In addition to being abrasive and serially disliked, it seems Sen. Cruz’s penchant for imitating Joe McCarthy may have been even greater and of longer standing than we knew. In this case, the habit of lying for political advantage seems even more clear.
Jane Mayer just posted this piece at The New Yorker website in which she notes that only two and half years ago Cruz gave a Fourth of July speech in which he accused at least twelve members of the Harvard Law School faculty of being not only “Marxists” but communists “who believed in the Communists overthrowing the United States government.”
Here’s the passage …
Boxer’s analogy may have been more apt than she realized. 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.”
Mayer goes on to discuss the issue with Charles Fried, a widely respected professor at HLS who was Ronald Reagan’s Solicitor General during his second term, who not surprisingly doubts there are twelve members of the Harvard Law faculty who believed in the violent overthrow of the United States government by the Communist Party now or when Cruz was a student from 1992 to 1995.
Now many universities, many law schools are going to have a few left-wingers and/or radicals on the faculty. That’s part of that free speech and academic freedom thing. But Cruz made a much more specific claim — that there were communists who supported the overthrow of the US government. That’s a claim of sedition, certainly a lie but one he knew would be a good political line.
It’s just another data point: the guy has a hard time not knowingly lying about people to gain political advantage.
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.