“Live by the sword, die by the sword”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has a history remarkably similar to another divisive political figure – President Barack Obama (D). And while there are similarity there are important differences.
Both Mr. Cruz and Mr. Obama were born of immigrant fathers; however, unlike Mr. Obama’s father, Mr. Cruz’ father decided to stick around and help raise his son – the two remain close to this day.
Both attended prestigious undergraduate schools – Mr. Obama at Columbia and Mr. Cruz at Princeton. However, Mr. Cruz graduated with honors (cum laude) with a host of academic and debating awards and publication of a treatise entitled “Clipping the Wings of Angels” arguing for constitutional limitations on the power of government. Mr. Obama had neither academic honors or published dissertations.
Both Mr. Cruz and Mr. Obama attended Harvard Law School where each graduated magnum cum laude and where each was selected as executive editor of the Harvard Law Review; however, where Mr. Cruz published articles ad nauseam, Mr. Obama published none, becoming the only editor in chief to do so.
But the real divergence occurs after graduation. Mr. Cruz was much recruited and pursed an active legal career inside and outside of government. Mr. Obama was not recruited and became a “community organizer” which requires neither a law degree nor, in fact, any college degree. (Both Mr. Cruz and Mr. Obama served as adjunct professors teaching elements of constitutional law and whereas Mr. Cruz’ students probably learned a great deal, given Mr. Obama’s growing list of failures before the United States Supreme Court, his students should ask the University of Chicago for their money back.)
Both Mr. Cruz and Mr. Obama learned the patois and cadence of the revivalist preachers and became mesmerizing speakers – Mr. Cruz during college, and Mr. Obama after he quit smoking dope. Mr. Cruz learned his from his father, a traveling evangelical minister; while Mr. Obama probably learned his from the likes of Reverend Jeremiah Wright – although Mr. Obama apparently learned only the patois and cadence given that he could not remember any of the racist and anti-Semitic sermons routinely preached by Rev. Wright.
Both began running for President of the United States before the ink was dry on their elections to the United States Senate. And finally, neither had any friends or admirers in the Senate – albeit Mr. Cruz colleagues were downright hostile while Mr. Obama’s were simply dismissive. And it is at this point that there is a final divergence. Mr. Obama was elected twice to the presidency, while Mr. Cruz will never be elected. And here is why.
Mr. Cruz mapped out a careful and detailed plan to win the Republican nomination. The centerpiece – the foundation – of the plan was an invigorated bloc of conservative evangelical voters. With access to a wide cadre of evangelical ministers through his father – an evangelical minister – Mr. Cruz began a carefully orchestrated courtship of those evangelical leaders. Initially, Mr. Cruz was successful. He created a small army of volunteers in Texas and early primary states. He imbued them with a fervor that the abuses of the secular politicians would end and that a person’s faith would be honored. That nearly fifty years of the liberal assault on religion would be halted and that a moral climate based on the Judeo-Christian teachings would ascend – a moral climate based on principle and not on relativism. And that is precisely where the wheels began to come off the wagon.
So long as Mr. Cruz was giving speeches, the fires of hope burned brightly. So long as Mr. Cruz was organizing, the primacy of the mission was apparent. But Mr. Cruz is duplicitous.
Hidden from view was the growing reputation that Mr. Cruz was gaining in the United States Senate as an orator who played fast and loose with the truth; as a back-stabber willing to sacrifice his colleagues for his own ambitions; and as an “ally” that could never be trusted. When those things began to be made public, Mr. Cruz promptly blamed others and declared that he was running against the “establishment” and that the criticisms were merely the “slings and arrows” that he had to endure from the powerful.
But that characteristic of moral relativism carried over into his presidential campaign. His inner circle was composed of people, like him, who would do anything to win. His campaign literature (ads, flyers, and speeches) began attacking other candidates using innuendo, half-truths and outright lies. During televised debates, he accused Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) of supporting amnesty for illegal aliens when it was readily apparent by Mr. Rubio’s actions that he had withdrawn his support for any plan involving a path to citizenship in favor of securing the border before ANY discussion as to the future of those already here illegally. In Iowa he sent his minions out to falsely tell caucus attendees that Dr. Ben Carson had withdrawn from the race and that his followers should support Mr. Cruz. He created a flyer that appeared to be an official document relating to “voter violations” if you did not attend a caucus. His campaign published a “photo-shopped” picture of Mr. Rubio shaking hands with President Obama in an effort to impose guilt by association. But my favorite is when he accused Donald Trump of favoring abortion because Mr. Trump said that Planned Parenthood provides valuable services to women’s health – that despite the fact that Mr. Trump had repeatedly said that he would cut off funding to Planned Parenthood based on its refusal to segregate women’s health services from its abortion practices. (Of course Planned Parenthood provides valuable services to women’s health – the same services that other organizations provide to women without encouraging unrestricted abortions. The fact that one recognizes the value of those services does not reflect one’s support for abortion on demand.)
When confronted with these facts, Mr. Cruz dissembled. He embraced moral relativism. He never answered for his own wrong doing but rather said that others were worse. In an interview this past Sunday with FOX News, when the host Chris Wallace read him the litany of his half-truths and dirty tricks, Mr. Cruz accused Mr. Wallace of reading from a Trump press release. And when Mr. Wallace quickly disabused Mr. Cruz of that notion and asked for an answer, Mr. Cruz instead asserted that others had done similar things and had not been called to account.
As the nature of Mr. Cruz began to become apparent, his evangelical base began to erode. And for good reason, most of the evangelicals that I have met actually live the life they espouse. They DO believe in the Judeo-Christian principles and they DO try to practice them in their own lives. They DO NOT believe in moral relativism and recoil regularly at the parsing of words, the stretching of truth and the convenient lies that have become the hallmark of politicians – they have come to expect it of those on the left but continue to be dismayed by those who engage in it on the right.
In Iowa, Mr. Cruz received only one-third of the evangelical vote, while the thrice-married Mr. Trump received twenty- two percent and Mr. Rubio receive twenty-one percent. In New Hampshire, Mr. Cruz lost the evangelical vote to Mr. Trump by a margin of twenty-seven percent to twenty-three percent. In South Carolina, the evangelical vote again went to Mr. Trump by a margin of thirty-three percent over Mr. Cruz’ twenty seven percent. And finally, in Nevada, Mr. Trump crushed Mr. Cruz amongst evangelical voters by a margin of forty-one to twenty-seven percent. This column is being written as voters in the Super Tuesday primary states go to the polls. With the exception of Texas, Mr. Cruz will lose every state to Mr. Trump and is more than likely to lose amongst evangelical voters in those states.
Mr. Cruz may have energized the evangelical vote, but after those voters got a look at the real Ted Cruz, they turned elsewhere with their support. Just because you have declared yourself to have been “born again;” just because you have acquired the vernacular of the evangelicals; and just because you have condemned the concept of moral relativism (while practicing it yourself) does not make you an evangelical. More likely it makes him like Elmer Gantry and just as the soiled minister of Sinclair Lewis’ tale, Mr. Cruz needs redemption from his hypocrisy.
Should Mr. Cruz be struck by lightening and actually become the Republican nominee, he will become the third Republican presidential candidate for whom I have refused to vote (President Richard Nixon twice and Sen. John McCain).