Election 2014  
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Who’s Ted Cruz? Getting to Know the Next Senator from the Tea Party

Cruz and Romney share one thing: a lack of concern about telling the truth.

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The school is designed to join law schools at Liberty and Regent in turning out lawyers committed to transforming American law to conform to the Religious Right’s worldview.  Joining Cruz on the  board is an array of Religious Right leaders, including Barton, Dobson, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, the Southern Baptists’ Richard Land, and Tim and Beverly LaHaye.   

The Texas Observer had this to say about Cruz after he won the primary:

Ideologically and rhetorically Cruz passes the Tea Party screen test: He’s paranoid and conspiratorial, whispering nonsense about Shariah law and Agenda 21. Cruz routinely calls President Obama “the most radical president this country has ever seen.”… Cruz, despite his coronation as a “tea party intellectual,” is a thoroughbred wingnut.

While Romney was not the choice of many Tea Party activists, Cruz is backing the nominee enthusiastically. They have at least one thing in common: a lack of concern about telling the truth. The nonpartisan Politifact labeled a “pants on fire” lie Cruz’s claim that Obama “began his presidency going on a worldwide apology tour.” Politifact ruled as false a Cruz claim about the cost of health care reform. He was also cited for making false claims about his primary opponent. 

Part of Cruz’s electoral appeal is his story about his hard-working immigrant father, who fled Cuba and put himself through college washing dishes. (Cruz describes his father as having fought in the Cuban revolution and been imprisoned and tortured; his dad left Cuba in 1957, well before Castro’s forces ousted the dictator Batista, but Cruz probably benefits from keeping it vague enough that people assume his father fled Castro’s tyranny.) Cruz is quite consciously following in the path of Marco Rubio, another son of Cuban immigrants who got to the Senate after beating a more establishment GOP candidate with Tea Party backing. Cruz’s ambitions, however, must stop short of the presidency, since he was born in Canada. Whew.

Peter Montgomery is a senior fellow at People For the American Way Foundation.
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