Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Start your engines, GOP candidates

The 2016 Republican Klown Kar Kavalcade started trying to start the engine today, with Canadian-born first-term US Senator from Texas, Rafael Edward “Ted” Cruz being the first to try and turn the key. Only 1 year, 7 months, 16 days to go!

Cruz, the son of a fire-and-brimstone fundamentalist preacher, chose to make his announcement in a way he could make abundantly clear that he was running as the fundamentalist “Christian” candidate: He went to Dead Jerry Falwell’s rightwing religious school, Liberty University. “Today, roughly half of born again Christians aren’t voting. They’re staying home,” he told the folks there, including students ordered to attend. “Imagine instead,” he said using his rhetorical catchword for the speech, “millions of people of faith all across America coming out to the polls and voting our values.”

Evangelical Christians alone cannot win the presidency for any candidate, though they could certainly help in the Republican Primaries, where they dominate. The problem is demographics: There aren’t enough Evangelicals to win the presidency without additional support from other segments of society, particularly when—contrary to the Canadian-born Senator’s assumption—they’re not all anti-science, anti-gay, anti-women extremists like he is. “Our” values, huh? Not exactly.

Ah, women—the Republican Party’s Achilles' Heel. In 2012, the party lost women’s votes by a 12-point margin. Despite some improvement in 2014, the Party continues to take anti-women positions, a recent example being when they tried to ram anti-abortion legislation through Congress. It was so extreme that the few Republican women in Congress had to publicly rebel in order to stop it.

In 2016, the Democratic nominee may well be a woman, which might galvanise female voters. Assuming that happens, and when you’re part of party widely viewed as anti-women, it doesn’t seem like a particularly bright idea to build a campaign around what ThinkProgress called, “The Most Anti-Woman Agenda Yet.”

On the other hand, we really shouldn’t be surprised that the Canadian-born Senator is so dim. He famously tried a political stunt at the end of the last Congress that ended up helping the Democrats and torpedoing the partisan political efforts of the actual Republican leadership in Congress (and Republicans were so happy with him for doing that!). More recently, he called for the repeal of a federal law that doesn’t even exist. Clearly, he’s not the brightest bulb.

My mockery and ridicule of Cruz is born of my utter contempt for him. For me, he personifies everything that’s wrong with the modern Republican Party, with rightwing politics generally—actually, he represents the worst elements in US politics. I also think he’s dangerous.

Obviously, much of Cruz’s agenda is pure pandering and utterly unachievable. For example, in this Congress, he won’t be able to get legislation passed to take away federal recognition and benefits for married couples who are same-gender, but even if that happened in the new Congress and was signed by a—perish the thought—Republican president, it would be unconstitutional. An amendment to the US Constitution to do that or, as Cruz actually does want, one to forbid courts from overturning state laws banning marriage equality, are impossible (the one Cruz wants is especially impossible: That ship has already sailed).

But the fact that Cruz’s cynical quixotic crusades are meant only to pander to the radical right, since they're unachievable, doesn’t make that agenda (or him) any less dangerous. By proposing a radical agenda of repression, he makes it okay to talk about HOW to oppress the people that the radical right religionists hate, such as women, LGBT people, Black people, and immigrants in particular. Cruz may propose extreme, unachievable measures, but it makes less extreme proposals of oppression far more possible.

And, in the meantime, his demonising of LGBT people, of women, of scientists, of liberals, of immigrants, etc., all makes the victimisation of such people much more acceptable, and actual violence possible. He could—and should—tone down his rhetoric, but it wouldn’t change the dangerous intent of his message.

I can’t think of a single thing that Cruz has ever said that I agree with. With almost anyone else, I’d assume that there must be something we agree on, but with Cruz, I actually doubt there is.

I hope for a very early exit for the Canadian-born Senator from Texas.

Footnote: I sincerely apologise to Canadians for referring to Cruz as “Canadian-born”. I mean no disrespect to Canada or Canadians. He's not your fault. Instead, I’m trying to underscore the rank and vile hypocrisy of the US rightwing for creaming in their jeans over Cruz—who was born in Canada—while STILL declaring that Barack Obama—who was born in Hawaii, USA—wasn’t eligible to be president. If Republicans had grown-up and put away their childish things—like their stupid “birtherism”—I’d have no need to mock them over the fact that Cruz really is foreign-born (but just as entitled to run for president as Obama was because both their mothers were US citizens when they were born). So, sorry for defaming you, Canada, but at least you can rest easy knowing that since Cruz apparently renounced his Canadian citizenship, you’re rid of him. Maybe one day the USA will be as lucky as you.

The image up top is a screen grab of a Tweet from the Democratic Party. I fully endorse that message.


rogerogreen said...

With the pathetic turnout, almost any group could win the vote. Note the 2014 takeover of Congress by the GOP. It's turnout, turnout, turnout...

Arthur Schenck (AmeriNZ) said...

That's a very good point. Part of the goal of the rightwing is to make mainstream voters so disgusted with politics that they'll say "a pox on both their houses" and just stay home. The Right knows that their supporters will vote no matter what, so they're only turning off the voters who would votes against them. It's a cynical strategy, but one that works very well for them (in many countries, actually, including New Zealand).

The cold hard truth is that someone staying home is effectively voting for the Republicans, no matter their ideology. Turnour is VITAL to defeating the Right in because the USA's electoral deck is stacked so heavily against Democrats by Republicans' gerrymandering, voter suppression, union busting—the list goes on and on and on…