Your Racist Friend
Ted Cruz appears to have found a home base in the Heritage Foundation. On July 30th, Cruz spoke at Heritage’s Bloggers Briefing about why a complete defunding of Obamacare is crucial and why he’s putting pressure on Congress to make sure it happens. And why they should, too.
Then there was Heritage Action’s #DefundObamacare bus tour of August Town Halls which landed in Big D-little a-double-l-a-s on August 20th, starring Cruz & Son (Papa Rafael and Ted).
Then yesterday there was a Heritage foreign policy event, part of something Heritage likes to call the Jesse Helms Lecture Series. And of course, Ted Cruz was invited to speak because of his vast foreign policy expertise (just like Jesse).
Since this was, after all, the Jesse Helms Lecture Series it is sort of natural that Cruz would say something nice about the dear, departed ultraconservative Senator from North Carolina, but vowing that “we need 100 more like Jesse Helms in the U.S. Senate” is just a touch OTT even for a dramaphiliac like Cruz.
Granted, I have twenty years on Cruz and I grew up in the socialist utopia of the Northeast rather than The Loon Star State so maybe we see things a little differently when we remember Jesse. My Jesse Helms was very much like the Jesse Helms David Broder remembered in an op-ed appearing in the Washington Post a week after Helms announced his retirement from the Senate:
What really sets Jesse Helms apart is that he is the last prominent unabashed white racist politician in this country—a title that one hopes will now be permanently retired.
What is unique about Helms—and from my viewpoint, unforgivable—is his willingness to pick at the scab of the great wound of American history, the legacy of slavery and segregation, and to inflame racial resentment against African Americans.
In case you missed out on the Helms years, here’s a taste:
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which had a reputation for liberalism, was also a frequent target of Helms’s criticism. He referred to the university as “The University of Negroes and Communists”, and suggested a wall be erected around the campus to prevent the university’s liberal views from “infecting” the rest of the state. Helms said the civil rights movement was infested by communists and “moral degenerates”, and described Medicaid as a “step over into the swampy field of socialized medicine”
Helms also famously filibustered, for 16 days, the resolution making the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr a national holiday; and used his seat on the Agriculture committee to fight tirelessly against food stamps.
On the 1963 civil rights protests, Helms stated:
The negro cannot count forever on the kind of restraint that’s thus far left him free to clog the streets, disrupt traffic, and interfere with other men’s rights.
One last sweet little Helms anecdote involves Carol Moseley Braun, the first black woman in the Senate and the only black Senator back in 1993. In the summer of 1993, Helms sponsored an amendment to extend the patent of the United Daughters of the Confederacy insignia, which included the Confederate flag. Moseley Braun persuaded her Senate colleagues to vote against the amendment.
After the vote, Helms and Sen. Orrin Hatch got on the same elevator as Moseley Braun whereupon Helms turned to Hatch and said: “Watch me make her cry. I’m going to make her cry. I’m going to sing ‘Dixie’ until she cries.
He then proceeded to sing the song about “the good life” during slavery to Moseley Braun.
That pretty well sums up my recollection of Jesse Helms . . . that, and, of course Helms’ own special brand of gay-bashing. Helms was around for the AIDS epidemic and was “outspoken” about that issue as well.
Helms was “bitterly opposed to federal financing of AIDS research and treatment” which he believed was God’s punishment for homosexuals. Opposing the Kennedy-Hatch AIDS bill in 1988, Helms stated, “There is not one single case of AIDS in this country that cannot be traced in origin to sodomy”.
When Ryan White died in 1990, his mother went to Congress to speak to politicians on behalf of people with AIDS. She spoke to 23 representatives; Helms refused to speak to Jeanne White, even when she was alone with him in an elevator. Despite opposition by Helms, the Ryan White Care Act passed in 1990.
That’s Ted Cruz’s boyhood hero Jesse Helms. And Ted would like to see 100 such bigots running the US Senate.
Thanks for that, Ted. We now know a lot more about where you’re coming from. Readers may have noticed that I did not refer to Ted Cruz, throughout this post, as “Senator.” The reason for that is that I no longer believe that Ted Cruz deserves that honorific. I respect the right of Texans to elect any revolting throwback they desire to represent them but I’m hoping that they, too, are coming to the realization that Ted Cruz is a disturbed and disruptive individual who should not be playing an active role in our government.
That said, it’s not at all surprising that the reborn Heritage Foundation, with Jim DeMint at the helm, has embraced Ted Cruz as their new poster boy. As a few sane conservatives have noted:
“Heritage Action and Club for Growth are slowly becoming irrelevant Neanderthals” one senior GOP aide said.
“Heritage is working harder to elect Democrats than the DCCC.”
Rock on, Ted.