One of the few things we know about Planned Parenthood shooter Robert Lewis Dear is that he told police officers “no more baby parts” after he was captured, suggesting that he believed a myth that the Right has been perpetuating for several months now.
But Ted Cruz doesn’t buy that explanation. Or at least, he’d like people to stop paying attention to that four word phrase because it would implicate his own conservative base. So he offered a different motive for Dear’s rampage to reporters in Iowa today:
“The media promptly wants to blame him on the pro-life movement when at this point there’s very little evidence to indicate that,” Cruz said.
When a reporter reminded Cruz it has been reported Dear made a comment about “baby parts” while being apprehended, Cruz retorted: “It’s also been reported that he was registered as an independent and a woman and transgendered leftist activist, if that’s what he is. I don’t think it’s fair to blame on the rhetoric on the left. This is a murderer.”
So, to summarize, there’s “very little evidence” to tie Dear to any one group, but this is clearly the fault of a “transgendered leftist activist.” And, by extension, everyone else who falls into those categories.
If that’s the sort of restraint and mindfulness he’d show as President, let’s hope he drops out of the race soon.
Cruz is basing that characterization on a supposed voter registration form in which Dear was listed as a woman. Whether it’s a mistake, or Dear was just messing around, or simply not the right form, we don’t know, but no other evidence indicates that he was transgender.
There’s even less evidence that he was a “leftist.”
And if he was an activist at all, it was against Obama, explains Zack Ford at Think Progress:
As the New York Times explained, Dear was very much a recluse, the type “that preferred to be left alone,” living in various single-wide trailers and cabins since his divorce in 2000. Neighbors did not know him well, and if they did, it’s because he would lash out at them when they tried to interfere with his business, like reporting him for mistreating his dogs.
The Times’ profile also identifies him as “generally conservative,” having been raised as a Baptist, but as someone who did not discuss politics much. According to his ex-wife, “he believed wholeheartedly in the Bible” and believed that abortion was wrong. He also distributed pamphlets criticizing President Obama to his neighbors in Colorado. On the voter registration form with the gender discrepancy, his party is listed as “UAF,” meaning unaffliated.
Even if he were transgender, it wouldn’t mean there was something wrong with the transgender crowd, any more than his beard suggests that all people with beards should be on terrorist watch lists. But it’s telling that Cruz lashed out at the media for (fairly) linking Dear to the anti-abortion crowd by (unfairly) linking him to everyone outside his own circles based on what very well could have been a typo.
Besides the irresponsible accusation, though, it doesn’t even make sense. A “transgender leftist activist,” you’d think, would support Planned Parenthood, not commit a violent act to shut it down.
But logic has never been the Republican Party’s strong suit. So expect even more of these baseless accusations in the coming days.