“The Democrats are the party of Lisa Simpson and Republicans are happily the party of Homer, Bart, Maggie and Marge!”
— Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX)
One of my favorite things about Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) is that he has never been afraid to be a bit self-deprecating, especially when it comes to his love of the Simpsons.
Cruz made his annual appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference this past weekend, where the Federalist’s Ben Domenech asked him about healthcare, freedom, guns, and the Simpsons.
While the media mocked Cruz by arguing that Lisa Simpson was the most well-adjusted of the Simpson characters, they obviously missed the greater reality – Lisa is also the more pessimistic, narcissistic, and anti-liberty of the Simpson bunch. While her family may be dumb, crazy, and rebellious – they are also hard working, faithful, happy, and together.
Here’s what Homer Simpson said when his daughter Lisa called the 2nd Amendment a useless “remnant” of the past.
“It’s in the Constitution… If I didn’t have this gun, the King of England could just walk in here any time he wants and start shoving you around, you want that? Huh? Do you?”
As funny as Homer’s retort was… it was also accurate. The 2nd Amendment is our defense against a tyrannical government. And no, American gun owners probably couldn’t win a “war” against a concerted government effort to oppress us (if they were supported by the military), but with more than 100 million gun owning Americans, it’s likely the government would never consider such oppression feasible. Therefore, the 2nd Amendment peacefully secures us our liberty from the government tendency towards tyranny.
On the Democrats reaction to the latest school shooting, Cruz condemned their constant rush to kill our freedom:
“The Left’s answer is always, always, always: strip the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.Here’s the problem: it just doesn’t work. If you look at the jurisdictions with the toughest gun control laws, cities like Chicago, cities like Washington DC, they often have among the highest murder rates and crime rates. You want to see crime take off? Disarm the law-abiding citizens.”
Here’s that episode Cruz and Domenech were talking about.
After a massive soccer riot, Homer decides to invest in a home security system but can’t afford the high price. He does the next best thing: He purchases a gun. This is despite Marge’s stern opposition to having a gun. Homer plays with the gun like a toy and almost causes an accident at the dinner table. Marge warns Homer to get rid of the gun now; Homer agrees, but Bart finds the gun later in the refrigerator. Marge sees this, takes the gun away and tells Homer she is taking the kids and moving out. Homer eventually is kicked out of the local NRA chapter (for his careless use of the gun), and decides he needs to try to get Marge back. Eventually, he manages to foil Snake’s armed robbery at the hotel where Marge is staying. Homer finally gets rid of the gun, but Marge decides to keep it for herself.
Full Transcript from RCP:
DOMENECH: All right. Hello CPAC. And I love CPAC.
So, senator, I wanted to first thank you for taking the opportunity to talk to us all today. And I have a few questions for you. But I know that you’re a big fan of “The Simpsons.” I know that you believe that they can tell us actually a lot about America.
CRUZ: We’re immediately starting with deep policy.
DOMENECH: Yes, exactly.
And I actually believe that you can learn a lot about deep policy by using “The Simpsons” as a starting point. For instance, when Homer and Lisa were having a conversation about gun rights in America — you can look it up. It’s in “The Cartridge Family” episode. Homer points out that guns are for things like protecting your family, hunting delicious animals, and making sure that the King of England never shows up to push you around. (LAUGHTER)
CRUZ: All good things.
DOMENECH: Lisa’s response to this is to say that, well Dad, it’s actually a relic, a remnant of the Revolutionary War era; it doesn’t really mean anything anymore. What do you say to that?
CRUZ: I think the Democrats are the party of Lisa Simpson.
CRUZ: And Republicans are happily the party of Homer, and Bart and Maggie and Marge.
DOMENECH: So just to continue this a little bit, the left today basically says the king of England isn’t going to come and push us around anymore.
DOMENECH: There is no threat in America from tyranny. You know, we don’t have the kind of threats, whether in the Old West or something like that, that we experience anymore; why can’t somebody do something for the children? And that’s essentially what we saw last night on CNN and that we’ve seen in the conversation about guns over the past couple of weeks.
CRUZ: You mean last night’s CNN infomercial?
DOMENECH: It was — it was quite effective one though.
CRUZ: Look it — it — it is an amazing thing and — and — and it’s tiresome. Every time you see a — a horrific crime, people in the media and Democratic politicians immediately try to leap on it to advance their agenda, and their agenda is stripping the Second Amendment rights away from law-abiding citizens.
And — and you know you mentioned the King of England isn’t going to come from us, let’s be clear were many of the Democrats want to end up. Diane Feinstein was very open and candid, where she said, if I can say, Mr. America, Mrs. America, give me your guns, I will. That’s where they want to end up.
You look at one of the biggest cheer lines last night, it was when talking about confiscating guns. That’s where they want to end up. It is profoundly unconstitutional, but also it doesn’t work.
Listen, every person who saw the shooting in Parkland, it — it’s horrifying. If you’re a parent, there’s nothing more horrific than imagining some madman hurting kids.
But the answer — it’s perfectly reasonable to have a conversation, what can we do to stop this sort of mass crime? That’s a good conversation for us to have. The left’s answer is always, always, always, strip the Second Amendment rights from law-abiding citizens.
Here’s one of the many problems: It doesn’t work. If you look at the jurisdiction with the toughest gun control laws, cities like Chicago, cities like Washington D.C., they often have among the highest murder rates and crime rates.
You want to see crime take off, disarm the law-abiding citizens. The criminals love it when law-abiding citizens can’t defend themselves.
On the flip side, if you actually want to stop crimes, what does work is targeting violent criminals, going after them like a ton of bricks, putting felons and criminals in jail. That’s what we need to be doing and that’s what I’m leading the fight to do.
DOMENECH: You know, I’m not — I’m not on Twitter right now, but I do wonder if in the five minutes since we’ve started whether Chris Cuomo has tweeted that you’re afraid come on his program to talk about this.
CRUZ: You know, I am quite certain, in the history of the universe, nobody has ever been afraid of Chris Cuomo.
DOMENECH: I — I do — I do ask you though I think a question that is on the lot of people who do care about this issue before we move away from guns, which is this: The President has proposed both a ban or a re-categorization of bump stocks, and also that those teachers who choose to carry, who have a concealed-carry permit or who have military background, et cetera — there are more than 16 million Americans with a concealed-carry permit — that they ought to be able to carry in the classroom. DOMENECH: What do you…
I — I think — I think we can tell what this audience thinks about that.
What — what do you think of that idea?
CRUZ: Look, I think it makes perfect sense, that — that if teachers want to exercise their right to keep and bear arms, and will only make schools safer. I don’t think you should make teachers do that, but if — but if a teacher is comfortable and wants to be prepared to defend himself or herself, that’s a good thing, and — and there’s — there’s also…
There’s a lot we can be doing. Look, this pattern plays out where in Washington lots of politicians want to do some, that — that’s — whenever something bad happened, there’s an urge to do something, and there’s very little focus on what the something is.
And you know, when I was first elected to the Senate in 2012, I showed up in 2013, and — and very shortly thereafter we saw the horrific shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, another school shooting that was horrifying, and Republicans were falling all over themselves, scared, and you had Chuck Schumer and Democrats saying, now we’re going to pass massive gun control legislation. Well, we beat that and I was a brand new baby freshman senator, and — and happily led the fight against it. But we didn’t beat it with nothing; we beat it with an alternative which is I authored legislation. It was known as the Grassley-Cruz legislation. It’s also known as the law-enforcement alternative.
But what did it do? It targeted bad guys. It — it protected law abiding citizens and it targeted bad guys.
So for example, on school funding, Grassley-Cruz had $300 million for school safety funding. The Obama administration had cut $300 million from school safety; we added that back. Well, what happened in the Senate, we got 52 senators, won a majority of the Senate, won nine Democrats, the most bipartisan support, but Harry Reid and the Democrats filibustered Grassley-Cruz and so it didn’t pass. They demanded 60 votes. If that $300 million of school safety funding had been there, that might well have resulted in an orange police officer at the Parkland High School, which could’ve made a difference in terms of intercepting that crazed man — madman and stopping him before he murdered those teenagers.
DOMENECH: This is — this is a question not so much about — about guns as government competence. One of the lines that we use a lot at The Federalist is, consider the possibility that we are led by idiots, and…
CRUZ: It’s more than a possibility.
DOMENECH: And talk to me for a moment about our nation’s law enforcement, in particularly the FBI. We had, in this instance, multiple reports, clear convincing things that should’ve been looked at both by local law enforcement and by the FBI that should have triggered a response before this happened.
Do we have a basic competence problem within these agencies, and how can we solve it if we do?
CRUZ: Well, there — there were a lot of red flags. There were a lot of warning signs. There was calls, after calls, after calls and reports after reports, and both local law enforcement and the FBI failed to act on — on that information.
Now the FBI, law enforcement has a hard job. They get a lot of information, but you know, we’ve seen in these terrorist attacks in the past where there’s a lot of information on the front end.
I will give you an example. So a few months ago, Texas suffered our own mass murder in Sutherland Springs. It’s the worst church shooting in the history of the country. And — and — and I was down — I was in Sutherland Springs the day after the shooting. I — I stood in the Sanctuary. The Sanctuary is not much bigger than this stage; it’s a small country church. That madman fired over 450 rounds. The Sanctuary, you had shattered glass. You had shattered wood. You had church pews overturned as people were hiding under it. You had blood and shattered cell phones. It was the most horrific thing I’ve ever seen in my life. CRUZ: Now if you look at Sutherland Springs and say, how do you stop that from happening, the madman there, the shooter there, it was illegal for him to buy gun, twice over. He was a convicted felon, and he had a domestic violence conviction. Both of those make it illegal for you to purchase a gun. So why is it that he had those weapons?
Well, because the Air Force, under President Obama, didn’t report his conviction to the database. So you can’t run a background check — well you can run it, but it doesn’t come up with anything if you don’t have the conviction in there.
Now, the Grassley-Cruz legislation that I introduced would have directed the Attorney General to audit the federal agencies to make sure they report criminal convictions, get them in the database.
And not only that: When the shooter in Sutherland Springs went in to buy his gun, he filled out the form and he lied on it twice. He checked that he had no felony conviction. He checked that he had no domestic violence conviction.
Both of those lies were crimes. Those were separate felonies. And yet the Department of Justice, as a matter of practice, under President Obama, didn’t prosecute felons and fugitives who — who lied on their forms and tried to illegally buy guns.
In 2010, 48,000 felons and fugitives tried to illegally buy guns. The Obama administration prosecuted 44 of them — 44 out of 48,000. So what did Grassley-Cruz do?
It created a gun crime task force at DOJ that says, if a felon goes and tries to illegally buy a gun, prosecute him. Put him in jail. And, if that law had been on the books, that conviction would have been in the database and he would have been prosecuted and in federal prison, instead of in those — in that sanctuary, murdering people.
We can stop these by going after criminals.
DOMENECH: I want to shift to another area of — of incompetence. The New York Times, this past week, had a piece about people who were squeezed by Obamacare, which I didn’t think was supposed to be something that happened, but apparently it did.
And one of the things that they were talking about was basically, well, you know, on the one hand, we have these people who can’t afford the premiums because they’re making too much money to be on Medicaid, and then we have these people on Medicaid, who are forced to go to the equivalent of Dr. Nick Riviera. “You’ve tried the best, now try the rest.”
What can be done in — in this circumstance to actually provide some relief for these families, given that apparently the Republican promise about repealing and replacing Obamacare is not something they’re interested in living up to?
CRUZ: Well, look, the — few things have been more frustrating and maddening, the past year, than seeing Republicans come short on Obamacare. Now, I will say, looking back at 2017, as conservatives, as those who love liberty, we have a lot to be gratified for.
When we started the year with a Republican president, Republican majorities in both houses, I think the four big priorities were tax reform, regulatory reform, Obamacare and judges.
Tax reform in December was phenomenal, cutting taxes. We’ve seen over 4 million people getting pay raises, getting bonuses. The economy is moving forward. An unambiguous win.
Regulatory reform has been one of the greatest successes of the Trump administration — just about every agency lifting job-killing regulations. In Texas, I hear every day from small business leaders who are investing money, who are expanding, who are hiring. That’s another tremendous success.
Obamacare remains the biggest unfinished commitment, but it’s — but it’s worth noting two things. Number one, as a part of tax reform, we repealed the Obamacare individual mandate.
That’s a big, big deal. And — and, back in October of last year, I and a handful of conservatives began urging the Senate, “As part of tax reform, let’s take out the Obamacare individual mandate.” When we started, we had virtually no support in the conference. We had maybe a half dozen senators who agreed with us.
Most of the Republicans — their response was, “Look, we tried with Obamacare. We came up short. Let’s not muck up tax reform by bringing Obamacare into it.” And I understood that sentiment.
But we made the case, both publicly and privately, the individual mandate — every year, the IRS fines about 6 1/2 million people because they can’t afford health insurance. Roughly a million of those are in Texas. Roughly 80 percent earn $50,000 a year or less. Roughly 40 percent earn $25,000 a year or less.
So you’re a single mom, you’re working two jobs, you’re working your fingers to the bone. You’re not even making $25,000 a year. You can’t afford health insurance because premiums have skyrocketed. And, to add insult to injury, the IRS comes along and fines you.
It’s what led Bill Clinton to call Obamacare one of the craziest things in the world. About the only time I ever agreed with Bill Clinton. Well, other than about Hillary.
I’m going to get in trouble for that one.
DOMENECH: You just might.
CRUZ: Repealing the individual mandate provides real tax relief to the 6 1/2 million people getting fined by the IRS, but we need to go back at it. And I’ll tell you, I am committed to continuing to roll up my sleeves and working to get 50 Republicans together on the same page and — honor our promise and repeal the disaster that is Obamacare.
DOMENECH: Well, Bill Clinton did want to go to Wisconsin, and she didn’t listen to him then, so…
CRUZ: That’s what I meant.
DOMENECH: … most talented — most talented politician of the Democratic Party in this generation — just a, you know, hillbilly (ph).
You know when it comes to looking at sort of the state of the conservative movement after a first year of this president, one of the things that I’m curious about from your perspective is how much conservatism is — is healthy, versus sick.
And the — the real hit that I heard from a lot of people, many of whom might be here today, against President Trump before he became president was, “He’s going to reduce conservatism to sort of this smallest portion. He’s not going to be governing that way.”
He might even use Sideshow Bob’s tagline when he was running for Mayor: “You long for a cold-hearted Republican to lower your taxes, brutalize your criminals and rule you like a king.” Do you think that…
CRUZ: “Don’t blame me, I voted for Kodos.”
DOMENECH: Do you — why do you think it’s turned out differently than that? And do you think that conservatism now is actually healthier than it was, perhaps two, three years ago?
CRUZ: Listen, I think truth is eternal. I think freedom is always right. What we’ve seen in 2017 is, on substance, the record of delivering has been remarkable.
There were long periods last year — in the summertime, in the spring — where all of us were frustrated. “Are the clowns that call themselves Republicans going to manage to get their act together and do anything?”
And there was a good chunk of last year where it wasn’t clear if the answer was yes or no. And, if we’d failed, it would’ve been one of the most heartbreaking missed opportunities of our lifetime.
But, by the end of the year, you look at — at the tax reform bill, you look at the individual mandate, you look at regulations, judges — Neil Gorsuch is a home run.
We confirmed 12 federal court of appeals judges, the most in the first year of a presidency in history.
Barack Obama had four. We had 12. CRUZ: And, for all of us that cherish the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, the First Amendment, the Second Amendment, the fundamental liberties of an American, judges are front and center.
Look, one of the great victories as part of the tax reform bill was an amendment I introduced expanding college 529 savings plans, so that you can also save for K-12 education, the most fundamental federal school choice legislation that has ever passed.
Now, when you walk down the halls of the Capitol, reporters inevitably inundate you, and their questions are never about substance. And I have a standard rule of thumb: I won’t comment on tweets, and I have nothing to say on the comment of the day or the scandal du jour.
If you want to talk substance, you want to talk policy, tax reform, reg reform, you want to talk about judges, you want to talk about the Second Amendment, I’m happy to talk about any substance, but I’m not going to worry about the political circus that is Washington.
And I think the American people are very happy with the results we’re getting, and we need to keep producing those results.
DOMENECH: You know I think — I think that is — I think there’s an interesting experience that I’m sure a lot of people in this audience have had, particularly the younger people in this audience, those who are going to college currently and are surrounded on campus by a lot of people who might not agree with them, which is that it’s very difficult in this day and age to live boldly, as someone who is a conservative, a libertarian who believes in liberty and in the founding within the public square.
If you could, give some advice to those folks who are in the audience today who have to endure the slings and arrows of all the people around them. I know you had to endure them yourself when you were at Princeton. Tell us a little bit more about what you think helps you in that environment.
CRUZ: Well listen, I — I love CPAC.
And what I love the most about it is all of the young people. CPAC is about young people. Now why — why is it that so many young people come — come to CPAC? Because CPAC is about liberty. I call young people “generation freedom.”
Because you want to know what resonates? To everyone who is at some college that is run by a bunch of ’60’s hippies who are imposing some draconian speech code …
Let me say to all of the young people, speak the truth, speak — spread the fire of liberty. What young person with any sense wants to live with big government with Washington controlling everything about you?
What — what — what we’re about is liberty. We think you should have the right to decide. You should be able to choose what school you go to. You should be able to choose what doctor you have. You should be able to choose what healthcare you have. The internet should be free.
No taxes, no regulation, you should speak, that is a message that resonates with young people. Freedom works.
DOMENECH: Thank you, everyone.