Tea Party favorite Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has become the national GOP’s second favorite flavor of the month behind Marco Rubio. Cruz, whose upset victory in the Texas Republican Primary was the biggest Tea Party triumph of 2012 has attacked the patriotism and loyalty as an American of Senator Chuck Hagel, President Obama’s choice to be Secretary of Defense. I need not remind our readers that Hagel received Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, two Purple Hearts, Army Commendation Medal, and the Combat Infantryman Badge for his service in Vietnam.
Yesterday, our own Senator Bill Nelson bit back at Cruz publicly, and unfortunately this was lost in the State of the Union excitement. “He basically has impugned the patriotism of the nominee,” Nelson said. “You also stated your opinion that you don’t think he has been truthful with this committee. Those are two fairly strong statements.”
Bill Nelson has not been the most reliable progressive vote through the years but in recent months his public statements have been well timed and right on the mark. It is very encouraging for supporters of this President and this nominee to see Senator Nelson stand up to the buffoonery coming from the right. In recent weeks the American public has been subjected to a campaign of fear and demagoguery regarding Hagel’s nomination. This campaign orchestrated by neo-conservatives and Republican leaning publications such as Bill Kristol’s Weekly Standard have misrepresented just about everything Senator Hagel has said or done in his career. While many Democrats have been timid publicly in defense of the nominee, Nelson’s strong statement should give Democrats a boost for the coming floor fight, where some Republicans like the radical Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) are threatening to filibuster.