The Ted Cruz Show (Cover Songs)

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, during the Iowa Agriculture Summit, Saturday, March 7, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa. (Photo by Mark Peterson/Redux for MSNBC)

“Is there something about the left―and I am going to put the media in this category―that is obsessed with sex? ISIS is executing homosexuals―you want to talk about gay rights? This week was a very bad week for gay rights because the expansion of ISIS, the expansion of radical, theocratic, Islamic zealots that crucify Christians, that behead children and that murder homosexuals―that ought to be concerning you far more than asking six questions all on the same topic.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)

There are a number of things we might say. Sure, the state of Ohio might be trying to unmarry a dead man, Louisiana might be looking to shield discrimination by state employees, and Christians might be eyeing re-education camps for insufficiently Christian children, but, you know, hey, they’re not actually executing anyone, so … you know, get over yourselves.

And, hey, you know, we might also mention that doing better than Daa’ish is hardly a reasonable standard for American political health. We might look at Ted Cruz, then, and suggest that, hey, it’s not like we’re actually having dogs rape your ass while forcing you to say you like it, so, you know, get over yourself.

In truth, the functional problem with actually saying that would be legitimizing Mr. Cruz’s stupidity.

Bobby Blanchard tries to explain:

[Cruz] got in a light sparring round with reporters, mainly working on his attacks on Hillary Rodham Clinton and defending his views on same-sex marriage.

Ted Cruz for President 2016 logo.“Is there something about the left―and I am going to put the media in this category―that is obsessed with sex?” Cruz asked after fielding multiple questions on gay rights. “ISIS is executing homosexuals―you want to talk about gay rights? This week was a very bad week for gay rights because the expansion of ISIS, the expansion of radical, theocratic, Islamic zealots that crucify Christians, that behead children and that murder homosexuals―that ought to be concerning you far more than asking six questions all on the same topic.”

Cruz also said he did not think his opposition to gay marriage will hurt his chances with moderate voters.

“With respect, I would suggest not drawing your questions from MSNBC―they have very few viewers and they are a radical and extreme partisan outlet,” Cruz told a reporter. He cited the expansion of “mandatory same-sex marriage” as an assault on religious liberty in the United States.

Again, there are any number of things we might say. One of the curious behaviors we might note of conservatives, though it is hardly new, except, perhaps, in frequency and nakedness, is the idea of misinformation overload. The internet age is but the latest chapter in an ongoing saga of increasing information availability and awareness, such that many have suffered some sort of seasickness in the wash of news and opinion flooding our lives. And with journalists abdicating duties to truth, it is easy enough to bury the news cycle in sound bites and other distractions, such that the press will rush about asking each significant character to comment on what the other said, and it turns out it’s nobody’s job to keep track of what things anyone is saying are true or false.

The next natural adaptation is what Cruz is doing, and, again, it’s nothing new. Rather, information overload makes misinformation overload that much easier. The point is to simply stick as many falsehoods in as possible; those thinking to check the facts might well simply surrender to the burden.

To wit:

“Is there something about the left―and I am going to put the media in this category―that is obsessed with sex?” ― No matter how we dice this up, the simple fact is that social conservatives are obsessed with sex. At its core, this issue is about the facts that (A) homosexuals exist and (B) intend to participate in society.

“ISIS is executing homosexuals―you want to talk about gay rights? This week was a very bad week for gay rights because the expansion of ISIS, the expansion of radical, theocratic, Islamic zealots that crucify Christians, that behead children and that murder homosexuals―that ought to be concerning you far more than asking six questions all on the same topic.” ― Let me get this straight: You’re not as bad as Daa’ish, so … what? No, really, this is a thing with Republicans. Mr. Cruz is following in the footsteps of … you guessed it, Tom Cotton, the Alabama Republican freshman who led the #GOP47 in the U.S. Senate, and who defended the Indiana discrimination law by comparing the Hoosier State to Iran. So let us be clear on this point: We’re not impressed. Nor should anyone be.

“With respect, I would suggest not drawing your questions from MSNBC―they have very few viewers and they are a radical and extreme partisan outlet.” ― There is something interesting about how any given Republican presidential candidate panders to the base while trying to address moderate politics. Mr. Cruz’s strange attempt to associate the question with msnbc is understandable insofar as some of the network’s talent is pretty good at criticizing him. Indeed, Steve Benen characterizes the moment with charming pretense: “The far-right senator then started complaining bitterly about msnbc, for reasons that weren’t entirely clear.” But we all know the reason; Republicans have every need to describe the very questions they evoke as radical. This is what we must remember: They asked. It is a familiar refrain. Conservatives stir the news cycle, then pretend offense at the question, as if it is somehow radical. Republicans are fighting gay marriage in states and Congress; GOP presidential contenders are sounding off on the issue. That reporters are asking questions about the chatter coming from the clown car is beyond simply inevitable; it’s rather quite expected.

“the expansion of mandatory same-sex marriage” ― Yes, the phrase sounds familiar. But repeating this sort of talking point has its function in the larger method.

And if these points seem rather quite pointless, they should. This is the purpose: If we answer the discussion where it is taking place, we are avoiding the actual issues. We can spend all day taking apart the points one by one, and that is actually what the spinners hope for. That is to say, if we are arguing about these useless sleights, we are not actually discussing subtantial aspects that might bring progress to the larger issue.

Really, when we can draw some sort of reasonable argumentative juxtaposition between the idea that “you got married, so now you’re married” and bestial anal rape fantasies, it really should not require especial expertise to observe that the discussion has gone awry. And, yes, it is fascinating to watch how Ted Cruz goes about being desperately dishonest. The idea that at some point in there he was answering an inquiry about how his bigotry will play with moderate voters slips away, nearly irrelevant compared with the craven maneuvering to pander for hardliners. With Republican politics on these social issues being so vicious, the questions are inevitable. Then again, also remember that gay marriage is only a headliner for a little bit longer, and then it’s all sound and fury with some occasional political consequence that will be summarily dispensed with, but it’s also to suck up air. Because I can promise Republicans would rather drive their stakes and make their stand here, for instance, with questions of how to treat gay people, because they sure as hell don’t want to find themselves rallying up in support of using state law to shield rape abettors forcing children to carry pregnancies.

No, really.

____________________

Blanchard, Bobby. “Cruz: Is there something about the left … that’s obsessed with sex?” The Washington Post. 19 May 2015.

Legum, Judd. “Senator Says Critics Of Indiana Should Get ‘Perspective,’ Be Thankful State Doesn’t Execute Gays”. ThinkProgress. 2 April 2015.

Benen, Steve. “Ted Cruz questions whether liberals are ‘obsessed with sex'”. msnbc. 20 May 2015.

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