Last week, Texas Senator Ted Cruz’s prosecutorial style of questioning Chuck Hagel, President Obama’s nominee for Defense Secretary, came so close to innuendo that it raised eyebrows in Congress, even among his Republican colleagues. Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, called Cruz’s inquiry into Hagel’s past associations “out of bounds, quite frankly.” The Times reported that Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, rebuked Cruz for insinuating, without evidence, that Hagel may have collected speaking fees from North Korea. Some Democrats went so far as to liken Cruz, who is a newcomer to the Senate, to a darkly divisive predecessor, Senator Joseph R. McCarthy, whose anti-Communist crusades devolved into infamous witch hunts. Senator Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat, stopped short of invoking McCarthy’s name, but there was no mistaking her allusion when she talked about being reminded of “a different time and place, when you said, ‘I have here in my pocket a speech you made on such-and-such a date,’ and of course there was nothing in the pocket.”
Boxer’s analogy may have been more apt than she realized. Two and a half years ago, Cruz gave a stem-winder of a speech at a Fourth of July weekend political rally in Austin, Texas, in which he accused the Harvard Law School of harboring a dozen Communists on its faculty when he studied there. Cruz attended Harvard Law School from 1992 until 1995. His spokeswoman didn’t respond to a request to discuss the speech.
Cruz made the accusation while speaking to a rapt ballroom audience during a luncheon at a conference called “Defending the American Dream,” sponsored by Americans for Prosperity, a non-profit political organization founded and funded in part by the billionaire industrialist brothers Charles and David Koch. Cruz greeted the audience jovially, but soon launched an impassioned attack on President Obama, whom he described as “the most radical” President “ever to occupy the Oval Office.” (I was covering the conference and kept the notes.)
Angle Again Refuses To Disavow Claims About Domestic Enemies In Congress And Second Amendment Remedies
Among the many radical statements that Nevada GOP Senate nominee Sharron Angle has made, two that stand out are her agreement that there are “domestic enemies” in Congress, and her seeming endorsement of armed insurrection, saying “Second Amendment remedies” may be necessary if “Congress keeps going the way it is.”
As ThinkProgress has noted, Angle has refused to distance herself from either of these claims.
In two recent interviews, Angle yet again refused to disavow her dangerous comments. In an interview with ABC, Angle even seemed to double down on the “enemies” claim, saying lawmakers who passed legislation she does not support are “certainly not friends”:
ABC News: Do we have enemies of the country inside the walls of Congress?
ANGLE: Certainly people who pass these kinds of policies — Obamacare, cap and trade, stimulus, bailout — they’re certainly not friends to the free market system.
ABC News: So, what are they?
ANGLE: They’re not friends.
In an interview with CNN, when asked about the “enemies” comment, Angle wouldn’t back away from it, and even refused to say whether or not President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) are “enemies of the state.”
REPORTER: Do you feel that the President or Harry Reid are enemies of the state?
ANGLE: I don’t think anybody mentioned any names during that conversation and of course those weren’t my words. […]
REPORTER: And what about that statement where you said a Second Amendment response may be necessary if things keep going the way they’re going. And you said we may have to take Harry Reid out. What was all that about?
ANGLE: Well, once again, as we said, those things were spoken in a context
Think Progress has more, including transcripts and video. Money quote:
Angle repeatedly complained that her comments were taken out of context, but when given a clear opportunity to correct the record, she declined. If Angle is trying to “represent mainstream America,” as she said in the CNN interview, then why does she refuse to state clearly that she doesn’t support armed insurrection?
Maybe because that’s the new mainstream for the right.