When Ted Cruz reflected this week on the crisis in Flint -- which he inexplicably blamed
on local Democratic officials who had no decision-making authority -- he wrapped up his thoughts by reflecting on the road ahead for struggling cities like Flint. The solution, Cruz added
, is to "go with the policies that work" -- such as giving taxpayer money to private schools.
It was a bit jarring. A discussion about poisonous water led the Republican presidential hopeful to think about privatizing education -- as if, on some unidentified level, the two unrelated topics were pieces of the same puzzle.
Yesterday, we saw something eerily similar happened at an event in New Hampshire. The Wall Street Journal reported
Ted Cruz spent 18 minutes telling an emotional, gripping story of his family's history of drug and alcohol abuse. His older half-sister and later his father, he told an addiction policy forum, got hooked and became addicted. His sister died, his father survived only after becoming religious, Mr. Cruz said in a Baptist church here. So it was jarring to hear Mr. Cruz then pivot to his policy solution: building a wall along the nation's southern border to stop illegal immigration and halt the flow of drugs from Mexico.
"If we want to turn around the drug crisis we have got to finally and permanently secure the border," Mr. Cruz said. "We need to solve this problem; we need to build this wall."
At a certain level, my expectations have fallen to such a low point, I'm inclined to give Cruz at least some credit for acknowledging an actual, real-world problem. There's a drug epidemic; it's destroying lives and families; and policymakers at every level desperately need to take it seriously. While some Republicans have dismissed
the addiction crisis as meaningless, it seems like a small step in the right direction for Cruz to recognize, even briefly, that the problem exists.
If only his proposed solution were serious, we might be getting somewhere.
A Huffington Post report
After Cruz blamed the drug crisis on an insecure border, he blamed the insecure border on the Democrats, and some "cynical" Republicans, who favor immigration reform. He accused them of having base political motives for not doing more on the issue. "As a political matter, the Democratic Party does not want to solve this problem. And as a political matter, far too many Republicans don't either," he said. "Sadly, stopping the drug traffic gets de-emphasized, because their policy view instead is to open the borders to illegal immigration."
None of this reflects reality in any way. Border security is up and illegal immigration is down. The facts are not in dispute.
But when given a choice between reality and absurd campaign rhetoric, Cruz finds it easy to ignore the former and celebrate the latter.