After Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) appeared on “Face the Nation” yesterday, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) seemed gobsmacked. “A lot of it’s sort of Alice in Wonderland,” Schumer said of Cruz’s rhetoric.
It was a fair assessment, but there’s arguably even more to it. Host Bob Schieffer, for example, asked Cruz if there were any circumstances that might lead Cruz to support another government shutdown. The Teas Republican responded:
“Throughout the government shutdown I opposed a government shutdown. I said we shouldn’t shut the government down, I think it was a mistake that President Obama and the Democrats shut the government down this fall. […]
“Right now the Democrats are telling you that they want another shut down, because they think it benefits them politically. Why is it hard to understand that they forced the shut down when they think it benefits them politically.”
Eventually, a slightly confused Schieffer asked, “Senator, if you didn’t threaten the shut down the government who was it that did?”
The fact that the host seemed mystified was understandable; few politicians can convey up-is-down assurances with the kind of condescending certainty that Ted Cruz offers.
But watching the right-wing senator, it occurred to me we’re not just seeing a senator pushing a version of reality from some alternate universe; we’re also seeing the Republican id in its most pure form.
In the same interview, Cruz said it would “irresponsible” for the nation to simply pay its bills without far-right goodies attached. He went on to say President Obama ought to use the State of the Union to apologize for the Affordable Care Act.
The interview followed this gem from a few days ago.
Sen. Ted Cruz wants a special prosecutor to investigate misconduct at the IRS.
The Texas Republican follows up on the first in a series of five questions that Cruz would like to see President Barack Obama address in next week’s State of the Union address. Each of the questions hit on politically charged subject matter, ranging from the attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, to claims made by the president about the health care overhaul.
Cruz’s IRS-related request comes in a letter to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. He’s looking for a special prosecutor to consider any potential criminal cases against IRS officials over the agency’s controversial actions against tea party and conservative organizations.
A few days before sending the letter, Cruz argued that helping working families afford medical care “exacerbates income inequality. This is why the rich have gotten richer under President Obama.”
None of this makes a lick of sense, but by all appearances, being sensible isn’t the goal. For Cruz, coherence is irrelevant; what matters is to capture the Republican id – these are talking points intended to convey primal impulses, free of niceties such as reason.
At a certain level, Cruz is arguably insulting conservatives by preying on their worst instincts, presenting them with nonsense he probably knows to be false, but so long as he’s rewarded for it, Cruz will almost certainly keep these tactics going indefinitely.