Thursday, March 3, 2016

Cruz is not the best alternative

Debra Saunders, the lone Republican voice in The San Francisco Chronicle, an otherwise superlefty newspaper, has a column out this morning titled, “My New Best Friend Ted Cruz.”  She joins the anybody-but-Trump wing of the Republican Party in arguing that Trump is so dangerous Republicans have no choice but to get behind the most viable alternative.

But consider what Saunders – and presumably other Republicans speaking in the same voice – are saying.  That Ted Cruz should be president.

Should he?  Really?

Brush right past the arguments for now that Republicans have used in the past against Cruz – that he climbs over the bodies of his fellow Republicans to get ahead, using brazen lies in the process.  What about the policies he advocates:

1. His anti-woman stance is extreme.  He would have women impregnated by rapists forced to carry their pregnancies to term.  They would have no say in this government control over their bodies.
2. His anti-LGBT stance is similar.  He actively works to remove the right of gays and lesbians to marry, comes down consistently against civil rights for gay people  and would even remove their right to serve in the military despite research showing the removal of Don't Ask/Don't Tell has had no negative effect whatsoever on performance.
3. He is opposed to showing compassion for children brought into this country by parents who entered illegally, who have grown up in America and never known another home.  He would have these people forcibly deported.
4. His solution to the problems in the Middle East is to “bomb them back into the Stone Age.” 
5. He is big oil’s golden boy.  The industry has been his biggest corporate financial supporter and he opposes any environmental laws that would limit the expansion of the petroleum industry. He denies climate change, making Americans the laughing stock of the world. 

It’s wrong to characterize these as typical conservative policy positions and brush away objections as the ranting of angry liberals.  To support Cruz is to help put hostility to gays, immigrants and women into action and to help lead the country into a stunningly foolish and destructive foreign policy.

Politics, we keep saying, is about the art of compromise.  One should never expect to find candidates with whom one can agree on everything.  But that’s not what this is about.  This is about throwing your weight behind a politician with thoroughly repugnant views.

It’s not true that Cruz is the only alternative.  Americans are under no obligation to vote for the party they register with.  One is never obligated to vote blindly.  If the Republican Party failed in its responsibility to put forward somebody a voter might reasonably support, voters do not have to follow them off the cliff.  They can vote democratic this time and work harder to fix the party before the next presidential election.

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