Bankrolling Bigotry

The Creepiest Senator Has Presidential Ambitions, Thanks To Gay Money

The 2016 presidential campaign is a mere three years away, so it’s none too soon for the media to speculate about would-be candidates. And the wingnuts are coming out of the woodwork to explore their chances.

First it was Rand Paul. Now it’s Senator Ted Cruz, the Republican from Texas, who is everything the GOP base loves. In short, he’s obnoxious, homophobic and, in the words of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, “a schoolyard bully.”

And he’s bankrolled by a gay billionaire.

Yes, Peter Thiel, who singlehandedly kept the Ron Paul presidential campaign alive through massive infusions of cash, is one of Cruz’s biggest backers. Hard as it is to believe that something could be worse than Paul’s crazy-uncle-in-the-attic act, but Cruz’s McCarthy-like slimeliness may succeed.

Thiel, who made his money by starting PayPal and investing in Facebook, started pumping money into Cruz’s campaign coffers starting in 2009 and was the largest donor to the super PAC that backed Cruz in a tough primary battle to win the Senate nomination last year. What Thiel sees in Cruz is anyone’s guess, since Cruz is not a libertarian in the Paul mode but a fire-breathing right-winger who considers his fellow Republican Senators “squishes.”

Whether Cruz can get anywhere in a presidential campaign is an open question. The Latino name will appeal to Republicans desperate to change the party’s image, although Cruz is opposed to immigration reform. The base will love him, but they loved Rick Santorum too, and unless we’ve missed something, Rick isn’t carving his initials on a desk in the Oval Office.

That Cruz can even think about running for president is a scary thought. Thank Peter Thiel for making it possible.

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore