Brace for odious Tea Partiers and mind-numbing fundamentalists to shout “Praise the Lord” for the slickest hustler of their extremist faith, Ted Cruz. Imagine Justice Scalia in the White House, marriage banned for gays but not between church and state, discrimination against minorities, immigrants, and legal abortion, assaults on voting rights, and the crown jewel that deposes federalism: crucify the IRS. “Cruz,” incidentally, means “cross,” thus with kinship to “crucify,” for what it’s worth.
Actually, Cruz said “abolish” the IRS, but look at the multiples ironies. His “abolitionist” crusade (ban the IRS, gay marriage, Obamacare, climate scientists) takes on the very same federalism that abolished plantation slavery while crushing a like-minded, confederate rebellion. Imagine Palin with brainpower and Constitutional law training, pandering with faux logic, not garbled syntax. Donald Trump without knee-jerk bigotry but good debating moves. Rick Perry with a memory, pinpointing every Washington tyranny worthy of fire and brimstone.
But wait, for I find light, not just heat, in Cruz’ fiery rabble-rousing and scheming shutdowns. Could brother Cruz not offer that magical bridge over troubled waters, coursing through the Nader dreamscape when the not-yet-deranged right clasps hands with leftists on the barricades? Arguably, the more disruption, the merrier if it washes away the toxic status quo. Unlike establishment puppets clinging to set scripts, Cruz is the real thing, a radical who scorns all compromise and suffers neither fools (every Democrat). nor party betrayers (McCain nailed Cruz as “wacko bird”).
The Cruz ministry responds to all concocted conspiracies with simplicity itself: accept with absolute faith the literal truth of God’s crowning works: the Bible and our Constitution. “Reason not the need” — for if distant scribes or “theocratic” Founders (sure!) had not meant exactly what they said, God would have fed them different words. Or syntax. Or punctuation. Beware quibblers, that Jesus’ Aramaic came via Greek, then Latin and Arabic before alighting with European tongues. Piety teaches that “when God speaks to the faithful, nothing is lost in translation.”
So, why should the left cheer on Cruz, not scoff at his mean-spirited regression and outdated absolutism. Let us count the ways.
1) Let’s End Republican Solidarity: An inflexible Cruz missile disrupts the dominant party’s need for high unity against a plausibly unifying 2016 Democrat. Even GOP honchos and funders can’t stand Cruz’ truculent tirades, nor welcome his predictably sneering endorsements of any centrist nominee. And actually nominating Cruz dramatizes how far (or how low) the GOP will go, inflaming incipient party strife that can’t help but improve the world. Why should Cruz’ purist loyalists pollute themselves with amoral, unchristian billionaire profiteers or amoral, winning-is-everything operatives? Let the Rapture ranks fight the good fight, for does God not control everything? Why the almighty even lets such fruitcakes sniff such immense power — that’s a mystery for another day.
2) Let’s Test the Extremist GOP Election Thesis: Simply, that modern Republicans lose with mushy “centrists” like Dole, McCain and Romney but win when “true conservatives” run — Reagan and Dubya (!), even Bush I (!!). Purity is the ticket to the White House, per this fiction, especially vs. that evil, “liberal” Clinton “woman” (actual bad word deleted). Cruz wouldn’t be caught dead compromising his principles and, like other insurgents, would die for the cause, knowing it will improve his heavenly status. What political messiah succeeded without dissing some moribund party line, even being the ego-driven, loose cannon? Let Cruz have his head and test this thesis, once again: he can only magnify how politically bankrupt is the ultra-right.
3) Let’s Watch Extremism Implode: Obviously, a major, anti-federalist party crusade is missing in action since 1964. If Obama instigated the Tea Party flair-up (however co-opted), why not assume Mr. Strident Right-winger won’t similarly “gift” the left, along with rare electoral fireworks? Would not Cruz’ ferocity fit that bill, so outlandish he’d might even help Senator Warren reform Wall Street crimes? No GOP mouthpiece would more jeopardize GOP Senate control. Could Cruz not accomplish instantly what the Democratic Party hasn’t done in a decade: reframe how we analyze problems, propose solutions, and organize political pressure? What serves the left better than a fanatic itching to reinvent Goldwater’s infamous dictum: “extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice”? Recall the rush of progressive ’60’s reforms after that zealotry went off the tracks.
4) Let’s Really Talk Science and Knowledge: What this country needs is mass re-education about core subjects, nothing more than: what is knowledge, what is science, even reality, and how does reason and logic make sense of the world? Tough stuff, I know. If we don’t reverse the calculated ignorance foisted by red state classrooms and churches, say goodbye to the triumphs of civilization, like measurable data wherein reason trumps voodoo, faith, denial, superstition, and willful ignorance. What better teaching moments loom than for top minds to eviscerate Cruz’ indefensible laugher this week, that “global warming alarmists” do not “engage in reasoned debate,” sounding instead apocalyptic alarms “equivalent of the flat-Earthers.” Let those games begin, for that’s a gold mine for rationality as a parade of the world’s greatest minds exposes truly benighted “flat-Earthers.”
However clever a debater, Cruz must eventually defend Senator Inhofe’s folly depicting climate change as “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.” What, next to trickle-down economics, WMDs or Iraqi oil will pay all war expenses? Either Cruz’ faith-based, anti-intellectualism is exposed as a hustle or the U.S. truly descends, unable to distinguish propaganda from knowledge. Even Inhofe’s own Presbyterian Church rejects his denial, urging each believer “to calculate your carbon emissions, to educate others, and to use less energy, striving to make your life carbon neutral.” Let our best science confront not just carbon emissions but the more dangerous emissions of Cruzian blather.
5) Let’s Trigger Progressive Reform: Though slower than glacial melting, our majority can awaken from deep sleep, but only when gored by insufferably bad leadership. Thus, before our worst president (and VP, too), Dick Cheney left in disgrace, the devastation was palpable. Only the magnitude of the fiasco was unknown. Did not that nadir allow the “change-artist” Obama to outflank the entrenched Hillary, then trash McCain as tarnished goods? Like Hoover before FDR, Nixon before Carter, or Bush I before Clinton, enough debilitating debacles prompt the widespread appeal of change.
Of course, the cycle never promises that right and good follow terrible times, only that unendurable collapse opens the the door for rehabilitation. Depressions (1890’s and 1930’s) fueled our two greatest reform eras, both markedly reigning in the worst of capitalism. Just nominating Cruz would be a tectonic shift, but imagine a President Cruz. Nostalgia for Dubya would wash out Cruz’s nasty, theocratic confederacy, and what better lever would again elect progressives?
No guarantees from this skeptic, but either we get another cyclical pendulum towards the light or more woe looms. So, overall, there’s cause aplenty to encourage Cruz’ long-shot race: dinosaurs, after all, had to die off before evolution developed a more humanistic, rational mammal. Hey, fate offers us a 50-50 chance: either badness produces more badness or something better emerges, by hook or by crook. Cruz has the best chance to abolish the status quo, a modest ’16 goal.