It’s a good time to be a hater in America. You have an entire political party devoted to catering to your hating, even though there aren’t enough of you to elect even their best candidate to the highest office in the land. In fact, never in the course of human history has so little been owed by so few for so little.
On Friday, Sandy Rios, the American Family Association’s notorious anti-gay and anti-Muslim activist, endorsed Ted Cruz for president. This is the outfit that boasts Bryan Fischer, the guy who says neither Jews nor Christians have First Amendment rights.
It is hard to make getting Sandy Rios on your side sound like an accomplishment, but this is the kind of talk Cruz loves, announcing on his campaign website that “Citing his strong commitment to conservative principles and respect for the Constitution” that Sandy Rios has endorsed him for president:
“I am thrilled to have the support of three of the conservative movement’s strongest voices for families, religious liberty and the unborn,” said Sen. Cruz. “We are running an aggressive grassroots campaign and their help engaging and motivating conservative voters gives our effort a great advantage.”
Sandy Rios is the Director of Governmental Affairs for the American Family Association, one of America’s largest, pro-family grassroots organizations, and host of “Sandy Rios in the Morning on AFR Talk” which can be heard on nearly 200 stations through the American Family Radio Network.
So Ted Cruz is proud to have the endorsement of a true hater like Rios, whose politics of exclusion are much like his own and his father’s.
And Rios, as haters go, is a valuable endorsement with a large public profile. Rios made further headlines among progressives and liberals this spring when MSNBC, including Chris Matthews, had her on as a guest to discuss the supposed “religious freedom” legislation without disclosing her history of virulent rhetoric.
People for the American Way’s Right Wing Watch provides a full rundown of Rios’ hate speech, and it makes truly horrific reading. At a time when Republican candidates are scrambling for the hate vote, Rios’ endorsement lends credibility to the Cruz campaign and to Ted Cruz’s conservative bona fides.
Despite Lindsey Graham’s famous warning that the hate pool is limited, the hate vote is seen as critical by Republican presidential hopefuls. The Texas Tribune reports that Cruz joined five of his fellow hopefuls – Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee – in Texas to talk to a crowd of 6,000 at a Baptist megachurch Sunday, “lamenting the receding role of Christianity in public life and expressing alarm about growing threats to religious freedom”:
Among the hottest topics at the North Texas Presidential Forum was religious liberty, especially in light of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in June that legalized gay marriage in all 50 states. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz was the most vocal, recalling at length a rally he held earlier this year in Iowa spotlighting people who believe they were discriminated against for religious reasons.
“As these threats grow darker and darker and darker, they are waking people up here in Texas and across this country,” said Cruz, who received a rock star reception from the home-state crowd.
CNN correspondent Athena Jones also noted the “rock star welcome” and “Lots of whistles and cheers and hoots and hollers.”
And Cruz wowed them with his hate, prompting the following exchange between Prestonwood’s pastor, Jack Graham, and Cruz:
Graham: “My goodness, you know how to fire people up. You could be a preacher.”
Cruz: “It’s even worse, I’m a PK.”
Graham: “A preacher’s kid. The Lord seems to be elevating you and giving you favor with people and you’re certainly, here in Texas, you’re back home and we’re really glad that you are.”
Standing in the bosom of darkness as he was, Cruz was no doubt glad too. He won’t be feeling that love everywhere he goes. It is difficult for us non-cultists to understand the appeal. We hear Cruz speak and shrink back in horror, mouthing, “What the f#%&…” Cruz comes across as beady-eyed, mealy-mouthed and weaselly and if one word in ten is the truth it’s a miracle.
But this is what Republicans love. And Cruz gives it to them in spades. The day after the Texas hatefest, Cruz celebrated by winning the hate-vote in North Carolina:
— Team Cruz (@TeamTedCruz) October 19, 2015
There is no doubt the haters will vote for a Republican and there is a certain amount of satisfaction to be had in watching lunatics scrabble for the vote of a few crazies who aren’t numerous enough to elect them.
It’s sort of anti-politics, because in politics, people actually want to get elected and that doesn’t seem to be the purpose here. Rather, the goal seems to be labeled as the one who hate is the strongest. And that person, according to expert hater Sandy Rios, a lot of haters in Texas and Tea Party extremists in North Carolina, is Ted Cruz.