Ted Cruz's Paternal Road Show

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“You know Ted, you have been gifted above any man that I know,” Rafael Cruz, our hyperbolic senator's dad, recently said he told his son starting at age four. “And God has destined you for greatness.”

That was in an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, but it's hardly the first time Rafael Cruz has made himself heard. The Cruz men are beginning travel regularly to right-wing events like “Free The People” together, where Rafael excoriates President Obama and progressive policies. In early August, the Cruz show will head to 2016-essential Iowa for the “Family Leadership Summit”.

Rafael Cruz is actually well-practiced in conservative politics. When Cruz was a child, he sat on the Religious Roundtable, a largely-Christian but partially-Jewish group working to get Reagan elected. “[W]hen my son Ted was eight years old, all we talked about around the dinner table was politics because I was so involved with the Reagan campaign,” Cruz said in the same CBN interview. He is clearly thrilled to share part of his son's new spotlight, and he obviously had a heavy influence on Ted's thinking.

But does this paternal road show actually help Cruz? Read more below the jump.While deeming one's son anointed may play well with the evangelical crowd, it's safe to say it seems creepy to many others. It's the type of self-aggrandizement Americans recoiled at when President Bush said he talks to god. It indicates an irrational degree of pious self-assurance that has proven far more dangerous in America than helpful.

But the senior Cruz is extreme in secular ways too. He recently said President Obama is like Fidel Castro for promising to use executive authority on available issues that Congress fails to act upon. “Not much different than that old bearded friends that I left behind in Cuba; governing by decree, by executive order just like a dictator, like Fidel Castro,” Cruz said. Again – this plays well at tea party events, but it's an ugly and unappealing thing to most Americans. As always with the Cruz men, their vitriolic views are cloaked in airs of piety and concern. But that doesn't adequately hide how vile such rhetoric is.

Rafael makes it impossible to forget that he is from Cuba and spent a lot of his life in Canada before coming to the United States. Ted Cruz opposes all pathways to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, a paradox because he has such recent family immigration history. It seems unlikely that trotting out his ultra-conservative, ultra-religious father will make that position seem more soft to a country in which only 13 percent of people oppose a pathway to citizenship. Rafael may inadvertently highlight the depravity of Ted's views.

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About Author

Ben Sherman

Ben Sherman has been a BOR staff writer since 2011. A graduate of the University of Texas, Ben has worked on campaigns, in political consulting, and has written for other news outlets like Think Progress. Ben considers campaign finance reform the fundamental challenge of our time because it distorts almost every other issue in American politics.

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