Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Ted Cruz's America

Ted Cruz desperately wants to get his book at the top of the New York Times bestseller list, so much so that the NY Times detecting block buying and chose not to list his book at all.  This practice has been going on for quite some time.  Conservative groups buy these books in bulk creating the illusion of bestsellers, they then distribute them through various outlets second hand.  To be fair this isn't much different than the various book clubs that promote history or mystery or whatever genre of fiction or non-fiction, but they aren't necessarily trying to make a book a bestseller, which is the case with much of the conservative block buying we see today.

These political candidates and pundits believe that being on the NY Times bestseller list give their books legitimacy.  It moves their thoughts beyond the conservative parlors and onto the national stage.  They will do just about anything to promote these books, even going on The Daily Show to pitch them, even if it means a few embarrassing moments with Jon Stewart.

Ted is just the latest victim of this practice.  David Barton got called out on The Jefferson Lies three years back for buying his own book in bulk then distributing it through his Wallbuilders site.  The end result was that it drew more attention to this specious history book than Barton wanted, as he was getting called out by fellow Evangelicals like Warren Throckmorton, who wrote a full-length rebuttal to Barton's book and actively pushed the publisher to drop the title when it was discovered the huge amount of factual errors in the book.  I doubt Ted will have to worry about a retraction from his publisher as his book is a combination of memoirs and opinions, so he won't be held to the same level of scrutiny.  But, this little episode does tarnish him a bit.

One of the more amusing segments was Ted Cruz visiting Hardball with Chris Matthews.  for whatever reason, Matthews pitched Ted a bunch of softballs, which he pretty much hit out of the park.  Chris even took Ted's side on Castro, saying how "we rooted like hell for him" when Fidel first came to America, only to be sold out by the Dictator.  Matthews would have been 14 at that time and Ted not yet born.  Of course, Ted runs with this intro telling us all about his father's Cuban years.  It is painful to listen to because Matthews fancies himself a bit of an historian and should know better what all transpired in the fateful years of 1959 to 1962 that led to a Communist state in Cuba.  What's worse is that this allows Ted to pitch the bunk we've been hearing from the Republican side that we shouldn't normalize relations with Cuba until the Castros are gone from Havana.

What's interesting is that Cruz engages in some of the same red-bating as Barton did in the introduction to his book on Jefferson, claiming that elite universities like Harvard are hotbeds of "trendy Marxist philosophy," essentially disqualifying its professors from offering unbiased views on American history and contemporary events.  Barton can be excused to some degree since he majored in religious education at Oral Roberts University and never attended one of these elite schools.  But, Ted graduated from Princeton and Harvard.  He was praised for his debating skills and was senior editor of the Harvard Law Review.  However, he claims in his book that his outspoken conservative views kept him from becoming President of the Review.

Like so many conservatives today, Ted portrays himself as a victim, not only by the liberal academic elite but his fellow Republicans who called him out for his faux filibuster.  Although in this case Ted sums it up as being "too cocky for my own good."  Several GOP senators are challenging Ted's claims in his book.

Ted is desperate to steer some of the attention Donald is getting toward him and the more controversy he stirs up with his book the better.  Who knows persons may actually start buying it on amazon.  But, he will have a hard time catching up to Harper Lee, whose new old book, Go Set a Watchman is a runaway smash hit,   Funny enough, Harper Collins published both books.

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