In an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) defended Ted Nugent as a passionate fighter for Second Amendment rights and only mildly censured the has-been rocker for his ridiculous statements made about the President. At the same time, he made it appear that he’d allow Nugent to campaign with him at future events. Overall, Cruz said the bare minimum when it came to disagreeing with Nugent’s racism. You could sense that Cruz felt that Nugent did nothing wrong and that Cruz was just doing what he thought he needed to do for PR reasons.
Nugent has come under fire for comments he made to Guns.com in January. These comments have gotten a lot more play recently because Nugent appeared at two campaign events with Texas’ GOP gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott earlier this week. Nugent said the following about the President last month:
“I have obviously failed to galvanize and prod, if not shame, enough Americans to be ever-vigilant not to let a Chicago communist raised, communist educated, communist nutured, sub-human mongrel, like the Acorn community organizer gangster Barack Hussein Obama, to weasel his way into the top office of authority in the United States of America.”
Obviously, that is disgusting and Nugent should rightly be called out for the obvious racist overtones of his little rant. Nugent appeals to hardcore racists and bigots out there who like to use the cover of politics and political activism as a way to legitimize their prejudices. Just look at what Nugent said. That is just a word salad of buzzwords that he strung together in a laughable attempt to appear intelligent and well-informed. Of course, in reality, it is just a long way of saying, ‘I hate black people and I really hate that one is our President.’
Cruz knows that this is his core audience. He wouldn’t be a Senator right now if he didn’t appeal to the lowest common denominator and rile them up, whipping them into a racist frenzy. He has consistently gone out and made it seem like the Obama Administration is trying to destroy America. He has referred to the President as a socialist and inferred that he is a dictator. He constantly lies about the millions of jobs that Obamacare has cost the American people, saying it is a ‘job killer’, despite the fact that the unemployment rate keeps shrinking.
During the interview, Cruz made it seem that he had not heard Nugent’s comments before Bash played them for him. After that, he said they were extreme and he would not use those words to describe the President (Cruz would be way more sly), and then segued into implying the President pals around with his own foul-mouthed celebrities.
“I think it is a little curious that, uh, to – to be questioning political folks about rock stars. I’ve got to tell you, listen, I’m – I’m not cool enough to hang out with any rock stars. Jay-Z doesn’t come over to my house. I don’t hang out with Ted Nugent.”
Thankfully, Bash called him out on that nonsense by saying that Jay-Z has not gone out and called the President or any other notable elected official a ‘subhuman mongrel.’ Cruz weakly retorted that there are a lot of Hollywood celebrities that say extreme things. Once again, it appeared that Cruz was giving cover to Nugent for his racist and hateful language. That seems especially true when you consider that Cruz had this to say in defense of Nugent:
“I will note, there are reasons Ted Nugent – people listen to him, which is that he has been fighting passionately for Second Amendment rights. And – and this administration has demonstrated an incredible hostility to the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.”
Cruz then used that as a segue to attack the President and his policies, using the same old tired cliches we’ve heard from him time and time again.
“I don’t think we should be focused on the personalities and – and – and Hollywood celebrities and like. We should be focused on the substance. The substance is our constitutional rights and liberties are being undermined. And the substance is millions of Americans are hurting because we are trapped in an economic stagnation from failed policies from the Obama administration.”
Cruz and his Tea Party cohorts won’t come down hard on Nugent. He is one of them. He thinks like them. And he appeals to a portion of this country who feels they are ‘losing their country.’ Heck, the main reason Abbott probably used Nugent is because he realized he didn’t appeal to the extreme base as much as Cruz did in 2012 when they were both vying for Texas’ GOP Senate nomination. Cruz beat Abbott in the primary because he whipped up the Tea Party voters and got their support.
This is the difference between the GOP and the Democratic Party. If anyone supportive of the Democratic Party, acting as a surrogate or campaigning on behalf of a candidate, were to make these types of comments, they would be immediately censured and distanced from. For the GOP, that person ends up being celebrated and defended.
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).