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Jim Hightower
Jim Hightower
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The People's Choice! Only, Not Really


If you thought right-wing politicos couldn't get any goofier, take a peek at Texas on "Cruz Control."

Ted Cruz is America's latest tea party darling, having just pulled off a political contortion in Texas that few would've thought humanly possible: He got to the right of Gov. Rick Perry! The "Oops" governor is himself a former tea party darling who's such a far-out know-nothing that he's renowned for putting the goober in gubernatorial. By the time of last week's Republican runoff election in Texas, however, Cruz had squinched himself Houdini-like into even farther-out political positions than Perry has taken, thus wowing the tealeaf crowd and defeating the guy whom Perry was backing to be the Party's nominee for a seat in the U.S. Senate.

How far out is he? One of the white-hot talking points Cruz used to fire-up the narrow extremists who now control the Texas GOP is that he will, by God, defend America's golf courses! You might not have realized that golf course defense is a burning national issue crying out for the attention of U.S. senators, but such keen vigilance on even the most unimaginable threats to our nation is the kind of stuff that makes Cruz a tea party fave.

Defend golf courses against what, you ask? Not turf rot, rampaging moles or those bothersome environmentalists, but against that old right-wing bugaboo: the United Nations. "Stop Agenda 21," cries Cruz in an alert posted prominently on his campaign website, even taking this war whoop onto talk radio and TV, including an enlightening appearance with the always thoughtful Glenn Beck. Agenda 21 is a 20-year-old innocuous and nonbinding UN resolution (agreed to by then-President George Bush the First). It encourages governments to develop plans for sustainable development of "open spaces" — and that's what rubs Ted raw. Open space, you see, includes golf courses.

To the barricades, patriots! Grab your putters and mashies and rush to your local links, for the UN is coming over yon hill!

To double-down on his political wackiness creds, Cruz notes ominously (and falsely), "The originator of this grand scheme is George Soros." Doubling-down yet again, Cruz adds (also falsely) that the hobgoblin Soros is a socialist devil who believes in "eliminating national sovereignty and private property."

Thus, he concludes, "The real question is will we have senators in Washington who will take steps to stop this nonsense..." Yes, Ted, right back at you.

We need some sane senators who'll stop the nonsense and start dealing honestly with America's real problems.

Unfortunately, golf goofiness is not the only nonsense this guy embraces. He's also a Social Security privatizer, a "tenther," a turn-'em-loose front man for Big Oil, an opponent of extending unemployment benefits to America's jobless millions, a die-hard champion of deregulating Wall Street greed (his wife, coincidentally, is a top regional executive for Goldman Sachs), a regressive flat-tax acolyte and a shameless promoter of the anti-Islam poppycock that the stealthy spread of Sharia law is "an enormous problem" in the U.S.

Nonetheless, Cruz did win and is now celebrated as "the people's choice" in Texas, having piled up a whopping 57 percent of the vote last week. The media reported this as politically earthshaking, blaring that "high turnout" by tea partiers created a "surge at the polls" that carried Cruz to his "huge" win. The Lone Star result, concluded many pundits, shows that the people want candidates aligned with "tea party values."

Hog poop. The "big story" in politics often is not the one trumpeted by the myopic media and political cognoscenti, but the one they don't report at all. In the Cruz case, we should step back from the hyped results, take a deep breath and look at two big, honking, neon-lit numbers that reveal a stunning truth about the state of our democratic process. First: 631,316. That's how small the actual vote was for Cruz and his whole kit and caboodle of far-right-wing balderdash. Next: 15,915,758. That's how many eligible voters there are in the state.

Do the math (which the media failed to do), and the real story turns out to be that Cruz is the choice of no more than 4 percent of the voters of Texas.

This is what America's politics has become: so empty and asinine that a guy wins a nomination to a U.S. senate seat with a pathetic 4 percent of the vote — and then is hailed as the choice of "the people."

To find out more about Jim Hightower, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at



6 Comments | Post Comment

If you put the lefty hatchet for a moment, you might realize he is a heck of a candidate. I see no mention of the nine cases he argued in front of the Supreme Court, he won five of those. I bet you didn't see that though. You were to busy muckraking, and about such minutae. You can stop carrying the O team's water now.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Ethan Roninson
Tue Aug 7, 2012 2:25 PM
Agenda 21 is a united nations action plan that advocates "humans are bad for the planet" so "humans have to protect the planet" and doesn't mention golf courses. How can bad humans protect anything against bad humans? Jim needs a real job.
Comment: #2
Posted by: David Henricks
Wed Aug 8, 2012 12:24 AM
He makes light of the UN situation. We are gradually giving away our freedoms to this corrupt organization. We need to stop giving into their demands. First its golf courses. Then we'll give them more money. Then our guns. Then we'll have to adopt their silly laws. Before you know it, we are a police state like England. Then, we're in one oppressive world government. Baby steps.
Comment: #3
Posted by: Chris McCoy
Wed Aug 8, 2012 9:31 AM
Great article Jim! Sounds like he's so goofy we have a great opportunity to elect someone reasonable - Paul Sadler!

I can't believe the right-wing nut jobs are still spinning zany scare stories about the UN. It's not perfect, but it's the best thing we've got to try to maintain peace and order in an increasingly global world.
Comment: #4
Posted by: Deborah Angell Smith
Wed Aug 8, 2012 10:13 AM
Re: Ethan Roninson
As a Democrat, I do acknowledge that Mr. Cruz is a skilled lawyer. He would not however be the first person to be a skillful, even exceptional, practioner of his profession and also be nuts.
Comment: #5
Posted by: ellen hansen
Wed Aug 8, 2012 4:03 PM
@Ellen: You make a fair point. Hightower simply presents the minutae rather than the full body of his life and character. As far as the UN goes, it is a totally inefectual organization, whose budget we pay 66% of. With China and Russia with a veto on the Security Council, the days of the UN doing anything meaningful have long since passed. I offer the situation in Syria as evidence. Need I say more?
Comment: #6
Posted by: Ethan Roninson
Wed Aug 8, 2012 4:31 PM
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