Tea Party darling Sen. Ted Cruz, (R-TX) during a speech at the Heritage Foundation on Wednesday solidified his base with praise and adoration for the late Sen. Jesse Helms, (R-NC). The speech was delivered during a series of lectures on foreign policy in which the legacy of Jesse Helms is the central focus. During the speech, Cruz told a story about John Wayne giving a $5 thousand donation to Helms and telling him to, "keep saying those crazy things." Cruz admitted that he has received that same encouragement and likened himself to Helms in that regard.
Cruz went on to say:
“The willingness to say all those crazy things is a rare, rare characteristic, and you know what? It’s every bit as true now as it was then,” Cruz said. “We need 100 more like Jesse Helms in the U.S. Senate.”
Cruz made mention of the fact that the first political donation he ever made in his life was a $10 donation he made to Jesse Helms when he (Cruz) was 10 years old. That donation would have been made at a time when Helms was one of the most racist and segregationist politicians ever to walk the halls of Congress. Using this similarity in ideology as a backdrop, Cruz got into the meat of his speech and began to criticize Obama's foreign policy.
He basically had a three principle concept:
We should focus directly on protecting U.S. national security in the interest of the American people, we should speak with moral clarity, and we should always fight to win.
Cruz has become a likely candidate for the Republican Party's nomination for president following the demise of Marco Rubio. Rubio whose parents were Cuban immigrants lost support due to his opposition to a comprehensive immigration bill. Other names being circulated as likely hopefuls are Chris Christie, Rand Paul and Jeb Bush. Cruz has made the defunding of Obamacare his top priority and has advocated shutting down the government in order to achieve that goal.
Former Republican National Committee (RNC) chairman Michael Steele, who is now a contributor for MSNBC, appeared on "All In with Chris Hayes" and made some very insightful comments during a broadcast last night in response to Cruz's praise of Jesse Helms. Steele said that it's a sad state for the party if the direction of excluding minorities and immigrants is where this (Republican) party is. He said that the Republican Party should be trying to broaden its tent instead of alienating people from the tent.
"A hundred Jesse Helms or Strom Thurmonds does not the party make."