Our invitation to the Ted Cruz National Security Forum directed us to the “Morningstar Fellowship Church” in Fort Mill, SC.
Last week we attended Donald Trump’s blowout show (it was a show, not a forum) at the Winthrop University Coliseum, a 6,000-seat basketball arena. We arrived two hours early and found Rock Hill gridlocked for miles around. Probably as many people were turned away as were admitted – it was overbooked bedlam. The Trump show was entertaining as hell, if somewhat light on policy details. The highlight was the removal of a planted Hezbollah/CAIR supporter who played the part of racism victim on CNN that evening.
So today’s Ted Cruz event is at a church? We went early just in case, but assumed it was, well you know . . . a church, for a few hundred people.
We found ourselves standing in line outside a huge brick building, in a complex of huge brick buildings, and next to that was a REALLY huge brick building – like a 25-story tall hotel! Only it had bricks falling off of it and it was obviously not occupied. I asked the lady behind us about the big empty building. She said, “Well, it’s a long story. It was started back in the 80’s, but it never got completed.” Then she mumbled something about PTL.
PTL! I had completely forgotten about the Praise the Lord Network. Last time I saw that name it was in my mother-in-law’s check register when she was sending weekly $100 checks to Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker from her kids’ trust fund. Apparently she was not the only one. This morning, when I heard mention of PTL, it evoked the image of Tammy Faye blubbering to a camera, mascara flooding down her face. Allegations of rape and financial shenanigans brought the Bakkers’ multi-million dollar mega-church tumbling down in the late 1980s, and Jim did hard time in the Big House.
Anyway, MorningStar is not just a church. It is a very large and busy evangelical organization that also takes an aggressive political stance. MorningStar is headquartered in the resurrected remains of the Jim and Tammy Faye Empire, replete with a world-class facility for TV church services, a Las Vegas style “Main Street” of indoor shops, and an array of chic apartments and retirement homes. The venue, featuring a large stage with impressive sound and lighting, easily handled the Cruz gathering of 2,000. Unlike the Trump event, where Secret Service agents severely scrutinized attendees and took three hours to admit the crowd, the Cruz event had no security whatsoever.
My fascination with the MorningStar complex was almost a distraction from the task at hand: Ted Cruz’s “debate” with former CNN and ABC News commentator Jeanne Meserve, who played the part of liberal media egghead, teeing up softballs for Cruz to hit over the fence.
And he hit ’em like Babe Ruth.
Bang! “You want to know the stakes of the 2016 election? If Hillary is elected, Iran WILL have nukes. If I am elected, the Ayatollah will never have nuclear weapons.”
Pow! “Under this president, the golf courses of America have never been safer.”
Boom! “I will put a wall on the southern border. And I’ve got someone in mind to build it!”
Smash! “Out of 7 billion people on Planet Earth, Obama chose the only one (Wendy Sherman) who had already failed at nuclear negotiations (with North Korea) to make a nuclear deal with Iran.”
Ka-boom! “On day one I will rip the Iran nuclear agreement to shreds, and restart sanctions. I will tell Iran ‘shut down your nuclear program now, or we will shut it down for you.'”
Cruz blasted Obama and Clinton for operating in a “state of denial”, unwilling to even name the enemy. Ms. Meserve, bravely playing devil’s advocate, challenged Cruz about his plan to deal with “disparate, small pockets of violence, such as what happened in San Bernardino, Paris, and Burkina Faso, where at least 28 victims died at the hands of al Qaeda fighters yesterday.”
“What is that? What were those acts?” Cruz demanded. “Terrorism,” Meserve replied. “What kind of terror?” No answer. “Terror by whom?” Still no answer. Like the president, the former mainstream news reporter could not, would not say the words “radical Islamic terrorism.” Whether that was in the script or not, it was sure effective, as Cruz pounded home his contention that a government that can not name its enemy surely can’t defeat it.
Cruz was relaxed, confident, and (dare I say it) presidential. He left no doubt that, from the conservative viewpoint at least, he is well-versed in the details of our national security challenges, and is earnest about addressing them. Mrs. Clinton should have grave concerns about facing either Trump or Cruz in front of the American voters. Trump would gleefully reveal her status as a world-class-liar, and Cruz would expose her utter failure in international affairs, especially our national security.
The event was sponsored by Americans for Peace, Prosperity, and Security (APPS), headed by Congressman Mike Rogers.
I want security, yeah
Without it I had a great loss, oh now
And I want it at any cost, oh now
Another stellar song by the late, great Otis Redding. He just wants what we all want. Security!