‘Tailgunner Ted’ Cruz Exhumes McCarthy – Is Caught Lying When He Claimed That 12 Harvard Law Professors Were Commies Who Advocated Overthrowing the U.S. Govt

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In the few short weeks he has been in Congress, newly elected Texas Republican Sen.Ted Cruz has been caught repeatedly making false insinuations and embedding outright lies in his questioning of witnesses during committee hearings. Most of those on the receiving end of Cruz’ smears were Democrats, of course, but he also attacked Republican former Sen. Chuck Hagel, whom Pres. Obama has nominated to be defense secretary.

“There were 12 who would say they were Marxists who believed in the Communists overthrowing the United States government.”
– Ted Cruz

“We do not know, for example, if he received compensation for giving paid speeches at extreme or radical groups,” Cruz said, during Hagel’s confirmation hearing. It’s these sorts of tactics that are drawing comparisons — by MSNBC’s Chris Matthews and others — between Cruz and “Tailgunner Joe” McCarthy, the Wisconsin Republican senator who brought lasting shame to the GOP with his commie witch hunts during the Republicans’ “red scare” era in the 1950s.

McCarthy was infamous for claiming he had various lists of commies who had infiltrated the government. He consistently refused to release the lists, and the number of names on the lists changed every time he made the claim. Cruz’ insinuation against Hagel during the confirmation hearing was so sleazy that it drew a hand slap from Hagel’s number one arch-frenemy, Sen. John McCain.

But now the New Yorker’s Jane Mayer has uncovered a bona fide McCarthyite lie that Cruz told at a right-wing political rally in 2011. At the event, which was sponsored by a Koch brothers group, Cruz claimed that during his years in law school at Harvard, from 1992 to 1995, there were no less than a dozen treasonous communists on the faculty:

Cruz greeted the audience jovially, but soon launched an impassioned attack on President Obama, whom he described as “the most radical” President “ever to occupy the Oval Office.” (I was covering the conference and kept the notes.)

He then went on to assert that Obama, who attended Harvard Law School four years ahead of him, “would have made a perfect president of Harvard Law School.” The reason, said Cruz, was that, “There were fewer declared Republicans in the faculty when we were there than Communists! There was one Republican. But there were twelve who would say they were Marxists who believed in the Communists overthrowing the United States government.”

Mayer contacted a professor who taught Cruz at Harvard, Charles Fried, who served as U.S. solicitor general during Ronald Reagan’s second term:

“I can right offhand count four “out” Republicans (including myself) and I don’t know how many closeted Republicans when Ted, who was my student and the editor on the Harvard Law Review who helped me with my Supreme Court foreword, was a student here.”

Fried went on to say that unlike Cruz, or McCarthy, who infamously kept tallies of alleged subversives, he had never tried to count Communists. “I have not taken a poll, but I would be surprised if there were any members of the faculty who ‘believed in the Communists overthrowing the U.S. government,’” he said. Under the Smith Act, it is a crime to actively engage in any organization pursuing the overthrow of the U.S. government.

Fried acknowledged that “there were a certain number (twelve seems to me too high) who were quite radical, but I doubt if any had allegiance or sympathy with anything called ‘the Communists,’ who at that time (unlike the thirties and forties) were in quite bad odor among radical intellectuals.” He pointed out that by the nineteen-nineties, Communist states were widely regarded as tyrannical. From Fried’s perspective, the radicals on the faculty were “a pain in the neck.” But he says that Cruz’s assertion that they were Communists “misunderstands what they were about.”

The senator issued a response to Mayer’s report through his spokeswoman, who gave a statement to Glenn Beck’s website. Here is Mayer’s take:

His spokeswoman Catherine Frazier told The Blaze website that the “substantive point” in Cruz’s charge, made in a speech in 2010, was “was absolutely correct.”

She went on to explain that “the Harvard Law School faculty included numerous self-described proponents of ‘critical legal studies’ — a school of thought explicitly derived from Marxism — and they far outnumbered Republicans.” As my story noted, the Critical Legal Studies group consisted of left-leaning professors like Duncan Kennedy, who is a social democrat, not a Communist, and has never “believed in the overthrow of the U.S. Government.”

…Cruz’s spokesman called it “curious” that The New Yorker would cover Cruz’s speech “three years” after he gave it. But Cruz’s hostile questioning of Obama’s nominee for Defense Secretary, Chuck Hagel, and insinuations about Hagel’s loyalties had provided a fresh context for looking more closely at the nature of the accusations he has leveled at political opponents.

Sen. Joe McCarthy was finally disgraced during a nationally televised hearing in 1954. He was censured by the Senate in December that year. He remained in the Senate for the rest of his term but then succumbed to alcoholism in May 1957.

2 Comments

  • February 26, 2013 - 7:44 am | Permalink

    Of course there were communists at Harvard, Cruz knows because they lived under his bed with the ‘Friends of Hamas’

  • jope common
    April 2, 2013 - 5:37 pm | Permalink

    what we need are paparazzi to follow SFB Cruz around town, see where he goes, who he talks to. You can follow a public figure and it is not stalking. If SFB Cruz attempts to charge reporters/paparazzi with stalking, then he is comitting an abuse of power and needs to arrested and tried.

    other than that, he is an incompetent unamerican styled imbecile.

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