Cruz Control

By Bill Maher

Ted Cruz is a bigger asshole than we'd even suspected.

Last week there were a lot of people throwing the "M" word at Ted Cruz: "McCarthy." And then a reporter at The New Yorker  discovered that this might've been even more accurate than anyone had thought. Here's an excerpt from a speech Cruz made at a 2010 rally for "Americans for Prosperity."

"There were fewer declared Republicans in the faculty [at Harvard Law] when we were there than Communists! There was one Republican. But there were twelve who would say they were Marxists who believed in the Communists overthrowing the United States government."

Harvard Law reacted with puzzlement and distaste. Even one of Cruz' mentors was left scratching his head. Professor Charles Fried, a Republican (and Reagan's old Solicitor General), had this to say:

"I have not taken a poll, but I would be surprised if there were any members of the faculty who 'believed in the Communists overthrowing the U.S. government.' There were a certain number (twelve seems to me too high) who were quite radical, but I doubt if any had allegiance or sympathy with anything called 'the Communists.'"

Fried told The New Yorker that he remembered Cruz as "very bright, very hard-working and very conservative, in a well-mannered, agreeable way..." He added, "This surprises me. It suggests he's changed."

So Ted Cruz immediately apologized and backed off. No, I'm kidding, he doubled down  and trashed the press for having the gall to bring this up. His spokeswoman said it was "curious," which is one of my favorite new crypto-accusation words of the Weasel Right. "It's curious that the New Yorker would dredge up a three-year-old speech and call it 'news.'"

Yes, so "curious" that they would do "research" to establish background "information" about someone who has suddenly appeared on the national stage. If there’s one thing Republicans can't stand, it's vetting.

But still, calling his old profs revolutionary Communists when they demonstrably weren't... he backed off of that, right? Nope. His office's statement:

"Senator Cruz's substantive point was absolutely correct: in the mid-1990s, the Harvard Law School faculty included numerous self-described proponents of 'critical legal studies' -- a school of thought explicitly derived from Marxism -- and they far outnumbered Republicans."

Okay, this is partly about showmanship. As we learned when he called Kerry and Hegel "less than ardent fans of the military," when Ted gets up in front of an audience, he can't resist a good applause line, regardless of its truth value.  

But in more importantly, Ted Cruz represents the Republican establishment's weird trip back to 50's, where we fear and shun all social and political change and tar anything that smacks of "reform" with a broad, stupid brush. What's so weird is that this is happening without the benefit of a Red Menace. It's nostalgia for a bygone enemy.

So to guys like Ted Cruz, there is no difference between someone being a socialist, a communist, a Marxist, or even just a person who thinks Marx had some interesting things to say. Thus being proponent of a "school of thought explicitly derived from Marxism" is the exact same thing as being "Marxists who believed in the Communists overthrowing the United States Government." Tomato tomahto.