As researchers did up more and more absurd, inane and downright delusional things his father says, Sen. Ted Cruz’ political handlers are being asked to comment. And they’re offering up the same old tired excuses that people always use when they’re caught saying something monumentally stupid and offensive:
This weekend, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) responded to the story Mother Jones published last week that revealed inflammatory remarks made by his father, Rafael Cruz, a Cuban-born, septuagenarian businessman-turned-pastor. Speaking to the North Texas Tea Party last year on behalf of his son, the elder Cruz called President Barack Obama an “outright Marxist” who “seeks to destroy all concept of God.” At that event, Rafael Cruz also urged the crowd to send Obama “back to Kenya.” Or ship him “back to Indonesia,” he said. Asked to comment on his father’s remarks, Sen. Cruz’s office told us, “These selective quotes, taken out of context, mischaracterize the substance of Pastor Cruz’s message.” It added, “Pastor Cruz does not speak for the senator.” Yet after the story was posted, when a Texas television station questioned the senator directly about his father’s statements, Ted Cruz dismissed them as a “joke.” He went on to claim the article was the result of “the politics of personal destruction” and en effort by people “trying to smear [Rafael Cruz] and use that to attack me.”
So let’s tally up the score.
Excuse #1: Those quotes are out of context! And you know what? Sometimes that’s a reasonable statement. Sometimes a quote really is out of context and the context really does change the meaning of it. But when someone claims that a quote is out of context without supplying that context and explaining why the context changes the meaning, you know they’re full of shit.Excuse #2: “It’s a joke.” Uh, what is? Your dad was joking? I don’t think anyone is going to buy that. It’s a joke that people are criticizing the things he says? No, I’m afraid it isn’t.
Excuse #3: “This is all just people trying to attack me.” Okay. So what? Are the criticisms valid or not? Does your dad say these things or not? And are they vile or not? That’s all that matters, not the motivation of those making the criticisms. And in fact, this is a perfectly legitimate question to ask:
As for attacking the son with the father’s statements, the senator did not explain why it’s unfair to hold him accountable for remarks made by a person Cruz’s campaign routinely deployed as an official surrogate. According to campaign disclosure records, Cruz’s Senate campaign paid Rafael Cruz about $10,000 in traveling expenses in 2012 and 2013. And in August the conservative National Review noted that the father-son duo had forged a “political partnership,” reporting: “Cruz has kept his father, a 74-year-old pastor, involved with his political shop, using him not merely as a confidant and stand-in, but as a special envoy. He is Cruz’s preferred introductory speaker, his best messenger with evangelicals, and his favorite on-air sidekick.”
That makes the extreme things he says absolutely fair game.