Friday, January 01, 2016


A couple of months ago, Ben Carson led the Republican presidential field -- at least in a few polls. But Carson's moment has passed and his campaign is now imploding:
Three of Ben Carson's high-ranking advisers, including campaign manager Barry Bennett, quit Thursday following an internal power struggle, a sharp decline in the polls and a week of confusion about who would remain on the retired neurosurgeon's presidential campaign team.

"Barry Bennett and I have resigned from the Carson campaign effective immediately," said departed communications director Doug Watts in a statement to The Washington Post.... Hours later, Carson’s deputy campaign manager Lisa Coen also submitted her resignation.
Meanwhile, in Iowa, where the Republican electorate is dominated by evangelical Christians, Ted Cruz is leading the pack and (as Breitbart reports) is really working the God angle:
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) tells his volunteers about the need to energize and mobilize Christians.

“If we awaken and energize the body of Christ -- if Christians and people of faith come out and vote our values -- we will win and we will turn the country around,” Cruz told volunteers on a conference call Tuesday.

Cruz also said that he is organizing a coalition of pastors in early states including Iowa and South Carolina.

“We’re working to have a lead pastor in each of the 99 counties in Iowa, 99 pastors are organizing other pastors,” Cruz said. “We’re doing the same thing in South Carolina, organizing pastors in 46 counties to motivate and organize other pastors.”

...“I want to tell everyone to get ready, strap on the full armor of God, get ready for the attacks that are coming,” he warned.
If Cruz really is winning the Jesus primary -- as seems to be the case -- that's a victory that was far from inevitable. Mike Huckabee is a preacher. Scott Walker is a preacher's kid. Rick Santorum had a fervent evangelical following in 2012.

And back in the fall, Carson seemed to be the evangelical favorite. He sold himself as a kid who grew up in poverty and had a violent temper who made it to the Ivy League and achieved success as a neurosurgeon in large part because God was on his side.

But Ted Cruz and his preacher father, Rafael, out-Carsoned Carson. The good doctor once tried to stab someone? Rafael Cruz, in his son's telling, drank to excess and abandoned the family, until God intervened:
Speaking at the Value Voters Summit in Washington, Cruz, R-Texas, told the group that while living in Calgary, Canada, his mother and father had a drinking problem, and Cruz's father, Rafael, ultimately abandoned him and his mother.

"Both of my parents drank far too much. Both of them had serious problems with alcohol," Cruz, 43, said. "When I was 3 years old, my father decided he didn't want to be married anymore and he didn't want a 3-year-old son, so he got on a plane and left."

The Texas senator said his father then moved to Houston and explained it wasn't until his father found Christ that he decided to return to his family.

"He gave his life to Jesus," Cruz said, describing a visit his father made to a church. "And he went and bought an airplane ticket and flew back to Calgary to rejoin my mother and to rejoin his son. So when anyone asks is faith real, is a relationship with Jesus real, I can tell you, if it were not for my father giving his life to Christ, I would have been raised by a single mother."
Carson grew up as a poor child of the inner city? Rafael Cruz fled Cuba, where he says he was tortured:
At 17, Rafael Cruz led a group of insurgents staging urban sabotage against Fulgencio Batista, a Cuban dictator. Mr. Cruz was eventually jailed and tortured, and upon his release wanted the underground to help him reach Mr. Castro’s camp in the Sierra Maestra highlands.

“My dad asked if he could join Castro in the mountains and keep fighting,” Senator Cruz, Republican of Texas and a presidential candidate, writes in his book, “A Time For Truth” ...

Instead, the elder Cruz bribed his way to a Cuban exit visa and headed to the University of Texas.

He returned home shortly after Mr. Castro seized power in 1959, but, Ted Cruz writes, was appalled to see Mr. Castro had “declared to the world that he was a Communist.”
(Rafael Cruz is so anti-communist now that I assume most of his audiences don't quite grasp that he fought on Castro's side. The fact that he's compared the hated President Obama to Castro has successfully muddied the waters.)

Carson extols God and denounces political correctness, but Cruz can claim to be the son of a man who nearly got trapped in a hellhole of left-wing atheism and can say Jesus returned his daddy to him. And Rafael Cruz's preaching is much more militant -- and pointedly political -- than Carson's generalized God-talk. Here's Rafael Cruz in an interview with CBN's David Brody:
Brody: Talk me about your son and his rise. This must be a thing of God. It's meteoric.

Cruz: Yes, but you know something, it is not something that started a couple of years ago. Let me just go back to when he was maybe four. When he was four I used to read Bible stories to him all the time. And I would declare and proclaim the word of God over him. And I would just say, ‘You know Ted, you have been gifted above any man that I know and God has destined you for greatness’. And I started making declarations about the Word of God to him every day. When he was eight years old I was very active in an organization called the Religious Roundtable.


This was a coalition of Christians and Jews who was very instrumental in helping Reagan get elected. I was on the state board of the Religious Roundtable, so when my son Ted was eight years old, all we talked about around the dinner table was politics because I was so involved with the Reagan campaign. So during that time is when I asked him so many times, ‘You know Ted, when I lost my freedom in Cuba I had a place to come to. If we lose our freedoms here where are we going to go? There is no place to go.’
Donald Trump has consistently beaten Carson in the political-outsider "lane," yet Carson was hanging on because he was beating Trump in the Jesus "lane." But Carson is fading now because he's no match for Cruz. Cruz, with his father's help, has done the best job this year of weaponizing Christianity.


Ten Bears said...

If we can't burn the damned things, can we at least tax the churches?

Victor said...

Any "weaponized" "Christian" pastor's and their churches, need to lose their tax exempt status immediately!

Of course, part of the conservatives goal of muddying the IRS's already unpopular reputation over the last few decades, is so that any well deserved move like that, would result in catastrophic PR.

And would incentivise the rubes even more, to vote for anti-government grifters who want the power of working in and controlling the government they say the loathe.

They only loathe it when they aren't in control.
And when they are in control, they don't work for regular citizens, but, instead, for the rich and their corporations, hoping to earn their continued financial support - and a soft place to land when they decide to leave office, or the voters make that decision for them.

Lets's hope the rest of the voters in this country aren't as gullible as Ted's Jesus-freak followers - aka: rubes!

Ken_L said...

Very prescient of Cruz senior to call his son "Ted" when he was only a child. According to Cruz's own autobiography (via Wikipedia), he changed his nickname from "Felito" to "Ted" after being teased about it by his peers at age 13.

BTW Cruz claims "The problem with that name ["Felito"] was that it seemed to rhyme with every major corn chip on the market". I can think of other, rather coarser ways to mispronounce it that would have mortified the budding leader of the free world.

Unknown said...

Shouldn't it be Rafael Cruz the Elder and Rafael Cruz the Younger?

Anywho, we're almost at where future historians will say we ought to have expected to be in the first place, considering a nation of voters almost equally divided between a coalition of the reality-oriented and rationally-self-interested versus a conspiracy of racists and religiots fueled, led on and exploited by oligarchs. With the former headed toward what seems an inevitable nomination of the first ever female presidential nominee of a a major party, and the latter seemingly almost as inevitably headed toward Sinclair Lewis' nightmariest nightmare in nominating an utterly conscience-less (actually foreign-born) religious grifter, this is it, folks: the Big One.

It's been in the making for generations, going back to the massive Nixonian expansion of the intersection conjoining white European immigrant fears and resentments with the long hard road to women's suffrage and the disordered goat trail of William Jennings Bryant vs Scopes in the Monkey Trial.

The reason that pols and pundits so often get away with calling the impending presidential election the Big One is because so often it turns out to be exactly that. In the past, we've blown the Big One so, so many times, so, so badly in the past, that spectacular record of failure makes the next the Big One all the bigger.

We're about to witness and participate in what promises to be the single craziest, ugliest, stupidest, get down-n-dirty, knock-down kick'em in the privates stomp'em in the head presidential election any of us will ever see.

flipyrwhig said...

You know Ted, you have been gifted above any man that I know and God has destined you for greatness’

Ted Cruz definitely acts like someone who's been told he's the world's most special boy his entire life.

Ten Bears said...

Steve, check your hit counter, this looks like an unsophisticated attempt at a DOS (denial of service) attack.

Chai T. Ch'uan said...

‘You know Ted, when I lost my freedom in Cuba I had a place to come to. If we lose our freedoms here where are we going to go? There is no place to go.’

Perhaps Ted should have stopped to consider this when he let the Dallas Morning News goad him into renouncing the Canadian half of his dual citizenship.

Steve M. said...

Steve, check your hit counter, this looks like an unsophisticated attempt at a DOS (denial of service) attack.

I on't know what happened, but I'm just treating the comments as spam. (This is why I never left Blogger.)

Ten Bears said...

Other "progressive" blogs have reported the same.