By Paul Meekin
“I’m not serving in office because I desperately needed 99 new friends in the U.S. Senate.” – Ted Cruz
In January, as current Attorney General Jeff Sessions was facing allegations of racism, Ted Cruz held court for a bit. Reading a prepared statement, Cruz blew smoke up Sessions’ ass so eloquently I wanted to hear more. And read more. Cruz – to me – seemed like a bloviating buffoon at one time. An anti-gay, anti-women, pro-gun, party-line republican focused on doing the one thing all senators are required to do; keep their job.
But this speech, and interaction with Sessions…did something for me. I still hated (what I heard of) his policies, but damn if I didn’t want to hear more from him. Know thy enemy, as they say, and in this case, my enemy was one of the smartest guys in the room.
He is the definition of a “Magnificent Bastard”: Playing the game of partisan politics so well I can’t help but admire his acumen, even if I hate the game itself; capable of standing for hardcore conservative values while deferring the real hot button issues to the states so he need not take a real stand; basically saying his personal opinions on Marijuana and LGBTQ are his own, but defers the official word on those rights to the states.
As a left-leaning libertarian I can get behind it.
I’m never going to make a homophobe think gays are less icky. I might convince a homophobe the law of marriage applies to all people, even icky ones.
Cruz seems like the kind of homophobe that is, or could be, convinced of the latter – at one point stating gay marriage is not a priority for the GOP, even after saying the Supreme Court ruling on the matter was ‘among the darkest hours of our nation’; again hiding behind states’ rights.
He even re-introduced a defense of marriage act that would allow states to override the federal definition of marriage, which, again, fits in with MO on hot button issues – using a ‘pro-marriage’ message to get the issue off his national platter entirely.
Leave it local, as they say.
(Speaking personally I’m glad gay marriage (or any federally recognized union between two consenting adults) is recognized on a federal level; as it’d suck to be born gay and poor in Texas and not be allowed to marry your boyfriend unless you absconded to Nevada or California.)
But I digress. Cruz is the teacher’s pet you hate because he’s smarter than you – graduating Cum Laude from Princeton and Maga Cum Laude form Harvard – and a parle debate champion. His bonafides check out, and unlike many is clearly a student of both politics, the constitution, and America; sitting on multiple committees and seeming knowledgeable.
Meanwhile, President Donald J. Trump has referred to current Attorney General Jeff Sessions as ‘beleaguered’ and stated he never would have hired Sessions if he knew Sessions would recuse himself from Russia related matters.
So, typically “Trumpian” civil discourse. On the heels of Sessions being so firmly planted under the bus, a rumor was floated that Senator Ted Cruz is being considered for the position should Sessions return home to the Keebler factory.
Of course he rejected the notion outright. “I was proud to vote to confirm Jeff and to vigorously defend his confirmation, and I’m deeply gratified that we have a principled conservative like a Jeff Sessions serving as attorney general,” he said, as any politician being considered for any appointment would say.
Speaking speculatively? Appointing Ted Cruz as Attorney General is akin to draining the swamp by filling it with battery acid. And that’s a compliment.
The Trump administration’s ship isn’t just rudderless, it’s lacking sails, taking on water, and spinning around in circles; almost as if the people running the country have no experience doing so.
So who better to right the sinking, spinning, water-logged ship then confident, smart, and ‘Never Trumper’ Ted Cruz? A man who hates Mandatory Minimums. Wants to decrease the size of government. A hardliner on immigration reform but supports increasing the number of H-1B visas.
And most importantly knows what he’s doing and might confront President Trump in a way most of his administration will not.
Most of what Cruz personally believes in, I disagree with very deeply. Regarding law, we’re closer to the same page. Regardless, he’s certainly better than AG Sessions on the things I believe in most.
You can’t pick your issues. They. Pick. You. For me, it’s LGBTQ rights, Drug reform, and putting money in the pockets of those who need it most. Sessions wants to lock you away, and thinks you’re a bad person for toking up.
Of course, who knows where Ted Cruz stands in reality. He’s relatively young at 46 years old, so some of his most conservative positions could be primarily based on the will of his people – how long ago was it that most democrats had to couch gay marriage in civil unions?
He might be like Jeff Sessions, stating he wants to leave Marijuana reform up to states, and then come down hard on that and mandatory minimums the moment he’s sworn in.
Regardless, AG or not, honest or not, The Trump administration could stand to listen a bit more to what Cruz believes.
And maybe not so much what he thinks.