In this eye-opening video, Republican presidential wannabe Ted Cruz compares himself to ex-Senator Jesse Helms, widely considered to be the most racist politician in modern history, and declares that the Senate needs “a hundred more like him”.
Before playing the clip, Rachel Maddow breaks down Helms’ unsavory reputation and some of his more appalling moments. Helms, a Senator from North Carolina, was a man who the Washington Post described as ‘the last, prominent, unabashed white racist politician.’ Notorious for his intolerance, his claim to fame included a sixteen day filibuster to prevent the honoring of MLK Jr. Day, another to block sanctions on apartheid South Africa, and the “White Hands” campaign ad, which painted Affirmative Action as a plan for blacks to steal white jobs.
She then reveals a clip where Cruz, giving a speech to the Heritage Foundation, cheerfully praises Jesse Helms for having the audacity to be open with his racist opinions.
“The willingness to say all those crazy things is a rare, rare characteristic in this town, and you know what? It’s every bit as true now as it was then. We need a hundred more like Jesse Helms in the U.S. Senate.”
Those “crazy things” aren’t the usual spiel favored by the modern Republicans, where facts don’t matter and the truth is flexible. Those “crazy things” are the deranged ramblings of an atrocious racist, a holdover from one of the darkest parts of American history, and it’s astonishing to see a presidential candidate say that more men of such character are needed in the Senate.
Watch it here:
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.