Let’s be clear. Sen. Ted Cruz is not going to be president. Nor is he going to be the Republican nominee. But his wingnut tendencies will make 2016 a headache for Republicans, and more entertaining for the rest of us.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R, Texas) announced his candidacy for the 2016 presidential race this week, with a speech at Liberty University, in Lynchburg, Virginia. The choice of Liberty University, the private fundamentalist university founded in 1971 by Moral Majority founder Rev. Jerry Falwell, was no coincidence. Cruz’s tea party credentials have long been solid. A campaign launch at Liberty University guaranteed Cruz a chance to launch himself as both the tea party candidate and the social conservative candidate.
Liberty University also guaranteed Cruz a packed house for his speech, because it was mandatory. Liberty University students had to attend Cruz’s speech, or be fined $10.00. As Jerry Falwell, Jr. later explained, convocation is held on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at Liberty University, and “attendance is required, just like class is required for students.” And, as one commenter on LU’s Facebook page pointed out, Cruz has spoken at enough convocations to know that policy, and know that it would guarantee a packed house.
So, yes, Sen. Ted Cruz delivered a speech championing liberty, at Liberty University, before a captive audience. Many of them weren’t happy about it, and spent the time commiserating with one another via YikYak.
Other students expressed themselves by wearing t-shirts advertising their support for another likely 2016 candidate.
These guys stood with Rand at the Cruz announcement pic.twitter.com/UTazmG9dPD
— Shane Goldmacher (@ShaneGoldmacher) March 23, 2015
Here’s the Stand with Rand crew pic.twitter.com/pVoyKIERaZ
— Kate Nocera (@KateNocera) March 23, 2015
Honestly, $10.00 seems a small price to pay in order to have escaped Cruz’s speech. Candidate Cruz crashed on social media as well. It all started with an innocent little tweet announcing his candidacy.
Twitter exploded with mockery, and #TedCruzCampaignSlogans.
— msnbc (@msnbc) March 23, 2015
IMAGINE: A Republican presidential candidate who doesn’t support the rights of women, immigrants, or LGBT Americans. #TedCruzCampaignSlogans
— The Democrats (@TheDemocrats) March 23, 2015
Twitter users also did a little sleuthing, and found out that Cruz had purchased the tedcruz.org domain, which directs users to his campaign website. However, Cruz had neglected to buy tedcruz.com, which now takes users to a site that looks like this.
This, folks, is something you learn in Political Campaigns 101, usually on day one: buy your domains before somebody else does. TedCruz.Com should have been nailed down during his 2012 Senate race. Period.
Liberty University students weren’t the only ones less than impressed with Cruz’s candidacy. It turns out, many Republicans plain don’t like the guy. Cruz’s presence in the GOP primary campaign is going to make things very interesting, if the comments from conservative media and his fellow Republicans are any indication.
- Rep. Peter King (R, New York) called Cruz a “big mouth” who “basically led the Republican Party over the cliff.” Cruz’s actions on the Senate floor, King said, bore “the marks of a carnival barker not the leader of the free world.”
- “Morning Joe” guest Donny Deutcsh said of Cruz “He is Sarah Palin,” Deutsch said. “He is theater. He is completely unelectable.”
- “Morning Joe” host Mika Brzezinski asked, “Is (Cruz) the Herman Cain, the 9–9–9 of this election? Is he the, I don’t know, the Rick Perry?”
- Fox News host Eric Bolling suggested Cruz is too inexperienced. “I don’t think he is ready yet,” Bolling said. “Maybe it’s not his time.”
- The Wall Street Journal editorial board ripped Cruz apart, calling him “a dream come true for Hillary Clinton,” because of his hardline stance on immgration.
- Fox News host Megyn Kelly went so far as to ask Cruz, “What have you actually accomplished?” When Cruz claimed credit for stopping things he had not actually stopped, Kelley pressed further, “But when you’re the president, you have to bring together coalitions to get things through,“ she said. ”You can’t just be somebody who stops things. You have to be somebody who gets things through.”
Unfortunately, for conservatives, Cruz isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. The GOP establishment hasn’t forgiven him for the debacle that was the 2013 shutdown over Obamacare, or his shortsighted maneuvering in the Senate that allowed Democrats to push through judicial nominations the GOP would have otherwise blocked. But Cruz’s ability to gather supporters and raise money —$500,000 in one day after announcing, despite being near the bottom tier of polls — suggest Cruz may be a strong presence in the GOP primaries, and a thorn in the side of Republican leadership, much to our considerable amusement.
- Colorado Republican State Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt said that a brutal attack on a pregnant woman, in which her unborn fetus was cut from her body, could be “the curse of God upon America,” for legal abortion.
- Apparently, Klingenschmitt’s remarks are too much even for the GOP. Colorado Republicans are scrambling to distance themselves from him.
- Idaho Republicans want to gut the federal courts to stop marriage equality.
- Texas has filed a lawsuit to stop gay couples from taking family leave.
- Arkansas Republican State Rep. Kim Hammer introduced a bill to enable the state to pay low-income single mothers to stop having children for at least five years. “We need to give them a little bit of a breather to think about their life decisions that are affecting us as taxpayers,” Rep. Hammer said.
- California is being forced to allow signatures on the “Sodomite Suppression Act” proposed by lawyer and anti-LGBT activist Matt McLaughlin. The law would require that LGBT people be executed with a shot to the head.
- Texas Republican State Rep. Sam Johnson has been roundly mocked for introducing a bill forcing Air Force Academy cadets to say “so help me God” during oaths. Americans, Johnson said, “have freedom of religion — but not freedom from religion.”
Here’s the best of the rest of the worst in wingnuttery this week:
- At the Vero Beach Prayer Breakfast, “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson shared a bizarre fantasy about an atheist family being raped and killed, to somehow prove a point about following God’s laws.
- Fox News Host Andrea Tantaros said that feminists had created a “war on boys” by encouraging false rape reports at universities.
- Tantaros also said that healthier school lunches are “causing mental problems” in students.
- Sean Hannity guest Gavin McInnes said that feminism’s “stupid lie” makes women more vulnerable during spring break. “Women aren’t as strong as men, they can’t even hold their booze as well as men. Of course, it’s true – don’t be ridiculous,” McInnes said.
- Rep. Aaron Schock (R, Illinois) stepped down this week, the same day that the producers of “Downton Abbey” announced the show’s next season would be its last. Schock’s downfall began after reports that he had his office lavishly redecorated in the style of the show.
- Always one for excess, Schock compared himself to Lincoln in his farewell speech.
- During a GQ profile of him, presidential wannabe said President Obama “looks good” and “elegant,” “like most psychopaths.” “That’s why they’re successful,” Carson added.
- Despite claims that Florida governor Rick Scott has not banned use of the phrase “climate change” by state employees, Florida’s chief of emergency preparedness drew laughter from lawmakers for refusing to say the “C-words” during a hearing before the state legislature.
- Rep. Louie Gohmert (R, Texas) exploded at FCC chairman Tom Wheeler at a congressional hearing on net neutrality. “You’re playing God with the internet,” Gohmert shouted.
- In a phone interview with BuzzFeed, Rep. Steve King (R, Iowa) complained that American Jews are “secular,” “leftists first,” “Democrats by political affiliation,” and “no longer have ties to Israel.”
- In a Facebook post, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R, Washington) asked constituents to post their Obamacare horror stories, and instead got heartfelt testimonials about how much Obamacare has helped them.
- Rep. Pete Sessions (R, Texas) botched basic math during the House budget debate, when he claimed that Obamacare would cost “$5 million per person,” by dividing 108 billion by 12 million.
- Speaking to American Family Radio host Kevin McCullough, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee compared the ACA contraception mandate to the “tyranny” that launched the American Revolution.
- Pat Robertson wishes Ronald Reagan would “rise from the dead and come back” to show America what a “real” president looks and sounds like. Never mind that today’s Republican party would call Reagan a RHINO.
- Upset by a “700 Club” caller who asked why Christians should have the right to “refuse service to others because they don’t agree with their lifestyle,” Robertson compared refusing service to gays to refusing to take part in idol worship.
- Robertson also rushed to judgement following the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525. “Was the co-pilot a Muslim?” Robertson asked.