Since his filibuster of 2012 I had been excited to think of Ted Cruz running for president. When he announced at Liberty University, I was watching and cheering.
Fast forward a few months. As Ted Cruz gradually moved himself into a spot of national contention some of the luster has worn off for me. It started with the events surrounding the Iowa caucus. Deceitful mailings, the Carson debacle with its botched timelines and poor excuses and so forth brought to light that this campaign did not mind some dirty tricks. Clearly campaign manager Jeff Roe was behind some of these dealings. He has a rather ignoble history of running minor campaigns, including one he lost to Cruz himself, as the New Republic chronicles. After the deceitful nature of the mailings was pointed out and apologies were made to Ben Carson I thought that perhaps the campaign had straightened out. But the problems did not stop there. In fact, even in the process of explaining things and apologizing to Dr. Carson I began to detect some troubling things coming the candidate himself. A full review of the Iowa situation is not necessary. Suffice it to say that the CNN timelines and statements from the campaign did not match well. Cruz even said a thing or two that I thought was at least questionable if not simply untrue.
In subsequent debates and interviews I noticed that Cruz would intentionally misrepresent positions held by Donald Trump in order to try to gain some political advantage. After the Chicago riots that led to the cancellation of a Trump rally, I was very disturbed to find Cruz, Kasich, and Rubio all siding with liberal views placing the blame on Donald Trump in one way or another. Cruz tried to have it both ways by blaming the rioters and then blaming Trump by saying that everything descended from the top down. [UPDATE: Ann Coulter has written a piece chronicling more of the direct lies and deceit that Cruz has told that trouble me and those from his campaign.]
My latest dissatisfaction with Cruz comes on the heels of the Trump interview with Chris Matthews in which a penalty for an illegal abortion was hypothesized. The crux of the question was this: if abortion were illegal should there be a penalty for a woman who had an abortion? In the long discussion that took place, Trump finally gave the answer, yes, there should be some type of punishment for breaking the law. There were a lot of problems with that question, but the answer was technically correct. People who break the law are subject to penalties. If you steal, if you speed, if you commit assault, if you murder, if you engage in prostitution then you will face penalties of various sorts.
Naturally, the liberal media went nuts over this as did the Pro-Life community. Why? The liberals want abortion to be free and easy at all times so anything that spoils that model is going to make them crazy. That is easy to understand. But why would the Pro-Life community object? Isn’t this the law-and-order, Christian-evangelical right wing? They object for an unspoken reason. That reason is that it is not politically advantageous to speak of punishing a young woman who had an abortion.
In a hypothetical situation where abortion is illegal and a young woman seeks out an abortion then, hypothetically, she is engaging in a crime along with the doctor. But we have had painted into our social consciousness the portrait of a poor, innocent, struggling young woman who desperately seeks an abortion because she is poor, innocent, or struggling. She is viewed as the hapless victim so our society can’t be cruel enough to punish her. She’s excused for her part in the hypothetical crime. Instead it is en vogue to blame the doctor who performs the abortion (never mind that she might induce the abortion herself or enlist the help of a friend to do so). The culturally sensitive people finally got to Trump today and he switched his position to blame the doctor in order to blunt the assault on his campaign. But his first answer was the best answer and the only logically and legally coherent one.
The Pro-Life community needs all the positive public image it can get. The idea of punishing this fictional, hapless, innocent, struggling, poor mother of our social consciousness does not fit that agenda. The Pro-Life movement has grown over the years until more than half of all Americans now identify as Pro-Life. The popular mantra is that “abortion should be legal but rare”. And yet this is a highly hypocritical stance since they readily take advantage of any candidate who is running on a Pro-Life platform, seek the appointment of judges who are Pro-Life, and use any state legislature that can put restrictions on abortion in order to make it more rare. Additionally, the subsequent legal battles are fought all the way up to the Supreme Court. What the Pro-Life community really wants is that abortion become illegal in any case except those exceedingly rare cases where the life of the mother is genuinely at risk or the pregnancy is doomed to failure for other medical reasons. But that can’t be honestly voiced since it violates the social consciousness we have developed.
This brings me back to my beef with Ted Cruz. Ted Cruz was asked the same question that Donald Trump was asked. His answer was a complete political dodge. He directed attention away from the question back to the media and to President Obama’s stance as an Illinois senator but he never had the guts to answer the question. Furthermore, in his statement published at TedCruz.org he chastises Trump for not having thought through the issue. His critique is one lauding motherhood and the giving of life. Yet it fails to address the hypothetical example of a mother who would illegally choose to end the life which she is harboring in her womb. He wrote one of the most incoherent statements I’ve read recently:
“On the important issue of the sanctity of life, what’s far too often neglected is that being pro-life is not simply about the unborn child; it’s also about the mother — and creating a culture that respects her and embraces life”.
That statement is nonsense. How does one create “a culture that respects her and embraces life” when she is having an illegal abortion? An illegal abortion is not respecting life by definition! Abiding by the law would be respecting the life of the unborn child. Cruz also says “that being pro-life is not simply about the unborn child; it’s also about the mother”. Again, this is utter nonsense. What could this possibly mean? Being Pro-Life is EXPLICITLY about the unborn child! When it stops being about the unborn child then it stops being a Pro-Life position because the liberals already care about the life of the mother. It is 0nly about the life of the mother that they care. They care about her ability to be unburdened by an unwanted baby. It is the primary argument from the Pro-Choice crowd. The life of the unborn baby hinges upon the “choice” of the mother and that choice is based upon convenience, economic, social, or other unspecified grounds. But the one thing that it clearly is is “about the mother”.
The Cruz statement is another example of his eagerly grasping at political opportunism. He issues an incoherent statement, criticizes Donald Trump, then dodges the same question when put to him. It is more political weaselry from him and it disgusts me. Why? Because Cruz is put forth as the most honest, trustworthy (TrusTed), and Christ-like politician in the race. I don’t expect such things from a man who supposedly bears such lofty qualities. In the end, he is not much better than your average politician. Originally I had held much higher hopes for him than that. These things give credence to the charges of others that Cruz is largely a political opportunist who will do what it takes to win elections.
While the Cruz capital has fallen in my book, only he and Donald Trump have earned the right to be the Republican nominee. Both men have flaws but either would be better than their Democrat alternatives. You’ll pardon me if I don’t TrusTed quite as much as I used to do.