Two opportunists: Ted Cruz, top, Joseph McCarthy, bottom.
Texas U.S. Senator Ted Cruz looks a lot like the late Sen. Joseph McCarthy. That was the first thing I noticed when watching a video of his presidential campaign announcement today. I mean physically. Admittedly I know little about the guy (yet).
From what little I do know, however, I can’t take him seriously. But the New York Times seems to, at least in two news stories I just read. Editorially, of course that paper would never accept him, but they know trouble maybe when they smell it.
(For anyone reading this who does not know who Joseph McCarthy was, well look him up in Wikipedia maybe, but in short he projected fear and wielded power in the early 1950s by accusing people in and out of government as being members of the Communist Party and being communist operatives. He seldom if ever provided real proof, often just waving pieces of paper with supposed lists of subversives that were never checked out. He was finally brought down for the shameless demagogue he was, but not before ruining many lives.)
I was impressed by Cruz’s oratorical ability. I had never heard him speak. I’m always impressed by that, even when I can’t stand the person’s politics. I mean you even have to give Adolph Hitler his due at ability in oratory. Even if you don’t know German (I don’t, just a few words) you can watch and listen and feel the effect or imagine the effect it might have on people desperate for hope and wanting to feel better about themselves and have some other group to blame for their plight and to dislike: Hitler, the Jews and non-Germans and homosexuals, Cruz, undocumented immigrants and homosexuals and Democrats.
With what I know so far of Cruz’s hard reactionary-right stances, it is difficult for me to imagine him winning a nationwide election when the winners of the past have had to move toward the center of the political spectrum.
But what if Cruz did manage to pull in Tea Partyers and others who have reportedly skipped voting because they did not like establishment Republicans who they see as no better than liberal Democrats? And then what if capturing the Republican nomination he faced off against, say, Hillary Clinton (the only likely Democratic candidate at the moment)?
He’s a better speaker. More vibrant. He has the voice, poise, gestures, and he’s got that old-time religion. Cruz announced his candidacy at a Christian university.
He was the first hopeful of either major party to announce.
McCarthy’s single theme was weeding out communist infiltrators within our ranks. Cruz’s I don’t know, except he seems to champion “Christian values” and equates anything that government might do for people as against those values. When he just mentioned the word “Obamacare” to his partisan crowd he got derisive laughter. He equates things like national health care to the taking away of liberty. That works with the home crowd. But will it work on the national scale? Maybe if he were to be nominated he would tone that down a bit (or not).
I have a theory too that I have posited before. Barack Obama first won the presidency in part because of the novelty of being the first black president. Well the novelty has worn off. Maybe the electorate this time around will be searching for an exciting leader, not a novelty such as the first woman president. Just a thought.
But still I just don’t see Cruz as leader of the United States.
(And I have to mention he was born in Canada and even though our constitution limits the presidency to natural-born citizens, most experts seem to think because his mother was a natural-born citizen of the U.S. he qualifies. This question has never been addressed by the high court. Former presidential candidates George Romney (Mitt’s dad), born in Mexico, and John McCain, in the Panama Canal Zone, faced questions in that regard.)
I don’t know if he is anything like or can be at all compared to Joe McCarthy to any great degree (other than looks) But I do think that both men are/were opportunists.
You always have to watch out for opportunists.
From background I have just read Cruz has more intellect than McCarthy ever did. That’s not so much as good as it is dangerous.