Sept. 24, 2013 By Jack Jodell.
In the course of our national history, the United States has had scores (maybe even a majority) of egotistic, opportunistic, self-centered political blowhards. In recent years, intelligent people have been plagued with the likes of Sarah Palin (with her utterly false and absurd claim of “death panels” being set up for elderly people), to Michele Bachmann’s equally proposterous question of “why do we need a minimum wage?” and her exhortations to taxpayers to descend upon Washington “armed and dangerous” to demand lower taxes, to Rick Perry’s assertion that the time-honored tradition of Social Security being actually a “Ponzi scheme” – we have had no shortage of political buffoonery. These politicians attained, yet were often unworthy of, high political office. They spent the majority of their time in the public spotlight making outrageous claims or statements mainly designed to gain them undue attention and/or to advance their political careers or even increase their personal wealth. It is one of the unintended aspects of free speech that such reckless and irresponsible fools have been afforded the opportunity to speak out so insanely.
Speaking of reckless and irresponsible fools, I have noticed a startling resemblance between a current loud-mouthed Texas Senator and a Wisconsin Senator of 60 years ago who rose to a brief prominence. Not only do they look amazingly alike (expressions, mannerisms and all), but their rise to power and fame, plus their methodology to get there, has been remarkably and disgustingly similar.
Both men took advantage of current concerns and issues to advance themselves. They used scapegoats for their fodder. In Joe McCarthy’s case, he managed to use the then-rising fear and threat of global communism to attract media attention and fuel what had once been a mundane and unimpressive career into a literal juggernaut of power, prestige, and influence. A man who loved the limelight almost as much as he loved his alcohol, McCarthy claimed in a speech in 1950 to have “a list of 205 – a list of names that were made known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping policy in the State Department.” For dramatic effect while making this speech, McCarthy waved the supposed list in his hand while talking, yet he NEVER provided the list to the press or anyone else who was in attendance at the speech that day. Nonetheless, it created an immediate sensation and propeled McCarthy to sudden stardom. He was booked everywhere to give paid speeches as a supposed expert on communism. Before long, he was conducting hearings in the Senate which soon became horrible witch hunts. Those accused of being communists or even “fellow travelers” soon lost their jobs and became blacklisted, and were targets for ignorant hatemongers. The press and public became caught in an irrational fear of communists being hidden literally everywhere. Many innocent people were needlessly hurt by these witch hunts, and some even committed suicide in utter distress. McCarthy grew bolder as his fame and influence skyrocketed, until he even intimated that communists had infiltrated the U.S. Army. At the resultant Senate Army hearings, McCarthy was finally and thankfully shut sown cold by skilled Attorney Joseph Nye Welch. Almost concurrently, his claims of communist infiltration within the government were thoroughly debunked by the popular and brilliant CBS-TV investigative reporter Edward R. Murrow. McCarthy soon became regarded as a fraud, was censured by the Senate, and died in disgrace a few years later. Along the way, though, his reckless shenanigans needlessly claimed far too many innocent victims.
In the case of Ted Cruz, once regarded as far too right-wing to win a race for erious high office, he was unexpectedly elected to the Senate in the great Tea Party infestation of the now reactionary Republican Party that occured in 2010. He took advantage of previous GOP gerrymandering efforts in his state to win the Republican Primary and then the general election. He immediately latched on to what he perceived may be an unpopular issue, the Affordable Care Act of 2010, and has been riding it like a bucking bronco ever since.
Not even in office for one full term, Cruz has been parading around the country attacking this “Obamacare” and is rashly advocating a shutdown of the federal government to prevent funding for the law’s implementation. This cold-hearted, self-absorbed brute is apparently oblivious to the fact that such a shutdown would be utterly disastrous for the low-income elderly, as well as for disabled Americans who depend on the timely arrival of their monthly Social Security check. He is also definitely not thinking about, or simply does not even care about, the millions of Americans who will lose access to health insurance if this law is not allowed to be implemented. But that doesn’t faze Cruz at all. He must simply view these folks as some sort of unimportant collateral damage. It is clear to see that Cruz is in love with the new public spotlight he sees himself in, and is hoping this new prominence will propel him to a successful bid to capture the 2016 Republican Presidential nomination and then to snatch the White House up all for himself.
Such a dreamer! Cruz isn’t even considering the devastation his impetuous actions will wreak on his own party! He isn’t even thinking about how shutting down the fedral government may cause the GOP to lose control of the House of Representatives or may cost them the chance to control the Senate, to say nothing of capturing the White House in 2016.
Ted Cruz is a VERY dangerous man, The full effects of his political maneuvering won’t be known for some time, but it is almost guaranteed to be a political disaster for his party and the entire country, just as the preceding era of McCarthyism was!