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“Ted Cruz Has Got A Problem”: Why The Subtle Sexism Of The Founding Fathers Might Disqualify Ted Cruz For President

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) was born in Canada to an American mother and a Cuban father. Can he constitutionally run for president?

Actually, the Constitution is a bit fuzzy on this question, and you can find a lot of people with a lot of different opinions about it. For example, Donald Trump, Cruz’s biggest rival in the GOP presidential primary, thinks the answer might be no.

It all depends on what you think the phrase “a natural born Citizen” means — which, the Constitution states, is what you have to be if you want to run for president. It’s an ambiguous term, and reasonable people disagree on how to interpret ambiguous language in the country’s founding document.

Many legal scholars say Cruz qualifies, and while it has become a political flash point, it still seems pretty unlikely it becomes an actual legal barrier to Cruz moving forward with the campaign.

Interestingly, though, some legal experts say that if you subscribe to Cruz’s own principles of constitutional interpretation, he might not be eligible. And for reasons that have a lot to do with gender norms of the 18th century.

Many legal scholars say Cruz supports an approach to constitutional law in which modern readers try to understand what the words in the Constitution would have meant to the people who wrote them and voted to ratify them more than two centuries ago. It’s a concept known as originalism, and it’s especially popular with conservatives.

“It’s not: take what part you like and get rid of the parts you don’t like,” Cruz said in 2013. “Every word of the Constitution matters.”

On this straightforward, intuitive, and deeply conservative reasoning, several prominent legal scholars have argued Cruz is arguably not a natural-born citizen. As the Founding Fathers and their contemporaries probably would have understood that phrase, the argument goes, Cruz is ineligible for the presidency — not because he was born in Canada, but because he was born in Canada to a Cuban father.

“He should disqualify himself,” said Thomas Lee, a legal scholar at Fordham University, adding that Cruz should “just be consistent.”

Lee explains that in medieval English law, the term “natural born” originally referred to subjects of the crown who were born in English territory.

Under King Edward III, who reigned from 1327 to 1377, England expanded this definition to include the children of ambassadors and soldiers who were serving the monarch overseas. In the centuries to come, Parliament modified the definition further to include the children of private English subjects who happened to be abroad.

In the late 18th century, though, that definition did not include English mothers who were traveling. If they conceived children with foreign men, it was assumed those children would not be loyal English subjects and were not considered “natural born.”

“We don’t understand how sexist society was back then,” Lee said. “They thought that you got your blood, your politics, your loyalty, your allegiance from your father. The mother was irrelevant.”

Many Americans object to the notion we must follow the original implications of the words in the Constitution with regard to gender. Many legal scholars argue that the meaning of the document changes with time, along with the mores and values that shape American society and determine how Americans of any given era will make sense of the Constitution’s text.

On this view, according to which the Constitution is an evolving, living document, it’s not as important how the Founding Fathers thought about children’s relationships with their fathers and mothers. Americans today are free to apply their own ideas about gender and family to the text of the Constitution.

Yet as Cruz sees it, a truly conservative reader of the Constitution does not reject the original meaning of the text simply because it offends the modern sensibility or because it’s politically convenient to do so. Following the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of the right to marry for gay and lesbian couples last summer, Cruz accused the justices of “rewriting the Constitution.

In any case, at the time that document was ratified in 1788, Lee has argued that the phrase “natural born” would have carried a specific legal meaning. Natural-born citizens would have been those born in the United States, or born abroad to fathers who were U.S. citizens. On that interpretation, Cruz would not have qualified because his mother was a citizen and his father was not. If Cruz takes an originalist approach to constitutional law, then by this logic, he should come to the conclusion that he is not natural born.

A spokesman for Cruz declined to comment for this story.

Some constitutional originalists disagree with this view, including Michael Ramsey of the University of California, San Diego. He has argued that just as Parliament in London had the power to change the definition of “natural born” for purposes of English law, the newly established Congress here in Washington D.C. could change what the phrase meant for American citizens.

In 1790, members of the first Congress took their seats and passed a law stating that as long as their fathers had lived in the United States for at least some time, children born overseas to American mothers “shall be considered as natural born.” This was a law intended to spell out the new nation’s immigration policy. It is not clear whether Congress also wanted to give a new meaning to the words “natural born” in the Constitution regarding would-be presidential candidates.

Under this definition, Cruz would seem to qualify, since his father had lived in the United States for years before Cruz’s birth in Canada.

Lee and Ramsey have collaborated on legal projects in the past, but in this debate, they’ve parted ways.

Lee says it’s “absurd” for an originalist to argue that Congress would have the power to change the meaning of words in the Constitution. According to Ramsey, though, there’s no contradiction in assuming that lawmakers have this power. The authors of the Constitution allowed Congress to define “natural born Citizen” when they wrote that the legislature had the authority “to establish a uniform Rule of Naturalization,” he says.


By: Max Ehrenfreund, Wonkblog, The Washington Post, January 14, 2016

January 19, 2016 Posted by | Natural Born Citizens, Ted Cruz, U. S. Constitution | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Ben Carson’s Money Men Co-Sponsored Anti-Gay Conference”: One Of The Most Extreme Anti-LGBT Groups On The Planet

The 2016 Committee, a Super PAC which raised over $5 million for Ben Carson in the first half of 2015 alone, dropped in to visit an international conference of one of the most extreme anti-LGBT groups on the planet.

A Human Rights Campaign staffer provided The Daily Beast with a picture of the World Congress of Families partner booths, all of which were set up at Tuesday’s event. Toward the bottom of the list is “Ben Carson The 2016 Committee.”

“What we know for sure is that they were a sponsor,” a staffer for the Human Rights Campaign told The Daily Beast.

The speakers at the international event included Theresa Okafor, who once compared the LGBT movement to Boko Haram, Archpriest Dmitri Smirnov, who refers to gay people as “homosexualists,” and Eric Teetsel, who espouses the belief that God has sent the LGBT movement to inform the world about the impending End Times.

“Well, it’s obviously very, very troubling to see,” the HRC staffer said. “There’s no question that the speakers here are focused on exporting anti-LGBT rhetoric. That’s really, really troubling.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center distinguished WCF as a hate group in 2014, before this recent ninth summit, which marks the first time the shadowy organization has held its annual convention on American soil.

Author Scott Lively, a kind of Ernest Hemingway of the anti-LGBT literary scene (he wrote a novel called The Pink Swastika, which alleges that gay people caused the Holocaust), is also closely associated with WCF and frequently traveled to Uganda to spread the news that LGBT people are at fault for the Holocaust, the Rwandan genocide and the spread of HIV/AIDS. He directly advised sponsors of Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill, which was later struck down as unconstitutional.

World Congress of Families is infamous for drafting Russia’s 2013 anti-LGBT law banning “homosexual propaganda,” which criminalized giving out information about LGBT rights among minors. At the time, WCF executive director Larry Jacobs said the law was “a great idea.”

In 2009, the organization wrote a letter opposing President Obama’s decision to sign a UN “Homosexual Special Rights” statement that was meant to decriminalize homosexuality worldwide.

“Signing the U.N. homosexual rights statement is very much in keeping with this administration’s anti-family and anti-faith actions so far,” Jacobs said at the time.

After the summit yesterday, WCF also sponsored a meet and greet with Rafael Cruz, Senator Ted Cruz’s father, who railed against the Boy Scouts ending its ban on gay youth, saying it would lead to “increased risk that our children would be exposed to sexual predators.”

The 2016 Committee has not responded to a request for comment from The Daily Beast. Larry Jacobs has not gotten back either.


By: Gideon Resnick, The Daily Beast, October 28, 2015

October 31, 2015 Posted by | Ben Carson, Hate Groups, LGBT, World Congress of Families | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

“Ted Cruz, Christian Warrior Supreme”: Hell-Bent On Outhustling Everybody For Allegiance Of Evangelical Crackro-Americans

Even as we learn that on at least one occasion the scion of the Ultimate WASP Family, Jeb Bush, identified himself as “Hispanic,” an actual Hispanic proto-candidate for president, Ted Cruz, seems hell-bent on outhustling everybody for the allegiance of conservative evangelical Crackro-Americans. Per a report from Politico‘s Alex Isenstadt, Cruz ran the first campaign ads of the cycle over Eastern Weekend on programs (especially the latest biblical docum-drama, A.D. The Bible Continues, which premiered last night) with special appeal to Cruz’s fellow Southern Baptists. Cruz’s staff was very open with Isenstadt about their candidate’s dedication to Bible-thumping:

Ted Cruz’s aggressive pursuit of the evangelical vote began with a deliberate choice of venue for his presidential announcement two weeks ago: Liberty University, which bills itself as the largest Christian university in the world.

The Texas Republican senator’s strategic play for Christian conservatives comes into even sharper focus this weekend as he rolls out the first television ad of the 2016 race. Titled “Blessing,” the commercial is aimed directly at evangelical and social conservative voters in early voting states, timed for Easter weekend and slated to air during popular Christian-themed programming.

It’s an exercise in narrowcasting that telegraphs exactly how Cruz intends to win the GOP nomination against better-funded and better-known rivals. His advisers say the Liberty University backdrop, the TV ads and even his recent two-day tour of Iowa are all part of a detailed blueprint designed to tap into the power of two distinct GOP wings — evangelicals and the tea party movement.

Since probably about 80% of these two “wings” overlap, it’s an even narrower casting than Isenstadt’s account indicates. But there’s no question the Texan doesn’t have the luxury of being able to rely on any subtle dog-whistling. Mike Huckabee, after all, is an ordained Southern Baptist minister who’s been working this particular audience for eight years. Rick Perry has deep Christian Right roots. Rick Santorum is an accomplished veteran of the campaign to build counter-cultural ties between conservative evangelicals and “traditionalist” Catholics. And Bobby Jindal’s tongue has been lolling out for about a year now in his relentless pursuit of the mantle of the Christian Right’s very best friend.

So Ted’s got to just come right out and say things others may just imply. One indicator of how it’s going may well be the extent to which he deploys the powerful but perilous weapon of his deranged father, the Rev. Rafael Cruz. In “Blessing,” he plays the bit role of a drunken would-be deadbeat dad saved by Jesus. If Rafael starts speaking in his son’s ads, Ted’s campaign to become the Christian Warrior Supreme is either going really well or really badly.


By: Ed Kligore, Contributing Writer, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Monthly, April 6, 2015

April 8, 2015 Posted by | Christian Right, Evangelicals, Ted Cruz | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Absurd Revisionist History”: Ted Cruz Is A Chip Off A Crazy Old Block

Former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul’s recent foray into 9/11 trutherism has revived questions about how his fringe politics could affect his son’s presidential ambitions. But Rand Paul isn’t the only White House aspirant with a political anchor in the family.

During an August 21 meeting of the Western Williamson Republican Club, Pastor Rafael Cruz — father of Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) — attempted to explain that black Americans “need to be educated” about the real history of the civil rights movement, and that “the average black” doesn’t understand the minimum wage.

Cruz ran into trouble recounting a recent conversation that he had with a black pastor.

“I said, as a matter of fact, ‘Did you know that civil rights legislation was passed by Republicans? It was passed by a Republican Senate under the threat of a filibuster by the Democrats,’” Cruz told the group, as reported by BuzzFeed. “‘Oh, I didn’t know that.’ And then I said, ‘Did you know that every member of the Ku Klux Klan were Democrats from the South?’ ‘Oh I didn’t know that.’ You know, they need to be educated.”

“Jason Riley said in an interview, Did you know before we had minimum-wage laws black unemployment and white unemployment were the same?” he added, referring to the conservative Wall Street Journal editorial board member. “If we increase the minimum wage, black unemployment will skyrocket. See, he understands it, but the average black does not.”

Cruz’s assertions are riddled with factual inaccuracies. For starters, casting conservatives as the real heroes of the civil rights movement requires an absurd revisionist history (nevermind the fact that Republicans didn’t actually control the Senate in 1964).

Cruz is similarly off base on the effects of increasing the minimum wage. Both professional economists and recent history strongly dispute the notion that guaranteeing workers $10.10 per hour will cause unemployment to “skyrocket.” And, contrary to Cruz’s warning, “the average black” would actually disproportionately benefit from such an increase.

Additionally, Pastor Cruz’s riffing on the intelligence of “the average black” probably won’t help Republicans if they choose to revive their disastrously failed outreach to minorities before the 2016 presidential election. And that could be a problem for Senator Cruz.

Ted Cruz has made no apologies for his close personal and professional relationship with his father, who has been described as a “power broker” within the senator’s political organization. He has even used a Senate aide to book his father’s paid speeches, like the one given to the Western Williamson Republican Club. That means that, if Senator Cruz does pursue an oft-rumored presidential bid, he will have to answer for his father’s radical rhetoric. After all, not many serious presidential candidates have close advisors who believe that the California drought is the result of a United Nations plot to confiscate private property, or that the president is a secret Muslim who will force the elderly to undergo “suicide counseling,” or that evolution is a communist lie, among many other outrageous conspiracy theories. Cruz would have a difficult enough time convincing the electorate that he is mainstream enough to serve as president; his father’s regular outbursts will only make it harder.

Pastor Cruz believes that President Obama was “brainwashed for 18 years” by listening to the sermons of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. What does that mean for Ted Cruz, who has been listening to his father for a lifetime?


By: Henry Decker, The National Memo, September 3, 2014

September 6, 2014 Posted by | Civil Rights, Ted Cruz | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“A Continuing Slide Toward Degeneracy”: When Will Ted Cruz Tell His Old Man To Get A Grip?

One of the things that makes U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) fascinating is the lift his career has given to the religio-political stylings of his father, the Rev. Rafael Cruz, director of Purifying Fire Ministeries, a spiritual warfare outfit from suburban Dallas. Now you’d think Cruz the Younger would be sufficiently right-wing to please most conservative palates. But no: he regularly sends the old man out to fire up crowds and say things most Republican orators only hint at. Robert Costa explained their relationship as follows about a year ago:

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 — a presence who softens his edge….

This summer, father and son have also been traveling together throughout the country, speaking to conservatives in Iowa and elsewhere. Their roadshow has enthralled many on the right and startled Cruz’s potential 2016 rivals. No one else in the emerging GOP field has an ally like the charismatic elder Cruz….

There was Rafael Cruz in Des Moines, Iowa, last month, speaking to ministers at the Marriott hotel and collecting business cards in the lobby; a month later, he was in Ames, Iowa, pacing the stage at a conservative summit and drawing cheers for his broadsides against President Obama. His fiery speech at a FreedomWorks event in July drew heavy praise from talk radio.

Rush Limbaugh especially loved how Rafael Cruz compared the president’s “hope and change” message to Fidel Castro’s appeal decades ago. “This guy is knocking it out of the park!” Limbaugh exclaimed.

Conservative leaders agree. Bob Vander Plaats, a top Iowa conservative who hosted the Cruz duo last month, calls Rafael Cruz’s speeches “inspiring” and says the image of a father and son laboring together resonates with values voters. Former senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina, who now runs the Heritage Foundation, is another admirer. He has worked alongside Rafael Cruz this month to rally against Obamacare.

Trouble is, Rafael Cruz has a tendency to say things many of us consider kinda cray-cray. I first really paid attention to him when he spoke at the 2013 Family Leader Summit in Iowa:

He dated the slide towards national degeneracy to the 1963 Supreme Court decision banning school prayer, the “massacre of 55 million babies” to Roe v. Wade, and the introduction of full-on socialism in America to the administration of Jimmy Carter (!), held in abeyance solely by the mobilization of Christians on behalf of Ronald Reagan.

Soon after that David Corn of MoJo got interested in Rafael Cruz and easily dug up some rich examples of the old man espousing up-front Christian Nationalist Dominionism and calling the President of the United States a Marxist determined to exterminate religious belief. Confronted with the cray-cray, Ted Cruz’s office blandly indicated Rafael didn’t speak for his son. And best I can tell, the Ted ‘n’ Rafael tag team road show went on exactly as before.

Now a new video of Rafael Cruz has popped up wherein he tells a conservative audience in Texas about his encounter with an African-American “Democrat” pastor in Bakersfield, California, as an example of the dreadful ignorance of black folks who–believe it or not–don’t understand that “government handouts” have enslaved them; that legalized abortion is a racist genocidal conspiracy aimed at people of color; and that the Republican Party is responsible for all civil rights legislation. The money quote that’s getting picked up here and there comes from Cruz’ characterization of a book by black conservative journalist Jason Riley:

Jason Riley said in an interview, Did you know before we had minimum wage laws black unemployment and white unemployment were the same? If we increase the minimum wage, black unemployment will skyrocket. See, he understands it, but the average black does not.

Now you might think this doesn’t rank among the top ten most offensive things Pastor Cruz says every time he opens his mouth. But there’s something about the effortless and absolutely self-convinced way he says outrageous things that makes it a bit startling the first time you are exposed to his act.

The funny thing is that you’d figure Rand Paul was the potential 2016 candidate with the most significant Daddy Issues. If Rafael Cruz keeps it up, and there’s zero reason to think a zealot like him won’t, Ted Cruz may have to spend more time defending him than he’d like–or have a quiet son-to-father talk followed by some dog-whistle training for the Reverend.


By: Ed Kilgore, Contributing Writer, Washington Monthly Political Animal, September 3, 2014

September 4, 2014 Posted by | Conservatives, Ted Cruz | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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