Posted by Kristin McCarthy on March 18, 2016 in Blog
Headlines are making a big deal out of the list of national security advisors the Ted Cruz campaign announced this week, rightly pointing out that some names on the list including Frank Gaffney easily qualify as “fringe conservatives.” It’s worth remembering that Ted Cruz is very appropriately described as a “fringe conservative” himself.
Since the beginning of his political career, Cruz has sold himself as an defiant outcast and agitator of the establishment Republican Party. A hardline Tea Party man. Unwilling to compromise with anyone, even Republican leaders, on his far right wing agenda on social, economic, and security issues. It’s a well known fact that his colleagues in the Senate aren’t fond of the Senator’s views or tactics.
Prior to this week’s announcement, the 2016 Cruz campaign has openly embraced support from Republicans that make most Republicans uncomfortable - like Rep. Steve King, Family Research Center’s Tony Perkins, and John Hagee – all polarizing, socially conservative figures.
So when Ted Cruz announces a national security team full of dangerously “fringe” advisors, it isn’t all that surprising. It is completely expected.
The outrage is still appropriate, and needed. Having a viable candidate for President name Frank Gaffney, a notorious Islamophobe, as an advisor is beyond the pale. It takes the worst rhetoric of the Trump campaign and normalizes it while providing a vehicle for a Cruz administration to operationalize bigotry. Ted Cruz, however, is not scary because he named Frank Gaffney to his team. He named Frank Gaffney to his team because he is scary.