Ted Cruz: Democratic Abuses of Executive Power Should Be a Bipartisan Concern

In today's Wall Street Journal, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) condemns President Obama's "persistent pattern of lawlessness, his willingness to disregard the written law and instead enforce his own policies via executive fiat." The piece, which focuses on three ways in which Obama has flouted the plain language of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, is mostly on target, although I question Cruz's contention that declining to prosecute state-licensed marijuana growers and sellers is tantamount to violating the Controlled Substances Act. The most striking thing about Cruz's essay is what he left out.

While Cruz argues (correctly) that the abuse of executive power "should not be a partisan issue," he does not cite a single example involving a Republican president, although he does concede that "Republican presidents abused their power" and might do so again in the future. And although there is no shortage of cases in which Obama has acted lawlessly in the name of national security, Cruz does not mention any of them, possibly because doing so would raise the hackles of hawkish Republicans and bring to mind similar sins by Obama's Republican predecessor.

One of the earliest and clearest examples of Obama's lawlessness stemmed from his determination to bail out the auto industry. But it was George W. Bush who initiated the illegal use of money from the Troubled Asset Relief Program to rescue American car manufacturers from their own mistakes—a policy that Obama welcomed as a senator and expanded as president. Obama went further with his high-handed engineering of the merger between Chrysler and Fiat, a deal that violated well-established bankruptcy principles. But bringing that up would remind anyone who was paying attention that Obama's abuse of executive power in this area was a logical extension of Bush's.

The same could be said of the National Security Agency's surveillance programs. After condemning the NSA's warrantless wiretapping of Americans' international communications during the Bush administration, Obama voted to authorize it, and it continues to this day. Likewise the NSA's routine collection of every American's phone records, which Obama claims is authorized by the PATRIOT Act. The main author of the PATRIOT Act disagrees. Yet Cruz does not mention illegal surveillance as an example of Obama's (and Bush's) excesses.

Nor does Cruz mention Obama's completely optional yet congressionally unapproved air war against Muammar al-Qaddafi's regime in Libya, although it is hard to think of a purer example of the president's unilateralism. The Constitution gives Congress the power to declare war, but Obama never sought such a declaration. He even argued, against the advice offered by his own Office of Legal Counsel, that the War Powers Act, which requires congressional authorization for the continued use of military force without a declaration of war after 60 days, did not apply, because the bombs and missiles raining down on Libyan forces did not constitute "hostilities." I don't know where Cruz, who took office last year, stood on Libya, but many of his fellow Republicans think the president should have a great deal of discretion in deciding when and why to use military force. Some of Cruz's comments about Syria suggest he may agree.

Cruz even overlooks two executive-power issues related to national security that he has highlighted in the past. Last year Cruz challenged the president's license to kill anyone he suspects of involvement in terrorism, and he voted against the National Defense Authorization Act because he was "deeply concerned that Congress still has not prohibited President Obama's ability to indefinitely detain U.S. citizens arrested on American soil without trial or due process." But imprisoning and killing people at will somehow do not make Cruz's list of Obama's most troubling power grabs, possibly because so many of his fellow Republicans do not see anything wrong with those policies.

"In the nation's history," says the subhead above Cruz's op-ed piece, "there is simply no precedent for an American president so wantonly ignoring federal law." Although Cruz may not have written that, he did not challenge the claim when CNN's Jake Tapper read it back to him last night. Instead he tried to make the case that Obama has indeed been especially lawless. In the Journal essay, he suggests that Democrats (including journalists covering the White House) have been less keen to challenge Obama's abuses than Republicans were to challenge presidents of their party:

In the past, when Republican presidents abused their power, many Republicans—and the press—rightly called them to account. Today many in Congress—and the press—have chosen to give President Obama a pass on his pattern of lawlessness, perhaps letting partisan loyalty to the man supersede their fidelity to the law.

From the perspective of someone who is neither a Democrat nor a Republican, both the abuse of executive power and the willingness to overlook it when a member of your party occupies the White House seem like bipartisan tendencies. Cruz would be much more credible on this issue if he forthrightly admitted that instead of insisting that the other team is worse.

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  • Plopper||

    Queue Cruz defense(aka fellatio squad).

    Because we should all vote for him if he happens to win the GOP nomination even though he's a drug warrior and as far as I can tell doesn't even take a proper interpretation of the commerce clause.

    But hey, he cares about the supremacy clause, even when used in a way that isn't consistent with the powers given to the feds by the rest of the constitution!

  • Pro Libertate||

    Cruz is no Rand Paul, who I greatly prefer, but there are worse candidates out there.

  • Grand Moff Serious Man||

    Ideally, President Rand Paul would put Cruz on the Supreme Court.

  • Plopper||

    Ideally, President Rand Paul would put Cruz on the Supreme Court.

    I hope you're kidding. Cruz's interpretation isn't any better than Scalia's from what i can tell.

  • Plopper||

    If Cruz wins the nomination I'll just "throw away" my vote at the libertarian party.

    If Rand manages to win I'd vote GOP though. Even though I think some of Rand's rhetoric sounds retarded, at least his interpretation of the constitution doesn't rest on what is convenient for SoCons.

  • John||

    Concern troll is concerned. And color me skeptical that you will be voting for Rand nominee or not.

  • Plopper||

    So your rebuttal is basically ad hom when you can't find fault with my logic?

    I'm all in for Rand honestly, I really hope he wins.

    If the Cruz defenders can only declare "concern troll", whenever someone has a totally valid beef with Cruz's interpretation of the constitution then you've just helped prove my point.

  • John||

    Cruz said entirely reasonable things. And your only response is "he doesn't mean it" and "but Bush!!".

    Yeah, you are a concern troll. If you had said anything worth rebutting, the rebuttal would have been more than the simple observation that you are a concern troll. As it is, that observation was all that was necessary.

  • Plopper||

    When have I ever said anything about Bush?

    Are you going to explain to me how not prosecuting people for violating unconstitutional laws is a bad thing because of the supremacy clause?

    Seriously, did you seriously just compared me to someone who goes around blaming everything on "BOOSH", because I have very valid concerns about Cruz's sincerity to the constitution?

  • Plopper||

    Might as well have just said "mansplaining", because your "rebuttal" has about as much substance as redfem rhetoric.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Would you vote for him over a Libertarian with no chance of winning?

    I don't know enough about him yet, but my initial inclination is to vote Libertarian, provided the Libertarian isn't a complete whackjob.

  • Plopper||

    His defense of the WoD and him complaining about Obama not prosecuting people for pot has already totally done Cruz in for me. I'm not sure what else you need to know.

  • wareagle||

    he didn't complain about Obama not prosecuting people for pot, which may be a reason for your being branded a concern troll. He complained about Obama ignoring a law he finds politically inconvenient and further said that if the administration thinks weed should be legalized, it should pursue that case.

  • Plopper||

    But if a law is unconstitutional, why should it be enforced? The supremacy clause applies to constitutional laws, but how does it apply to the ones that aren't. That's my concern.

    Also, I got called a concern troll by John before I ever mentioned pot, are you able to read timestamps?

  • wareagle||

    it's not the Executive's job to determine constitutionality. We have a different branch for that, the same that decided that a penal-tax was constitutional.

    Maybe John was ahead of the game, maybe not. I don't speak for him.

  • Plopper||

    So then you would cry foul in an alternate universe if Ron Paul decided to ask the DoJ to not enforce any federal drug laws and then went on to pardon all federal non-violent drug offenders?

    I sure as hell wouldn't. Considering SCOTUS has made decisions like they did in Gonzales v. Raich I think worrying about the president not enforcing laws is like obsessing over a paper cut when you have stage 3 cancer.

  • wareagle||

    acting like a dictator doesn't become a good thing because of the person doing it. You raised this whole issue on a misinterpretation of what Cruz said re: Obama's non-prosecutions of pot. Never mind that his administration has conducted innumerable raids of dispensaries and never mind that his AG said the feds reserve the right to jump into Colorado or Washington.

    If you're going to be consistent, you have to cry foul whenever any POTUS decides he can define and interpret law as he sees fit. Saying it's okay when your guy does it is basically Team and nothing else.

  • Plopper||

    Not enforcing laws which violate the NAP is hardly analogous to being a dictator.

    Where do people learn to create such logical contortions? Do you have to take a class to learn this shit?

    "Logical Contortions 301"

  • wareagle||

    Not enforcing laws which violate the NAP is hardly analogous to being a dictator.

    Goalposts getting heavy? What does the NAP have to do with this and since when has our govt given a shit about it? You asked about Ron Paul not enforcing certain laws. Yes, folks should be crying foul about that, too.

    If the Executive thinks a law is stupid, he has the megaphone for saying so and leading to its repeal. He doesn't get to pick and choose which laws to follow and which to ignore. The job of the branch is to enforce laws in place. You might find a civics class helpful or you can try moving the goalposts a bit further.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    it's not the Executive's job to determine constitutionality

    I disagree with that statement. It is the job of all three branches to determine constitutionality.

    1. Congress should not pass law unless it's constitutional.
    2. The Executive should not sign unconstitutional bills.

    Furthermore, (my opinion) if an unconstitutional law gets passed, I think the executive should have the ability to not enforce it. Requiring Congress to show harm and sue the executive. THIS forces the law into the court system to determine constitutionality.

    Too many unconstitutional laws are passed and never challenged. Prohibition of pot is a prime example.

  • wareagle||

    where the intended distinction re: the Executive came up was with regard to enforcement of laws. That's where Cruz got sideways with Obama over pot. This is way past signing.

    I don't see the job of the Executive as being to ignore laws that may be politically inconvenient. Drug laws exist; if the point is that they're stupid, POTUS has a big pulpit from which to make the case. But saying "not gonna enforce it cause I don't like it" is not going to end well, no matter who the president is.

  • Zeb||

    But there must be some point at which enforcing the law is so immoral that enforcing it would be unacceptable regardless of the damage done to the rule of law.

    Now, of course, in the case of Obama, he would be ignoring the laws because they are politically inconvenient, not because it is totally evil to lock people up for drugs. But I would certainly congratulate a president who did it on principle. At some point just doing your job is no excuse for doing wrong.

  • Plopper||

    I don't see the job of the Executive as being to ignore laws that may be politically inconvenient.

    In this case I'm not thinking about political convenience but rather deciding not to enforce laws which are blatantly unconstitutional and violate the NAP.

    I think it's just as easily arguable that allowing your administration to enforce unconstitutional laws is worse than not enforcing them.

    I also don't get why it won't end well to simply not enforce certain laws. It would be one thing if you only enforced the law against some people but not others, but to just say you aren't going to enforce unconstitutional drug laws hardly seems anything to be concerned about, but rather celebrated.

    At any rate comparing such a thing to a dictatorship is beyond ridiculous.

    I am very concerned about the rule of law, but again... worrying about the supremacy clause when the DoJ is prosecuting people for unconstitutional laws and when SCOTUS makes decisions like they did in Gonzales v. Riach, as I've said is analogous to obsessing over a paper cut when you have stage 3 cancer.

  • wareagle||

    which president has given you reason to believe he cares about the NAP? And no one has declared pot laws unconstitutional. Obama is the president; he has the position to make the case you are advocating but, thus far, he hasn't.

    The job of president is to faithfully execute the laws of the United States, not decide on the spot if those laws are palatable or not. Like I said, the office has the bully pulpit; the Executive also has a DOJ if it wants to pursue change that way. But unilateral action on laws based on personal belief is close to dictatorial.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    The job of president is to faithfully execute the laws of the United States, not decide on the spot if those laws are palatable or not.

    I put it to you that you ARE faithfully executing the law by not enforcing an unconstitutional law. The Constitution takes precedence over congressional law.

    If you don't like the President's interpretation of the Constitution, sue him and let the final arbiter decide.

  • Zeb||

    I'm sure there are flaws with the idea somewhere, but wouldn't it be neat if there was another body sort of like the Supreme Court, but whose only power and job was to seek out and nullify unconstitutional laws?

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    How about an amendment requiring ALL laws to sunset after 10 years?

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    it's not the Executive's job to determine constitutionality.

    I disagree with that. If the executive thinks something is unconstitutional, he shouldn't enforce it.

  • Zeb||

    There are a lot worse than Cruz out there. But he wouldn't be enough to get me to vote Republican either.

  • Plopper||

    "BOOSH!" Because if you have a problem with Cruz you must be a progtard who screams "BOOSH!", even if you've never once uttered it once ever.

  • Pro Libertate||

    We are all endangered by a runaway government, and even more so by a runaway executive. A sane polity would impeach and remove this president right now and take steps to restore some semblance of constitutional government. We don't have limited government for no reason, you know. There's thousands of years of human history to tell us why we must have it.

    Same goes for the past several presidents. I think the left has gone totally statist nuts, but the right isn't much better. If it were, the Bush years really would've been about deregulation and undoing the laws that have allowed Leviathan to take hold.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Quiet old man. Autocracy has only failed in the past because their leaders were bad people.

    They'll totally get it right this time because Obama.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I just saw a moment of the State of the Union on a TV in our breakroom, and the fucker said something about doing stuff without legislation (think it was in reference to the minimum wage). Seriously, the idea that this sort of thing is okay, even rhetorically, needs to go away right now. Or we're well and truly fucked.

    A stronger people--a better people--would remove this president and any other politician that did and said what he does immediately. Instead, we act like it's perfectly okay. Even the opposition party, which should be going apeshit on this single issue.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    That would requires adherence to principles rather than TEAM loyalty.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Hey, the sport isn't fun to watch anymore when the referees pick a side.

  • John||

    Question. Suppose Cruz really believes this. Since there hasn't been a Republican President in power during his time in the Senate, what could he possibly do that would rebut the charge that he is just saying that because his team is not in charge?

    Yes, he could get up and talk about how horrible Bush was. But I am a bit skeptical that would satisfy Reason. But if he did that, wouldn't that just serve to excuse Obama? I mean if every President does this, what is the big deal? And God knows the Democrats would love to change the subject to Bush from Obama.

    We can't read Cruz's mind so we can't know if he is telling the truth. All we can do is judge what he says and does. It is not like he is saying "well Bush was without sin". In the end, the criticism seems to be that Cruz isn't engaging in enough self flagellation. That is true as far as it goes. But it doesn't persuade me that Cruz is a fake just dying to get a Republican in there to read everyone's emails.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I agree. If I were in office right now, I'd hardly be spending my time bitching about Bush. That ship has sailed. One of the guy's screwing me out of my remaining freedoms and wealth is Obama. So him, I'm bitching about.

  • John||

    And you only have so much time and so much of the public's attention. If Cruz gave the "both parties are horrible" speech that Reason would have liked him to give, the media would have happily covered the speech as "Cruz Repudiates Republican Party" never mentioning the criticisms of Obama.

  • Irish||

    I disagree with Cruz on many issues, but he's actually written articles for law reviews that took very similar positions to what he's arguing now.

    Look at his recent article that made progressive toadies throw a fit. It was about the Federal Government using treaty power to get around constitutional blocks and remove power from the states. Cruz was against it.

    I don't think that's the sort of niche article someone would write unless they'd really thought about it and believed what they were writing. I mean, it ended up getting reported on because liberals threw an idiotic hissy fit, but he can't have known such an esoteric legal argument would get that kind of attention.

    That makes me think that he actually does believe in federalism, at least more than most politicians.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I'd say he's solidly in favor of limited government, just not as limited as I'd like it to be. Beats the usual state-loving drivel, though I think we can do better.

  • John||

    If Cruz was writing law review articles during the Bush Administration critical of this stuff, it is pretty hard to call him a hypocrite who just wants power for his team. I am sure some will do it. But I don't see it being very persuasive.

  • Irish||

    I don't know about any legal articles he wrote during the Bush administration. He obviously wasn't in the Senate yet so no one really cared.

  • Plopper||

    Thanks for actually explaining your position instead of declaring "concern troll".

    You may actually have a point, but I still think it's a very valid "concern", that he's just a Scalia type "federalist", that carves out exceptions just as he criticizes Obama for carving out exceptions when it would be politically expedient to do so.

    (Gonzales v. Raich)

  • Irish||

    Scalia's awful on many issues, particularly related to his bizarre hatred of weed, but to be completely honest he's better than 7/9ths of the Supreme Court and 99% of politicians.

    If people with Scalia's views were in Congress, things would be better now than they are.

    If your argument is that Cruz is going to be a hypocrite like Scalia, my response is that I'll take Scalia over every Senate Democrat other than Udall and Wyden. I'd also take him over virtually every Republican politician other than Amash, Paul, and Massie.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Yes, I'm no Scalia fan, but he's better than any justice but Thomas for most of our purposes. We could do much better, yes, but we've got the nine beauties we have to work with.

  • Plopper||

    I guess I'd rather just "throw away" my vote on a third party if Scalia is the best we can do.

    As far as levels of human suffering go, I'm fairly convinced the WoD has caused and will continue to cause as much or more than O'care will.

    I'd gladly vote GOP if my choice was one of Amash, Paul, or Massie... but if we're talking a Scalia clone then I'd really just rather focus on trying to break the two party monopoly.

  • Plopper||

    (duopoly I mean) ;)

  • Plopper||

    Oops, that close paren should have been after "fellatio", and not "squad". I do dearly apologize.

  • ||

    The problem here is that no one is willing to stick a shiv in their own TEAM. Cruz makes good points, but goes light on TEAM RED. And the TEAM BLUE shriekers will close ranks and excuse anything Obama does, and will ignore anything said by a TEAM RED member, no matter how correct. And then when TEAM RED gets the presidency, it'll all just reverse TEAM polarity but otherwise be the same shit sandwich.

    Partisanship is literally the death of liberty.

  • Pro Libertate||

    It is truly striking that the very first president under the Constitution flat out warned us of this at the very beginning. And he was right.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Worth excerpting a bit here:

    The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.

    Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight), the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.

    It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.
  • ||

    Sounds a lot like your mom.

  • Pro Libertate||

    She'd make a fine president, though I fear she would pardon no one.

  • John||

    And I hear she looks a lot like George Washington too.

  • ||

    Is she 6 foot 20, and does she fuck the shit out of bears?

  • Pro Libertate||

    No. But she's not a Founding Father, who clearly were actually superhero space aliens, given how completely different from our current leadership they were.

  • creech||

    Amazing, isn't it, how well a non-college graduate could express himself in those days. Compared to oh say the average customer of Hardcore Pawn in Detroit.

  • John||

    There was a link on instapundit the other day about how formal education is sweeping the world while levels of actual education and literacy have dropped.

  • Irish||

    Amazing, isn't it, how well a non-college graduate could express himself in those days. Compared to oh say the average customer of Hardcore Pawn in Detroit.

    I believe Hamilton may have been involved in ghost writing Washington's Farewell Address. Hamilton graduated from Columbia University, so that might actually have been written by someone with a college degree.

  • bassjoe||

    The extent to which the major parties have captured government on all levels is frightening. It is nearly impossible to get elected to a legislative or executive position above the city/county level without being a Democrat or Republican, even though large minorities (if not outright majorities) would prefer a different system.

    Efforts to TRY to create at least a legislature that actually represents the true ideological mix of the people -- Libertarians, Greens, etc. -- are nearly impossible to implement in a system dominated by the major parties.

  • John||

    For sure. In a just and ideal world, Cruz would apply an honest standard to both sides and gain credibility for doing so. In our world doing that would just allow Cruz's opponents to view it as a vindication of Obama since "Bush did it too" and write him him off as a crank who objects to clearly bipartisan policies.

    The biggest hope for this shit ending is if Obama had been anything but a complete fraud and ended it. Obama was critical of Bush and if he had applied that standard to himself any future administration Dem or R would have played hell going back to the old way.

    But since our hope rested on Obama not being a fraud, we are fucked. Obama made this shit bipartisan and anyone on either side who attacks it will either look like a hypocrite angry their team is not in power or a turncoat to his own side.

    I guess maybe a Democrat going after Obama would have some credibility. The next Democratic President could repudiate all of this. I am sure Hillary or Warren or Cuomo would do just that. NOT

  • Zeb||

    That's my usual argument for claiming that Obama is the worst president of my lifetime. He claimed he wanted to reign in executive overreach and end wars. And he could have. But he didn't. How is that not worse than Bush? At least Bush was sometimes honest about what he was doing.

    I get surprisingly little argument on those points, at least.

  • Irish||

    If America were attacked tomorrow, Obama would respond exactly the same way Bush did. He's been trying to get us involved in wars that are none of our business, so I seriously doubt he wouldn't go hog wild in the event that America was actually attacked.

    The only reason progs can even claim that Obama is less of a war monger is because he happened to come into office 7 years after 9/11 and people had therefore had time to cool off. Are you really telling me that president 'DO SOMETHING!' wouldn't have reacted to 9/11 in the exact same way Bush did?

    Please. All of his actions since taking the presidency say otherwise.

  • wareagle||

    I don't know. Would Obama respond as Bush did? He's periodically been interested in what look like wars of convenient with what appear to be limited liabilities. Now, the liabilities part could be wrong; having gotten involved in Syria could have become a clusterfuck, but my sense is he wanted to drop a bomb or two and puff his chest over having done it. Kinda like a bigger drone strike.

    Wars take time, they require planning and decision-making, and you can't use blaming the other side as your foundational rhetoric. None of those is in keeping with Obama's MO.

  • Zeb||

    I bet just about anyone who was president when that happened would have done something in Afghanistan. Maybe not Iraq.

  • wareagle||

    I would like to think so but even going into Afghanistan had its share of critics, most of them from Obama's side of the aisle. Maybe that was a function of Team but it was what it was.

    On the whole, I would agree. Hard to imagine a POTUS whose answer was to write a stern letter.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Going into Afghanistan wasn't the issue. Staying in Afghanistan was the problem. The second we started killing Taliban instead of Al Qaeda was the second we lost that war and the moral high ground.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Partisanship is literally the death of liberty.

    Amen!

  • bassjoe||

    Sen. Cruz has a point. I can guarantee that the only reason most elected Republicans care about Obama's "lawlessness" is because a person with a (D) behind his name is engaging in it. If a President Romney was doing this exact same thing, you could expect the exact opposite partisan response.

    However, this isn't a problem that just appeared with Obama. While he has been pursuing a more extreme use of executive power, executive disregard for the other branches of government has been growing for decades. President Bush II had his signing statements that essentially said the exact opposite of what the legislation he signed said and VP Cheney's belief in the "unitary executive" theory was well-known.

    And it seems like part of a sick plan, to be honest, to turn America into an Imperial Executive model. Congress becomes more and more ineffectual as the years go by, yet has left the executive to enforce a plethora of laws that Congress has zero interest or ability in reforming or rescinding. Ironically, the only laws that DO make it through provide for enormous expansions of executive power: the 2001 AUMF, PATRIOT Act, Medicare Part D, the Affordable Care Act, No Child Left Behind, the bank bailout, etc. Good luck getting any of those laws dismantled under any Congress.

  • John||

    If a President Romney was doing this exact same thing, you could expect the exact opposite partisan response.

    I suspect the American public wouldn't view it that way, or at least a good part of them. The Republicans are not changing their tune because this stuff is popular.

    It is up to the voters. If they want to make it a bad idea for your re-election hopes to support this stuff, then it probably will end. If not, then no it probably won't. But that will be a failure of voters on both sides. There is nothing stopping Democratic voters from throwing out the bums on their side who support this. Ron Wyden is an option you know.

  • bassjoe||

    The Republicans are not changing their tune because this stuff is popular.

    That's not really what I'm saying. Popularity of the various provisions is besides the point; WHO is implementing them is vastly more important.

    Also, a "good part" of the American public is against Obama's abuses. That "part" generally happens to be the exact same part that wouldn't vote for or support him anyways. A "good part" of the American public would also be against these abuses by a theoretical President Romney.

  • John||

    You assume that the two groups are different and that no one in the entire country accept you has any principles. That may be true. I don't know. I don't think it is. But who knows. I do know, however, that if it is true, that means the public doesn't really object to this and my statement that it is not popular is erroneous.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    The legislature has abdicated its authority because they can, in theory, remain there forever if they can keep the voters voting for them. Therefor the job of a congressman is to keep getting reelected. You do that by having plausible deniability. Let someone else make all the decisions and they will get blamed for them (particularly when the right decisions require eliminating entitlements). Let the POTUS do everything (declare war...) and it'll take the heat off me.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Cruz went too far criticizing these abuses at all. He's going to look quite the hypocrite when he does all these things and more as president. (Disclaimer: Cruz will never be president.)

  • Bee Tagger||

    Once the media becomes aware that it can write headlines like "Cruz Control" to either refer to his penchant, as a Republican, to be a tyrannical or his penchant, as a Republican, to be lazy in office, do you really think they'll pass on the opportunity?

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Isn't this basically a tu quoque argument? I mean, yeah, the GOP has a lot of lawlessness to answer for and has been far too willing to support Mr. Obama's when convenient. Does that mean we should overlook the administration's behavior?

  • Bee Tagger||

    Does that mean we should overlook the administration's behavior?

    No, but it does mean that we should continue to view Cruz skeptically.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Which is fair enough. But, I don't think it really invalidates the point he makes.

  • John||

    Yes it is. I don't know what Cruz was doing when Bush was in office. But I do know he wasn't in the Senate voting to support it. Reason acts like Don Rumsfeld got up and said this rather than someone who has been in the Senate for two years.

    And beyond that, what if they are right and Cruz really means to go back on all of this and either do it himself if he is President or totally support any Republican President who does? Wouldn't the existence of these statements make that more difficult? Would Reason prefer someone who consistently defended such stuff and thus was not susceptible to the charge of hypocrisy?

    The bottom line here is that a prominent Republican finally did exactly what Reason wants the GOP to do and Reason's response is "well you still suck because you didn't talk enough about Bush, you know that guy who hasn't been President for five years and whose abuses you were never part of".

  • Pro Libertate||

    I think this is a fair point. Cruz isn't responsible for what the party did before he was in office. Let's see how he acts--as a candidate, president, or senator under a GOP president--before we cast stones. Right now and for several years to come, we're enduring the abuses of a leftist tyrant, so it doesn't really matter that much what he says or thinks about Republicans no longer in office or about hypothetical Republican presidents.

    I tend to think Cruz is a little more his own man than most of these guys, but there's really no telling what he'd be like in power or as part of a ruling party. Paul seems a little more core libertarian at heart to me than Cruz.

  • bassjoe||

    Wouldn't the existence of these statements make that more difficult?

    To whom exactly? Cruz in the future can simply say something along the lines of "well, according to this super-secret briefing I got, I realize my earlier beliefs were a little ignorant" and the statists in the media will throw him an effing parade for being "serious".

  • John||

    To whom exactly?

    To people who don't like this stuff. And yes he could say that. If you are right in your assessment that you are the only honest man in left in America, then yes there will be no political downside to doing that. If not, then being such a blatant hypocrite will make things much harder for Cruz.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    "From the perspective of someone who is neither a Democrat nor a Republican, both the abuse of executive power and the willingness to overlook it when a member of your party occupies the White House seem like bipartisan tendencies."

    True. But, you seem to omit the fact that Cruz cited not only partisan operatives in government, but also the press. Should we assume that the press ought to be considered part of the Democratic party?

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Should we assume that the press ought to be considered part of the Democratic party?

    Is this a trick question?

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Should we assume that the press ought to be considered part of the Democratic party?

    Half of it is. The other half is Fox.

  • John||

    I don't recall Rand Paul mentioning the abuses of Bush when he talks about these issues, which is a lot. If he has, I would be curious to see where and see what he had to say. If he hasn't, and I don't think he has, Reason has never to my knowledge ever made this criticism of Paul.

    I get it that for whatever reason Reason likes Paul and doesn't have very much use for Cruz. But since when is it Reason's job to shade its criticisms based on which guy it likes and which it doesn't?

  • Pro Libertate||

    I don't think there's much argument that Paul is much more libertarian than Cruz. But Cruz, by his own token, is much more in favor of limited government than most other politicians. So I could see why Reason would favor Paul. I certainly do, at least if I have to pick between the two.

  • John||

    But Paul is just as much of a Republican as Cruz. If Reason believes that Cruz's criticisms of Obama are not really valid unless they are accompanied by equal criticisms of Bush, then the same is true of Paul criticisms. Reason just doesn't apply the same standard because they have decide Cruz is not cricket.

    And everyone says Cruz is so much less Libertarian than Paul but I never see any specific reasons why that is so. The assumption seems to be that since Cruz isn't Paul, he must be have horrible positions or if he has good positions is just lying about them.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I think Paul gets a little "not really a Republican" treatment because of his dad. Who was, of course, an LPer for a while, and a renegade the whole time in office.

  • John||

    Of course he does. But last I looked Reason claimed to be above intra GOP politics. They should apply the same standards to Paul they apply to anyone else.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    But Paul is just as much of a Republican as Cruz.

    Nope.

    Position on pot is very telling. The waters of public opinion aren't yet clear enough for any politician to jump in and say "legalize pot". Much like Obama not jumping into gay marriage..." I was against it before I was for it."

    Paul's inclination was to hedge his bets, call for decriminalization and push the matter down to the states. Leaving room to soften his public position later. Cruz comes out guns blazing against Obama for not enforcing unconstitutional federal law.

    Paul's position is CLEARLY more libertarian.

  • John||

    But Paul is just as much of a Republican as Cruz.

    Nope.

    Is he not the Republican Senator from Kentucky? Did he change to L or I and I just didn't hear about it?

    And the issue is not is Paul or less Libertarian, whatever that means. The question is why is Cruz responsible for and expected to explain the sins of Bush when Paul is not?

    Sorry but "I really like Paul's position on pot" is not a good answer to that question. Moreover, there are plenty of Republicans who support the legalization of Pot, that doesn't make them "not" or "less" Republicans. To say it does is to make "Republican" not mean a political party but instead mean "someone I don't like".

  • John||

    And Cruz is taking the position that like the principle that the President is not free to waive enforcement of a law is more important than the issue of marijuana.

    You don't like that position. But the position is hardly unreasonable and hardly makes Cruz some kind of tyrant or less interested in liberty than Paul. Liberty granted by the whim of the King is not really liberty. It is favoritism.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    Sure, if that's Cruz's point.

    It would be better to say, "since this law is unconstitutional, my main complaint is that it's enforced at all. But it doesn't help when Obama decides it's constitutional, and arbitrarily decides when and where to enforce it."

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    "But it *must* be constitutional - five out of 9 Supreme Court justices say so!"

  • John||

    But the overall constitutionality of the law is separate question from its wisdom.

  • RishJoMo||

    Sometimes man you jsut have to roll with it.

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