The liberal media are obsessed with Texas’s freshman senator Ted Cruz. The most recent outbreak includes a Daily Beast hit piece about his “creepy” college years at Princeton, as well as a flurry of articles about whether his Canadian-American dual citizenship could complicate a potential run for the White House in 2016.
The Left’s animosity toward Cruz is approaching hysterical levels not seen since John McCain chose Sarah Palin as a running mate. His oratorical prowess and Ivy League pedigree have stunned some liberals, whose natural instinct is to smear popular conservatives as anti-intellectual, but it hasn’t stopped a number of prominent journalists and politicians from hurling some rather deranged criticism.
“If Ted Cruz is really a Canadian, we are building a fence on the wrong border,” Roger Simon, the chief political columnist for Politico, tweeted on Tuesday. “Awesome!” replied former Democratic Senate candidate and Obama basketball buddy Alexi Giannoulias.
Some other things Cruz has been called or compared to over the past several months:
“I’m shocked that he would continue to use his seat in the judiciary committee to just mislead millions of Americans and put forward a willingly ignorant position on what the Constitution says and what it does not say,” said MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, in reference to Cruz’s questioning of Senator Dianne Feinstein about her proposed ban on “assault style” weapons, which Cruz argued was inconsistent with the Second Amendment. Scarborough has also referred to the freshman senator as a “total train wreck,” and accused him of lying about other Republicans and turning Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s confirmation hearing into a “clown show.”
“As children, we sometimes have to give them time to get around to this point of view,” the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank said of Cruz and other conservative lawmakers who have resisted calls from other Republicans to moderate the party’s positions after the 2012 election.
Not a Real Hispanic
“I don’t think he should be defined as a Hispanic,” former governor Bill Richardson (D., N.M.) said in response to a question about Cruz’s view on immigration. Richardson later said his remarks were “misinterpreted.”
Everything Chris Matthews Says
Few liberals are more fixated on Cruz than MSNBC agitator Chris Matthews, who sees “echoes of Joe McCarthy” in the young lawmaker. Matthews has described Cruz as a “political terrorist” who represents “the unsmiling, contemptuous face of the wild, nasty, hard-right fringe” — a politician with a “black Irish look” that hate groups “must like.” He has even compared Cruz to Father Charles Coughlin, a noted Nazi sympathizer during the 1930s.
The Daily Beast’s Tina Brown equated Cruz’s limited-government views to the philosophy of the Afghan Taliban. Cruz is a “no-government conservative,” Brown said, adding: “That is what Cruz is a member of. This is the Taliban.”
Little Teddy Cruz
Moments before Tina Brown compared Ted Cruz to the murderous Taliban regime, (eliciting no objections from the cast of Morning Joe), former Boston Globe columnist Mike Barnicle warned that “Little Teddy Cruz” should show more deference to more senior Republicans such as Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma.
Palin with a Brain
“Ted Cruz is just Sarah Palin with a brain,” former auto-bailout czar Steven Rattner tweeted on Wednesday. (Rattner also penned an 2012 op-ed in favor of health-care rationing that opened with the line: “We need death panels,” a reference to Palin’s much-criticized description of Obamacare’s Medicare rationing board.)
Politico’s Evan Thomas warned that Cruz’s intellectual strength made him a particularly “dangerous” figure. “You need to watch this guy, because there are a lot of demagogues out there, but not that many who are that smart. He is really, really smart, and that makes him potentially dangerous,” Thomas said during a discussion about Cruz’s aggressive questioning of Chuck Hagel.
HBO host and Priorities USA donor Bill Maher predicted that Cruz would run for president because “he’s got Newt Gingrich’s ambition and ego mixed with the steely-eyed focus of a serial killer. He’s young and Cuban, like Rubio, but even tea-baggier.”
It’s worth noting that people launching these attacks on Ted Cruz are the same people who instantly impute malign or racist motives to almost any criticism of President Obama. (In the world of MSNBC, for example, it is apparently racist to point out that the president plays a lot of golf, or even to refer to him as “Obama.”)
Cruz, on the other hand, is fair game. And given that he’s only been a senator for eight months, and is said to be mulling a presidential run, don’t expect the hysteria to subside anytime soon.
— Andrew Stiles is a political reporter for National Review Online.