"Are you there, God? It's me, God Jr."
A takeaway list of Ted Cruz moments at his speech today at Liberty University (attendance mandatory, students) announcing his unlikely run for the presidency
When I was three, my father decided to leave my mother and me. We were living in Calgary at the time, he got on a plane and he flew back to Texas, and he decided he didn’t want to be married anymore and he didn’t want to be a father to his 3-year-old son.
This was the capper to a long family history in which Cruz claimed to come from a long line of drunks, crooks, and deadbeats. (That part may need some polish in future speeches.) But then came Jesus and $100,000 worth of college loans, so everything worked out.
See the rest of Cruz's top lines, below the fold.
What is the promise of America? The idea that -- the revolutionary idea that this country was founded upon, which is that our rights don’t come from man. They come from God Almighty.
There is a theme to this speech. The theme is that God wants you to support Ted Cruz. The theme is that Ted Cruz stands for liberty
but only liberty
for those that think like Ted Cruz and who are willing to stand with him against the liberty
that others might desire instead.
The incredible opportunity of the American dream, what has enabled millions of people from all over the world to come to America with nothing and to achieve anything. And then the American exceptionalism that has made this nation a clarion voice for freedom in the world, a shining city on a hill.
The theme is that Ted Cruz is Ronald Reagan, because Ted Cruz says so and Reagan is dead now so to hell with what he might think of that.
Two hundred and forty years ago on this very day, a 38-year-old lawyer named Patrick Henry stood up just a hundred miles from here in Richmond, Virginia and said, “Give me liberty or give me death.”
Fun fact, apropos of nothing: Patrick Henry was a slaveowner who at his death owned 65 slaves
; in a 1773 letter to the Auburn Union
he condemned the slave trade as anti-Christian and "barbarous" while admitting "Would any one believe that I am master of slaves by my own purchase? I am drawn along by the general inconvenience of living without them." His speech demanding liberty or death
asserted the British to be treating he and his fellow colonials as "slaves," and implored his fellow Virginians to rise up against the "clanking" of their chains. Later, the U.S. Constitution would enshrine the inalienable rights of the Southern states to maintain their own armed militias in order to put down any slave uprisings predicated on similar notions. But we digress.
Today millions of young people are scared, worried about the future, worried about what the future will hold. Imagine millions of young people coming together and standing together, saying “we will stand for liberty.”
This is going to be the theme of Ted Cruz's speech and, apparently, campaign, so get used to it. Also get used to a highly circumscribed notion of what "liberty" entails, focused mainly on the liberty of Ted Cruz's preferred religion and Ted Cruz's preferred employers over, well, you.
Imagine America finally becoming energy self-sufficient as millions and millions of high-paying jobs are created.
There are several ways America might "finally" become energy self-sufficient. Ted Cruz supposes it to rely on sucking a finite natural resource out of the ground at the fastest possible rate. The problem with this theory is left as exercise to the Liberty University students forced to attend his speech; calculators are permitted.
Instead of the joblessness, instead of the millions forced into part-time work, instead of the millions who’ve lost their health insurance, lost their doctors, have faced skyrocketing health insurance premiums, imagine in 2017 a new president signing legislation repealing every word of Obamacare.
Causing millions to be shunted into part-time work, lose their health insurance, face skyrocketing health insurance premiums, and the dawning of a new golden age of sucks-to-be-you. You know, liberty.
Imagine abolishing the IRS.
Imagine abolishing the BLM, so that Cliven Bundy's cows can eat and crap wherever they want. Imagine abolishing the Department of Justice, so that businesses can decide for their own selves who is allowed to sit at their lunch counter. Imagine abolishing the IRS and moving to a system in which corporations are free to report whatever numbers they want as their tax burden and the tax burden of their employees and in which nobody ever cheats because they know that would be wrong.
Instead of the lawlessness and the president’s unconstitutional executive amnesty, imagine a president that finally, finally, finally secures the borders.
I was born in Canada to an immigrant father, and I am determined to end similar nonsense going forward.
Instead of a federal government that wages an assault on our religious liberty, that goes after Hobby Lobby, that goes after the Little Sisters of the Poor, that goes after Liberty University, imagine a federal government that stands for the First Amendment rights of every American.
Or more accurately, the First Amendment rights of just those groups I mentioned. To wit:
Instead of a federal government that works to undermine our values, imagine a federal government that works to defend the sanctity of human life and to uphold the sacrament of marriage.
If you are among the larger group of Americans whose "values" are not those of Hobby Lobby, Little Sisters of the Poor or Liberty University, get used to a version of liberty
and First Amendment rights
that very aggressively does not include you.
Instead of a government that works to undermine our Second Amendment rights, that seeks to ban our ammunition, imagine a federal government that protects the right to keep and bear arms of all law-abiding Americans.
America was founded on the notion that landholders ought to be able to protect their property and shoot it if it threatened to get uppity. This right was enshrined as second to importance only to the right of religious men to compel their employees to follow religious edicts regarding sexual function and approved life partners.
Imagine a president who says “I will honor the Constitution, and under no circumstances will Iran be allowed to acquire a nuclear weapon.”
Imagine a president who thinks these two things are related to each other, and that the Constitution can be correctly interpreted as a document that allows the president to take any necessary action to thwart the future nuclear ambitions of the nation of Iran, specifically.
Imagine it’s 1979 and you and I were listening to Ronald Reagan.
Easier than you might think. That's not praise, by the way. (Note that this line was immediately after imagining Patrick Henry, George Washington, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, in that order. Make of that what you will.)
From the dawn of this country, at every stage America has enjoyed God’s providential blessing. Over and over again, when we face impossible odds, the American people rose to the challenge. You know, compared to that, repealing Obamacare and abolishing the IRS ain’t all that tough.
And if Ted Cruz's speechwriter has any say in the matter, you now have in your mind the notion that repealing health care and tax enforcement is a part of "God's providential blessing."
I’m going to ask you to break a rule here today and to take out your cell phones, and to text the word constitution to the number 33733. You can also text imagine. We’re versatile.
Fees may apply. Texting will add your phone number to a list of known suckers. Prepare for a tidal wave of junk mail that makes George Washington's crossing of the Delaware look like playing with rubber ducks in a bathtub.
If "get out your phones and text catchphrases" is going to be path to a new Ted Cruz-lead theocracy, a new America where liberty is precisely and only what the good people at Liberty University (attendance: mandatory) consider it to be, I for one will be surprised. But Elmer Gantry must rally his flock, and to do that Elmer Gantry is going to need as much cash as God's providential nation can be squeezed for.