Ted Cruz Stands (For Douchebaggery)

O'Rourke with a crowd. Photo by Melissa Hennings

Amidst all the pious noise about "patriotism" engendered by McCain's death and the daft spectacle of our flags going up and down to honor it, here comes smarmy weasel Ted Cruz with a new ad dumbly deriding the thoughtful support for NFL protests voiced by his Democratic Senate opponent Beto O'Rourke. Asked at a town hall what he thought of those kneeling during the anthem, O'Rourke offered a nuanced, eloquent defense of their patriotism - “I can think of nothing more American than to peacefully stand up, or take a knee, for your rights, anytime, anywhere, or any place” - that quickly went viral. The moment embodied the yawning chasm between the candidates: Cruz, the racist lying douchebag everyone loves to hate, is funded by the NRA and oil industry, has crusaded for questionable causes - "First they came for Alex Jones" - and is an obsequious Trump supporter; O'Rourke, an affable, articulate Congressman from El Paso, refuses to accept PAC money and takes progressive stands he often backs up with touching personal stories.

Nimbly figuring O'Rourke's "far-left ideas" would be swell fodder in a startlingly tight race for red-as-they-come Texas, Cruz released an ad Monday that cheaply called out, like some mainstream coverage, O'Rourke's NFL comments. "Liberal Hollywood was thrilled," the ad sneers, but not so Marine Corps. Sgt. Tim Lee, a Vietnam veteran who "gave his legs for this country." Cue Lee, Dr. Strangelove-like in his wheelchair, declaring, “I’m not able to stand but I sure expect you to stand for me when that national anthem is being played.” At a rally press conference, Cruz called O'Rourke's view "markedly out of step with the vast majority of Texans...(who) are not quite so in favor of disrespecting the flag and disrespecting our national anthem." As to Lee, "I'm proud to stand for him and all of our veterans," he said. "Tweet if you are too." Many did, but not in : Most said they stand so others can exercise their Constitutional right to protest, and at least one wise-acre answered Cruz' "Why do I stand?" with, "Cause none of us saved you a seat." They may be a sign of auspicious things to come: In a new poll out Monday, O'Rourke was just one slim, improbable point down.


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