Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has been under attack by the left, which compared him to Joe McCarthy recently for his hardline stance against secretary of defense nominee Chuck Hagel.
A Feb. 15 BizPac Review article, “Chris Matthews compares Sen. Cruz to Joe McCarthy,” noted that the McCarthy comparison arose because of Cruz’s concern that Iran supports Hagel for the position.
Then the New Yorker ran an article Friday about a speech Cruz gave two and half years ago during a conference sponsored by Americans for Prosperity called, “Defending the American Dream.”
Cruz’s speech was an “impassioned attack on President Obama, whom he described as ‘the most radical’ President ‘ever to occupy the Oval Office,” the New Yorker’s Jane Mayer, who was in attendance, wrote.
Cruz said that at Harvard Law School, which both he and Obama attended, there were 12 communists on the faculty while he was there, from 1992 to 1995.
Harvard Law, of course, denied such allegations, but Cruz said Obama would have made a good president of the school because, “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.”
The New Yorker article quoted Republican Harvard Law professor Charles Fried, who taught Cruz, as calling the senator incorrect: “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.’”
“Under the Smith Act, it is a crime to actively engage in any organization pursuing the overthrow of the U.S. government,” the New Yorker article said.
Fried did acknowledge there were several “radicals” on staff during those years, but said, “Cruz’s assertion that they were Communists ‘misunderstands what they were about.’”
However, the article offered this interesting context:
It may be that Cruz was referring to a group of left-leaning law professors who supported what they called Critical Legal Studies, a method of critiquing the political impact of the American legal system. Professor Duncan Kennedy, for instance, a leader of the faction, who declined to comment on Cruz’s accusation, counts himself as influenced by the writings of Karl Marx. But he regards himself as a social democrat, not a Communist, and has never advocated the overthrow of the U.S. government by Communists. Rather, he advocated widening admissions at the law school to under-served populations, hiring more minorities and women on the faculty, and paying all law professors equally.
Being influenced by Marx but not calling oneself a communist seems like a game of semantics to me. It also seems like Cruz is calling it as he sees it.