There are seemingly only a few constants in politics. One of them is that whenever Ted Cruz opens his mouth he’s wrong. Not only is he wrong, he’s extremely, absurdly, astoundingly, often hilariously wrong. After all, he’s a far-right extremist, and he has little understanding of the human race in a way that goes beyond politics. But this weekend Cruz said something that was entirely correct and important. Well, almost.
The Republican Governor of Tennessee signed a proclamation honoring infamous racist Nathan Bedford Forrest, prompting outrage and condemnation across the board. Ted Cruz, to his credit, chimed in and declared that “This is WRONG.” Then he added some context for why he thought it was wrong, and, well, see if you can spot his real motivation here: “Nathan Bedford Forrest was a Confederate general & a delegate to the 1868 Democratic Convention. He was also a slave trader & the 1st Grand Wizard of the KKK. Tennessee should not have an official day (tomorrow) honoring him. Change the law.”
That’s right, whether Ted Cruz intended to or not, he came off as having only decided to attack Nathan Bedford Forrest so he could highlight the fact that the guy was a Democrat. Nevermind that this was back when the Democratic Party had virtually no resemblance to today’s liberal-leaning Democratic Party.
Ted Cruz then seemed to realize he’d blown it, so he added this: “American history is complicated. As a general matter, we shouldn’t be tearing down historical statues or erasing our Founders, even though they were imperfect men. But we should also provide context where we can. And, we shouldn’t be issuing proclamations today honoring Klansmen.” We actually agree with every word of that. But here’s the question. If Ted Cruz is willing to call out Nathan Bedford Forrest for being a racist, why does he still stand by a racist like Donald Trump?
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report