Yesterday’s Texas primary gave Mitt Romney enough delegates to clinch the GOP presidential nomination, according to most counts. But the potentially more consequential result is that right-wing candidate Ted Cruz forced Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst into a July 31 runoff election, which the Washington Post says analysts consider a toss-up.
The Post today describes Cruz as a Tea Party favorite, with good reason. Cruz calls Obama the “most radical” president the nation has ever seen, calls for cuts in corporate taxes, rants against financial and environmental regulation, and slams his opponent for having supported in-state tuition for the children of illegal immigrants. He is backed by the anti-government Club for Growth.
But Cruz is also a full-blown Religious Right candidate, reflecting the overlap between the two movements. He has not only appeared at the Conservative Political Action Conference but also at two gatherings of Religious Right political activists: the Values Voter Summit, where he touted his record as Texas solicitor general in church-state cases, and the Awakening conference, where he told participants “we are engaged in spiritual warfare every day.” His list of endorsements includes James Dobson, Rick Santorum, David Barton, and Michael Farris, as well as Sarah Palin and Sen. Jim DeMint.
Cruz is on the “National Board of Reference” for a new Religious Right law school that is being created at Louisiana College with the help of the Alliance Defense Fund. The school is designed to join law schools at Liberty and Regent in turning out lawyers committed to transforming American law to conform to the Religious Right’s worldview. Joining Cruz on the board is an array of Religious Right leaders, including Barton, Dobson, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, the Southern Baptists’ Richard Land, and Tim and Beverly LaHaye. As RWW has noted, Louisiana College claims it “seeks to view all areas of knowledge from a distinctively Christian perspective and integrate Biblical truth thoroughly with each academic discipline” and believes “academic freedom of a Christian professor is limited by the preeminence of Jesus Christ, the authoritative nature of the Holy Scriptures, and the mission of the institution.” Perkins describes the law school’s mission this way:
“This law school’s not going to be pumping out ambulance chasers, this is going to be pumping out liberal chasers, I mean we’re gonna track them down, wherever they are and we’re gonna defeat them, and if we can’t defeat them in the policy realm we’re gonna defeat them in the courts.” He added, “This law school is gonna be pumping out God-fearing, American-loving, family-defending attorneys.
Cruz and his followers openly hope that he will be sweep to victory in a replay of the Florida election that saw Marco Rubio, like Cruz the son of immigrants from Cuba, lifted over a more establishment candidate by right-wing activists. Cruz told a Hot Air interviewer at the 2011 Values Voter Summit that he wants to join Jim DeMint in changing the “character” of the U.S. Senate.