Opinion: Columnists

Cruz calls 'golf courses' rumor a distraction from sovereignty debate

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Opinion,Columnists,Sean Higgins,Campaign 2012

Texas Republican Senate candidate and Tea Party favorite Ted Cruz on Wednesday dismissed the rumor on liberal blogs that he believes in a United Nations conspiracy to take away America's golf courses. But, he added, he does believe that liberals, including President Obama are trying to "undermine" U.S. sovereignty.

"There are a great many on the left, including President Obama, who fundamentally disagree with the notion of U.S. sovereignty, who want to make us subject to the United Nations and to the will and desire of other nations. I think they view U.S. sovereignty as an antiquated notion," Cruz said. "I think the American people disagree with that."

Cruz, a Tea Party favorite whose upset win of the GOP senate nomination in Texas has made him a target of the left, said the golf course rumor stems from the fact that he opposes a United Nations project called Agenda 21 that is aimed at persuading local governments to adopt sustainable development plans, i.e., limiting growth and development in order to protect the environment.

This is a popular issue in some corners of the Tea Party. Cruz, a staunch advocate of private-property rights, devotes a whole section of his campaign website to it, warning, "Agenda 21 subverts liberty, our property rights, and our sovereignty." He lists golf courses as one type of project that would likely be affected.

"The left has two approaches historically to dealing with conservatives. Conservatives are either stupid or evil ... and they rush very quickly to stick us in those categories," Cruz said. "This latest cycle, I will give them credit, they have invented a third category: Conservatives can now be stupid, evil or crazy."

He added: "This is all silliness. From day one, my campaign has focused on the central challenge facing this country, which is that we are going broke: Our spending is out of control, our debt is out of control, and government control of the economy and our lives is threatening our future and our prosperity. The New York Times editorial page does not want to talk about that. So they claim the central issue is about golf courses. It is designed to be a distraction."

OK, but why then does he have a page on his campaign website devoted to Agenda 21?

Cruz replied that Agenda 21 was a "serious threat to individual liberty, to property rights and to our sovereignty." The left, he argued, "ridicules" all three concepts, viewing preserving sovereignty as a "parochial notion defended only by those whom the president refers to as those bitter and angry, clinging to their God and their guns."

A former law clerk for Chief Justice William Rehnquist, Cruz touted his long record of standing up for private-property rights and U.S. sovereignty. He pointed to his work as Texas solicitor general, noting he won the Supreme Court's Medellin v. Texas case in 2008, which said that rulings by the International Court of Justice were not binding under domestic law.

"All of these same critics were against us on Medellin. They said the concerns about sovereignty were overblown," Cruz said, "Paraphrasing slightly, they said we should be eager to give away authority to the United Nations and World Court."

Sean Higgins (shiggins@washingtonexaminer.com) is a senior editorial writer for The Washington Examiner. Follow him on Twitter at @seanghiggins.

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