I heard Ted Cruz on NPR the other evening talking about Net Neutrality. He had a “wonderland” approach to the issue that made my head spin. I thought it would be fun to review his positions on a number of other issues.
First, we should state for the record that Ted Cruz is running for President in 2016. At the point that he formally announces his intensions, he will have been in the Senate for 4 years. If you doubt that claim, he’s what one of his advisors says.
“At this point it’s 90/10 he’s in,” one Cruz adviser said. “And honestly, 90 is lowballing it.”
Cruz has quickly displaced Paul Ryan as the hero of the Tea Party movement. In part that was because Ryan disagreed with Cruz about the government shutdown strategy. In part, it is because Ryan has deliberately distanced himself from the Tea Party.
So let’s go down through the list.
By way of full disclosure, Ted Cruz gets significant funding from those who would stand to gain if Net Neutrality rules are not passed.
The basic issue is not legality. The government does have the legal right to regulate the companies who provide Internet service under a law originally passed to regulate telephone service. Companies that provide internet service can charge a premium for people who want faster connections TO the Internet. Just like phone service, however, once you are connected, what comes through that connection is the same whether the “call” is from Amazon or your significant other.
Cable companies oppose regulation. They want an Internet where they can price content delivery in the same way that they price user connections. Big content companies like NetFlix are willing to pay a premium to get their content delivered faster than everyone else. The specific issue, however, is that since everything is delivered at the same speed now, the only way to create a new faster speed, is to slow down those who don’t pay.
Cruz, however, chooses to describe this as a government takeover of the Internet and wraps himself in the sheep’s clothing of champion of the little guy.
I promise the regulations over and over and over again will favor the big guys that have armies of lobbyists in there and will end up putting more burdens on the startups and the entrepreneurs.
The problem with this claim is that the “little guys” want this law. They see government as their defender from the folks who support Cruz.
Julie Samuels is the director of Engine Advocacy which represents about 500 startups and small companies, including Etsy and Kickstarter. She says the biggest Internet companies can afford to pay more for faster access to their customers.
SAMUELS: They can afford to pay Verizon or Comcast or Time Warner more, even if it sucks for them. But let me tell who can’t afford that. That’s the small companies and the startups and the ones who are just trying to get out there and reach consumers and reach users.
Senator Cruz claimed a mandate from the 2014 elections to repeal Obamacare.
the American people overwhelmingly said we don’t want Obamacare. It’s a disaster. It’s hurting the American people.
The facts, however, don’t line up with his claims. Only 37% of those eligible to vote, actually voted. That electorate was more heavily Republican than national elections. But even with that built-in bias, exit polls showed that only 49% thought the law “went too far” – hardly “overwhelming” opposition.
How about the claim that the Affordable Care Act is “hurting” the American people?
“Virtually every person across this country has seen premiums going up and up and up” due to Obamacare. – Ted Cruz
Here are a few other facts which contradict Cruz’s claim that the ACA has been a “disaster”.
Cruz has also made his immigration stance clear.
This was a referendum on amnesty…. we don’t want amnesty. And I’m sorry to say the president is behaving in an unprecedented way. There is not in recent times any parallel for a president repudiated by the voters standing up and essentially telling the voters go jump in a lake, he’s going to force his powers.
In those same exit polls in an election already biased in a Republican direction, 57% supported a path to a legal status for illegal immigrants. Only 39% supported deportation. Cruz was overstating his support here too.
He also said, Barack Obama “is the first president we’ve ever had who thinks he can choose which laws to enforce and which laws to ignore.”
As far as his claim that the President was telling voters to “jump in the lake”, he was doing exactly the opposite. They supported his action.
Eminent Domain and Keystone
Cruz is a big supporter of the Keystone pipeline and also a big defender of personal property rights. By way of disclosure, he also has received over $2M in campaign financing from the fossil fuel industry.
My view of eminent domain is that it should be limited with regard to the constitution and the fifth amendment of the constitution that provides that it can only be used for public use.
I am disturbed by eminent domain abuse, because I think private property rights are fundamental to who we are as Americans… I don’t we should be helping out private interests,
Eminent domain is the core issue with the Keystone Pipeline that is currently in the Nebraska Supreme Court.
The landowner’s legal challenge cites the use of eminent domain as a major point in their opposition to the project. Previously the elected Public Service Commission had the authority to give utilities or other ‘common carriers’ like railroads to use eminent domain to construct projects that benefited the community.
So how did Cruz react to the question of eminent domain being used to promote the private interests of TransCanada Corp?
The problem with the Keystone Pipeline isn’t the issue of Eminent Domain, the problem is the Obama administration with the stroke of a pen shut that project down.
I could go on, but I think you are getting the picture.
There is a pattern here.
Ted Cruz claims to be a champion of “common sense principles – small business, small towns” yet his actions on things like the Affordable Care Act, Net Neutrality, Immigration, and eminent domain directly contradict those principles.
And it’s not just those issues. It is every issue on which he engages. If you doubt that claim, here’s a list of every issue covered by Politifact and their ruling on those issues.
Over his last two years in the senate, he has been completely honest just once. Two thirds of the time that he opens his mouth on public issues, he is telling lies.
Mostly True (13%)(5)
Half True (18%)(7)
Mostly False (23%)(9)
Pants on Fire (10%)(4)
Just by means of comparison for those who think I’m picking on conservatives, here’s the same list for President Obama. He’s clearly told some lies too, but over a much longer time in office with much higher visibility, he has flipped the script on Cruz. Obama has told the truth three times out of four.
I would not hold this up for a standard either. That’s not the point. The point is that conservatives like Ted Cruz and those that support him vilify President Obama as the worst president ever BECAUSE in part of the lies that he has told. The reality, at least from an objective point of view, is that those who support Ted Cruz fail to apply the same standard of accountability to him that they use for the President. That’s the reason the Ted Cruz can get away with it.
Mostly True (25%)(132)
Half True (27%)(147)
Mostly False (12%)(63)
Pants on Fire (2%)(9)
Much like the Tea Party he claims to represent, Ted Cruz is a walking contradiction. He thrives on the “straw man” argument where he constructs his own version of reality and then knocks it down with his “common sense” approach. The reality is that he is not the principled person he claims. He is instead just another opportunist taking advantage of dog whistle political issues. He acquires power from the support of those whose bias have left them vulnerable to exploitation. He brokers that power for money from the corporations who are really setting Senator Cruz’s agenda.
The primary agenda of these interests is to render government incapable of filling its role as a balance to the expansion of corporate power. In that role, Ted Cruz has been a superstar.