During an address at Liberty University on Monday, Senator Ted Cruz announced his official bid for the presidency, making him the first major candidate to do so for 2016.
As you can imagine, the senator did not hold back on delivering his usual diatribe against big government – which is why I think this candidacy is nothing more than a stunt to stay in the good graces of the far right and maybe even to solidify a place on the short list of possible vice presidential candidates once more viable GOP nominees begin to surface.
If you don’t believe me, just look at his remarks. Those present at Liberty for this announcement had a front row seat to nothing new from Senator Cruz – and from what I understand attendance was mandatory for some of the onlookers.
Unfortunately for them, a fact-checker was not present to help them sort through the bogus claims laced throughout Cruz’s major talking points.
So here’s an example of a few:
He claimed that millions of people have lost their health insurance as a result of the Affordable Care Act – even though statistics show that almost 10 million people have actually gained coverage between September 2013 and the end of 2014. In fact, the uninsured rate actually fell from 17.7 percent to 12.8 percent.
He also claimed that the program has led to millions of people being “forced into part-time work.” Yet there is no public data to substantiate this. At best, an analysis of monthly labor surveys was conducted and could only show that the number is more likely closer to a few hundred thousand individuals. You can see that data here.
He also harped on government that “seeks to ban our ammunition.” Interestingly enough, the proposal he was referencing had already been postponed.
In short, through the Gun Control Act of 1968, a ban already exists on armor-piercing ammunition. However, an exemption was made for ammunition intended for “sporting purposes.” This year, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives sought to withdraw that exemption. Cruz, along with 52 other senators, opposed this. Less than a month later, ATP postponed making a final decision over the matter.
But who needs to acknowledge details like that when seeking our nation’s highest office? To do so would make for too honest of a conversation, I suppose.
When it came to education, Senator Cruz said he would repeal “every word of Common Core” because he views it as a means by which the federal government can “dictate school curriculum.”
That’s an interesting idea when one considers that Common Core standards have evolved from the work of governors and state education officials. State and local school officials are responsible for setting the curriculum once states voluntarily adopt the program.
So, that’s not the federal government at work. That’s actually about as local as it gets in public education.
Rather than continue on with any further lamentation of Senator Cruz’s false claims, I’ll offer this instead: Anyone who officially announces a bid for the presidency by giving a speech full of refutable facts is not a person who will take the job seriously.
But this is how we have come to understand the senator’s approach to politics. The repetition of falsehoods and half-truths has worked well for him in the past and it’s exactly what seems to fire up his base.
I’m just hard pressed to see how this type of leadership can be paired with anybody else in a way that could move a Cruz presidency or vice presidency into the realm of possibility.