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The Stench of Hypocrisy: Ted Cruz & the Right to Rebellion

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We Americans are disparate group.  Put a hundred of us in a room and we are likely to have ninety-nine opinions on any given subject.  But one thing we can all agree on is this:  We don’t like hypocrites.  We especially don’t like hypocrisy when it comes from politicians who pretend to be the exception to the rule.

We especially don’t like hypocrisy from a presidential candidate who wants to be known as a straight shooter, a man who speaks his mind, never backs down and fearlessly defies political correctness.

Imagine the surprise in the Bundy camp when Senator Ted Cruz used their occupation of an Oregon federal wildlife refuge to take a giant step back from the second amendment right of citizens to take up arms against tyranny and to defend liberty against the forces of oppression, even to rebel against a lawless government.

Said Cruz recently on the campaign trail in Boone, Iowa:  “Every one of us has a constitutional right to protest, to speak our minds, but we don’t have a constitutional right to use force of violence or threaten force of violence on others.”  [1]

This is the same Ted Cruz who placed himself at the forefront of gun right advocates in a fundraising email in April 2015:  “The second amendment…is a constitutional right to protect your children, your family, your home, our lives, and to serve as the ultimate check against governmental tyranny — for the protection of liberty.”  [2]

While the senator from Texas is always careful to phrase his thoughts for subsequent adjustment, there is no amount of parsing that can bring harmony to these conflicting statements on the right to bear and use arms.  While the former incarnation of Senator Cruz seems to boldly proclaim the right of citizens to rebel against a tyrannical government, the more recent presidential incarnation seems downright pacifistic.

Which is it, Senator Cruz?  Do citizens have the right to take up arms to protect our liberty or do we lack constitutional authority to use force or the threat of force in all cases whatsoever?

Maybe the senator doesn’t believe this particular case rises to the level of justifiable rebellion but that is not what his statement addresses.  Maybe he doesn’t consider this particular federal government sufficiently tyrannical.  That would not seem to be the case, as any number of his past statements will attest:

In January 2014, the senator wrote in a Wall Street Journal commentary:  “Of all the troubling aspects of the Obama presidency, none is more dangerous than the president’s persistent pattern of lawlessness, his willingness to disregard the written law and instead enforce his own policies via executive fiat…  In more than two centuries of our nation’s history there is simply no precedent for the White House wantonly ignoring federal law and asking others to do the same.”  [3]

In March 2014, addressing the Obama administration’s abuse of executive power:  “If you care about liberty, an imperial president who defies his constitutional obligation to ‘take care that the laws be faithfully executed’ is an extraordinary threat to the liberty of this country…  A president who is not bound by the law is no longer a president.”  [4]

Addressing the president’s veto of a regressive environmental protection law in November 2015, Cruz said:  “The president’s radical attempt to destabilize the nation’s energy system is flatly illegal… What the Obama administration is doing to harm the American economy is the sort of power grab that our founders would have recognized as tyranny.”  [5]

Finally, addressing the Bundy Ranch standoff in Nevada, an event engaging many of the same militia rights activists involved in the Oregon siege, Cruz sang a very different tune on a Texas radio interview:  “The reason this issue is resonating…is that for five years, we have seen our liberty under assault. We have seen our liberty under assault from a federal government that seems hell-bent on expanding its authority over every aspect of our lives.”  [6]

What we have witnessed in the refusal of Senator Ted Cruz to stand up for the rights of a citizen militia against an oppressive government is by no means an evolution in the candidate’s thoughts or policies.  There was no evolution.  There was no hint of a change in thought.  Rather, it is the calculation of a triangulating, conniving and consummate politician plotting his course to the presidency.  The calculation is simple:  Defending an armed militia bent on confronting the government at this time would threaten his recent surge in the polls.

We have all heard that Ted Cruz is not exactly what he appears to be.  He is not a knee-jerk reactionary bent on recapturing the glory of the fifties, when America was pure and its leaders were almost uniformly white male Christians.  No, Ted Cruz is a strategic mastermind.  He’s Karl Rove with pretty eyes and a smile that never travels far from his lips.  He sees an opportunity and he seizes it.

He lets the Donald take the lead and stands ready to take up the banner as a viable option when the Donald inevitably implodes.  Like Mr. Trump, he is adept at manipulating the gun loving, tax hating, Muslim fearing, intolerant Christian fundamentalist right to his own ambitious purpose.  He will say and do anything at any cost to anyone but himself if it will lead him to the promise land.

This was the first glimpse of the man behind the mask.  It is not a pretty picture.

Voter Beware:  He is not who you think he is.  And the unsettling scent you perceive emanating from his general direction is not a dead rat; it is the stench of hypocrisy.

Notes.

[1] Des Moines Register, January 4, 2016.

[2] “Ted Cruz’s Strange Gun Argument” by Andrew Rosenthal, New York Times, April 17, 2015.

[3] “The Imperial Presidency of Barack Obama” by Ted Cruz, Wall Street Journal, January 28, 2014.

[4] Breakfast Keynote: The Honorable Ted Cruz, Texas Public Policy Foundation, March 19, 2014.

[5] Video address to the Texas Public Policy Foundation: At the Crossroads: Energy and Climate Policy Summit, “Ted Cruz calls Obama’s ‘Radical’ Climate Plan ‘Tyranny” by Cole Mellino, EcoWatch, November 21, 2015.

[6] “Ted Cruz: Bundy Ranch Standoff ‘Tragic Culmination’ of Obama’s ‘Jackboot of Authoritarianism” submitted by Miranda Blue, Right Wing Watch, April 23, 2014.

Jack Random is the author of Jazzman Chronicles (Crow Dog Press) and Ghost Dance Insurrection (Dry Bones Press.)

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