THE BLOG
08/08/2012 01:36 pm ET Updated Oct 08, 2012

The People's Choice! Only, Not Really

If you thought that right-wing politicos couldn't get any goofier ­take a
peek at Texas on "Cruz Control."

Ted Cruz is America's latest tea party darling, having just
pulled off a political contortion in Texas that few would've thought humanly
possible: he got to the right of Gov. Rick Perry! The "Oops" governor is
himself a former tea party darling who's such a far-out know-nothing that
he's renowned for putting the goober in gubernatorial. By the time of last
week's Republican runoff election, however, Cruz had squinched himself
Houdini-like into even-further-out political positions than Perry has taken,
thus wowing the tealeaf crowd and defeating the guy whom Perry was backing
to be the Party's nominee for a seat in the U.S. Senate.

How far out is he? One of the white-hot talking points Cruz used
to fire-up the narrow extremists who now control the Texas GOP is that he
will, by God, defend America's golf courses! You might not have realized
that golf course defense is a burning national issue crying out for the
attention of U.S. senators, but such keen vigilance on even the most
unimaginable threats to our nation is the kind of stuff that makes Cruz a
tea party fave.

Defend golf courses against what, you ask? Not turf rot,
rampaging moles, or those bothersome environmentalists ­ but that old
right-wing bugaboo: The United Nations. "Stop Agenda 21," cries Cruz in an
alert posted prominently on his campaign website, even taking this war whoop
onto talk radio and TV, including an enlightening appearance with the
always-thoughtful Glenn Beck. Agenda 21 is a 20-year-old, innocuous
nonbinding UN resolution (agreed to by then-President George Bush the
First). It encourages governments to develop plans for sustainable
development of "open spaces" ­ and that's what rubs Ted raw. Open spaces,
you see, includes golf courses.

To the barricades, Patriots -- ­ grab your putters and mashies and
rush to your local links, for the UN is coming over yon hill!

To double-down on his political wackiness creds, Cruz notes
ominously (and falsely) that
"The originator of this grand scheme is George
Soros." Doubling-down yet again, Cruz adds (also falsely) that Soros is a socialist devil who believes in "eliminating national
sovereignty and private property."

Thus, he concludes, "The real question is will we have senators in
Washington who will take steps to stop this nonsense?" Yes, Ted, right back
at you ­ we need some sane senators who'll stop the nonsense and start
dealing honestly with America's real problems.

Unfortunately, golf goofiness is not the only nonsense that this
guy embraces. He's also a Social Security privatizer, a "tenther," a
turn-em-loose front man for Big Oil, an opponent of extending unemployment
benefits to America's jobless millions, a die-hard champion of deregulating
Wall Street greed (his wife, coincidentally, is a top regional executive for
Goldman Sachs), a regressive flat tax acolyte, and a shameless promoter of
the anti-Islam poppycock that the stealthy spread of Sharia law is "an
enormous problem
" in the U.S.

Nonetheless, Cruz did win and is now celebrated as "the people's
choice" in Texas, having piled up a whopping 57% of the vote last week. The
media reported this as politically earth-shaking, blaring that "high
turnout" by tea partiers created a "surge at the polls" that carried Cruz to
his "huge" win. The Lone Star result, concluded many pundits, shows that the
people want candidates aligned with "tea party values."

Hog poop. The "big story" in politics often is not the one
trumpeted by the myopic media and political cognoscenti, but the one they
don't report at all. In the Cruz case, we should step back from the hyped
results, take a deep breath, and look at two big, honking, neon-lit numbers
that reveal a stunning truth about the state of our democratic process.
First : 631,316. That's how small the actual vote was for Cruz and his whole
kit and caboodle of far-right-wing balderdash. Next: 15,915,758. That's how
many eligible voters there are in the state.

Do the math (which the media failed to do), and the real story turns out to
be that Cruz is the choice of no more than 4% of the voters of Texas.

This is what America's politics has become ­-- so empty and
asinine that a guy wins a nomination to a U.S. senate seat with a pathetic
four percent of the votes and then is hailed as the choice of "the people."