Ted Cruz has distinguished himself as the GOP’s answer to conspiracy theory superstars like Alex Jones and Glenn Beck. His wild imagination and fantastical declarations stretch the boundaries of absurdity. Consequently, it is fitting that his latest attack on President Obama contains a hidden warning about future Republican presidents. It’s a concession to the unprincipled nature of the conservative movement and particularly the Tea Party faction.
Cruz spoke at a policy orientation conference for the Texas legislature held by the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF). The TPPF has a conservative pedigree that includes the State Policy Network, the American Legislative Exchange Council, and numerous Koch brothers affiliated entities. Their agenda focuses on cutting government programs and taxes (i.e.Social Security, education, etc.), opposing health care reform, climate change denial, and generally advancing the interests of big business and energy enterprises.
In his keynote address, Cruz attacked Obama as “dangerous and terrifying” due to what Cruz alleged was “lawlessness on a breathtaking scale.” The Statesman reported Cruz as saying that…
“…from giving relief from deportation to some young unauthorized immigrants to enforcement of drug laws to waiving rules for Obamacare, the president has acted by executive fiat in defiance of the rule of law.”
Of course, there has been no legal finding that the President has violated any law with respect to the issues Cruz enumerated, or any other issue. These are nothing more than the typical ravings of a Tea Party extremist who wants very badly to denigrate a president he despises.
However, in the course of his rhetorical assault, Cruz reveals something about his own party’s unethical aspirations when he says…
“My message to all the Democrats and all the liberals is, what do you think about the next president, maybe a Republican, having the power Barack Obama has as a president who is not bound by the law?”
Setting aside for the moment that, as president, Obama has not exercised any executive authority not exercised by his predecessors, the upshot of Cruz’s warning is that, whatever you think of the legality of Obama’s actions, you cannot depend on Republicans to behave any differently. Cruz is confessing that the GOP will resort to lawlessness once they obtain power. That’s not a particularly compelling campaign platform. Just imagine the bumper sticker: Vote Republican if You Like Criminal Tyranny!
The bottom line is that Cruz doesn’t have any evidence, other than his conspiratorial hallucinations, that Obama has broken any laws, but if he has, Republicans will follow suit if given the opportunity. It’s similar to the GOP’s response to Sen. Harry Reid modifying filibuster rules in the senate. They claimed that it was an unprecedented assault on democracy – and that they do the very same thing if they assumed control of the chamber. So much for integrity.
In the end, America is better off with leaders who aspire to uphold the law and the Constitution, even if they sometimes fall short of their goals. At least they have ethical goals and they will be held to a standard of honor that can be measured. That’s far better than the admitted lawlessness that Cruz is proposing because, once you have declared your intention to ignore the law, as Cruz has done, you can dismiss those who criticize you for it. After all, you told them what to expect if they vote for you.