Last week was filled with more idiotic outbursts from right-wingers, except some of them went beyond infantile rants and raves to posing real-life harm. As is often the case on the fringe these days, the tone was set by the biggest bigot from the biggest state, Republican U.S. Senator Ted Cruz.
1. Ted Cruz: Pray for discrimination.
What is Texas’s Tea Party senator seeking now? This week Cruz called on supporters to “simply pray” that LGBT Americans did not get equal legal rights because same-sex marriage was “heartbreaking.” Yes, pray for a new Jim Crow.
In an interview with conservative radio host Janet Mefferd, Cruz started by saying that he introduced the “State Marriage Defense Act” to undo the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision striking down parts of the federal government’s ban on marriage equality. He accused liberal groups of using “brute power” to wage an assault and “subvert our democratic system.” Then the Harvard Law School graduate, who forgets that an elite Republican lawyer argued for expanding gay rights before the court, issued his hateful hope.
Cruz said that gay marriage threatened liberty and he urged people to pray to God that gays and lesbians don’t get equal marriage rights. “I think the most important thing your listeners can do is simply pray, because we need a great deal of prayer,” he said. “Because marriage is really, really being undermined by a concerted effort. And it’s causing significant harm.”
When right-wingers like Cruz pray for discrimination, a curious thing happens. God doesn’t RSVP ASAP. But other right-wingers do.
2. Answering Ted’s hateful prayers, exhibit A.
A day after Cruz prayed for discriminatory divine intervention, the heavens—or rather the AM broadcasting spectrum—replied. Wrath-filled right-wing radio host Mark Levin didn’t like a libertarian caller’s opinion that LBGT Americans deserved equal legal rights and he disagreed that evangelizing moralists should stay out of people’s sex lives.
What about women in polygamist marriages, Levin replied, saying they don’t have equal legal rights. (Umm, polygamy is illegal in most states.) Then Levin, ever the AM loudmouth, unleashed a torrent about needed moral lines. “I’ll give you an example to be as clear as I can,” he said. “What if an individual decides to have sex with a close relative? And what if it’s both agreed to, they both agree to it?”
Ted Cruz prays for discrimination and Mark Levin answers by saying gay marriage is like father-daugher incest. Levin doesn’t need a microphone, he needs a psychiatrist.
3. Answering Cruz: Exhibit B, the other Ted.
Not to be upstaged, another foul-mouthed Ted—dinosaur rocker Ted Nugent—sprang up on the Texas campaign trail on Tuesday and spewed more predictable right-wing filth to boost Republican Attorney General Gregg Abbott’s bid for governor. The Detroit-born Ted answered Texas Ted’s prayer for discrimination by calling President Obama a "subhuman mongrel,” among other things. It wasn’t the first time he’s said it. However, this time the national media took note.
Abbott replied with the political equivalent of a shrug and a sly smile. Democrats quickly pointed out that the messenger was a mess, a known sexual predator for underage girls. Anyone who has followed Abbott’s antics as AG could hardly be surprised. This is the lawman who sent Texas Rangers to arrest Latino grandmothers—one while taking a shower—for registering voters, marching past local drug dealers and crack houses.
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer had the right take, noting on-air that Nugent’s hate speech was almost identical to one of the slurs used by Nazis against Jews. That point—and sense of history, of how hate speech can incite real racial violence—was lost on Nugent, who abruptly canceled his appearance on CNN afterward. Nugent, another right-wing crybaby who is afraid to stand by his words in unfriendly forums, turned to Twitter and lashed out, comparing CNN and Blitzer to the Nazi’s propaganda wing.
Then Sarah Palin chimed in, endorsing Abbott on Facebook. “If he is good enough for Ted Nugent, he is good enough for me!”
4. More rock-ribbed Republicans with thin skins.
Too bad we can’t give Texas back to Mexico. There’s more poisonous political behavior from the Lone Star state. (That’s one star on a scale of one to five.) What is in the water that creates deluded self-appointed patriots who can dish it out but can’t take it?
Orange County, Texas, population 81,837, lies in the state’s swampy southeastern corner. This week, Jerry Wilson, age 70, a candidate for county GOP chairman, showed us that the GOP is the party of angry white men. On Tuesday, he became enraged when he saw a volunteer from another campaign removing his signs and replacing them with one calling him a RINO, which means Republicans In Name Only. RawStory.com reports what happened next:
“I [Wilson] walked over to him and said ‘you’re pulling up my signs and destroying them.’ He said, ‘What are you going to do about it?’ It was a fight. He was landing punches, too. I can tell you this. He will remember the day. Whatever my punishment is, I’ll take it. If I had to do it over again I don’t think I’d change one thing. He deserved what he got.”
Wilson was arrested on a misdemeanor assault charge for his senior moment and released on a $1,000 bail.
On Friday, Nugent half apologized. Gregg Abbott hasn’t said a thing. And Sarah? Well, that uppidy Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann bounced her out of the spotlight, saying Hillary Clinton would never be president because there isn’t a “pent-up desire for a woman president.” She added, “There was a cachet about having an African-American president because of guilt. People don’t hold guilt for a woman.”
Yup, the country wasn’t ready for Bachmann when she ran for president in 2012, and that’s why Obama was relected twice—tidal waves of electoral guilt.
5. Bitten by one’s own words.
Speaking of guilt, another leading Republican who looks in the mirror and sees a saint is watching his presidential prospects crumble. Like his fellow Republican bully colleague, New Jersey’s Gov. Chris Christie, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has been trapped by his own lies. An email trove released this week in the midst of an independent prosecutor’s political corruption inquiry confirmed that Walker was running parts of his campaign for governor out of the Milwaukee County executive’s office, his prior job. That’s a big no-no under state election law that bars electioneering from public offices.
But the trove revealed something far more interesting than these election law denials. Emails revealed how Walker and his staff were bullies and creeps with capital Bs and Cs. Like New Jersey’s Christie, Walker’s top aides took glee in bullying and mocking. The man-who-would-be-Wisconsin-governor burnished his uptight white guy credentials by firing a county-employed female doctor who modeled thongs on the side. His ex-deputy chief of staff replied to an email comparing non-white welfare recipients to dogs, saying, “That is so hilarious and so true.” Another email among top staffers described a nightmare in which someone wakes up as a “black disabled Jewish homosexual with a Mexican boyfriend.” The person ends up being a Democrat.
6. Even more right-wing fantasies.
With Republican friends like these, who wouldn’t want to be a Democrat? But snarkiness aside, the right-wing political ayslum is a dangerous nuthouse. Witness the latest bit from inmate Tom Delay, who says people forget that God wrote the U.S. Constitution. That’s the treatise that protects religious freedom and keeps it out of government, needless to say. Yet dangerous things can happen when these members of the American Taliban become blinded by their faith and burning desire to believe anything they say.
When you start with praying for discrimination, preach intolerance on national airwaves, spew hate-filled rants on the campaign trail, and don’t have thick enough skin to dish it out but not take it, and enjoy bullying and jokes based on racial stereotypes, what does that yield? A spectrum of bad to psychotic behavior.
Witness the week’s other news, such as a noose found around the neck of a statue of the first black man to attend the University of Mississippi, or an all-white high school wrestling team from New Jersey posing in a mock lynching photograph with a black dummy. In Ted Nugent’s world, this is America—get over it.
But repugnant beliefs—not mere distortions—have a way of infiltrating politics, and that is where Ted Cruz’s prayer to God for anti-LGBT discrimination gets serious. Take what happened in Arizona this week. Its legislature passed a bill that would allow businesses to refuse to serve anyone—the target was same-sex couples—if it violated their personal religious beliefs. Republican Gov. Jan Brewer has not yet signed it.
God may not be answering Cruz’s prayer for discrimination, but other Republicans are.