Ted Cruz Gives Shady Televangelists A Bad Name

By DOUG IBENDAHL • February 14, 2016


Several people I know well and greatly respect are supporting Ted Cruz. Even one of my siblings is in Cruz’s corner.


Yes, this Republican primary has become another civil war, literally pitting brother against brother.


It’s no secret that I support Donald Trump, so anyone is of course free to weigh my obvious agenda which includes wanting to see Trump’s opponents vanquished and off the field sooner rather than later so we can all move on to the November campaign.


But nothing can change the fact that I honestly can’t fathom why we’re even still talking about Ted Cruz at this point.


Ted-Cruz-PreachOf the candidates left in the GOP field, Cruz wears his religion on his sleeve the most. That’s always a red flag for me from-the-get-go with any politician. But if a candidate backs it up with their actions, I suppose I don’t have a big problem with it. My guess is that God would prefer that His name be left out of this game, but I know many good people would disagree.


In any case, the real question is, how do Cruz’s actions square with his talk and regular quoting of Bible verses? Well let’s start with the Iowa caucuses.


First there was the Cruz campaign mailer which was deliberately made to look like it came from a government agency, and blared the words “Voting Violation” in big block letters. Utilizing the recipient’s voting record, the mailer appealed to social pressure and was an attempt to shame potential Cruz voters into attending the caucuses.


Iowa’s Secretary of State publicly blasted the mailer, saying it misrepresented the role of his office as well as Iowa election law. But Cruz had no apologies. He brushed off all condemnations with the excuse that others had done a similar thing in the past.


Putting aside the question of how “Christian” such a tactic might be, when you have to resort to basically intimidating your own supporters into showing-up to vote, I would say your campaign has bigger problems.


But let’s move on to February 1, Iowa caucus night.


It is undisputed that multiple staff members and supporters from Cruz’s campaign disseminated information they knew was a lie – specifically that Ben Carson planned to quit the race. We’ll never know the exact extent of the harm inflicted on Carson, but no one even tries to claim the vote for Carson wasn’t fraudulently suppressed to some degree.


No doubt Cruz is sorry he got caught stealing votes from Carson, but there is absolutely no evidence that Cruz actually regrets what happened or that he wouldn’t do it again. Cruz has demanded absolutely zero accountability within his operation and he has fired no one.


I frankly don’t understand why more Republicans aren’t standing-up and sending the message to the world that if you want to play these kinds of unethical games which tamper with the free and honest exercise of the right to vote, then there is no place for you in our Grand Old Party.


Drawing a line in the sand and saying enough is enough would not only be the right thing to do, it would deter similar kinds of sleazy conduct in the future. That would benefit everyone – and the voters most of all.


Folks shouldn’t forget. This sleazy conduct by Cruz’s campaign, which he himself obviously has no problem with, didn’t just harm a good man and fellow Christian Ben Carson, it damages the entire Republican Party. What Cruz did destroys the GOP brand, which in the old days at least used to stand for the idea that the right to vote is sacred.


In fact when you let your operatives get away with deceitfully suppressing the vote for your opponent – inside the room where people are voting no less – you’re having a tremendously corrosive effect on American Democracy itself.


The fact that the old GOP bosses don’t get it, and the fact that Donald Trump alone stood in defense of Carson against Cruz’s dastardly deeds, is exactly why Trump is so far ahead in this race.


America is hungry for leadership and Donald Trump is the only one showing any – in either party.


Not only is Trump the only one on the field making a plausible case for a better America, he’s the only one on the field making the case for a better Republican Party.


As Trump said after the debate Saturday night regarding Cruz: “When people are lying you must straighten them out.”


It’s no wonder Trump scares the career politicians so much. Trump’s attitude about honesty and accountability may seem like common sense to normal people with real jobs, but it’s a foreign language to people like Ted Cruz and other candidates, and the special interests and lobbyists who wholly-own them.


I’ve detailed only a couple of examples of Cruz’s disturbing conduct and lies here. And I’ve previously explained how Cruz remains completely dishonest when it comes to the serious question hanging over his head regarding his eligibility under our U.S. Constitution for the new office he seeks. In the past week alone, two more respected constitutional scholars joined the long list of legal experts who say Cruz is not eligible according to the Founders’ original intent. See here and here.


Cruz is the first to mount a high horse and pretend he was put here on Earth to defend the Founding Fathers’ original intent on every other issue. But of course when the Founders’ words have a direct bearing on the next government job he wants, Cruz has a different strategy. On the issue of his eligibility, Cruz keeps telling his supporters there’s nothing to worry about, that the legal question is settled – even though he has to know that most every legal expert who has studied the issue says he’s 100% wrong. They virtually all say that it’s very much an open question which has in fact never been litigated.


I can’t speak for Canada where Cruz is from. But here in America we call that being a liar – and a hypocrite. We should probably add opportunist too.


Is there any hope that Cruz could ever clean-up his act? I would say no. That’s not realistic. We’re talking about a pattern of dishonesty that is too long and ingrained.


Just this morning, on the day after the debate, Cruz dishonestly stated on ABC’s “This Week” program that if Trump becomes president, “the Second Amendment will be written out of the Constitution.”


There is simply no hope for someone who makes up such hysterical lies. Just the thought of putting someone like that in charge of the greatest country in history is offensive to most.


I know Cruz supporters are very good people. No one is questioning that fact. My beef is with Ted Cruz, someone I see as willing to lead his flock astray, a user, and someone who doesn’t care the slightest bit about turning good people into enablers for his dishonesty and constitutional opportunism.


Since I’ve hit Cruz a bit for being too church-y, I’m not going to quote Bible verses. But I am going to suggest to the good people supporting Ted Cruz that they might want to read that one verse again, the one that warns of the wolves coming in sheep’s clothing.


Doug Ibendahl is a Chicago Attorney and a former General Counsel of the Illinois Republican Party.


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