Ted Cruz at campaign rally

Cruz control: Ted tells it like it isn’t. (Photo by Cruz campaign.)

After triumphing in the Republican primary in Texas last week, Tea Party It Boy Ted Cruz is virtually assured of winning a Senate seat in November. Unlike most of his Tea Party compatriots, he’s widely considered to be super-smart, one of the right’s leading legal minds. Conservatives are even embracing him as (gasp!) an “intellectual” — a label usually only deployed to heap scorn on scientists and other egg-headed freedom-killers.

But for a guy who’s so smart, Cruz has some truly stupid views.

On Glenn Beck’s radio show earlier this year, he said: “The federal government’s already shown that they believe they can control every aspect of our life. I mean, right now Congress is trying to tell us what kind of light bulbs to buy and what kind of toilets. Right now you are prevented from buying a toilet that actually flushes because the bureaucrats in Washington know better than you do.”

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That old lavatory lament? Clearly Cruz hasn’t been keeping up with the latest in toilet R&D.

Cruz is cray-cray on Agenda 21, totally buying into the right-wing conspiracy theory. Agenda 21 is a two-decade-old, non-binding U.N. document that calls in general terms for things like improving living standards and protecting ecosystems; it was almost universally forgotten until American ‘wingers glommed onto it a couple of years ago. Cruz claims that George Soros is behind the whole nefarious plot and that “Agenda 21 attempts to abolish ‘unsustainable’ environments, including golf courses, grazing pastures, and paved roads. It hopes to leave mother earth’s surface unscratched by mankind. … Agenda 21 subverts liberty, our property rights, and our sovereignty.”

Cruz also, like many of his fellow Republicans, frequently spreads misinformation on environmental issues — particularly if it benefits the oil and gas biz. Cruz literally owes his existence to Big Oil: His parents met at an oil-exploration company and went on to start a business that processed seismic data for oil companies, and he seems to have inherited their affection for the industry.

Cruz has called for fast-tracking the Keystone XL pipeline, claiming (erroneously) that it would “create tens of thousands of jobs.” He says Obama’s refusal to rubber-stamp the Keystone plan “hurt the environment, by ensuring that we will continue to import more and more of our oil from overseas on tankers that inevitably suffer the risk of spills.” Apparently he hasn’t heard that pipelines spill too — right on American soil, no less — and that under Obama the U.S. is importing less oil than at any time in the last 16 years. Cruz also boasts on his website that he “helped lead the fight” against the offshore drilling moratorium put in place by the Obama administration after the BP oil spill.

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Step No. 2 of Cruz’s 12-step economic plan is “Kill Cap and Trade.” He seems to have missed the two-year-old news that it already died. He claims (erroneously) that a cap-and-trade system “would take thousands of dollars from every family in America.” And he claims (erroneously) that the EPA is still trying to foist it on America “by adopting back-door regulations.”

Step No. 5 of Cruz’s economic plan is “Restrain Abusive Environmental Enforcement.” He explains the need for this plank by claiming (erroneously) that the Obama administration is trying to ban fracking.

And he seems to think the Endangered Species Act is a vast conspiracy designed to cripple capitalism as we know it. He writes, “Currently, the Obama Administration is using the alleged presence of a lizard to try to stop oil and gas exploration in West Texas.” (Here’s more on that dastardly lizard.) And Cruz proudly notes on his website that he has defended property developers threatened by the dreaded arroyo toad.

Cruz may have gone to Harvard Law School and clerked for the Supreme Court, but on environmental issues, he sounds about as intellectual as Sarah Palin.

"stop the EPA" graphic from Cruz websiteUPDATE: Cruz also wants to roll back the powers of the U.S. EPA, as Swells22 points out in comments. Cruz has ranted about the EPA’s overreach under the Obama administration, and even posted a “stop the EPA” graphic on his website, specially branded with his own logo. He also wants to completely abolish the Energy Department, among other federal agencies.