Donald Trump

Time for Constitutional Conservatives to Start Acting Like it Post-Comey

Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Mike Lee need to step up their oversight game


Regulators! Mount 'em! ||| RedAlert Politics
RedAlert Politics

During the Obama presidency, just about every Republican in the Senate at one point or another supported the appointment of a special counsel to investigate the various controversies of the day. And yet many of the same senators—including the ones most identified with the label "constitutional conservative"—are treating President Donald Trump's chaotic firing of FBI Director James Comey with a wave of the hand, even outright applause.

In a new op-ed for the L.A. Times, I encourage three in particular to get back in touch with the allergy to executive power and respect for congressional oversight that made them so interesting in the first place. Here's how the column begins:

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), the noted former litigator and poster boy for constitutional conservatism, had some stern words for the attorney general of the United States. "Predecessors of yours in both parties, Democrat and Republican, when faced with serious charges of abuse of power for partisan gain," Cruz said, "have made the right decision and appointed special prosecutors."

The year was 2014. The allegation was that the Internal Revenue Service was disproportionately targeting tea party-affiliated groups for heightened tax-status scrutiny. And the special prosecutor — actually special counsel; the prosecutor job expired with the enabling statute back in 1999 — was never appointed. It should have been then. It should be now.

But not according to Cruz, 2017 edition. On Wednesday, the senator released a brief statement agreeing with President Trump's sudden firing of FBI Director James B. Comey, no matter how suspiciously timed or absurdly justified. "Unfortunately," Cruz said, "Mr. Comey had lost the confidence of both Republicans and Democrats, and, frankly, the American people."

We expect that kind of ritual partisan insincerity from the likes of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), a serial Obama-era supporter of special counsels who sure enough responded to Trump's ham-handed behavior by chortling hackishly about "Democratic colleagues complaining about the removal of an FBI director whom they themselves repeatedly and sharply criticized."

But the tea party generation of Constitution-waving legislators, with their Federalist Papers quotations on separation of powers and Senate stemwinders on executive power abuse, was supposed to be different.

Read the whole thing here.

Then read Mike Riggs on Rand Paul, Peter Suderman on checks and balances, Jacob Sullum on Jeff Sessions, and Eric Boehm on the importance of independence.

NEXT: Why Is Michigan Still Forcing Minors to Take Unconstitutional Breathalyzer Tests?

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  1. Meh. The president fired a bureaucrat. Another will pop up to take his place. That Comey pissed everyone off was no secret and his departure was a foregone conclusion. I’ll save judgment on how unlibertarian this whole event is until we see what terrible choice the administration makes for his replacement.

    1. I’ll save judgment


      1. You think I should have spelled it judgement?

        1. Yes I do.

    2. Maybe someone that will at least start putting democrats in prison. Where so many of them belong. Then at least if we get a terrible director, he will do some kind of good.

      1. We can only hope that you are indeed the last.

  2. Cruz supported a special prosecutor in the case of the Obama administration targeting political opponents, delaying their organizations achievement of nonprofit status, destroying hard drives to conceal evidence, where the IRS director resigned and refused to testify before Congress.

    Therefore he must support a special prosecutor for the firing of someone who the Dems wanted fired but a few months ago (and some as recently as six days ago), “suspiciously” coinciding with the 6 month anniversary of a conspiracy theory investigation that has produced no evidence of any wrongdoing or even any idea of what the plot was and who was supposed to benefit?

    I’m assuming the rest of the article is just as stupid, so not bothering with reading it.

    1. I’m assuming the rest of the article is just as stupid, so not bothering with reading it.

      Same here.

      Firing an inept bureaucrat and a U.S. Diplomat murdered in planned/coordinated attack in a country that the President explicitly unilaterally “helped liberate” are practically the same thing Constitutionally-speaking (or not), right?

    2. Quit making shit up.

      Lois Lerner =/= the Obama Administration.

      1. Curious subset notation.

        1. Someone explained to me once that is too much math for most people. The =/= makes a better pictogram for the innumerate.

          I conceded the point. This is the world we live in.

          1. I conceded the point.

            Every time through gritted teeth.

      2. Neither was “Fast n Furious” gunrunner Holder

        Neither was “meet with Bill Clinton to talk about grandchildren I don’t have thus jeopardizing a federal investigation” Lynch

        Neither was “Smart diplomacy done right” or Uranium One or “What classified homebrew email server that I wiped” Clinton

        Neither was “Youtube video” Susan Rice

        Who exactly was the Obama administration?

        1. You must go to to get your fake scandals.

          1. That the same place you buy your sock puppets?

            Seriously, why not just go with a unified front. You’ve outed yourself using the wrong sock about a half dozen times. What’s the fun in it for you when everybody knows?

          2. Fake scandals? Shit PB, even the NYT reports on some of Obama’s evil. But Team Blue no matter what, right? No wonder you faggots get awful candidates like Hillary.

    3. not bothering with reading

      if only I hadn’t read your drivel.

      1. Surprised you can read anything that doesn’t require a crayon, shitlib.

    4. firing of someone who the Dems wanted fired…

      Are you really that dumb, or just a silly parrot? If “the Dems” wanted Comey fired, a) why would Trump take his marching orders from the “failed” political party, and b) why did he wait almost four months to do it? Are you sure you’re not a Republican, Chip?

      1. The point, numbnuts, is that leftists showed within the span of less than a week how unprincipled they are.


        “I’ve fired James Comey.”

        “Yaaayyy…oh wait, Stephen Colbert said that was bad! REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!”

        1. The Democrats were for Comey before they were against him, and the Republicans were against Comey before they were for him, until General Cheeto decreed that they were against him again, then he shit in his hat and told us how smart he is, as the puppets and parrots agreed, blaming entertainers and the “MSM” for the General’s apparent incoherence.

  3. Remind me again why the constitution is invoked here. The director of the FBI serves at the pleasure of the chief executive, yeah? Despite what the “optics” are, or whatever it is everyone is supposed to be concerned about, people in non-DC who are up in arms about this are cramming their pre-existing narrative into a poorly fitting template. This strikes me as “everyone in Washington says this is a big deal, therefore it must be so.”

    1. Ah, I see various Ilyas answer my question in a post below. How long until professional talkers realize that a vanishingly small portion of the electorate really gives a crap about this firing, or the fact that someone didn’t follow sacred Washington protocol?

      1. Or up until recently they wanted him to be fired.

    2. Motte and bailey argument

      Motte and bailey (MAB) is a combination of bait-and-switch and equivocation in which someone switches at will between a “motte” (an easy-to-defend and often common-sense statement, such as “culture shapes our experiences”) and a “bailey” (a hard-to-defend and more controversial statement, such as “cultural knowledge is just as valid as scientific knowledge”) in order to defend their viewpoint. Someone will “support” the easy-to-defend (motte) temporarily, to ward off critics, but does not actually believe what they’re saying. The “difficult” (bailey) version always remains the desired belief, but is never actually defended.

      Motte = bad optics
      Bailey = constitutional crisis / abuse of power / scandal coverup

      1. The “chip” thing has outlived its expiration date, growing moldy and unpalatable. Time to embalm and bury it. The meme is every bit as endearing as the retarded child grown to adulthood, fat and clumsy and reeking of spent semen. Let it go. It’s an embarrassment.

  4. Time for conservatives to accept the liberal narrative because they supported similar things in dissimilar circumstances.

    1. Even for Matt this is pretty dumb. Hope the Kochs are giving him an okay price for that last vestigial shred of his credibility.

  5. I feel like there must be an ethical and logical way to entirely extract the FBI as a Government institute. Regardless of any good/bad of this given issue, it seems inappropriate that government is responsible for investigating itself.

  6. Great article, Matt. It’s disheartening how many people who were all for investigating government misdeeds under Obama now seem to think holding the White House to scrutiny is a waste of time. People who want to bang the table and just insist that the President has the power to fire the FBI head so that’s the end of it are either being mendacious or clueless–the inarguably suspicious timing of the firing and extra-weaselly (even for Trump) bullshit reasons the admin gave are enough to raise concerns that require investigating. Whining about how Clinton or Obama got away with this or that is pathetic tribalism.

    1. pathetic tribalism

      Ayup. Funny how the Red Team finds a way to make excuses and exceptions now that their guy has assumed the throne.

      1. “Ayup. Funny how the Red Team finds a way to make excuses and exceptions now that their guy has assumed the throne.”

        They are just getting a pound of flesh as retribution for the blatant criminal activities of the Democrats. That is what happens when powerful people are allowed to disregard the rule of law: it destroys democracies and republics.

        I say prosecute both sides. Maybe that will restore some respect for what was American exceptionalism. The only thing America was exceptional at was a mostly fair and lawful country rooted in adherence to the ideals and strictures of the constitution.

        How do you like that Living Constitution now?

      2. DanO,

        Lots of people can be taken seriously when they accuse partisan hacks.

        Unfortunately, you’re not one of them.

      3. Why Danny, it takes a LOT of hypocrisy to make a statement like that. Fortunately you progtards have that in spades.

        1. Funny how the Red Team finds a way to make excuses and exceptions now that their guy has assumed the throne.

          1. because if one thing is totally certain, it’s that Trump’s is the commentariat’s guy.

            1. The Republicans came out of the closet, and it was hideous.

              1. whatever you have to tell yourself

  7. We need at least three special prosecutors:

    1. Investigate TrumPutin
    2. Investigate Hillary’s email business
    3. Investigate the IRS political persecutors

    1. 4. Designated hitter. If that’s not an SJW conspiracy I don’t know what is.

  8. So Reason has gone full Putin-Truther?

    Now who’ll give me odds on Evan McMullin as the 2020 LP nominee?

    1. Do you have a photo of him in a torpedo bra?

  9. The First Article of the Cuckstitution is thus:
    The Right Shall Always Lose!

    Trump is clearly violating the Cuckstitution! It’s a Cuckstitutional Crisis!

    All Cuckstitutional Cuckservatives should quickly appoint a special prosecutor tasked with chasing the invisible Russkies hiding in Trump’s shorts!

    Cripple the opportunity of Republicans to actually get something done! Destroy Republicans Power! Destroy it now, before you might actually win!

    Avert Victory at all costs! You’re almost winning! Winning is Evil!

    Cuck Now, Cuck Hard, Cuck Forever!
    For Yuh Principles!

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