U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, laid into Democrats at an Ottawa rally Friday while endorsing GOP nominee Amanda Adkins in the 3rd District race with Democratic U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)
OTTAWA — U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz delivered a scorched-earth political speech Friday during a bus-tour pitstop to outline shortcomings of Democratic leaders that made him feel like weeping in grief for the country and celebrating an emerging opportunity for Republicans.
The firebrand Texan sifted through the standard GOP midterm election talking points about rampant crime, the porous southern border and raging inflation. Cruz said Americans were getting hammered by skyrocketing prices for everything from groceries to gasoline, rent to lumber and electricity to health care. At the same time, he said, illegal immigration flourished and murder rates soared.
He tied together this national crisis by pointing to an anti-racist political movement known as Antifa and by making light of substance abuse challenges of Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden.
“You’ve got inflation out of control,” Cruz said. “Heck, it’s so bad Antifa can’t afford bricks. Actually, it’s so bad Hunter Biden can’t afford crack cocaine.”
He said blue-state tyrants floundered during the COVID-19 pandemic by closing schools, churches and businesses. He mocked unpopular public health mandates requiring people to wear masks in public in a state where nearly 10,000 people died of COVID-19.
On the other hand, Cruz said, all the problems of Democrats put Republicans in the driver seat of a presidential midterm election cycle to retake the U.S. House and U.S. Senate. He said the string of domestic and international policy failures by Democrats was “impressive,” given that rolling dice or throwing darts would have produced a few good outcomes simply by luck.
“Revival is coming. We’re going to see not just a wave election, but a tsunami,” the senator said.
Truth and courage
Cruz, in the midst of his “Truth and Courage Bus Tour,” shared political insights with hundreds of people gathered for the outdoor rally organized to generate support for Republican congressional candidate Amanda Adkins, who is again challenging U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids in the 3rd District. Adkins lost the 2020 race to Davids, but the district was gerrymandered to improve Adkins’ prospects.
Cruz said Adkins deserved to be elected to the U.S. House because she loved Kansas and freedom, operated a business and opposed calls to defund the police.
“She’s willing to stand up and fight the crazed lunatics who are tearing our country apart,” Cruz said. “Politics has always been fairly looney, but where we are now, there ain’t ever been anything like it.”
A couple clusters of Davids supporters heckled Cruz during his remarks, but it was difficult for people at the rally to hear what the picketers were saying. Several said afterward they were drawn to the opportunity to personally express support for Davids and to take advantage of the rare chance to put a stamp of disapproval on Cruz.
“I came today because I believe in truth,” said Ottawa resident Eileen Gannon. “Amanda Adkins bringing Ted Cruz to Kansas proves exactly what she would support if she made it to Congress — abortion bans, slashes to Medicare and Social Security and election denialism.”
While Adkins was in Ottawa, Davids was in Kansas City, Kansas, with the Protect Our Care bus tour created to highlight provisions of the federal Inflation Reduction Act designed to drive down health costs. The law signed in August by Biden, and endorsed by Davids, would lower health premiums for 13 million Americans, restrict prescription drug prices and take steps toward health equity.
Davids said the law was crafted to reduce health insurance premiums for Kansans an average of $980 per year and increase access to coverage for thousands of Kansans. House Republicans released a broad policy agenda, endorsed by Adkins, that would halt congressional efforts to cut prescription drug costs and would financially undermine Medicare benefits.
“The contrast between these two candidates could not be clearer,” said Vicki Hiatt, chairwoman of the Kansas Democratic Party.
Cruz, who ran for president in 2016 and engaged in an acrimonious contest won by Donald Trump, said he wasn’t concentrating on the upcoming 2024 presidential campaign.
“My focus is on 2022,” he said. “I think we have an opportunity for a historic election.”
Cruz voted against certifying results of the 2020 presidential election that resulted in Biden ousting Trump from the White House. Trump and his allies have challenged validity of the national vote for president.
Adkins sidestepped a question about whether she agreed with the senator’s decision to oppose certification of the 2020 election, but repeated her view Biden beat Trump.
“We don’t have a high incidence of fraud here in the state of Kansas. I think we have very strong election laws. I can’t speak for the rest of the country. I do believe that Joe Biden won the election,” Adkins said.
Cruz urged everyone in the Walnut Street audience in Ottawa to vote on election day and work diligently to convince nine others to vote.
He also said Republicans had to do a better job of reaching out to people not in the Fox News echo chamber.
“The choir needs some preaching, but we’ve got to spent a lot more time talking to young people, talking to Hispanics, talking to African-Americans, talking to suburban moms,” he said.
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