While we’ve all been focusing on Donald Trump, there is a guy who has been flying under the radar screen that shouldn’t be flying under the radar screen. I’m talking about Ted Cruz, the Junior Senator from Texas, the refugee from Canada, and one of this year’s Republican Presidential Candidates. In this, the year of the Asshole, Cruz is a major-league asswipe who should not be overlooked. Just to give you some flavor of the man, I offer you this interview that Cruz did just last Wednesday with National Public Radio.
This was, of course, shortly after Donald Trump announced his intention to bar every Muslim visitor, tourist and refugee from this country, the United States of America.
Cruz was quoted saying the following thing while unveiling his own plan to limit Muslim entry into this country:
The first obligation [of the president] is to keep this country safe, and so I’ve introduced legislation that would suspend for three years refugees from countries where ISIS or al-Qaida control a substantial amount of territory,” Cruz said. “And the reason is simple. The FBI has told Congress that the Obama administration cannot vet these refugees. President Obama and Hillary Clinton’s plan to bring tens of thousands of Syrian refugees to America, when the FBI says they cannot ascertain if these refugees are ISIS terrorists or not, that makes no sense.
Cruz was also quoted saying the following:
But the immediate threat we have is ISIS. The Islamic state has declared jihad on America. They have declared their intention to commit acts of terror like they did in Paris, like occurred in San Bernardino, and they’ve made clear that they intend to use the refugee program to do that.
Cruz is not a stupid guy. While at Princeton, he competed for the American Whig-Cliosophic Society‘s Debate Panel and won the top speaker award at both the 1992 U.S. National Debating Championship and the 1992 North American Debating Championship. And when you listen to the interview with NPR or read the transcript of it, it’s clear that Cruz is a clever guy who can hold his own. But he’s also a despicable man. He’s Trump in more sophisticated clothing. Let’s look at his two quotes above, and see what’s wrong with these quotes:
- There is no evidence whatsoever that refugees from ISIS or al-Qaida controlled territories are terrorist moles for either organization. The fact that there are so many refugees from territories these two organizations control is a public relations disaster for both of them. Many knowledgeable commentators have already remarked on this. The Syrian refugees pose no essential security threat to the United States; they actually pose more of a threat if we deny them entry.
- Terrorists don’t have to come here through the extremely arduous and dangerous route of crossing from North Africa to Southern Europe and then trying to find their way from Europe to the United States. It’s much easier for them to do what the 9/11 Hijackers did, which is to simply fly here directly. With forged documents. Or they can simply be born here and become radicalized, as Syed Farook was. He was born in Chicago.
- ISIS is not a big terrorist threat to the United States. Farook was not “directed” by or “coordinated” through ISIS, and he was not radicalized by them. Farook was radicalized years ago, before ISIS even came into existence. Even if you were to put the San Bernadino shooting into the ISIS win column – where it doesn’t belong – that would only make 14 kills. Which is 14 more than there should have been. But still only 2 more than have been committed by Christian terrorists in 2015. Because, let’s not forget Dylan Roof, who killed 9 people during a prayer service at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in June of 2015, and Robert Lewis Dear, Jr., who just shot three people at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs in November.
In any case, Cruz surely knows all this. As I said before, he really is a smart guy. But like all demagogues, he’s enamored of red herrings, of throwing out red meat to the American public, knowing that a substantial number of them will bite. It’s much easier to distract people with whom to be afraid of and whom to blame, then to actually try to solve the real and multifarious problems of the American public.