Senator Ted Cruz: Telling It Like It Is

tedcruzTexas’ newest Senator, Republican Ted Cruz, is getting noticed, by both sides of the aisle. He’s not afraid to tell it like it is, and the “smartest people in the room” are getting nervous.

Earlier this week, Jane Mayer, writing for The New Yorker, reported

Two and a half years ago, Cruz gave a stem-winder of a speech at a Fourth of July weekend political rally in Austin, Texas, in which he accused the Harvard Law School of harboring a dozen Communists on its faculty when he studied there. Cruz attended Harvard Law School from 1992 until 1995. His spokeswoman didn’t respond to a request to discuss the speech.

Cruz made the accusation while speaking to a rapt ballroom audience during a luncheon at a conference called “Defending the American Dream,” sponsored by Americans for Prosperity, a non-profit political organization founded and funded in part by the billionaire industrialist brothers Charles and David Koch. Cruz greeted the audience jovially, but soon launched an impassioned attack on President Obama, whom he described as “the most radical” President “ever to occupy the Oval Office.” (I was covering the conference and kept the notes.)

He then went on to assert that Obama, who attended Harvard Law School four years ahead of him, “would have made a perfect president of Harvard Law School.” The reason, said Cruz, was that, “There were fewer declared Republicans in the faculty when we were there than Communists! There was one Republican. But there were twelve who would say they were Marxists who believed in the Communists overthrowing the United States government.”

“We are puzzled by the Senator’s assertions, as we are unaware of any basis for them,” Robb London, a spokesman for Harvard Law School, told me. London noted that Cruz had contributed “warm reminiscences“ of the school by video for a reunion of Latino alumni. “We applaud the fact that he has pursued public service, as so many of our graduates have done. We are also proud of our longstanding tradition of freedom of speech and the robust range of views and debates on our campus.”

Harvard Law School Professor Charles Fried, a Republican who served as Ronald Reagan’s Solicitor General from 1985 to 1989, and who subsequently taught Cruz at the law school, suggests that his former student has his facts wrong. “I can right offhand count four “out” Republicans (including myself) and I don’t know how many closeted Republicans when Ted, who was my student and the editor on the Harvard Law Review who helped me with my Supreme Court foreword, was a student here.”

Fried went on to say that unlike Cruz, or McCarthy, who infamously kept tallies of alleged subversives, he had never tried to count Communists. “I have not taken a poll, but I would be surprised if there were any members of the faculty who ‘believed in the Communists overthrowing the U.S. government,’” he said. Under the Smith Act, it is a crime to actively engage in any organization pursuing the overthrow of the U.S. government.

Fried acknowledged that “there were a certain number (twelve seems to me too high) who were quite radical, but I doubt if any had allegiance or sympathy with anything called ‘the Communists,’ who at that time (unlike the thirties and forties) were in quite bad odor among radical intellectuals.” He pointed out that by the nineteen-nineties, Communist states were widely regarded as tyrannical. From Fried’s perspective, the radicals on the faculty were “a pain in the neck.” But he says that Cruz’s assertion that they were Communists “misunderstands what they were about.”

It may be that Cruz was referring to a group of left-leaning law professors who supported what they called Critical Legal Studies, a method of critiquing the political impact of the American legal system. Professor Duncan Kennedy, for instance, a leader of the faction, who declined to comment on Cruz’s accusation, counts himself as influenced by the writings of Karl Marx. But he regards himself as a social democrat, not a Communist, and has never advocated the overthrow of the U.S. government by Communists. Rather, he advocated widening admissions at the law school to under-served populations, hiring more minorities and women on the faculty, and paying all law professors equally.

The Liberals literally lost their minds over Crux using the “C” word, and they weren’t very happy about the grilling he gave Obama’s token “Republican” buddy, Chuck Hagel, during his nomination hearings, either.

Fox News reports

MSNBC host and Democrat Chris Matthews went as far as to compare Cruz’s suggestion that Hagel has been too cozy with Iran and North Korea to former Sen. Joseph McCarthy accusing politicians and other public figures of being Communist sympathizers.

“My view is simple: Washington is a rough-and-tumble place,” Cruz said last week. “If folks want to attack me personally, they’re welcome to it. Texans elected a senator to go to Washington and speak the truth.”

This weekend, Cruz, a Harvard Law School graduate and former clerk to Chief Justice William Rehnquist, doubled down on past remarks about Marxist professors at his former law school, revisited in a recent story in The New Yorker.

“The New Yorker is shocked — shocked — to discover that there are Marxists on the Harvard faculty,” said Cruz spokeswoman Catherine Frazier. “It’s curious that the New Yorker would dredge up a 3-year-old speech and call it ‘news.’ “Regardless, Senator Cruz’s substantive point was absolutely correct: In the mid-1990s, the Harvard Law School faculty included numerous self-described proponents of ‘critical legal studies’ — a school of thought explicitly derived from Marxism.”

Still, Cruz allows the Hagel grilling might have resulted in negative consequences.

“The flurry of attacks on me has had their intended effect, which was to shift the conversation away from Chuck Hagel,” he said. “Away from his record, away from his refusal to provide financial disclosures, and toward the direct, nasty, personal attacks leveled at me.”

I really like what I have seen out of Senator Cruz so far. He has been a breath of fresh air, as opposed to all the hot air that has been the normal atmosphere on Capitol Hill for way too long.

The Liberals will tell you whom they fear.

Until He Comes,

KJ

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