Ted Cruz’s Jeremiah Wright

It’s his father, Rafael Cruz. One of Rafael’s many insane rants, which David Corn reported on last week:

A Ted Cruz spokesman claims that these “selective quotes, taken out of context, mischaracterize the substance of Pastor Cruz’s message.” Corn thinks that response isn’t going to cut it:

Does Ted Cruz believe it’s a joke to accuse the president of trying to destroy God? Or that his father was kidding when he suggested Obama is “wicked,” asserted that the president is attempting to “destroy American exceptionalism,” said he wants government to be God, and insisted that “social justice is a cancer”? As for attacking the son with the father’s statements, the senator did not explain why it’s unfair to hold him accountable for remarks made by a person Cruz’s campaign routinely deployed as an official surrogate. According to campaign disclosure records, Cruz’s Senate campaign paid Rafael Cruz about $10,000 in traveling expenses in 2012 and 2013. And in August the conservative National Review noted that the father-son duo had forged a “political partnership,” reporting: “Cruz has kept his father, a 74-year-old pastor, involved with his political shop, using him not merely as a confidant and stand-in, but as a special envoy. He is Cruz’s preferred introductory speaker, his best messenger with evangelicals, and his favorite on-air sidekick.” Put it this way: Rafael Cruz is far closer to Ted Cruz and his political endeavors than Jeremiah Wright was to Obama and his campaigns.

What I find fascinating about the Cruzes is that they really do have a unified Christianist-Tea-Party worldview.

Rafael Cruz is a Dominionist, who believes that America is a Christian (not a Judeo-Christian) nation, and that its laws should be a version of Christian sharia, not secular arrangements for a diverse society. Ted Cruz, for his part, wants to shred the post-FDR safety net, balance the budget now, even during a lingering depression, and return to a bare-bones federal government that he believes was the intent of the Founders. Both are fundamentalists with fundamentalist texts: the entire Bible, including the Old Testament, and the Constitution as viewed by Americans more than two centuries ago. Both these belief-systems are responses, it seems to me, to the bewildering complexity of modern life, the globalized economy, and resentment of the claims of the poor and sick and needy. And for these very reasons, they are absolute and rigid. In a time of widespread economic distress, they are also very potent populist appeals to an imagined past that was once simple, Christian and just.

They are best seen, to my mind, as prophets, not pols. Only a prophet would risk throwing the entire world economy into a second Great Depression, shutting down the federal government, and wrecking the credit of the United States in order to protest a duly enacted law. But prophets are dangerous in politics – and Cruz is a very gifted demagogue. He was, after all, brought up by one.