The first Republican candidate for the office of president announced on Monday that he is running. Foreign-born tea party "whacko bird" Rafael Edward Cruz made the announcement to a "captive audience" on Monday, and the response has been nothing less than spectacular. Even members of his own party can't stand him.
The announcement was made initially on Twitter to a rash of responses calling him laughable, toxic, and science-hating. The Twitter announcement was followed up by a live announcement during a speech at Liberty University.
Making an announcement of this magnitude on a college campus might seem like a risky move for a conservative like Cruz, but the unviersity is no ordinary college. Lynchburg, Virginia's Liberty University was founded the Reverend Jerry Falwell in the early 1970s and is listed as one of the top 10 most conservative colleges in the country. There was no chance that Cruz's speech would be interrupted by liberal protesters -- about as low as they would have been at CPAC. The friendly territory allowed Cruz to send social conservatives a message while seemingly appealing to young people.
College kids at assemblies aren't known for their pious demeanor -- even at conservative schools during mandatory assemblies. That's right! Attendance at Cruz's speech was mandatory for Liberty students, giving a slightly nuanced meaning to "captive audience" and an ironic twist to Cruz's patriotic, freedom-loving rhetoric. During the speech students in attendance took to the anonymous local messaging app Yik Yak, posting messages about the speech that were picked up by Twitter users -- comments like "Did John Lennon write this speech or what," referring to Cruz's multiple uses of the word "imagine," and "Alrighty change of plans. I don't think I can drink fast enough to keep up with how many times he says imagine. I already owe like 5 shots. I can't catch up."
Not only did the kids flame and troll Cruz online; they did it in real life. Have a look at the "Stand With Rand" T-shirts in the background of this image.
Comedy and satire joined the fray with The Onion publishing a piece later the same day titled "Who Is Ted Cruz?"
- Political Positions: Deafening
Jon Stewart also mocked Cruz on The Daily Show, noting Cruz's "third-person autobiography," pointing out the Texas senator's appeal for sympathy as he spoke about going off to college:
Imagine another teenage boy being raised in Houston ... [h]eading off to school over a thousand miles away from home, in a place where he knew nobody, where he was alone and scared....
Almost brings a tear to your eye.
"Dude, you went to Princeton," Stewart says. "Don't make it sound like you got forced onto the train to Hogwarts."
But Stewart's biggest slam came when he described how Cruz, the small-government conservative, asked students to "imagine a federal government that protected the privacy rights of every American" and then asked all the students to text the word "constitution" to 33733, without telling them why. Stewart pointed out:
Let me clarify this a little bit: Students at Liberty University were required to attend a partisan political speech where a small-government conservative who had just promised he would respect privacy rights told them if they cared about freedom, text your information to a mysterious address that collects your cell phone number for undisclosed purposes.
The next day we found out that the health-insurance plan Cruz was on with his wife's Goldman Sachs premium health insurance will not be available during her leave of absence, so he's signing up for Obamacare -- the very plan he claims God doesn't want you have, saying in his speech:
From the dawn of this country, at every stage America has enjoyed God's providential blessing. Over and over again, when we face impossible odds, the American people rose to the challenge. You know, compared to that, repealing Obamacare and abolishing the IRS ain't all that tough.
So, according to Ted Cruz, God wants 16.4 million Americans to have no health care. God also wants a regressive flat tax that will benefit the wealthy while increasing the tax burden on everyone else. What Cruz described was not God, unless God is the Koch brothers.
I guess what he's saying is, "I never said I didn't want to have it. I said I didn't want everyone else in the country to have it."
Andy Borowitz at The New Yorker wrote a satirical piece in which he reports that President Obama has signed an executive order making Cruz ineligible for coverage. According to Borowitz, the president said, "Clearly, the hardship of receiving Obamacare was causing Ted a great deal of pain. This should take care of that."
All kidding aside, while students and comedians are making hay about Cruz's hypocrisy, ignorance, incompetence, and general lunacy, his party isn't too pleased with his announcement.
Donald Trump, king of real estate, reality TV, bad hair, and birth certificates, immediately brought into question Cruz's eligibility for the office based on where he was born: Canada.
On Monday on MSNBC's conservative Morning Joe with Joe Scarborough, just before Cruz made his announcement, Donny Deutsch said that Cruz may have a reputation as a "smart guy" but has shown in reality that he's actually pretty "dumb."
"Everybody keeps saying he's a smart guy, but this is a guy who basically is saying that climate change is not a fact," Deutsch said. "That's not smart! That's dumb. That's ignorance."
Deutsch, who described Cruz as "completely unelectable," went on to say:
Basically, he's accomplished nothing. He's involved, I think, in two bills. He had a vote in the Senate last Saturday that had 22 votes. He's an obstructionist. He brings no new ideas to the table other than "No," and I think this country is tired of that.
Rep. Peter King (R-New York) had maybe one of the best interviews regarding Cruz, calling him a carnival barker and adding that he would sooner jump off a bridge than support Cruz. King commented on Facebook, saying:
The Republican party and the American people have to be able to find a more qualified candidate for President than Ted Cruz. Shutting down the federal government and reading Dr. Seuss on the Senate floor are the marks of a carnival barker not the leader of the free world.
With friends like these....
Even conservative and lunatic-friendly Fox News isn't too sure about Cruz for president. In an interview with the sometimes-reasonable Megyn Kelly, Cruz responded to the criticism following his announcement.
"On your time in the Senate -- this is what some of your critics point to -- they say, yes, you led the fight on certain issues, but what have you actually accomplished?" Kelly asked.
"What we've accomplished over and over again, in many instances, is stopping bad things from happening," Cruz replied, citing his opposition to gun-control legislation following the Sandy Hook shooting as an example.
"But when you're the president, you have to bring together coalitions to get things through," Kelly pressed. "You can't just be somebody who stops things. You have to be somebody who gets things through."
Cruz countered that he's had more bills pass the Senate than "all but a handful" of his fellow Republicans have.
Let's be clear: In the three years that Cruz has been in office, only three bills written by him have been signed into law.
Then Cruz went on to bloviate about what he called "the Reagan coalition," saying, "We brought together conservatives and libertarians and evangelicals and women and young people and Hispanics and Reagan Democrats," he said.
"All those people are now being told that you're 'scary,' 'dangerous,' and 'slimy,'" Kelly replied. "This is what you're up against."
So there it is. That's what he's up against. His own party thinks he's incompetent, crazy and borderline-dangerous, with some calling him slimy, scary, and reminiscent of McCarthy in demeanor and action.
Cruz doesn't stand a chance, and all his candidacy does is serve as comedic fodder and a distraction during the primary debates. Sarah Palin's younger brother is getting his shot at stardom and throwing an enormous gift to the Democrats and Hillary Clinton.
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