In a speech at Liberty University, in Lynchburg, Va. — a right-wing school established by the Rev. Jerry Falwell — Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) announced his candidacy for the presidency in 2016. The announcement makes Cruz the first Republican, and the first major candidate to throw his had into the ring for 2016.
A campaign launch is sometimes carefully staged to send a subtle message to a core constituency about where a candidate really stands. Sometimes the message is not so subtle, as when Ronald Reagan launched his campaign with a speech touting “states’ rights” in Neshoba County, Mississippi — where civil rights workers Michael Schwerner, James Chaney, and Andrew Goodman were murdered in 1964.
It’s no coincidence that Cruz chose Liberty University as the site for his campaign. (Cruz was guaranteed a full house. Students had to attend or be fined.) The university is the home of the “Clinton Body Count” — the idea, popular on the right during the late 1990s, that Bill and Hillary Clinton were responsible for dozens of murders. It’s also chock-a-block with anti-gay activists. Cruz is already popular among the tea-party set, but that's not enough to keep him viable. With Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) likely to take most of the Libertarian vote, Cruz needs to pull as many social conservative votes as he can to have a hope of viability.
Cruz’s campaign launch was an overt attempt to reach out to the farthest right of the fringe, and the craziest true believers among the GOP base. Cruz shouldn’t have much trouble convincing them that he’s one of them, given some of the crazy things he believes.
- Ted Cruz launched his fake filibuster against Obamacare by claiming that failing to fight the implementation of Obamacare was akin to appeasing Adolf Hitler, and anyone who didn’t support his plans to stop health care reform were like Neville Chamberlain.
- Cruz once told a group of conservatives, “You no longer have a president,” because Barack Obama had implemented health care reform in a “lawless” way.
- Cruz told ABC’s Jonathan Karl that he believed the GOP could repeal Obamacare with Obama still in office.
- When he was running for the Senate, Cruz said that Texas should let the uninsured get health care from emergency rooms.
- Cruz promised to “uphold the sacrament of marriage” as president.
- Cruz claimed that court rulings in favor of same-sex marriage are “a real threat to our liberty.”
- Cruz claimed that Houston pastors may soon be “hauled off to jail for a hate crime,” due to the city’s anti-discrimination ordinance.
- Cruz’ father, Rafael Cruz, may be as much of an asset to his son’s campaign as a thorn in its side. The senior Cruz has a record of staying things so outrageous that Ted Cruz at one time denied his father spoke for him, even was his aide was booking dad’s gigs.
- Cruz claimed that legislation to protect access to abortion services is “a manifestation of the war on women.”
- Cruz said the Democrats seeking to amend the constitution to give Congress the power to regulate campaign financing were really out to “expressly repeal the free-speech protections of the First Amendment.”
- Cruz also derided “Farenheit 451 Democrats,” claiming that a proposed campaign finance amendment shows that liberals wanted to ban and burn books.
- Cruz claimed the amendment to get money out of politics would “censor” Saturday Night Live, and “Lorne Michaels (of Saturday Night Live) could be put in jail under this amendment for making fun of any politician.”
- Cruz also claimed that the amendment to repeal Citizens United would “muzzle” pastors.
- Cruz called the standoff between the Bureau of Land Management and supporters of scofflaw and racist rancher Cliven Bundy, the “unfortunate and tragic culmination of the path that President Obama has set the federal government upon.”
- Cruz claimed that the United Nations/George Soros “Agenda 21” would “abolish 'unsustainable' environments, including golf courses, grazing pastures, and paved roads.”