Ted Cruz: Stupid or Evil?

Cruz at CPAC in 2014. Photo by Gage Skidmore

Lynchburg, VA (TFC) – In late March, Ted Cruz announced his run for presidency. Given this development, it’s worth taking a look at a few key aspects of his political career. Where is his money coming from? Where is it going? What’s his voting record look like? A thorough analysis of these aspects of his life should testify to either his aptitude for presidency or utter inability to rule fairly. At it’s core, the details don’t matter. Everything is irrelevant but the answer to this question: Does he make good decisions?

Ted Cruz, or Rafael Edward Cruz (there’s a good decision, Ted’s more electable), was first elected to congress in 2012. That year, the average senate member ran a 3 million dollar campaign. He ran a 14 million dollar campaign, largely off of contributions from conservative PACs and the oil and legal industries. His campaign unseated incumbent Kay Hutchison, who has a record of voting against food stamp benefits and taking contributions from the natural gas industry, which raises the question, was he even elected on his own merits, or merely on the faults of his opponent?

Cruz last voted for the Keystone XL in early March, which was the fourth time since late 2014. When S 2280, A Bill to Approve the Keystone XL Pipeline, failed in late 2014, Cruz brought it back as S 1 with the same contents. Acting as co-sponsor from the beginning, he’s dead set on making his oil industry constituents stick by his side throughout his entire political career. Support for the KXL is a dead giveaway for being a political shill.  Most estimates suggest that between 35 and 50 permanent jobs would be created by the pipeline, whereas the environmental damage would be a huge roll of the dice for the Ogallala aquifer, one of the largest sources of freshwater in the world and certainly the largest in the continental US. Scientists paid by Transcanada (the company building the pipeline) may claim that the danger is small due to the number of safety features included, but the plain truth is spills have happened on similar pipelines due to unforeseen problems. This pipeline wouldn’t benefit any of the hundreds of millions of people who rely on that aquifer for drinking water.  It would only benefit Cruz, the Kochs, and the 35 people with their new high risk pipeline jobs.

Rafael’s spotty voting record doesn’t stop there; he was part of the minority voting against the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, which appropriated funds for victims of domestic violence. While this may have been because of the costs involved, he didn’t have any issue spending money on a giant wall across the US/Mexico border. He also voted against a clear path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, probably preferring they get tossed over our new giant wall.

Not all of his decisions have been entirely reprehensible. Many of them have been along party lines, effectively voting yea for anything that makes money and nay on anything that costs money- this morally ambiguous attitude of “what’s good for me is good” demonstrates the fact that his understanding of ethics doesn’t go deeper than a third grader’s. From this perspective he doesn’t seem deplorable, just stupid.

Cruz’s presidential run is being largely bankrolled by Robert Mercer, an influential oligarch, who funds several super PACs. Mercer’s hedge fund, Renaissance, has been the subject of an unflattering investigation for tax evasion in the billions. He’s also been known to rub shoulders with the Koch brothers, pouring 2.5 million dollars into their new super PAC. With this sort of influence, Cruz’s railing against Wall Street seems unreasonable- until you remember, oh right, he’s trying to get elected.

During the governmental shutdown due to the budget crisis of 2012, Cruz was still wet behind the ear. This didn’t prevent him from being one of the front runners of mucking up progress. He immediately began voting with the other GOP members to make sure the fact that they wouldn’t accept the budget didn’t cost them any money. He then jumped in the ACA ring, voting several times to make sure – whether Obamacare passed or not – that it didn’t work.

And then there’s the subject of his Canadian birth. While the subject has been roundly debated, it really doesn’t matter. If the Oil and Gas Industry and Robert Mercer wanted a bar of soap to be president, it would almost certainly win the nomination. Scholars can point to historical context for the definition of “natural born citizen”, the part that’s being debated, but the elephant in the room is that Cruz’s Tea Party incessantly denied Obama’s legitimacy as president due to the idea that he was born in Kenya. Even if he was, because his mother was born in Kansas, Obama would fit the definition of “natural born citizen” exactly as much as Cruz does now. Of course, there won’t be any debate of his legitimacy; how can a wealthy, ivy-league educated white man be illegitimate?

At best, Cruz is a complete idiot. That’s our best hope here. At worst, he’s an utter puppet to big industry and is willing to sell out every single one of his constituents if it means another couple zeroes in his bank account.