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And away we go — off on another crazy cruze with Ted!

Cinch up your seatbelts, for Senator Ted Cruz (fueled by his raw ambition and flaming jet-powered ego) has come screeching out of the GOP’s presidential staging area, getting a head start on all the other wannabes seeking the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. And what a crazy start Ted made, launching his campaign from Liberty University. Liberty U is the creation of the late Rev. Jerry Falwell, the self-promoting Christian theocrat, bigot, liar, and buffoonish pretender to be God’s chosen agent on Earth. Cruz hopes that launching there will make him “God’s candidate” — the chosen one of far-right Christian extremists who dominate the vote in the early Republican contests.

But, good Lord — Falwell? The vast majority of Americans remember him as an unholy fool, a non-stop spewer of hate. “I listen to feminists and all these radical gals,” he said. “These women just need a man in the house. That’s all they need. A man to tell them what time of day it is.” And who can forget this piece of vicious sermonizing: “AIDS is the wrath of a just God against homosexuals”? Likewise, the pompous preacher said 9/11 was “what we deserve,” claiming it was God’s punishment for feminism, gays, the ACLU and other evils. His knowledge of African-Americans was equally insightful: “The true Negro does not want integration,” he explained.

Also, in Jerry’s world: “There is no separation of church and state”; “all public schools will be closed and taken over by churches,” and “Christians will be running them”; and the Bible is “absolutely infallible,” even “in areas such as geography, science, history, etc.”

You can’t stand in a hog wallow without getting stink all over you. Yet, Crazy Ted Cruz deliberately chose to stand in Falwell’s political wallow, which leaves him reeking with the stench of Falwell’s nastiness and know-nothingism. Is Cruz running to be president of the USA — or of Liberty University?

Ted’s announcement of his presidential candidacy was a real Cruz-a-palooza! It was part Ronald Reagan, part Elmer Gantry, part John Lennon and, of course, part Jerry Falwell — yet it was totally Ted Cruz — full of blather, bloat and BS.

Not only was it staged at Liberty U but Cruz thumped the word “liberty” again and again, like a televangelist thumping the Bible. “We stand together for liberty,” the candidate declared one final time at the conclusion of the show. That was more than a little cynical. While the mass media reported that Cruz drew a packed house of 10,000 Liberty students, few news stories mentioned a pertinent fact about the crowd — the budding scholars were not at… liberty to avoid his speech, for school officials made attendance mandatory.

Another word reprised throughout the campaign event was “imagine” — used 38 times by Cruz in a sort of dreamy imitation of the John Lennon song. “Imagine health care reform that keeps government out of the way,” warbled the senator, whose family has received free, platinum-level coverage from Goldman Sachs, where his wife was a top executive. But she has now taken a leave from the Wall Street giant to join Ted’s anti-government crusade, so suddenly they had no health coverage. No problem for a hypocrite like Cruz, though — only a day after the big speech, he said he plans to sign up for Obamacare, the very program he demonized and pledged to kill.

But it was in the speech’s finale that Ted reached his crescendo of cynicism: “It is a time for truth,” he bellowed. Truth? This is a guy who fabricates facts to foment fear among the fringiest of the farthermost fringe of the right wingers. The good news is that the more he campaigns, the more obvious it will be that can’t even imagine truth. And like Falwell, he will be another fool for the history books.

To find out more about Jim Hightower, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Web page at www.creators.com.

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