The muzzling of a senator: Ted Cruz vs. the pundits

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    Sen. Ted Cruz, (R-Texas) speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Harry Hamburg)

    A couple of factors drew attention from Obama’s State of the Union, one of them being Sen. Chuck Hagel’s confirmation hearings, where Sen. Ted Cruz came to the attention of the media.

    Two weeks ago, President Obama delivered his State of the Union message to the American people. But the speech, which was about where the President wants to take this country both economically and socially during the next year, had a much lower number of people tune in than in previous years. And it was just as well, since his speech lacked an Obama-type rock’em sock’em appeal.

    It was more of the same tax-and-spend-type message. But perhaps it wasn’t his message and delivery that didn’t appeal to the American public as much as the different events taking place last week. One major distraction was the massive manhunt for fugitive and cop killer, Christopher Dorner. Another major distraction was the senate hearings on the nomination of former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel for secretary of defense.

    Ted Cruz’s fame rises

    The hearings were contentious at best. In fact the hearings about Hagel’s qualifications for secretary of defense. were so contentious that senate Republicans placed a filibuster on his nomination. One of the major figures that arose from the hearings was not Hagel, who was suppose to be the main character of this Shakespearean-type drama, but rather a first term freshman senator from Texas by the name of Ted Cruz.

    During the hearings, Sen. Ted Cruz was firm and direct in his assessment of Chuck Hagel’s qualifications for the top defense job. In a statement during the hearings, Cruz pointed out that Hagel’s nomination was extraordinary because the government of Iran was praising his nomination as Defense Secretary. Cruz went on to say that military conflict would more likely occur with Hagel at the helm of the Defense Department because his presence would “only encourage the nation of Iran to continue and accelerate its program to develop nuclear weapons capacity.”  These words and others from Cruz set off a barrage of comments from TV pundits and newspaper columnists alike.

    In one segment of the “Morning Joe” show, both Joe Scarborough and one of his regular commentators, Jon Heilemann, made harsh statements about Ted Cruz’s comments about Hagel. They warned that Cruz shouldn’t follow in the footsteps of ultra conservatives such as Jim Inhoff from Oklahoma. And while they praised him for being a Harvard lawyer they didn’t hold back their criticism of Sen. Cruz’s performance during the Hagel hearings.

    TV pundits shouldn’t be in the business of defining any person

    Ted Cruz Texas senator

    Then Texas Republican Senate candidate Ted Cruz speaks to the media back in August in Houston. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

    Since when do TV pundits put themselves in a position of defining an elected official for their liking? What Joe Scarborough ought to do is look inside his own closet of commentators and special guests, where are the brown bodies? The “Morning Joe” show lacks serious Hispanic representation, especially from the Republican side of the house. If he and his commentators want to criticize a fellow Hispanic they should think about their credibility in doing so.

    Another disturbing criticism of Sen. Cruz came from columnist Ruth Marcus. Her column made no bones about her dissatisfaction with Cruz’s comments. She broke down his voting record thus far, keep in mind he has been on the job less than two months, and went on to accuse him of being a Tea Party darling who doesn’t have the right to smear Hagel, with no supporting evidence.

    I would merely remind Ms. Marcus of a past senate hearing regarding the late Robert Bork, who was nominated by President Reagan for the Supreme Court. In that hearing Mr. Bork was attacked for being ultra conservative and was accused, among other things, that if confirmed to the Supreme Court, his America would force Blacks to sit at segregated lunch counters, that rogue police could break down citizen’s doors in midnight raids and that the doors of the Federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens.  If this was not an unfair accusation of a good American without supporting evidence then we will never see one.

    The bottom line here is that TV pundits and columnists should be in the business of reporting news and giving us their assessment and interpretation of events but they shouldn’t be in the business of defining any person for their particular liking. The good people of Texas elected Ted Cruz and they and only they, can define him, fire him or continue to reelect him.

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