The paranoid style of Ted Cruz: Tea Party favorite keeps McCarthyism alive in GOP debate

Messianism and conspiracy-mindedness defined the Texas senator's debate performance

By Elias Isquith

Published August 7, 2015 2:10PM (EDT)

  (AP/John Minchillo)
(AP/John Minchillo)

I write these words after having just watched a Republican Party presidential debate, the second of two held Thursday night by the incongruous duo of Facebook and Fox News. As far as I know, the country has not been “fundamentally changed” from the one I’ve always lived in. And as far as I know, no Iranian generals and Russian hackers have been caught working together to destroy the government from within. Attorney General Loretta Lynch has not released an anti-Christian version of the Nuremberg Laws — yet.

I write these words as a record and testament for future generations. Because if even just one of the many conspiracies Sen. Ted Cruz warned of during the debate were to transpire, the world would change. And the changes would be so massive — and so horrible — that future generations would scarcely remember what it was like to live in America when it was still free. (On the bright side, though, President Reagan’s prophesy of a dystopian, collectivist future would finally be proven correct, give or take a half-century).

But just in case the wicked conspiracy that kills liberty in America is so traumatic that it wipes-out the memories of its survivors too, here’s a list of what Sen. Cruz exhorted us to see during Thursday night’s performance. If you’re reading this now from a wasteland future, know that the successful implementation of any one of these plots could be the reason why you find yourself in your current woeful state. In fact, if the truth is even worse than the senator fears, you may have multiple shadowy, nefarious schemes to blame.

The number one grand conspiracy Cruz introduced is a doozy: President Obama's plan to flood the country with mooching, unskilled illegal immigrants; to use organizations like ACORN to "win" their fraudulent votes; to grant them blanket "amnesty" after breaking the limits of executive power; and to ride this new generation of loyal Obama voters until the U.S. becomes just another weak and decadent socialist hellhole. As I've noted previously myself, this is the framework through which Tea Party patriots like Cruz have interpreted the Obama experience, and the senator was quick to remind his fellow debaters of the big picture.

"President Obama has talked about 'fundamentally transforming' this country," Cruz said, referring to a comment Obama made in 2008 that's become infamous on the right. "There’s 7 billion people across the face of the globe, many of whom want to come to this country," Cruz continued. "If they come legally, great. But if they come illegally and they get amnesty, that is how we 'fundamentally' change this country; and it really is striking." So if you're reading this from the future and still don't remember who killed the world, try hard to unearth any memories you may have of a recent nation-wide amnesty.

That's the enemy within. But that's hardly the sum total of liberty's foes. Cruz also warned on Thursday of what one might call a foreign plot. At its center sits none other than Iran, that longtime enemy of the U.S. and former node in the "axis of evil." Speaking of the shameful deal the Obama Administration struck with the regime in Iran, Cruz intimated that the the lifting of sanctions against one Iranian leader — General Soleimani, "the head of the al Quds forces" — was connected to a recent cyber-attack against the U.S. that's "believed," in Cruz's words, to have come from Russia. And guess who happened to be in Russia the very day the attack is, again, "believed" to have occurred?

Senator Cruz mentioned some lower-level conspiracies too, such as Planned Parenthood's harvesting of babies in order to "sell them like they're parts to a Buick," as Mike Huckabee put it; or the Department of Justice and Internal Revenue Service's "persecuting" of "religious liberty." But if this is all new information to readers from the future, it can only mean that Cruz's premonitions were not heeded, and that the "most hated man in the Senate" — who really is quite a dead-ringer for former Senator Joe McCarthy — never became America's greatest president since Ronald Wilson Reagan.

And if that's true, then all I can muster in defense of my fellow Americans is to paraphrase the Bible, as Cruz repeatedly did on Thursday, and ask for your forgiveness. Unlike Cruz, we cannot see the machinations behind the world's curtains. In rejecting his offer of salvation, we know not what we do.

Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a former Salon staff writer.

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