The Ted Cruz Show (Tell Me You’re Joking)

Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, gestures while addressing the Sunshine Summit in Orlando, Fla., Friday Nov. 13, 2015. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

“Now listen, I have been a conservative my entire life. I have never met anybody, any conservative who wants to ban contraceptives.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)

It seems something of a dubious claim, but this is Ted Cruz, so there is, of course, a hitch.

First, though, ask yourself just how likely it is that anyone can be a career politician from Texas and never meet a fellow conservative who advocates Fertilization-Assigned Personhood, a.k.a., “Life at Conception”.

But here’s the hitch: While FAP would ban oral, intrauterine, and emergency contraception accessible to females, Mr. Cruz doesn’t see that as problematic.

“Last I checked, we don’t have a rubber shortage in America,” Cruz told a crowd in Bettendorf, Iowa, as CNN and other outlets reported. “When I was in college we had a machine in the bathroom; you put 50 cents in and voila!”

Cruz argued that Democrats have conflated Republican opposition to abortion rights with opposition to contraception. “Now listen, I have been a conservative my entire life. I have never met anybody, any conservative who wants to ban contraceptives,” Cruz said.


See? He doesn’t want to ban contraception. He just wants it to be a man’s decision. In truth, I’m curious how young one must be to not recognize the phrase “taking a shower with a raincoat on”.

No, really. Show of hands. How many people think history would describe men as enthusiastic, adept users of condoms?

It’s kind of funny … er … rather, it would be funny except for the human stakes. But … ah … you know … right.

Oh. Right. It might sound like a digression, but I’ve been encountering a square zeroα phenomenon of late in issues arising at the intersection of women and human rights. And it turns out that many of my age peers do not remember their youths. It’s the weirdest thing, as if they don’t remember all the harassing of and hitting on our female peers. Or think of it this way: If American Pie was the new Porky’s, how might he forget Porky’s? What I’m witnessing is not necessarily unique; I just cannot possibly cover the entirety of these United States. But in politics we occasionally encounter waves of pretentious ignorance, a demand for a context in which something that has been going on for generations is suddenly somehow new. This isn’t obscure like the Schwarzkopf Cycle in American foreign policy history. But to hear a man my age or older say he’s never heard a rape joke? The only way around it is to say it isn’t a rape joke. Like the one about the blonde and the breathalyzer. It’s a blonde joke, see? Or a cop joke. The coerced oral sex is just the punch line; it’s not a rape joke!

No, really. That’s what’s required.

For the junior U.S. Senator from Texas, it’s a similar device.

It is hard to imagine he’s never met a personhood advocate. His out is that while personhood legislation would effectively banish oral, intrauterine, and emergency contraception used by women, condoms still exist, and, well, I guess we can presume history indicates men are happily responsible about condom use. That is to say, true enough I don’t know why we wouldβ, but we can. You know, if we want to.

“His insistence that condoms are a substitute for the contraception many women need to prevent unintended pregnancies, and for other health reasons, shows he hasn’t got a clue when it comes to women’s health,” said Kaylie Hanson, the Democratic National Committee’s director of women’s media. “This is no laughing matter for millions of women who deserve access to the very health care that could be threatened if he were president, including survivors of rape and incest.”

One last note: It would seem ridiculous to knock the appeal on behalf of rape and incest survivors, which is why I wouldn’t. But am I allowed to be disappointed that it is so necessary a pitch? Self-governance is a human right, not some “women’s right”γ to be parceled out in exchange for obedience or as a special exception for specific suffering in order to show how magnanimous we think we are.


Image note: Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, gestures while addressing the Sunshine Summit in Orlando, Fla., Friday, 13 November 2015. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

α When back to square one simply won’t suffice.

β And this has even happened to me. I mean, yeah, I know he was wearing a condom. I know because I put it on him. With my mouth. Which, in turn, is not as easy as it might look. Still, though, that moment after: Where’s the condom? “What condom?” Oh, please tell me you’re joking. I mean, seriously. Oh, yeah; I also know there was a condom because I found the foil. Not that I would have hallucinated the other, but … y’know? I mean, really.

γ To be specific: “Women’s rights” are human rights, not some separate sum to be judged worthy in comparison to what men might think themselves entitled. Women are human beings, and have human rights, full stop. This is not up for discussion.

Lesniewski, Niels. “Ted Cruz, Condoms and Bathroom Politics”. WGDB. Roll Call. 1 December 2015.

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