I would say that Sen. Ted Cruz has gone off the rails, but throughout his short career Ted Cruz has never been on them. He is rail-less
“If this deal is consummated, it will make the Obama administration the world’s leading financier of radical Islamic terrorism,” Cruz said during a round table Tuesday.
And it Just. Keeps. Getting. Worse.
[Speaking to conservative radio host Dana Loesch, Cruz] accused Obama, along with Secretary Kerry and former Secretary Clinton, of trying to “snuggle up to radical Islamic regimes who hate America,” adding that “this administration undermines allies of America and supports regimes that have deep ties to radical Islamic terrorists.”
This hardcore McCarthyite gibberish cannot be blamed on Donald Trump. Cruz has become a favorite with the "tea party" base precisely because he is willing to say things more offensive than the "establishment" will bear. His "policy" stances have been no less farcical, demanding his party shut down the whole of government if they cannot get the sitting president to toe the Republican line on health reforms. His irrational malevolence has only been held in check by his even greater incompetence.
And because he is of the opinion that his political enemies are probably working hand in hand with terrorists and that no government at all is better than a government of negotiated compromise, a certain element of the Republican base loves him, as we'll explore below.
During an earlier era of blogging, I remember exchanging a few emails with the brilliant and much-recommended David Neiwert, then devoting his site to an extended series on the identifying characteristics of fascism. Could elements of a far-right fascist movement be present in the "preventative war"-backing, conspicuously self-radicalizing American right? Neiwert was admirably cautious in assessments, noting that while some of those principles were worryingly close to the fore, others—like a popular and charismatic leader who could will extremist principles into national law—were distinctly lacking. I recall I had a different line of thought, which was that a fascist movement should not be identified just by those elements that the movement had been able to successfully muster into governing principles, but by which principles they themselves articulated as desirable, or as goals.
While the American right has not been able to successfully purge the nation of undesirable non-white immigrants, there are many voices that call bluntly for just that. Pat Buchanan et al are forever going on about the dangers of an insufficiently white and European-descending future America, and Donald Trump based his campaign launch around the notion of those immigrants being inherently of worser, usually criminal, stock. While the far right has not been able to legalize open discrimination against "deviant" homosexuals and has in fact faced several setbacks in recent years, the presidential candidates are united in loudly demanding new laws under which their members would be allowed to do so. The U.S. Supreme Court has decided several cases improperly, say national leaders—and so Ted Cruz and others call for our founding documents to be amended to strip the courts of jurisdiction and empower those particular freedoms to be dispensed or withheld legislatively, without recourse.
The movement has never been united behind a single, charismatic leader who could sweep the opposition aside and install a new administration unapologetic in advancing the ideals of the movement through sheer force of fiat, but the longing for that leader is palpable, and any man or Trump who can stand in front of a podium and declare that he will do just that, and damn those terrorist-enabling, communist-sympathizing, immigrant-coddling illegitimate and treacherous national leaders who disagree, will find himself feted and over-feted.
The old internet axiom, of course, is that any conversation will eventually turn towards comparing things to fascist Germany and that doing so is probably a good sign the conversation had long ago run its productive course. It is just a recasting of the larger truth, which is that Nazi Germany as public rhetorical device is so used and overused (by, conspicuously, some of those same hard-right leaders) that fascism as ideological phenomenon has been stripped of its technical meaning and is used, like "communist" or "socialist," as generic and vapid insult. Forgetting the definition, though, would be a bad thing. To be sure, there is no likelihood that a far-right movement bent on curtailing the rights of undesirables, mounting "preventative" wars against other nations, undoing cumbersome civil rights laws, battling anything that sniffs even tangentially of communism or the left, arming members of their movement in preparation for the eventual day when they, the nation's true defenders, will have to take violent action against their fellow citizens because a supposedly corrupt government is no longer up to the task—none of that would ever be called a fascist movement in America because the word has been rendered properly toxic.
But that doesn't mean the ideological predispositions towards such things no longer exist. There were many Americans who professed support for a fascist ideology in the years before the European version of the movement tarnished the word for generations. After the war, spasms of communist hunting from empowered national leaders wrecked American careers and lives for little reason and with no need for actual evidence.
Anyone who deems America so inherently exceptional that the extremism that has riddled other nations could never land on our own shores is willfully ignorant of our own centuries of abundant evidence to the contrary. The demonization of the crime-riddled, disease-carrying, morally inferior other; the fixation on economic corporatism as answer to all social ills; the manifest notion of a God-given moral superiority to declare war or foil peace that no other nation is permitted to claim—these are all reliably American notions. You will find all of them on the television, and on any channel.
Call it what you want, but we are in the midst of a time when the rightward shift of the conservative movement has become a sprint, a contest to find the most radically far-right positions, and to make the most egregious claims against your not just misguided, but potentially working with the enemy opponents, and to declare that political compromise with those opponents is therefore itself immoral, and intolerable, and most critically a time of unending far-right conspiracy theories, one after the next, forever working their way up into the halls of Congress itself and into the mouths of top movement leaders.
The now-reliable bleatings of sitting senator Ted Cruz as to whether the sitting president is in direct league with our non-Christian enemies; the assertions against Obama by even the wise old man of the race, Sen. Graham, that are not much better; the turgid rise of Donald Trump as openly conspiracy-minded anti-immigrant rant-provider whose voters think just might be the charismatic leader who can dismantle Washington's current political realities through sheer force of will—these are not manifestations of a healthy political movement. They are the writhing of a movement seeking to probe just how far it can go, and finding that it can, in fact, go further.