Monday, February 25, 2013

TX Senator Ted Cruz: The New Joe McCarthy?

TX Senator Ted Cruz
For those who don’t know about Wisconsin Senator Joe McCarthy’s scurrilous red-baiting crusade in the early 1950s watch newly elected Texas Senator Ted Cruz. McCarthy shattered the careers of innocent public servants and alienated McCarthy from his fellow senators, but also made him a folk hero on the right. Cruz is making enemies in Washington, but winning support in Texas.

 WI Sen Joe McCarthy
In his first two months on the job, Cruz has baselessly asserted that President Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel might have received money from the North Korean government. He reiterated his belief that there were 12 Communists on Harvard Law School’s faculty when he was a student there. Being at odds with his fellow Republicans gives Cruz quick attention from the media and makes him the darling of the far right. His rhetoric makes him appear smart and fearless to his Tea Party base.

Huff Post Politics explains the reception to Cruz:

…conservatives’ appetite for Cruz shows that the GOP base’s animating spirit still hasn’t changed: Loud, aggressive and reflexive hostility to President Obama, the Democratic Party and any Republican who would dare contemplate compromise is still how “conservatism” is defined.

Cruz’s Cuban-American background by itself won’t improve his or his party’s standing with Hispanics or other minorities. Instead, he’s appealing to the aging, overwhelmingly white core of the Republican base which stifles the party’s efforts to re-brand itself to appeal to women, Latino and other elements of the Obama coalition.

It will be interesting to see how the G.O.P. handles the “Ted Cruz problem”.

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