In the latest and most disgusting case of Republican justification of Friday’s terrorist attack on a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, presidential candidate Ted Cruz claimed yesterday that the suspect, Robert L. Dear, was a “transgendered leftist activist.” Cruz made the deceitful and disgraceful comments during a campaign stop in Iowa, in which he also criticized the “vicious rhetoric on the left blaming those who are pro-life.” One has to wonder whether Ted Cruz is so totally delusional as to believe that a “leftist activist” who “blames” pro-lifers would attack a Planned Parenthood clinic or if he is simply a scheming demagogue who knows he can continue to inculcate the Republican base with malicious lies.
And, given Cruz’s history of smearing Planned Parenthood, we can only assume that it is the latter. Cruz has, along with the now criminally silent Carly Fiorina, been a loud critic of Planned Parenthood and has endorsed the long-discredited story of Planned Parenthood harvesting baby parts. He has even gone as far as to call Planned Parenthood an “ongoing criminal enterprise,” which is not out of character for a Republican party that somehow sees healthcare provision as evil. Indeed it is precisely “vicious rhetoric” like this on the part of Republican extremists that fuels the delusions of people like Dear and is ultimately responsible for the deadly terrorist attack. And yet, in a 180 degree fact-reversal that would make Stalin proud, Cruz has somehow managed to shift the blame to “leftists.”
The charge that Dear was transgender is based on the fact that he was apparently registered to vote as a woman; while there is no other evidence that he was in fact transgender, Cruz’s assumption that being transgender and being conservative are mutually exclusive is in itself a tacit admission of the bigotry of the Republican Party. Cruz said, “We know that he was a man who registered to vote as a woman. The media promptly wants to blame him on the pro-life movement when at this point there is very little evidence to suggest this.” Except, of course, the fact that he screamed “no more baby parts!” during the attack, a fact that Republicans are loathe to admit given that it lays the blame for the attack squarely on the vile and slanderous lies of Cruz, Fiorina, and other demagogic Republican politicians. Not to mention the fact that Dear was well-known for distributing anti-Obama propaganda and that he has a record of domestic violence. The fact that Cruz, like the rest of the intellectual dumping ground that is the Republican primary field, is dealing in post-truth politics, does not make the truth any less simple to ascertain.
And, of course, Cruz was sure not to go through a post-Paris campaign stop without invoking the fear-mongering spectre of “terrorism,” with all its racist and Orwellian implications. When asked if the shooting constituted an act of domestic terrorism, Cruz responded, “It was a multiple murder of what appears to be a deranged individual… but I don’t think we should jump to conclusions.” Ignoring the racist implications that the presumably Muslim perpetrators of terror attacks Cruz has in mind are not deranged but rather representative of their race or religion, he uses the doublethink typical of Republicans in the aftermath of right-wing terror attacks to deny that a premeditated violent attack on a political target was – the very definition of terrorism – was in fact a terrorist attack.
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.