Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) says that he must be “doing something right” when critics compare him to Sen. Joe McCarthy, a Republican politician who was officially censured in the 1950s for using false accusations of communism to smear opponents.
In a February report, The New York Times noted that Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) had compared Cruz’ tactics to McCarthyism after he made the baseless suggestion that then-Secretary of Defense nominee Chuck Hagel was being paid by North Korea.
“It was really reminiscent of a different time and place, when you said, ‘I have here in my pocket a speech you made on such and such a date,’ and, of course, nothing was in the pocket,” Boxer said. “It was reminiscent of some bad times.”
But in an interview published on Sunday, Cruz told The Dallas Morning News that he took the comparison to McCarthy as a badge of honor.
“It often seems in Washington [that] the ferocity of the attacks leveled at an individual, from Democrats or from the media, is directly related to the effectiveness of that person in standing for conservative principles,” he explained. “In the short time that I’ve been serving in office, The New York Times has already spilled barrels of ink attacking the conservative principles I’m fighting to defend. It seems to me if The New York Times is this hysterical already, it may be a sign that perhaps we’re doing something right.”
“Is McCarthy someone you admire?” reporter Todd J. Gillman wondered.
“I’m not going to engage in the back and forth and the attacks,” Cruz replied, declining to distance himself from McCarthy. “Several Democrats have demonstrated a willingness to attack me by name. I’m not going to engage in that argument. I’m going to stay focused on what I think Texans want me to stay focused on, which is the substance of the job.”
(h/t: Talking Points Memo)