Ted Cruz: Newtown Families 'Props'

Texas junior senator learns what YouTube is, the hard way

Ted Cruz: Master of tactlessness, friend to the NRA, mini-McCarthy, and proud of it all
Ted Cruz: Master of tactlessness, friend to the NRA, mini-McCarthy, and proud of it all (Photo by John Anderson)

It seems like there's never a day that goes past without a galling press statement from Sen. Ted Cruz, filled with right wing bon mots that would make Ron Paul cringe. But it seems he's still leaving his most outrageous statements for behind closed doors.

Last weekend, Cruz was at a FreedomWorks summit being held in Austin "summit exclusively for its Texas membership. " He was boasting about how he, Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, and Utah Senator Mike Lee derailed background checks for gun purchases in the Senate, and as per normal for Ted, he was riffing on the joys of rifles and how every other Republican but him and his pals are all squishies.

However, much like Mitt Romney, Cruz may be learning that that, if there's a meeting, there are camera phones, and if there are camera phones, then the craziest thing you say will be videoed. And if it's videoed, then it will be leaked. Like, for example, the whole 47% deal leaving Mittens with an egg facial to publicly wipe off. Well, apart from the fact that Romney cared enough about moderates to launch at least a pretense of damage control. When the junior senator for Texas called the families of the victims of the Newtown Massacre "political props" for the Obama administration, there's little doubt he meant it.

As Right Wing Watch has noted, that's the same terminology that Rand Paul has been throwing around.

Of course, his insult to the will and fortitude of those families that have already lost so much also glosses over the fact that he is on the wrong side of popular opinion (and the Second Amendment's whole "well ordered militia" thing) about background checks. According to a Quinnipiac poll released on April 4, 91% of Americans back universal gun checks. A recent poll by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence duplicates those figures, and finds that "53 percent of all voters are more likely to support a lawmaker who supports background checks on all gun sales. Just 9 percent are less likely." Add on that a study published in January in the New England Journal of Medicine, in which 84% of gun-owners and 74% of NRA members supported "bolstering background checks and oversight of gun dealers."

Cruz is a testament to the National Rifle Association's power in GOP primaries. Every Republican must genuflect before the weapon's industry's finest mouthpiece, but Cruz was bombastic enough about gun barrels that the NRA gave him the Harlon B. Carter-George S. Knight Freedom Fund award (better known as a nice big check) for his tireless efforts in misinterpreting the Second Amendment. This comes on top of the $57,000 they dropped into his war chest last year, after he beat Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in the 2012 primaries.

But Cruz doesn't technically work for Freedomworks or the NRA. He's a freshman Republican senator, and their remit is simple: STFU and STFD. Instead, Cruz has spent the first six months of his first six year term as a grandstander headline grabber. And not in a good way. Recently the New Yorker called him the new McCarthy after he claimed that Harvard Law had been, as they put it, "harboring a dozen Communists." Cruz's staff then bleated to The Blaze that Eustace Tilley and company were dredging up an old quote, but that he still stood by his claim that Harvard Law was riddled with Marxists.

This isn't the only time that Cruz has been compared to the infamous Red-baiter. In February, their photos were held side by side when Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, carpeted the young cur over his questioning of Chuck Hagel.

As his career as point man for questionable groups like Freedomworks continues, we may find ourselves asking Cruz: "Have you no sense of decency, sir?"

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Ted Cruz, Gun Control, Second Amendment, Freedomworks, Newtown Families, Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, New England Journal of Medicine

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