Basic rule of American democracy: Anybody who wins an election gets 10 seconds of credibility. Let's hope in the case of Ted Cruz, lionized today in The New York Times as "A Republican Voice With Tea Party Mantle and Intellectual Heft," we can make it to the second 10 seconds without throwing up.
Cruz is painted in the Times as an intellectual and elsewhere today as a libertarian who will "do battle with the Obama agenda in the boldest tones, without the deal-making and compromises ..."
Yeah, right. Libertarian? The red-meat issue he and the defeated David Dewhurst fought about in debates was their shared conviction that the government should tell people who to marry based on politicians' interpretation of the Bible.
I never thought anybody on Earth could make our former mayor, Tom "Gay Flip-Flopper" Leppert, look good this issue. (And, by the way, just as an aside, do you think the Gay Flip Flop could ever make it as a dance step? I'm trying to picture Leppert in the music video.)
Oh, I know the so-called "social conservatives" are united in their opposition to gay marriage, a right-wing wedge issue straight off the family tree of Anita Bryant and Paul Cameron. But Cruz is even opposed to gay pride parades. He thinks public officials should be censured for encouraging gay people to feel OK about themselves.
That tells the real tale here. Libertarian, schmibertarian. Cruz's positions and basic mentality on sexual freedom are little more than a contemporary iteration of the 1935 Reichstag amendments to the German criminal code, strengthening the hand of the government in the public regulation of the ultimate private behavior -- sex.
We need to keep our heads on straight about his stuff. Sure, of course, everybody's going to give Cruz some moments of honeymoon and free ride at the very moment of his political onset. But how did he earn that onset? What was he really doing out there that made the Tea Party wingnuts favor him over Dewhurst?
When Cruz and Dewhurst fought over which one of them believed more fanatically in the right of government to tell people who to marry, they reminded me of two naked guys in a locker room screaming at each other about which one was more heterosexual.
In the process, Cruz delivered the ultimate slime-line against Leppert, trying to suggest Leppert was soft on homosexuality (the old "light in the loafers" line?) because he had marched in Dallas gay pride parades.
"When a mayor of a city chooses twice to march in a parade celebrating gay pride that's a statement and it's not a statement I agree with," Cruz said in a debate.
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Was it a statement about marching? Nah. Marching was not an issue. About gay marriage? Nope. It wasn't a gay marriage parade. So that leaves pride.
Cruz slimed Leppert for suggesting by his presence in the parade that gay people should believe in themselves, which, by the way, I doubt Leppert was suggesting. I think Leppert would march in a Puppy Killers Parade if somebody told him puppy killers were a key demo.
But back to Cruz. Cruz was sucking up Tea Party votes by suggesting that male and female homosexuals should be officially censured and shunned somehow by elected officials. Anyone who has ever lost a gay loved one to suicide can tell you what a terribly hateful suggestion that is.
And that's what Cruz and the sex pistols of the far right are really all about -- hatred and official oppression, about as libertarian as Joe Stalin. But we have plenty of time for that. I'm sure it will come out in the second 10 seconds of Ted Cruz. We just have to hold on to lunch the best we can and count: seven seconds, eight seconds, nine seconds ...