Texas Sen. Ted Cruz had an interesting answer to a question from Dallas Morning News writer Todd Gillman last week:

Q. Is [former Sen. Joseph] McCarthy someone you admire?

A. I’m not going to engage in the back and forth and the attacks. Several Democrats have demonstrated a willingness to attack me by name. I’m not going to engage in that argument. I’m going to stay focused on what I think Texans want me to stay focused on, which is the substance of the job.

He couldn’t just say “no”?

As Gillman notes in the interview, numerous observers — including fellow senators — have been comparing Sen. Cruz to McCarthy, whose reckless smears and Red-baiting in the 1950s are infamous.

In recent years far-right activists have been defending McCarthy. In fact, former Texas State Board of Education chairman Don McLeroy claimed in 2009 that McCarthy “was basically vindicated.” And sure enough, the state board’s far-right members succeeded in revising the state’s public school curriculum standards for social studies to suggest just that. In fact, a report from the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Institute, which slammed the state’s new standards as a “politicized… Read More

The new U.S. Senator from Texas, Republican Ted Cruz, is rapidly building a reputation, although one that few should be proud of. In the short time he’s been in the Senate, Cruz has found himself in a small, hardcore faction of right-wingers on a variety of issues. For example, he cast a “no” vote on the Violence Against Women Act, which passed the Senate by a large margin. He also was one of just three senators who voted against the confirmation of John Kerry as U.S. Secretary of State. He even attacked Kerry and Chuck Hagel, the Republican nominee for Defense Secretary, as insufficiently supportive of the military. Kerry and Hagel served in Vietnam, both earning Purple Hearts. Cruz never served in the military.

Sen. Cruz’s crude attacks on Hagel during the latter’s Senate confirmation hearing were too much even for some of his Republican Senate colleagues. And his insinuations that Hagel might have earned money from our nation’s foreign enemies have led more than one observer to compare him to the notorious Sen. Joseph McCarthy, whose red-baiting smears in the 1950s were infamous. From a piece in the New York Times this week:

Without naming names, Senator… Read More

The two candidates and their surrogates in the Republican U.S. Senate runoff in Texas are in a fight over which one is too cozy with gays and which is the biggest opponent of abortion. And the hypocrisy meter is pushing higher and higher.

During the Republican primary this spring, candidate Ted Cruz attacked opponent Tom Leppert for appearing in a gay pride parade when he was mayor of Dallas. Now religious-righters are screaming that one of Cruz’s major backers, billionaire PayPal founder Peter Thiel, is gay and supports both same-sex marriage and marijuana legalization.

Kyleen Wright, head of the anti-abortion and anti-gay Texans for Life Coalition, has been one of the loudest screamers. She supports Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in the July 31 runoff against Cruz. Last week she called Cruz a “Thiel puppet” in a Twitter post. The next day she got into a Twitter spat with a Cruz supporter who was upset that Dewhurst-backer Gary Polland has said nice things about Annise Parker, Houston’s openly gay mayor. Check out the Twitter exchange here:

But while Wright has been arguing about which candidate is a gay-lover, she… Read More

Rick Santorum, a favorite of religious-right activists, has endorsed Ted Cruz in the Republican primary race for the U.S. Senate seat from Texas. Religious-right leaders meeting at a Texas ranch last January endorsed Santorum in his bid for the GOP presidential nomination. Santorum suspended his campaign in April.

In addition to his opposition to equal rights for gay Americans and to abortion, Santorum thinks states should have the right to ban contraception. He has also argued that health insurance shouldn’t cover prenatal testing because such procedures, he says, lead to more abortions. And he calls colleges “indoctrination mills” that threaten the country because they lead students to question their religious faith.

Earlier this month Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin also endorsed Cruz, a former solicitor general for Texas.

Polls show that the frontrunner in the Texas Senate race is Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. Dewhurst has the support of various religious-right leaders as well, including former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee. Gov. Rick Perry is also backing Dewhurst.

Other Republican candidates for the Senate seat include former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert and former ESPN commentator Craig James.… Read More

How quickly they turn on you. Tom Leppert won his 2007 race for Dallas mayor after supporters attacked his main opponent for being gay. Now Leppert is under attack by his opponents in the race for a U.S. Senate seat for “celebrating gay pride” while he served as mayor.

On Wednesday Leppert and other Republican candidates for the seat of retiring U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison participated in a debate sponsored by the right-wing Eagle Forum at the Dallas Country Club. Among the candidates at the debate were Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz, ESPN sports analyst Craig James and Driftwood mediator Lela Pittenger. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who is also seeking the Senate seat, didn’t attend.

Leppert’s opponents criticized him for (gasp!) attending two gay pride parades when he was Dallas mayor. According to the Dallas Morning News, Cruz argued that Leppert’s participation in the events sent a wrong message to the public:

“When the mayor of a city chooses twice to march in a parade celebrating gay pride, that’s a statement. It’s not a statement I believe in.”

James moved beyond just criticizing Leppert and insisted that sexual orientation is a “choice.” From the Dallas Morning News story:… Read More

Americans United

Dan Quinn of @TFN shares how religion can be discussed objectively during classroom instruction, but students in public schools shouldn’t fear they will be preached to #CC20 #CreatingChange pic.twitter.com/vbmP…