For politicians like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), fear is an important motivating tool. Listen to the far-right Texan deliver a typical stump speech and you'll hear quite a few dire assessments from Cruz about nearly everything.
[Cruz said,] "The Obama economy is a disaster. Obamacare is a train wreck. And the Obama-Clinton foreign policy of leading from behind -- the whole world's on fire!" Julie Trant, a child in the audience, took this literally. "The world's on fire?" she asked. "The world is on fire, yes," said Cruz, not missing a beat as the crowd chuckled. "Your world is on fire."
Let's note that the child in this story is just three years old. During the event, she was sitting on her mother's lap.
Cruz quickly added, however, "But you know what? Your mommy's here, and everyone's here to make sure that the world you grow up in is even better."
Let's unpack this one:
1. The "Obama economy," in reality, is not a disaster. On the contrary, the president's economic agenda ended the Great Recession, turned the economy around, and created the strongest job growth since the 1990s.
2. The Affordable Care Act is not "a train wreck." On the contrary, the ACA is actually succeeding beautifully, exceeding the expectations of many optimists.
3. The whole world is not "on fire," at least not any more than usual.
4. Telling a three-year-old child, "Your world is on fire" is probably inappropriate at any time, but it's especially unsettling when it's wrong.
5. Telling that same child that Republicans are going to "make sure that the world you grow up in is even better" is odd phrasing. "Even better" usually follows "things are good," not "things are horrible."
The child's mother, for what it's worth, describes herself as "a huge Ted Cruz supporter" and said during a radio interview this morning that she describes the senator as "Uncle Cruz" to her daughter.