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Free Minds & Free Markets

Ted Cruz: Loose Cannon or Libertarian Reformer?

The Texas senator might be just crazy enough to win the GOP presidential nomination.

Credit: Gage SkidmoreCredit: Gage SkidmoreAs they used to say in the old westerns, it was quiet out there-too quiet. So no one was really surprised when Ted Cruz announced to The Washington Post the weekend before the November election that his brief flirtation with civilized behavior was nearing its end.

For months, the Texas senator had abandoned his "the guy with dynamite strapped to his chest" persona, as one Republican political strategist describes it, to be a team player, crisscrossing the country to campaign for GOP candidates. No filibusters on the Senate floor to hold the federal budget hostage to the repeal of Obamacare; no fund­raising letters on behalf of Tea Party insurgents seeking to knock off what Cruz likes to call "squishy" Republican incumbents.

But secure in the knowledge that private tracking polls showed a Republican landslide on the way, Cruz unchained his not-so-inner werewolf. The first thing on the agenda for the new, Republican-led Senate, he said, should be hearings on President Barack Obama's "abuse of power, the executive abuse, the regulatory abuse, the lawlessness that sadly has pervaded his administration." To break up the monotony, Cruz added, the Senate will mount a human-wave attack against Obamacare, voting to repeal the whole thing and then, when the president vetoes their measure, attacking the law one provision at a time, forcing another 10 or 20 or a hundred or a thousand vetoes.

To much of official Washington and its media courtiers, this sounds like insanity. As one of Trent Lott's former staffers told the Post, Cruz "will certainly get the base jazzed up about what he's doing, but he won't get rid of the law."

If you're a presidential candidate, though, getting the base jazzed up is the whole point. The same weekend that Cruz announced his return to the warpath, The Des Moines Register published a poll showing that the single biggest issue motivating voters who supported Iowa state Sen. Joni Ernst (a Republican who a couple of days later would win an upset victory in her race for the U.S. Senate) was, by a large margin, "to get one step closer to repealing Obama-­care." Iowa also happens to be the site of the first 2016 presidential caucus. The man with the dynamite strapped to his chest will be there, and what explodes may be the chattering-class perception that Ted Cruz is too crazy to be considered a serious candidate for president.

Can a Wacko Bird Be Crazy Like a Fox?

Two and a half years ago, before Ted Cruz had even been elected to the Senate-when he was still just a couple of months past being, as he likes to joke, a candidate with 2 percent of the vote in polls with a 3 percent margin of error-the Republican strategist Mark McKinnon wrote an extraordinarily prescient piece calling Cruz "the Republican Barack Obama."

"A young, Harvard-educated lawyer, an intellectual with a compelling life story, the son of an American mother and an immigrant father, a practiced orator thrust into the national political spotlight, and buoyed by a cult of personality," McKinnon described him, hitting only one wrong note: "He'll have to pivot a bit to the middle while not stepping on the toes of those who brung 'em to the dance."

If Cruz pivoted, it was on an arc so tiny that it exists only in theoretical physics. More than a month before he took his seat, he was already squaring off against the Senate's Republican establishment and winning. Invited to a Senate Republican caucus lunch, he was dismayed to learn the party was going to back the U.N. Treaty on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at the behest of tribal elders such as Bob Dole and Richard Thornburgh.

Wow, said Cruz, voters hate it when they think U.S. laws are going to be usurped by meddling U.N. bureaucrats, especially on stuff like abortion and homeschooling. He got to work. By the time dessert came around, party leaders were being confronted with mass defections, the treaty was headed for defeat, and Cruz had earned the undying enmity of much of the Republican leadership-most notably John McCain, who would later label Cruz a "wacko bird." Which, apparently, is the PG version of the epithets McCain uses in private. "He fucking hates Cruz," a McCain aide later told GQ.

The wacko bird label has stuck. Though polls vary widely according to who takes them and where, many of them show Cruz with high negatives.

"He can seem a little crazy," says one former senior official in the Bush administration, a Texan himself. "Frankly, I had an unfavorable impression of him personally. You read the stuff he says and he can seem a little grating. He comes across as shrill in large public settings.

"But now I've had some personal meetings with him and I've totally revised my opinion. One on one, he's personable, he's intelligent, and he's very, very genuine. I still disagree with him on some of his political positions and a lot of his strategy and tactics. But I have developed a lot of respect for him. He is definitely no yahoo."

Yahoos for Uncle Milton

Part of Cruz's yahoo image comes from his Tea Party-style positions. Many people still get jolted when a candidate calls not to reform or rein in the IRS but to abolish it.

But an even bigger component of the perception is that he spends too much time tilting furiously at windmills. The best example was his campaign in late 2013 to block a continuing budget resolution unless Democrats agreed to delay or defund Obamacare, spearheaded by Cruz's 21-hour filibuster (which included readings from a pair of unlikely soulmates, Ayn Rand and Dr. Seuss).

Cruz's efforts led to a 16-day government shutdown before Republican leaders-many of whom hadn't wanted a showdown in the first place-blinked. The Washington consensus was that the shutdown was pointless, that Obama would have admitted to being a Kenyan-born Muslim terrorist before giving up the prize legislative achievement of his presidency.

That argument, however, supposes that Cruz became a senator to broker conciliation and compile an impressive legislative box score. That's a fundamental misunderstanding of the senator's strategic goals.

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

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  • ola||

    "He appears to see no contradiction between his close-to-literal war on immigrants and the obvious pride he takes in telling stories of how his Cuban-born father worked for 50 cents an hour washing dishes in an Austin greasy spoon while learning English."

    Did his father come to the US illegally? What contradiction are you referring?

  • dred17||

    Did his Dad come to the US legally? Maybe. He came here to go to college, but claims he arrived without sufficient money to pay for tuition. To get a student visa at the time, he would have had to have had sufficient money to pay for his tuition and that he spoke English well enough to attend college. So, either Papa Cruz committed immigration fraud to get to America, or he's lying about his exploits as a poor dishwasher learning to comprende the English. I suspect the latter, but it could certainly be the former.

  • ||

    I thought that the US has had a "wet feet/dry feet" policy towards Cubans ? That is to say that if a Cuban's feet touch US soil they are considered a political refugee regardless of how they got here.

  • ||

    So he got in through a loophole for immigrants for one specific country and that somehow makes him superior to people who cross the border "illegally?" Yeah, way better.

  • PapayaSF||

    Well, yes it does, if you care about "law."

  • ||

    I care about liberty.

  • PapayaSF||

    To care about liberty, you need to also care about law.

  • Wasteland Wanderer||

    So in order to care about liberty, you have to care about anti-liberty laws? That's fucking stupid, even if for you.

  • PapayaSF||

    Quite the straws man you have there, Wasted. Libertarians aren't anarchists. Some minimum of laws is required in order to secure liberty. "Force and fraud," remember? I am not speaking of "anti-liberty" laws or any other subset, just laws in general. Lighten up, dude.

  • ||

    Apatheist ಠ_ರೃ|1.17.15 @ 2:41PM|#

    I care about liberty."

    If that's the case then you should vote for Cruz over a majority of the other candidates.

    Rand is the only one who gets my vote over Cruz.

  • Kroneborge||

    "If that's the case then you should vote for Cruz over a majority of the other candidates.

    Rand is the only one who gets my vote over Cruz."

    This sounds reasonable to me

  • Copernicus||

    Wow, Dred. You could fill a book with what you don't know for sure about Cruz's poppa.

  • R C Dean||

    This Ted I kinda like. I recall him disassembling witnesses during hearings early in his tenure, performing one of the very few real cross-examinations I've ever seen in the Senate.

  • PapayaSF||

    He was a champion debater in college, which helps. Yeah, I like him more after reading this article. My fantasy GOP ticket of Walker/Paul 2016 could also be Walker/Cruz.

  • R C Dean||

    Arguing the case as a matter of separation of powers-Congress had never passed any laws implementing the consular-access treaty-he won a 6-3 victory in the Supreme Court.

    Something to remember as Obama tries to end-around Congress and the Constitution by signing treaties and international agreements.

  • DJF||

    [quote]The single but very large exception: immigration. Favoring a bigger wall along the Rio Grande and more Border Patrol agents to walk it, Cruz is among the most unrelenting immigration hawks in Congress.[/quote]

    There is no right to immigration or movement in a market based world. You have the right to move on your own property and you have the right to allow others to move on your property, but that right ends at the border of your property. Borders are not anti-market, they are the results of a market world. Governments have usurped and combined the natural borders of property ownership and reduced what should be up to 7 billion borders down to a few hundred.

    The only way you have a borderless world is not by getting rid of government since this would allow the natural up to 7 billion plus borders to reassert themselves but by creating a world government with massive powers. Such a world government will force property owners to give up their natural rights of property and borders.

  • Sevo||

    "There is no right to immigration or movement in a market based world"

    Claim absent evidence.
    You also want other economic goods to stop at the border, or just labor?

  • DJF||

    There is no right for goods to move except on your own land.

    You have no right to force others to allow the movement of goods on their land. They may allows such movement but you have no right to that movement

  • Sevo||

    DJF|1.17.15 @ 12:57PM|#
    "There is no right for goods to move except on your own land.
    You have no right to force others to allow the movement of goods on their land. They may allows such movement but you have no right to that movement"

    In libertopia, this might be true. Here (and everywhere I know) we have ROADZZZ!

  • Sevo||

    BTW, this is a silly 'argument' anyhow. Are you proposing, even in your proposed libertopia, that trade wither and die because no one can take a step off of their own property?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Trade? If there are no agorae then how does one meet others who are not family members to, you know, reproduce non-incestuously?

  • Robert||

    That seems to be what people who oppose eminent domain for rights of way are saying.

  • MWG||

    DJF makes this same argument on many immigration threads. Free movement is socialism, up is downs, freedom is slavery...

  • np||

    If you admit that Governments have usurped property rights, then you cannot claim that national borders are the result of a market forces.

    So let's assume a free market world. Don't want some Mexican crossing your land? Perfectly fine. Except you cannot force someone else who would welcome them. There is access around (other property owners), and high enough above (flight) or deep enough (tunnels) below you.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    If you admit that Governments have usurped property rights, then you cannot claim that national borders are the result of a market forces.


    Sure. But you also can't claim that all property owners would be happy to let through immigrants, which would be a good summary of affairs for open borders.

    The reductio ad absurdum of libertarianism on this issue is that the government owns no property to execute its duties and therefore that every property owner makes their own decision on the matter. This is completely untenable, and if the government owns property for the purpose of executing its duties it should also be allowed to determine how this property is used.

    Because government is also supposed to responsibly exercise its monopoly on law it is incumbent on government to determine to what degree immigrants who do not identify as citizens retain access to benefits paid for and developed by citizens, such as access to the judiciary to sort out property claims and redress of grievances, access to law enforcement, etc. This necessitates judgement on who will receive access to these paid-for services, and refusal to exercise this discrimination in a lawful way is abdication of duty.

    Because immigrants can also be considered prospective voting citizens they are also potential threats to citizens' rights. It is in the public's best interest to minimize the number of future aggressors, when such can be done in a rights-respecting manner.

  • kbolino||

    The reductio ad absurdum of libertarianism on this issue is that the government owns no property to execute its duties

    What? I mean sure, the government should sell excess property, but who the fuck is advocating for selling off the courthouses?

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Public ownership is not valid under the Lockean right to property, as there is no property owner who can specifically be called to account for having either homesteaded the original property, or voluntarily acquired goods for exchange with the property owner. Therefore, in the case of a nation-state type of government (where all government-held property is considered to be a public trust held by government), there is no legitimate government-held property.

  • kbolino||

    You said "the libertarian position on this issue", not "the Lockean position on the ownership of property".

    Also, assuming that definition to be accurate, then the government could legitimately own property under the Lockean view if it acquired said property without coercion from a prior legitimate owner.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    You said "the libertarian position on this issue", not "the Lockean position on the ownership of property"


    These positions are nearly always equivalent. I almost always see Lockean property rights referenced in libertarian treatises and it is fair to use this definition when no other is provided.

    assuming that definition to be accurate, then the government could legitimately own property under the Lockean view if it acquired said property without coercion from a prior legitimate owner


    Only to the degree that government can validly hold property. If government cannot in principle homestead a property, it seems incoherent to place it in the set of persons and associations which can own a property. Can you think of any other examples of a free agent which can own a property but not in principle homestead one?

  • kbolino||

    You are stipulating additional conditions which are not present in the original definition. The government doesn't need to be able to homestead the property, it just needs to have someone who can and did who is also willing to sell to the government.

    Also, in many cases in which the government holds property, the prior owner is either forgotten or deceased. The most that could be said is that the government must sell the property, but again I don't see this as part of the definition you gave unless the property was taken through eminent domain.

    And this discussion still remains orthogonal to the immigration issue.

  • kbolino||

    Because government is also supposed to responsibly exercise its monopoly on law it is incumbent on government to determine to what degree immigrants who do not identify as citizens retain access to benefits paid for and developed by citizens, such as access to the judiciary to sort out property claims and redress of grievances, access to law enforcement, etc. This necessitates judgement on who will receive access to these paid-for services, and refusal to exercise this discrimination in a lawful way is abdication of duty.

    What does citizenship have to do with whether or not somebody "paid for" the courts? Are citizens who haven't paid much or any taxes not entitled to the courts and police? Are non-citizens who have paid taxes unentitled to those services?

    The first duty of the government is to respect rights. To what extent does the violation of that duty known as taxation constitute sufficient justification for further violations? How far can we ride the slippery slope that is "taxation is wrong, but necessary, so therefore the government can restrict other rights to protect the interests of taxpayers"?

    I suppose this comes to a fundamental question about the nature of government. Is the government first and foremost a liberal institution, at times sacrificing the interests of some for the liberty of others, or is it first and foremost a protectionist institution, at times sacrificing the liberty of some for the interests of others?

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Proper stewardship entails accurate discernment of the intent of the patron. An art museum which is provided a donation to be used for the purpose of funding a modernist exhibit acts inappropriately if it instead uses this donation to, say, fund a children's exhibit. Implicit in the concept of the nation-state is the idea that the state exists for the benefit of those in the nation -- which is to say, taxation for the state's functions (and access to those functions) must be to the clear benefit of those within the nation, else it is illegitimate. (This does not mean that all functions claiming that purpose are legitimate; merely that it is a necessary component of legitimate action within the context of a nation-state.)

    Meddling and setting up a regime abroad for the benefit of foreigners' liberty is an irresponsible use of state power, as it is not to the benefit of the citizen and taxes him to accomplish the purpose. The foreigner is not diminished by this action as withholding action cannot be construed as an active harm unless it is the moral duty of the other to provide said action. The nation-state does not have such an obligation to immigrants and has a moral duty to its citizens; withholding access to public facets of the country does not harm the immigrant greater than any other property right withholding. Given the broad scope of these public goods it is fair to say that their provision is inextricable from residence and that citizens thus have the final say.

  • kbolino||

    That is a lot of words to not address anything I said.

    What does the "concept of the nation-state" have to do with liberalism?

    Why are you conflating "the foreigner abroad" with immigrants?

    Yeah, "the foreigner abroad" is not entitled to the services of the government, but liberalism is not a "service" provided by the government, it is a foundational principle concerning a prohibition on illegitimate action.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    But you also can't claim that all property owners would be happy to let through immigrants, which would be a good summary of affairs for open borders.

    No, it doesn't. An open immigration policy doesn't preclude mandating specified ports of entry.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Good point. If the US just opened up its borders at mandated entry points, the desert border would only be crossed by genuine ne'er do wells.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    An open immigration policy doesn't preclude mandating specified ports of entry


    Unless these ports are privately-owned, they still run into the problem that they are not necessarily a legitimate form of property with a legitimate owner, and that as such the state is illegitimately either allowing or denying access against what the actual property owner might prefer.

    (I do agree that, from a practical standpoint, ports of entry are far preferable to other open border arrangements.)

  • kbolino||

    Or, you know, the government could sell the property that it doesn't need to operate statehouses, courthouses, and military bases, and restore allodial title.

    As long as the government owns the property, restrictions on its use are subject to the whims of the democratic majority. If enough people in the US wanted to create a "borderless" country, then no "world government" would be required. Just pack the courts, abuse the shit out of eminent domain, and then abolish the CBP.

    In the mean time, the question is over who should be allowed to pass through the government-owned property at the border, along the roadways and waterways, and in the airspace.

  • Cytotoxic||

    There is no right to immigration or movement in a market based world.

    Actually that's exactly what defines a market-based world. The US border has nothing to do with private property.

    Governments have usurped and combined the natural borders of property ownership and reduced what should be up to 7 billion borders down to a few hundred.

    You don't know what a border is. What. A. Surprise.

  • Chumby||

    Cannon? That is a weapon reference. Assault speech.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Oh noes the crazy ratbagging tea fucker wants to roll back Obama's overreach by any means necessary.

    What self respecting libertarian could support that?

  • Libertarius||

    Yeah it's pretty pathetic to see even alleged advocates of Reason jump on the bandwagon of claiming that Obozocare is now (somehow?) as equally insuperable as the laws of nature.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    161-2

    Anderson said that he wasn't trying to run up the score or embarrass the opposition. His team had won four previous games by at least 70 points, and Bloomington had already lost a game by 91.

    'I didn't expect them to be that bad' - Michael Anderson

    "The game just got away from me," Anderson told the San Bernardino Sun Friday. "I didn't play any starters in the second half. I didn't expect them to be that bad. I'm not trying to embarrass anybody."

    He says if he had it to do again, he'd have played only reserves after the first quarter, or "I wouldn't play the game at all."

    But Bloomington coach Dale Chung says Arroyo Valley used a full-court press for the entire first half to lead 104-1 at halftime.

    "People shouldn't feel sorry for my team," Chung said. "They should feel sorry for his team, which isn't learning the game the right way."

    Anderson has served one game of the suspension, a game his team won 80-19. He'll return after sitting out one more.

    ''He's a great X's and O's coach," Chung said. "Ethically? Not so much. He knows what he did was wrong."

    There's SOMEBODY in this story guilty of not teaching his kids how to play the game, alright.

  • R C Dean||

    Key fact:

    I didn't play any starters in the second half.

    Sounds to me like one or both of these teams is just in the wrong division.

    Anderson needs to get together with the other coach when one of these blowouts is underway, get a forfeiture agreed to, and maybe play the rest of the game as a scrimmage or something.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    a. Is there something immoral about running up a score?
    b. What should he have done, told his girls to hang back, intentionally miss shots, not play D?

    Cuz teh feelz!

  • Brian D||

    I wonder what the story would have been if the coach told the players to just sit on the bench and watch the other team attempt layups (hell, maybe even cheer the other team on), and announce to the crowd that your team will start playing again when the opponent gets to within 20 points.

  • ||

    Haven't these people thought of the 'mercy rule'?

    Mercy.

  • wareagle||

    a) it's considered bad sportsmanship. But if he played reserves in the second half, not sure what else he is supposed to do. You can't tell the subs to play badly; they also need game experience.

  • ||

    You can do what one of my coaches did to us when I was 14. After scoping the opposing team at a tournament he came back with this gem: You're gonna get hammered. Just try and not look to bad in the process. Then he proceeded to make a comment about how strong their legs looked compared to ours. Man did we laugh.

    Until the game started. We indeed got hammered and apparently we were their 'toughest' opponent having been the only team to not lose on the 'mercy rule'.

    We tried hard like mad but they were plain superior. Life lesson.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    My initial take on Cruz is that if it were between he and Hillary, I could probably vote for him over burning my vote on a third party (libertarian) guy.

    I, however, reserve the right to change my mind.

  • ||

    What if it appears that congress would remain R? So we have one-party rule and no gridlock? Would that change your mind about voting R for president?

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Hmmmm? *rubs chin*

    Gridlock also means nothing gets cut. Of course, nothing will get cut regardless....so...we're doomed.

    Thanks for cheering me up, OMWC.

  • ||

    Nothing will ever get cut, no matter what (absent a lightning stroke that suddenly causes all of the government chimps to realize that there's a constitution). But gridlock means nothing major is likely to be added. There's much to be said for that.

    Always spread happiness and contentment, that's my motto.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Stasis is not good enough and you're wrong that stuff cannot be cut. The 99-week unemployment check was cut. Canada cut spending in the '90s. There will be cuts.

    Rand Paul is the only one I can definitely be okay with having the power that party dominance of all 3 chambers brings. With Cruz it's right on the border.

  • ||

    The track record of all-R government is expansion. Massive expansion. Saying "But, program X was cut!" while ignoring that "Programs Y and Z were radically expanded" is not intellectually honest.

  • Cytotoxic||

    My point was that government can be cut.

    President Paul would no doubt cut government. President Cruz is fuzzier, and I think I would prefer President Pence or *maybe* some other midwestern governor. The rest are useless and I would prefer President Hillary.

  • ||

    President Paul (which will never happen) will not and cannot "cut government." That takes congress.

    Saying "government can be cut" is like saying "I can have sex with Scarlett Johanssen." Yes, physically possible, but lower than the probability of the earth suddenly winking out of existence due to a stray black hole.

  • Cytotoxic||

    That's a bit inaccurate. President Paul can totally happen and can veto spending and say the renewal of the EIB.

  • ||

    Is that Scarlett knocking at the door?

  • DK||

    The track record of all-R government is expansion.

    To be fair, there have been only two instances of all-R government since the Depression (compared to 17 all-D) - the 2003 and 2005 Congresses. They certainly made the best of it, though.

  • ||

    Yes, they did. Expansion of spending and overall government power.

  • wareagle||

    gridlock remains possible absent a 60-member GOP Senate majority. All that "obstructionism!" that was horrible prior to this election will be en vogue.

  • ||

    If there's an R president, a simple majority is sufficient. "Hey Harry Reid, you went nuclear, we're going H-bomb."

  • wareagle||

    there is still thing called cloture, that requires 60 votes to end debate. Senate rules are aimed to prevent a simple majority from doing what it wants on a whim. And it's not like you can necessarily count on all Repubs to vote in lockstep.

  • ||

    As my reference to Reid indicated, rules can be changed at the whim of a simple majority.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    "There's no constituency among elected officials in Washington for impeachment," the consultant Stone acknowledges. "But there's a very big one outside the Beltway. I think Cruz can become the tail that wags the dog."

    So Stone thinks that the electorate is the tail and their elected representative are 'the dog'; ie more important.

    A nice summary of what's wrong with the beltway mentality.

  • kbolino||

    It's not just "inside the beltway", at least half the people in Maryland and Northern Virginia believe the area to be the rightful center of the country.

    It amazes sometimes to hear the utter cluelessness of the locals with regard to the nature of this area and the lives of people outside of it.

    Of course, it is perhaps equally amazing that a sizeable portion of the rest of the country seems OK with it.

  • kbolino||

    Hmm, "locals" is probably not the right word for people living in DC's sphere, since many of them came here from other parts of the country specifically to work for the federal government or one of its contractors.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    A nice summary of what's wrong with the beltway mentality.

    "If you're so smart, why aren't you IMPORTANT?"

  • R C Dean||

    "If you're so IMPORTANT, why aren't you smart?"

  • gaoxiaen||

    Deservin's got nothin to do with it.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Ted Cruz: Loose Cannon or Libertarian Reformer?

    Opposing the current administration does not, in and of itself, make you a Libertarian Reformer. Cruz loves have the state come down HARD on people doing things he doesn't like.

  • kbolino||

    Setting the immigration issue aside, do you have an example of how Cruz "loves [to] have the state come down HARD on people doing things he doesn't like"?

  • Stormy Dragon||

    See my comment below.

  • John Galt||

    Brown is the new black.

  • Sevo||

    OT.
    CA gas tax not as bad as predicted, since, uh, well, the price of gas fell:
    "Fears of a 'hidden gas tax’ were vastly overblown"
    http://www.sfgate.com/business.....021148.php

    No, they weren't "overblown"; we're still paying them.

  • Sevo||

    More OT.
    Maybe the feds don't need to confiscate stuff, if they can get it by rigging trials:

    "Was Sierra Pacific deep-pockets victim of government shakedown?"
    [...]
    ..."in 2012, Sierra Pacific agreed to a settlement that entailed paying the feds $47 million and giving Uncle Sam 22,500 acres of forestland.
    [...]
    that Superior Court Judge Leslie C. Nichols tossed the state’s case, citing a lack of solid evidence. Last year, he ruled that the government’s case was “corrupt and tainted. Cal Fire failed to comply with discovery obligations, and its repeated failure was willful.” The judge charged that the state destroyed evidence and “engaged in a systematic campaign of misdirection with the purpose of recovering money from defendants.” Call it: robbery by fiat."

    Add what you won't read in CA lefty rags when she runs for Dumbo's seat:
    "The judge was especially harsh on the office of state Attorney General Kamala Harris. In his 47 years as an attorney and judge, Nichols wrote, he had never seen an instance “in which the conduct of the Attorney General so thoroughly departed from the high standard it represents, and, in every other instance, has exemplified.” "
    http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/.....021188.php

  • The Late P Brooks||

    the government’s case was “corrupt and tainted. Cal Fire failed to comply with discovery obligations, and its repeated failure was willful.” The judge charged that the state destroyed evidence and “engaged in a systematic campaign of misdirection with the purpose of recovering money from defendants.”

    Imagine my surprise.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    The single but very large exception: immigration. Favoring a bigger wall along the Rio Grande and more Border Patrol agents to walk it, Cruz is among the most unrelenting immigration hawks in Congress.

    Oh there's far more than a single exception. He also wants the government to ban birth control (he's in the birth control are abortificants crowd). He wants Russia style laws banning public expression of homosexuality. He's as gung ho about the war on drugs as he is about the war on immigrants.

    Cruz is not a libertarian. He's a socon that happens to want to cut spending.

  • kbolino||

    Not a single one of those things is an accurate summation of Cruz's stated position on those issues. Do you have any evidence he has tried to pass a law to such effects?

  • UCrawford||

    Ted Cruz criticizing the DOJ for not cracking down on legalized pot in Washington and Colorado isn't proof that he's against legalization?

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/ja.....jected-it/

  • kbolino||

    He was very cagey about it, and so I give him no credit for being against the war on drugs, but his position was "the President should enforce the laws that the Congress has passed".

    This is of course a bizarre situation to begin with, since the President has pardon power. Instructing the DOJ to not enforce the law is still a dereliction of duty even if the President would otherwise pardon the individuals. Moreover, I believe the President could issue a blanket pardon, but to my knowledge he did not and does not intend to do so.

  • UCrawford||

    Even though the Constitution doesn't grant the federal government the authority to override drug policies of the states?

    If you watch Cruz, you'll note that he picks and chooses when he wants to follow the Constitution or support federalism. He's just fine with ignoring those things when it supports things that he wants.

  • kbolino||

    The Constitution doesn't grant the federal government most of the powers it exercises. It also doesn't grant to the executive the authority to disregard the law. I see two option as constitutionally legitimate here, either take the Congress to court, or else issue pardons to nullify the law.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    If a guy is on record saying that birth control are abortificants and also on record that he wants to ban all abortion, does the lack of a bill to that effect mean that he didn't really believe all that or just that he doesn't think he can get away with such a bill yet?

  • kbolino||

    Now you are shifting the goalposts from what you said originally. Cruz has said some forms of birth control are abortifacients. Yes, he is opposed to abortion, but that is again not what you originally said.

    From a national perspective, Cruz can't ban abortion (or contraceptives, even the ones he considers abortifacients) because the Supreme Court has held that both contraception and abortion are rights.

    The rest of your points similarly do not hold up under scrutiny. I do think Cruz is at best weakly libertarian and probably just a "better than average" Republican, but you have failed to make the case that he is some kind of uber-statist control-freak.

  • FUQ||

    This is because Stormy is a concern troll. He is not a libertarian. Neither is Cruz but thats not the issue

  • UCrawford||

    Agreed. There are a few things on which he and libertarians are in agreement, but for him the social issues (where there isn't much agreeement) seem to be what he wants to pursue.

    Then, of course, there's the question of what kind of leader he'd br in terms of diplomacy and coalition-building. He doesn't seem to be very good at either...in fact aside from a few speeches, I'm hard-pressed to identify anything he's done in the legislature that's worthy of note.

  • wareagle||

    the social issues have been such wins for the GOP, said no one ever.

    On the other hand, why is it always the right that has to "moderate" its stance on some social issue or other?

  • UCrawford||

    They don't...unless they want to win a national level race.

    Most undecided/independent voters seem willing to listen to conservatives on economic issues. They don't seem all that keen on hearing about how those conservatives think God would feel about certain laws.

    The so-cons love to cite Reagan as an example of how effectively a so-con can lead...Reagan generally didn't use God as a rationale for policy and didn't shove his religion down everyone's throat. He didn't hide his beliefs, but he wasn't confrontational about them either. Simply put, Reagan didn't have much to do with contemporary so-cons because Reagan wasn't an asshole.

  • MSimon||

    He and Meese planned to gut the 4th Amendment to accomplish severe hippie punching. With the help of the Supremes they got the job done.

  • ||

    I am friends with someone who has known Ted Cruz, socially and professionally, for 15 years and you are a liar.

    Cruz is more of a "close your door and don't force it on others" kind of guy on many social issues of the day.

    He isn't a Libertarian in the purity test definition, but he is nowhere near a SoCon enforcer as you try to portray.

  • PapayaSF||

    Thank you.

  • ||

    I thought a foreign born person can't be President. Isn't Cruz born in Canada?

    Can anyone clear this up once and for all?

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    No, but politifact has a crack at it:

    "So is he eligible? The vast majority of legal thought and arguments indicate he is.

    "Is there the tiniest sliver of uncertainty? Yes, there’s that, too."

    http://www.politifact.com/trut.....president/

  • IceTrey||

    Since no law or federal case defines the term Politfact is espousing nothing more than opinion.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    His mother was a US citizen, so according to the law he is a natural born US citizen regardless of where they actual birth ocurred.

    Anything that says otherwise is leftover Obama birtherism making up bullshit extra conditions that don't actually exist.

  • kbolino||

    While it most likely won't be an issue, the precise meaning of the phrase "natural born" in the Constitution is not clear. No doubt a person born to US citizens on US soil is a "natural born" citizen but beyond that there is room for debate.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Which is why there are laws passed defining what exactly it means. There isn't room for debate, some people just want to pretend there is so they can pretend Obama isn't actually the president.

  • wareagle||

    and the law covers Obama - his mother was a US citizen. His place of birth was therefore immaterial.

  • IceTrey||

    Ann Dunham was too young to pass on her citizenship. Obama is only a citizen because of the 14th amendment(some question this too). This means he was naturalized at birth and is not a natural born Citizen.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    BIRTHERS GO HOME.

  • kbolino||

    Ann Dunham was too young to pass on her citizenship.

    What?

  • IceTrey||

    You had to live in the US for 5 years after your 14th birthday to pass it on. She was only 18 when she had Obama.

  • kbolino||

    I see. I did not realize that was part of the law. It amazes me that the law did not specify some sort of exemption for people too young to possibly meet the conditions, but there it is.

  • IceTrey||

    Why would they put in an exemption for young people when the whole purpose was to exclude young people?

  • kbolino||

    Why would they put in an exemption for young people when the whole purpose was to exclude young people?

    I assumed a different intent.

  • R C Dean||

    and the law covers Obama - his mother was a US citizen. His place of birth was therefore immaterial.

    I seem to recall its not that simple, under the law that was on the books at the time. I honestly can't remember where I came down on this narrow legal issue.

    But, anyhoo, its academic now.

  • IceTrey||

    It's not academic now. There might be three guys running who have questionable eligibility.

  • IceTrey||

    Please cite the law which defines natural born Citizen. Caution, it has to actually contain the words "natural born".

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Naturalization Act of 1790

    And the children of citizens of the United States, that may be born beyond the sea, or out of the limits of the Untied States, shall be considered as Natural Born Citizens.
  • IceTrey||

    Yeah, that was invalidated by the Naturalization Act of 1795 and all subsequent naturalization laws.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    BIRTHERS GO HOME.

  • IceTrey||

    So you can't cite a current law defining natural born Citizen. BTW 1790 doesn't even define it either it just said "as IF natural born".

  • R C Dean||

    Not to be too persnickety, but that reference is to the children of "citizens" of the US.

    Could be read to mean both parents had to be citizens.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    While it most likely won't be an issue, the precise meaning of the phrase "natural born" in the Constitution is not clear.

    Perhaps it means exactly what it says...You were born a citizen of the US? Which anyone born to a US citizen parent is.

    Born a citizen as opposed to becoming one after birth.

  • IceTrey||

    No. You can be naturalized at birth which is what Cruz, Obama and Rubio were. Think about it the government could pass a law granting US citizenship to every child born anywhere in the world if they wanted to. Do you really think that's what the Framers had in mind?

  • kbolino||

    The only thing that "the Framers had in mind" was to keep out British loyalists. Beyond that, it is not at all clear what their intent was.

  • IceTrey||

    Their intent was to ensure that only someone who was solely, wholly and only a US citizen could become the CIC and command the military.

  • kbolino||

    Then perhaps they should have written that down somewhere. They might have also bothered to define the term "citizen" while they were at it, too. That the CIC should be loyal to the country whose armed forces he commands is likely among the Founders' intent, but the exact translation of that intent unto the meaning of "natural born citizen" is not clear.

  • IceTrey||

    John Jay wrote in a letter to George Washington dated 25 Jul 1787:

    "Permit me to hint, whether it would be wise and seasonable to provide a strong check to the admission of Foreigners into the administration of our national Government; and to declare expressly that the Commander in Chief of the American army shall not be given to nor devolve on, any but a natural born Citizen. "

    They didn't write it down because everyone knew whatever it meant at the time.

  • kbolino||

    They didn't write it down because everyone knew whatever it meant at the time.

    Which does fuck-all good for we who are several generations removed from them.

  • IceTrey||

    Too true.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    So you're claiming the child born in the back of a taxicab in Germany to military parent, can't be president?

    The lengths some people will go...

  • IceTrey||

    Ah, being born to active duty military (both parents citizens)is another question which must be resolved. Vattel says that they would be but as of now it has to go before a federal court to decide.

  • gaoxiaen||

    People who came into this world by C-section need not apply.

  • sasob||

    No asshole babies either.

  • kbolino||

    I don't have a problem with that definition, but the qualifier "natural" seems to imply a stricter meaning than that.

  • grrizzly||

    Stormy, I know it's more pleasant and socially acceptable to shout BIRTHERS but it's also possible to consult relevant laws.

    http://travel.state.gov/conten.....broad.html

    Birth Abroad to One Citizen and One Alien Parent in Wedlock
    A child born abroad to one U.S. citizen parent and one alien parent acquires U.S. citizenship at birth under Section 301(g) of the INA provided the U.S. citizen parent was physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for the time period required by the law applicable at the time of the child's birth. (For birth on or after November 14, 1986, a period of five years physical presence, two after the age of fourteen, is required. For birth between December 24, 1952 and November 13, 1986, a period of ten years, five after the age of fourteen, is required for physical presence in the United States or one of its outlying possessions to transmit U.S. citizenship to the child.)
  • grrizzly||

    Obama's mother was only 18 when he was born, she could not possibly be physically present in the US for five years after she turned 14. Had Barack been born outside of the US, he would not have been a US citizen at birth. But he was born in Hawaii, so of course he's a US citizen. Cruz's mother finished college a decade before Cruz was born, therefore she could meet the residency test and could transfer the US citizenship to her child born abroad.

  • IceTrey||

    Do you see the words "natural born"in there anywhere?

  • grrizzly||

    I'm not arguing that being a US citizen at birth is sufficient to be a natural born US citizen. I don't find this question interesting. I'm arguing that being a US citizen at birth is necessary to be eligible to become US President, since the only other way to become a US citizen is through naturalization. This is a simple question that doesn't require arguing about Scottish law and the intentions of the framers.

  • IceTrey||

    That's a weird way to make that argument.

  • kbolino||

    According to Wikipedia, he was a citizen of the US at birth because his mother was a US citizen herself. He has renounced his Canadian citizenship as well.

  • IceTrey||

    Citizen at birth does not necessarily mean natural born Citizen. People like Cruz, Obama and Rubio were naturalized at birth.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Again, this is one of those bullshit "facts" that birthers completely made up.

  • IceTrey||

    If a person is not born in the country to citizen parents and is a citizen at birth the only way to achieve that is through naturalization.

  • kbolino||

    Well, it's ultimately up to the courts to sort out.

  • Duddio||

    Yes, citizen at birth DOES mean natural-born. That's the very definition of natural-born.

    Unless you contend that he was born by C-section, then OF COURSE he wouldn't be eligible.... ;)

  • IceTrey||

    Please cite the law or federal case which says that.

  • IceTrey||

    And it's not Wong Kim Ark so don't even bring it up (in the decision they only call him a citizen). SPECIFICALLY concerning the definition of natural born Citizen.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Cruz was born in Canada do an American citizen mother, whom I assume filed a "Consular Report of Birth Abroad" for Baby Ted. Thusly, according to the Naturalization Act of 1790 Cruz is a natural-born citizen.

  • IceTrey||

    Uh, the Nat. Act of 1790 is no longer valid.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Sure it is. It was never repealed and no subsequent law has changed the definition of Natural Born.

  • IceTrey||

    It wasn't repealed it was superseded by subsequent legislation. Besides 1790 doesn't even define the term.

  • wareagle||

    also, McCain was born in Panama where his father was serving in the military.

  • IceTrey||

    There is literally no definition of natural born Citizen. There is no law or federal case which defines the phrase. Anything anyone says about it is merely opinion. It's unbelievable that a qualification for the most powerful office on the planet has no definition.

    I follow the SC in the Minor case which said an nbC is someone born in a country to citizen parents. So Cruz would not be eligible. Neither are Obama, Rubio and Jindal.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    BIRTHERS GO HOME.

  • IceTrey||

    This IS home

  • Duddio||

    Thank you, they need to sit down and shut up. No one buys their argument, from the courts to the voters.

  • IceTrey||

    No federal court has ever heard a case specifically concerning the definition of natural born Citizen. Please cite one.

  • Sevo||

    IceTrey|1.17.15 @ 9:34PM|#
    "No federal court has ever heard a case specifically concerning the definition of natural born Citizen. Please cite one."

    No federal court has ever heard a case concerning the citizenship of budgies, either. Wonder why?

  • IceTrey||

    Budgies aren't human?

  • ||

    The barre has been set pretty low by recent precedence.

  • Robert||

    It's unfair & inaccurate to characterize same sex marriage as "the emerging American consensus for gay equality in the eyes of the law". What other issues of "gay equality" are on the table?

  • Cytotoxic||

    I think Cruz is a huge step up on many issues especially energy and education but he keeps saying stupid things. On foreign policy he is inferior to Rand he wants America to 'help' Ukraine. Open to manipulation by the neocons, but they are too stupid to try that I think. Cruz also supports some CIA-related bill that would more or less grant the president assassination powers. Cruz's stance on immigration is stupid but it should be noted that he wants to massively increase the number of HB1 visas allocated each year. I wonder if he supports the I-Squared bill? I wonder if I should end this kind of sentence with a question mark?

  • IceTrey||

    America signed the Budapest Memorandum which stated that in exchange for Ukraine giving up its nuclear weapons the US would guarantee their sovereignty. So we really should be helping them.

  • Cytotoxic||

    That was not ratified by Congress was it? In any event, it shouldn't be up to Americans to pay for the mistakes of their and the Ukrainian governments. They were fools for trusting the USG.

  • IceTrey||

    With our history of breaking promises, most definitely.

  • kbolino||

    Fuck off, nutjob.

  • IceTrey||

    The alternative to Obamacare is to not have the government involved in the health industry period.

  • IceTrey||

    How do we do that? I'm no expert on parliamentary procedure, but I assume you repeal every health care law in the federal register. Done!

  • IceTrey||

    In a free market health care and insurance are cheap and plentiful. There wouldn't be any need for Medicare or subsidies. You know this is Reason not Salon right?

  • IceTrey||

    The plan is, there is no plan. The government would do nothing. There won't be a Medicare. Nothing will replace it. I don't understand why you don't understand that.

  • IceTrey||

    The proper function of government is to defend indivdual negative liberty, not dictate how businesses are run.

  • IceTrey||

    You ARE a nut job.

  • Cytotoxic||

    PAY ATTENTION TO ME AND MY CONVOLUTED ANGST /Michael Huh?

  • Sevo||

    Michael Hihn|1.17.15 @ 2:56PM|#
    "A VERY loose cannon."

    No, Michael, you're worse than that. You're a fucking ignoramus who has yet to realize how stupid you are.
    Please, go stick your head in a toilet and drown. The world will thank you.

  • Sevo||

    Michael Hihn|1.18.15 @ 12:26AM|#
    "Typical hissy fit language from Sevo.
    (laughing)
    Name an issue, Slick."

    (laughing) WIH makes you think a single thing you post is worth more than derision?
    Fuck off, Michael Hihn (laughing).

  • Duddio||

    "close-to-literal war on immigrants?"

    Why is there no distinction between illegal and legal immigration? His father legally immigrated to the US, it is not contradictory or hypocritical for him to point out that illegal immigration is harmful and unacceptable. Is that line of reasoning just not accepted at Reason magazine?

  • MSimon||

    Well no. Marijuana is legal for some purposes in some places. Both at the State and Federal level.

    We have laws you know.

  • Nick W B||

    Ted Cruz is not going to run for president.
    He does have quite a bit in common with our current president, sure. For instance they are both sons of immigrants who were born outside of the continental United States. Fortunately for Mr. Obama, Hawaii is still part of the US so he was eligible to become president, birther's conspiracy theories be damned. Unfortunately for Mr. Cruz, Canada is not currently part of the US.
    So unless either a constitutional amendment allowing people not born in the US is quickly passed or the Obama administration, in its waning hours goes to war with and defeats Canada or otherwise annexes Calgary, Ted Cruz will be ineligible to run.

  • PapayaSF||

    No, as stated above, people born of citizens are citizens, wherever that happens, with a few exceptions that don't apply to Cruz. He's eligible.

  • IceTrey||

    If they aren't born in the country to citizen parents they are naturalized at birth.

  • IceTrey||

    I wish Salon would shift to Disqus.

  • IceTrey||

    A naturalized is someone who is made as if natural. That can be done by immigration or by law at birth.

    Please cite the law that says that.

  • IceTrey||

    No. There are those born in the country to citizen parents who are natural born and everyone else who is naturalized. You can be naturalized at birth or by immigration. Just because the 14th is about citizenship doesn't mean there aren't other applicable laws. Look how you totally ignored those born overseas to citizen parents.

  • IceTrey||

    Obama Sr. was NEVER an immigrant, all he ever had a was a student visa. You don't know that but you know the definition of natural born Citizen? The fact is there is NO definition. There is literally no legally relevant definition for a qualification for the most powerful office on the planet. It's crazy.

  • IceTrey||

    So what is you are ignorant of that basic fact. You are also ignorant of the fact that US bases, embassies and consulates are absolutely NOT US territory. You are also ignorant of the fact that a legally relevant definition of natural born Citizen doesn't exist so whatever anyone says, including me, is completely opinion.

  • IceTrey||

    LOL!
    You linked to Wikipedia you moron.

    "While diplomatic spaces remain the TERRITORY OF THE HOST STATE.."
    You're not just stupid you're blind.

    The PCZ was never US territory we simply had a 99 year lease to control it.

    If you are elected you will prove the adage that the people get what they deserve.

  • FUQ||

    This is the definition of a retard fight.

    / eats more popcorn

  • eyeroller||

    Ted Cruz: Loose Cannon or Libertarian Reformer?

    I don't know whether he's a loose cannon, but he's obviously not a libertarian.

  • sasob||

    No, but anyone as despised by McCaine, the Bushes, and the rest of the GOP leadership establishment as he is can't all that bad.

  • ||

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  • sandyfsterner||

    Ella . even though Paula `s artlclee is terrific... I just purchased Mazda MX-5 after having made $6168 thiss month and-also, ten-grand this past month . this is certainly the best-job Ive ever had . I started this four months/ago and practically straight away began to bring in over $86... per-hour . read .........
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  • jenniferd.donnelly||

    $89 an hour! Seriously I don't know why more people haven't tried this, I work two shifts, 2 hours in the day and 2 in the evening…And i get surly a chek of $1260......0 whats awesome is Im working from home so I get more time with my kids.
    Here is what i did
    ✒✒✒✒✒✒ www.paygazette.com

  • Colonel Nogov||

    Is Loose Cannon or Libertarian reformer my only options? How about typical politician? Just tell the people what they want to hear to get elected.

  • ace_m82||

    I think the author missed one small possibility. Cruz may actually believe in what he's doing.

    For a typical politician, that's laughable. But Cruz in not typical. He may be one of those principled Tea Party people you hear about.

    It's almost like being a proto-libertarian. Just because some of his beliefs are logically inconsistent doesn't mean he doesn't believe them.

    And no, I'm not really a fan. I do appreciate that he's ticking off the GOP establishment though.

  • Jason Vick||

    Ted Cruz announced to The Washington Post the weekend before the November election that his brief flirtation with civilized behavior was nearing its end.

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