Why Cruz Pretends to Believe Conspiracies

October 30th, 2011 at 12:13 am | 33 Comments |

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The race for the GOP nomination for US Senator from Texas took an odd turn recently. Ted Cruz, the former Solicitor General of Texas, is running for this seat against various opponents, including Texas Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, who is widely considered to be the frontrunner at this time.

At events in Tyler and Sugarland, Texas, Cruz referred to the New York–based Council on Foreign Relations as “a pernicious nest of snakes” that is acting to undermine US sovereignty, as shown in an article (with video) by Ben Smith in Politico.

While such anti-CFR rhetoric is not uncommon among more fringe elements of the right, particularly in Alex Jones country, this isn’t really the sort of thing one expects to hear from a polished candidate like Cruz. He is a partner at the white-shoe law firm of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, a graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law School, and his wife (as is pointed out in the Politico article) was a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations until earlier this year. This incident caused Paul Burka, senior executive editor at Texas Monthly, to ask:

Why Cruz has aligned himself with the loonies in this race is beyond me. With all the serious problems the country is facing, why would he choose to focus on the Council of Foreign Relations? No one in politics has even thought about the CFR since the Cold War ended, except, apparently, people in Tyler and Sugarland and Mrs. Cruz.

I’m completely speculating here, but I suspect the reason why Cruz is taking this position is because he’s been facing criticism from elements of the Republican Party here in Texas because of his wife’s past membership in the CFR and by extension his linkage to it.

This criticism has largely been under the radar, but it is the sort of thing one sees mentioned about Cruz in online articles about him (often in the comments sections) and I’m guessing that is a fact that hasn’t gone unnoticed by Cruz’s campaign.

I’m not suggesting Ted Cruz is being insincere in his criticism of the Council on Foreign Relations. It is not uncommon for people who see an organization from the inside or near-inside to become critics of that organization, based on what they saw and heard up close and personal. But it’s also likely that he is criticizing the CFR because he feels like he has to, in order to distance himself from an organization that isn’t necessarily popular among the Tea Party constituency that he is courting in his run for the US Senate. Necessity is the mother of more than just invention.

Recent Posts by Mark R. Yzaguirre

33 Comments so far ↓

  • rbottoms

    I’m not suggesting Ted Cruz is being insincere in his criticism of the Council on Foreign Relations.

    Why not?

    The reason the GOP is overrun by lunatics is because people like you don’t have the stones to state the obvious. Rush Limbaugh is a racist windbag and the New World Order, black helicopter, militia crazies are no different than the 30%’s who think Obama is from Kenya and that ACORN stole the election.

    Dog whistle calls for secession from Rick Perry, his Birther shout out are all aimed at precisely the dimwits who Cruz is playing to. Your party base, that’s who. The people you claim to want to wake up, but can’t because you won’t just flat out call them nuts when they act like it.

    This SOB is even worse because he is attacking an organization his wife is a part of out of pure political calculation and inoculation against the nuts who run your party. But he’s a Republican, so I’m really just repeating myself by pointing out the hypocrisy and gall.

    • CautiousProgressive

      Your point is fine, but a more civil tone (especially toward D.F.) would garner a much better reception on this forum.

  • MurrayAbraham

    A GOP politician pandering to the crazies. What a surprise.

    It’s been like that for forty years starting with Nixon and the “silent majority* (i.e. the white segregationists who couldn’t get over the civil rights act), then Reagan with the “moral majority” (i.e. fundamentalist evangelicals who can’t get over the fact that gvt is by definition secular), then Bush Jr with “compassion” (i.e. a feel good therapy for condescending WASPS).

    Having disappointed all the above, the GOP is left with only the batshit crazy as base.

    • mannie

      It does sound like the gentleman made a determination that he wasent crazy enough to carry the GOP vote. Perhaps he should arrange a photo op with Orly Taitz. And on the serious side, it is rather depressing to witness the intellectual degradation of the GOP. I love my multi-party democracies, and it is like a body blow to watch the hijacking of a major political party by such dim witted and dangerous rabble.

    • Carney

      Record scratch at the compassionate conservatism reference. Whatever that was, that wasn’t a pander to the “crazy” base.

  • ottovbvs

    “Necessity is the mother of more than just invention.”

    As others immediately point out making stuff up is now standard operating procedure in the Republican party. We don’t need to look at obscure Texan senate candidates just look at the race for the Republican PRESIDENTIAL nomination. Seldom a day passes when one of the candidates from the allegedly respectable like Romney to the certifiably crazy Cain or Bachmann isn’t making some bizarre claim about the EPA, Dept of Ed, HHS et al. So what’s the big deal here. Yzaguirre is a Republican so why make a fuss about a mouse pooping in the corner when there’s a elephant crapping all over the floor? Bachmann a couple of days ago….

    “The Des Moines Register reports that Bachmann, speaking at a campaign appearance in Ottumwa, said “The average amount of taxes that the average family (paid) was 5 percent overall,” in 1950, as way of saying that the tax burden in America has gone through the roof.

    There was only one problem with that argument: the overall tax rate in 1950 was five times that much,”

    • balconesfault

      For the average Republican voter – the source of information is far more important than the actual accuracy of it.

      Thus, if Obama were to say the exact same thing that Bachmann said, it would be being cited widely as a symbol of his unfitness for the Presidency. Michelle says it, and in no time the internet will be filled with fools repeating the claim, the same as we’re constantly subjected to the lie that Obama has accumulated more debt than all his predecessors combined.

    • Hal

      Otto V

      I’m not disagreeing that Ms. Bachman hasn’t got a presidential timber in her whole lumber yard, but there is a difference between nominal or marginal tax rate and effective tax rate. The overall point being made is that “average folks” are paying more taxes as a percentage of their income that back in the glorious 1950s. It may be true. If so, are we getting better or more government services for those taxes or are government workers getting paid a lot better?

  • jamesj

    Pandering to ignorant conspiracy theorists. Sounds like par for the course these days.

  • Graychin

    “Necessity is the mother of more than just invention.”

    If pandering to conspiracy theorists is a “necessity” for an otherwise sane and credible candidate who seeks a nomination from the Republican Party, one has to wonder why the candidate chose that party in the first place.

    In Texas, of course you can’t expect to win election to anything if you run in the OTHER political party.

    Fun idea: let’s ask Rick Perry for HIS opinion about the CFR. :D

  • rbottoms

    Awww poor Anita Perry haz sad.

    Her husband and the rest of the clown car party have demonized the HPV vaccine for political advantage and now she worries that the rabble have actually believed the crap the candidates were saying and might now refuse the immunization.

    Gosh, Anita if you stir up the rabble with bullsh*t you might end up with some on yourself.

    Want some cheese to go with that whine?

    Anita Perry, who has made public health a major focus, spoke openly about the issue in Iowa, where a number of social conservatives have expressed concern about the HPV vaccine issue – and where Perry backers have been hoping the topic would just go away:

    “I’m very pro-immunization,” she said. “I did not know about the HPV executive order until after it was already done and it was an opt-out which, perhaps if it had been an opt-in that people would have accepted it a little more, but you know it never passed our legislature. It never became law, but I’m very pro-immunization and this is the one reason why and with this particular virus and along with the hep B, when someone tells me, a college student tells me that she’s going to school on a conservative college campus and four out of her friends have the virus, then that’s disturbing. Also, we’re seeing a rise in young males and I guess you saw that, you know, the CDC has come out now and they’re recommending it for males, too.
    Continue Reading

    “It wasn’t to promote sexual promiscuity at, in any form. To me, I saw it as a way to prevent cancer and Rick, you know, we — nobody wants cancer. Nobody wants their families to get cancer. He admitted he made a mistake on the way that it was implemented and, like I said, it never became law.

    “…I hope it doesn’t, but it may hurt us on our immunization rates and…hep B is transmitted in the same way, and people don’t know that, but they think it’s o.k. to get the…hep (vaccine), but for some reason — you know, he admitted he made a mistake (about the HPV vaccine), he said he was wrong and it never happened.”



    • valkayec

      From this statement, she sounds as incoherent as her husband. What gives with Texan politicos? They weren’t always so incoherent.

      • MSheridan

        Not true–it has a long tradition there. Remember their former House Speaker Gib Lewis? If not, here’s some vintage Gibberish, as collected by the sorely missed Molly Ivins:

        “This is unparalyzed in the state’s history”; “I cannot tell you how grateful I am — I am filled with humidity”; and “I want to thank each and every one of you for having extinguished yourselves this session.”

        Heck, even old Ronnie (not a Texan, but the acorn from which the modern crop of the Republican party has sprung) was incoherent on fairly frequent occasion. It doesn’t really matter how many verbal flubs you make, so long as you have the good will of the electorate. Those who like you will continue to do so and those who don’t will continue to be baffled at the fact. Joe Biden is living proof of that.

  • zaybu

    Who says that he pretends to believe. Perhaps he does believe. I hope you’re not insinuating that Cruz is another flipflopper. That’s all the GOP needs, another Romney-lite. Sheesh.

  • jakester

    CFR bashing, here comes the black UN helos

  • rbottoms

    We’re not laughing with you, we’re laughing at you.

  • greg_barton

    Mark, why do you pretend Cruz is pretending?

    • balconesfault

      I was kind of thinking the same thing.

      Might just be a time to apply Occam’s Razor.

      He’s in Texas.

      He’s a Republican.

      He’s considers the CFR to be dangerous.

      Which of these things is actually inconsistent with one another?

  • rbottoms

    Dr. Freda Bush has a warm, motherly smile. In her office just outside Jackson, Miss., she smiles as she hands me a brochure that calls abortion the genocide of African-Americans, and again, sweetly, as she explains why an abortion ban should not include exceptions for rape or incest victims. The smile turns into a chuckle as she recounts what the daughter of one rape victim told her: “My momma says I’m a blessing. Now, she still don’t care for the guy who raped her! But she’s glad she let me live.”

    Bush is smiling, too, in the video she made to support as restrictive an abortion ban as any state has voted on, Initiative 26, or the Personhood Amendment, which faces Mississippi voters on Nov. 8. “It doesn’t matter whether you’re rich or poor, black or white, or even if your father was a rapist!” she trills. But Initiative 26, which would change the definition of “person” in the Mississippi state Constitution to “include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning or the equivalent thereof,” is more than just an absolute ban on abortion and a barely veiled shot at Roe v. Wade — although it is both. By its own logic, the initiative would almost certainly ban common forms of birth control like the IUD and the morning-after pill, call into question the legality of the common birth-control pill, and even open the door to investigating women who have suffered miscarriages.

    You have to be extreme if you belong to a party that has women in it stupid enough to vote for them even after this.

    • valkayec

      Having read the WaPo editorials on the MS abortion amendment, I really do fear for women’s lives. It appears that MS will place the value of a zygote well ahead of the mother in all circumstances, including life threatening incidences to the mother in early pregnancies. When did a mother’s life become so unimportant and of lesser value? And why should the state have the right to kill a woman to save a zygote or early term fetus?

  • Oldskool

    I’m waiting for an R from somewhere like Texas to lose their temper and start a war of words and idears with the crazies. Guess it’s good than I’m not old old.

  • valkayec

    Mr. Yzaguirre, I don’t know Cruz, and I certainly don’t know Texas voters. But this guy’s pandering makes me ill. What in heaven’s name has happened to the Republican party that they think they have to pander to the lowest common denominator in the party?

    Sure, I understand the electoral effects gerrymandering has caused, but has winning elected office meant that every candidate must sound like some kind of screwball? Has winning become so important that candidates must prostitute themselves by pandering to the most ill informed of the electorate, rather than choosing to educate voters? The current GOP methodology is lazy and sleezy.

    What would the great Republican Sen. Margaret Chase Smith say about current GOP electoral tactics, from pandering to the lowest common denominator of ill-informed voters to denying the franchise to potentially opposition voters? At least Sen. Chase Smith was brave enough – and had the kind of moral and intellectual fiber – to stand up in the Senate and lecture her own caucus when they were wrong…and behaving badly. Who amongst the GOP has the intellectual and moral caliber to even reach up to her knees?

    Frankly, I am ashamed of what the GOP has become. It is no longer the Grand Old Party. But a party of weasels.

  • Houndentenor

    Everyone has their own rituals when they are feeling under the weather. Personally whenever I’m ill I split my time between watching cartoons and surfing the conspiracy websites online. Did you know that Prince William is the antichrist? Well it seems a lot of people think he is and they have websites!!! (LOL) Anyway, CFR, Freemasons, Bilderburgers and the like crop up often. You don’t hear this crazy stuff in the mainstream media (well maybe Glenn Beck a little bit but even he distances himself from that kind of crazy), but it’s out there and there seems to be a lot of it. Again, this is an example of saying something in public that I’ve heard people say in private my whole life. Like Jeffers getting in trouble for saying Mormons weren’t Christians. This is how people talk in large parts of the country. It’s only new that they say it in front of a microphone and someone reports on it in the mainstream media. This of this as the submarine coming up for air. It’s not as if it didn’t exist while it was below the sightline.

  • Bingham

    I have it on good counsel that “wow” is the appropriate rejoinder to this discussion.

    And now that I’ve considered it, why is anyone here website weighing in on a local race? The decision is between the candidate and his local constituents. Period.

    • balconesfault

      Well, I live in Austin, and this man wants me to be one of his constituents, since he’s running for one of two of Texas’ Senate Seats.

      Next question?

  • hisgirlfriday

    In a strange and sad way, being committed to the conspiracy theories is the only way Republicans can show they actually have convictions in this modern GOP.

    By and large, the positions GOP politicians take on the actual issues are either so unpopular or so inconsistent (or both) that they have to create these distractions or else there would be nothing for them to campaign on.

    Look at Rick Perry and his flip-flops on things ranging from No Child Left Behind to illegal immigration. So his way of showing that he’s a conservative is screaming that the Federal Reserve is treasonous and Social Security is a Ponzi scheme.

    Look at Herman Cain flip-flopping in the middle of interviews about whether he supports a right to choose or whether he thinks the border should be secured with an electric fence. So his way of showing that he’s a conservative is to say he won’t appoint any Muslims because there’s a conspiracy to impose Sharia Law in the U.S.

    Look at Newt Gingrich and his support for healthcare mandates in the mid-90s and appearance in a 2008 commercial with Nancy Pelosi (!!!) to support government action to address climate change. So his way of showing that he’s a conservative is to say that the entire 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is inherently anti-American and that as president he will abolish it.

    The reason Mitt Romney has trouble is not that he’s shifted his positions on issues because most of them all have. Mitt’s problem is that he comes across as a core-less phony compared to the rest of the GOP when his closest commitment to a crazy conspiracy theory is his Mormon religion and that’s not one of the GOP-sanctioned crazy theories.

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