Society'

After losing his job at the National Review, John Derbyshire has found a new home at the White Nationalist website VDARE where he can even more openly spew vitriol at minorities, as he did yesterday in his column comparing the situation of African Americans in the U.S. to the Roma, better known as gypsies, of Europe. “In both cases you have a big racial-ethnic bloc of people who are, for whatever reason—discuss among yourselves—radically ill-fitted for life in bourgeois society,” Derbyshire writes. “In both cases, actual bourgeois citizens opt for ethnic disaggregation: for the gypsies to be moved on, for separation by white flight from the underclass blacks. National authorities respond appropriately, with expulsion and incarceration.”

With views like these, it makes you wonder why National Review took so long to fire him.

The thing I find myself wondering is: are these truly, as I said back then, different kinds of problem—underclass blacks in America, gypsies in Europe?

In both cases you have a big racial-ethnic bloc of people who are, for whatever reason—discuss among yourselves—radically ill-fitted for life in bourgeois society.



In both cases, well-intentioned Left activists—under the banner of Civil Rights in the U.S.A., Human Rights in Europe—propose social-engineering solutions that would cost scads of public money, even as all our public money is vanishing into chasms of debt. Many of the proposed solutions have already been tried; all of them rest on implausible assumptions about human nature.

The best that either bloc has come up with on its own is the absurd-yet-sinister crackpot mock-militarism of the Nation of Islam.

In both cases, actual bourgeois citizens opt for ethnic disaggregation: for the gypsies to be moved on, for separation by white flight from the underclass blacks. National authorities respond appropriately, with expulsion and incarceration.
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