The lunacy surrounding “Jade Helm 15,” a military training exercise set to take place in Texas (or so they say!) has officially hit a new low: Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a man who thinks he should be president of the United States, is assuring his constituents that his office will be demanding answers from the Pentagon about whether or not they are secretly invading Texas under orders from President Obama.
Bloomberg’s David Weigel spoke with Cruz while the Republican presidential candidate was in South Carolina trying to woo conservative voters. The endless cycle of Obama and Clinton bashing must have made Cruz’s head feel funny because his response to Texans’ concerns that Obama had ordered a military take over was surreal. Here was a prospective presidential nominee arguing that Obama had been behaving like such a tyrant (he doesn’t get into specifics, unfortunately) that it was not that far-fetched for his administration to invade Texas – a state that is obviously already a portion of the United States.
“My office has reached out to the Pentagon to inquire about this exercise,” Cruz, a Texas senator, told Bloomberg at the South Carolina Republican Party’s annual convention. “We are assured it is a military training exercise. I have no reason to doubt those assurances, but I understand the reason for concern and uncertainty, because when the federal government has not demonstrated itself to be trustworthy in this administration, the natural consequence is that many citizens don’t trust what it is saying.”
That’s certainly one way of looking at it.
Another way would be to wonder if the non-stop fear-mongering, conspiracy-laden drivel coming from the right-wing media for the past six years has caused a certain segment of the population lose any grip on reality. Cruz isn’t dealing with “concerned citizens” understandably worried about an untrustworthy government, he’s dealing with birthers, truthers, sovereign citizens, and conspiracy theorists. And he’s pandering to them.
Making matters worse, Cruz stood up for his “friend and mentor” Texas Governor Greg Abbott who, although only recently voted into office, has already worked hard to show that his administration will consist of a clown show that former Governor Rick Perry could only dream of. While Texas struggles with serious issues, Abbott made sure to address Jade Helm 15 instead.
Wasting both time and money, Abbott announced that he would be ordering the Texas State Guard to “monitor” the military exercise just in case the “death squads” right-wing blogs had been suggesting were right around the corner never materialized.
I've ordered the Texas State Guard to monitor Jade Helm 15 to safeguard Texans' constitutional rights, private property & civil liberties
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) April 28, 2015
Instead of calling out his state’s governor for shamelessly pandering to conspiracy theorists, Cruz showered him with praise.
“I have a great deal of faith and confidence in Governor Abbott,” said the senator. “He is a long-time friend and mentor of mine. You know, I understand a lot of the concerns raised by a lot of citizens about Jade Helm. It’s a question I’m getting a lot. And I think part of the reason is we have seen, for six years, a federal government disrespecting the liberty of the citizens. That produces fear, when you see a government that is attacking our free speech rights, or Second Amendment rights, or religious liberty rights. That produces distrust.”
The idea that the government is out to get conservative Americans with “traditional values” is something that Republicans have been seriously toying with as a possible 2016 campaign strategy. It’s also probably a losing one. Cruz appears to be using it, but so too have other potential Republican candidates like Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, both of whom have popularity numbers that are circling the drain.
Undetered, Cruz seems happy to be exploiting the insanity in Texas to “stand up to” the Obama administration. In a speech in South Carolina, he told the crowd:
“Just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.”
With people in Texas clearly losing their minds, that may as well be his campaign slogan.
Watch Ted Cruz’s comments on Jade Helm below via David Weigel:
Featured image via Video Screen Capture