Ted Cruz’s supporters are busily trying to defend or massage or explain away his claim that when he was at Harvard Law School in the mid-90s there were a dozen members of the faculty “who would say they were Marxists who believed in the Communists overthrowing the United States government.”
The latest contender is Dan McLaughlin, an HLS graduate who writes at RedState. His argument?Well, saying that there were people who supported “overthrowing the United States government was a ‘rhetorical flourish’.”
And what about Charles Fried, the Republican and former Solicitor General under Ronald Reagan, who criticized Cruz’s bogus claim? Well, he’s “become a vocal spokesman for all things Obama.”
Look, I spent the better part of my twenties in graduate school at one of the more liberal campuses in the country. I know all about professorial armchair radicalism. I was a big mocker of it when I was in grad school. And I probably still would be if I thought it mattered at all or didn’t have a life.
But Cruz didn’t say there were a bunch of radicals at Harvard Law School. And he didn’t say there were a bunch of professors professing a hyper-intellectualized and anemic critical studies variant of Marxism there. He said there were a dozen professors there “who would say they were Marxists who believed in the Communists overthrowing the United States government.”
You can’t just run away from those words or massage them out of existence. If I say someone’s a child molester I can’t fall back and say, ‘Hey, I just meant they’re not a good parent. I didn’t mean they’re actually a child molester. That’s was just hyperbole to drive home the point.’
That’s a very specific and clearly false claim that Cruz made because it was red meat for his audience even though he knew it was not true. It was a lie. That makes Cruz a liar and a smear artist. But then we knew that from his role in the Hagel hearings.