Patterico's Pontifications


Ted Cruz on Obama’s Imperial Presidency

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:42 am

This op-ed is gold from start to finish. Three cheers to Texas for electing this guy.

Of all the troubling aspects of the Obama presidency, none is more dangerous than the president’s persistent pattern of lawlessness, his willingness to disregard the written law and instead enforce his own policies via executive fiat. On Monday, Mr. Obama acted unilaterally to raise the minimum wage paid by federal contracts, the first of many executive actions the White House promised would be a theme of his State of the Union address Tuesday night.

The president’s taste for unilateral action to circumvent Congress should concern every citizen, regardless of party or ideology. The great 18th-century political philosopher Montesquieu observed: “There can be no liberty where the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person, or body of magistrates.” America’s Founding Fathers took this warning to heart, and we should too.

Screen Shot 2014-01-29 at 7.39.25 AM
Above: King Obama

Cruz goes on to detail how Obama has unilaterally decided to “cease enforcing the laws: in areas like immigration, “federal welfare law, drug laws and the federal Defense of Marriage Act.” But Cruz saves his biggest guns for Obama’s rewriting of clear statutory directives in ObamaCare: delaying the employer mandate; changing who the law applies to; twisting the law’s language to exempt Congressional staffers from ObamaCare; and forcing companies to create plans the laws declare illegal.

In the more than two centuries of our nation’s history, there is simply no precedent for the White House wantonly ignoring federal law and asking private companies to do the same. As my colleague Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa asked, “This was the law. How can they change the law?”

Similarly, 11 state attorneys general recently wrote a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius saying that the continuing changes to ObamaCare are “flatly illegal under federal constitutional and statutory law.” The attorneys general correctly observed that “the only way to fix this problem-ridden law is to enact changes lawfully: through Congressional action.”

The problem is that many citizens, not being steeped in constitutional history or in the Supreme Court’s views on these matters, simply assume that if Obama’s actions are illegal, a court will come along and say so. Under the standing rules developed by the courts, however, this is unlikely to happen. The cure for these power grabs lies in the separation of powers: Congress can withhold money from a rogue executive — or, in extreme cases, impeach him.

As I noted yesterday, Congress cannot order around people with guns. Only the executive can do that. So if the executive accomplishes power grabs, then we’re headed that much closer to being ruled by a king: a guy who gets to make the rules by himself . . . and enforce them.

I don’t want a King Obama. And as Cruz notes, it should not be a partisan issue. If Ted Cruz were elected president, Democrats probably would not want a King Cruz. So honest Democrats should stand up with me and Ted Cruz and say “no more” to these power grabs.

25 Responses to “Ted Cruz on Obama’s Imperial Presidency”

  1. Aside from the fact that no Democratic Senate will vote to convict a Democratic president, Obama has two things working in his favor:

    1) impeaching the first black president of the United States would be at best political suicide for anyone voting for it and at worst a precursor to a civil war, and
    2) it’s become a standard Democratic tactic to accuse the other side of doing something dastardly that it wasn’t really doing, and then doing he exact same thing, knowing that legitimate protests will be characterized as just political whining.

    Diffus (48ae73)

  2. Cruz in a debate would be conservative Gold.

    mg (31009b)

  3. It’s very simple. When you are upset with ANY politician, ask yourself if you would feel differently if the letter was changed. I know far, far too many alphabetists.

    Simon Jester (c8876d)

  4. Roll back the executive orders when the chance presents itself.

    LTMG (9a1240)

  5. “There can be no liberty where the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person, or body of magistrates.”

    Add in the fact that, by dint of his appointee to be A.G., he has a chunk of that part of the government under his control as well.

    Blacque Jacques Shellacque (bff3f0)

  6. I don’t mean to damn her with faint praise, but as wonderful as McMorris Rodgers gave evidence of being, she did not connect with me.

    The Emperor gave notice that he will circumvent limitations on his Excellency. The only appropriate response is usurpation.

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)

  7. Sen. Cruz’ essay is concise and deliberately understated, but all the more powerful for that.

    His is a reliable and clear voice for conservatives in and outside of Texas.

    Beldar (8ff56a)

  8. what we need to do is change the name of the office to be “The First Employee”, instead of “President”…

    this might serve as a reminder to those sitting in the chair that they’re subordinate to us, and to the Constitution.

    of course, i doubt that would sink in with the arrogant, ignorant buffoon currently occupying said position.

    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  9. Bravo, but this gives me pause:

    For all those who are silent now: What would they think of a Republican president who announced that he was going to ignore the law, or unilaterally change the law? Imagine a future president setting aside environmental laws, or tax laws, or labor laws, or tort laws with which he or she disagreed.

    That would be wrong—and it is the Obama precedent that is opening the door for future lawlessness.

    In principle, of course he’s right. But I want the next Republican president to take full advantage of 0bama’s precedent, and do all these things. And I’m afraid someone like Cruz would be too principled to do so. So the precedent set instead would be the ratchet; when Ds have the ball they get not only to pass bad laws but also to ignore the good laws that are on the books, and when Rs have the ball they must enforce the bad laws the Ds made on their turn. This cannot be allowed, and a president who would play by those rules is useless.

    Milhouse (b95258)

  10. With featured enablers like Speaker John Boehner offering only token opposition to Obama’s triumphal extra-constitutional dictates and in the process revealing himself and his party too timid to use the power-of-the-purse to resist further Executive Branch invasions of previously exclusive Congressional prerogatives, we are forced to confront an ominous reality: we ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

    ropelight (ffd013)

  11. the pervert Roberts courts is not in the “safeguarding liberties” business in my experience

    happyfeet (c60db2)

  12. I don’t want a King Obama.

    Too late. OTOH, he isn’t really king. Duce would be a better title.

    ErisGuy (76f8a7)

  13. Douche.

    nk (dbc370)

  14. Ill Dunce would be accurate as well

    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  15. 6. Laura’s take:

    I’m a little nonplussed as to what can possibly command and hold these Republican’s attention.

    Does a generic advantage going into the Nov. elections of 1 freaking point really have them this overconfident?

    Like walking and chewing gum this keeping my seat and 1/2 of 1/3 of Federal power. Where’s the camera?

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)

  16. The only advantage here is that the next president can rescind any executive orders of previous presidents.

    Meanwhile, the Republic continues to disintegrate.

    navyvet (02dd07)

  17. The new SQUIRREL for this topic is to count raw numbers of EO’s, as opposed to addressing the substantive issues with the nature of the EO’s.

    JD (f91c21)

  18. Grover Cleveland’s response to Obama’s SOTU:

    “When we consider that the theory of our institutions guarantees to every citizen
    the full enjoyment of all the fruits of his industry and enterprise, with only such
    deduction as may be his share toward the careful and economical maintenance
    of the government which protects him, it is plain that the exaction of more than
    this is indefensible extortion and a culpable betrayal of American fairness and
    justice … The public Treasury, which should only exist as a conduit conveying
    the people’s tribute to its legitimate objects of expenditure, becomes a hoarding
    place for money needlessly withdrawn from trade and the people’s use, thus
    crippling our national energies, suspending our country’s development,
    preventing investment in productive enterprise, threatening financial disturbance,
    and inviting schemes of public plunder.”

    Cleveland’s third annual message to Congress (i.e., SOTU), December 6, 1887


    … “inviting schemes of public plunder”. Wow.

    Smock Puppet, Gadfly, Racist-Sexist Thug, and Bon Vivant All In One Package (225d0d)

  19. I think Obama is awesome!!!!

    You know he is the first African American President of the United States of America, right????

    He is so coool!!!!

    Not like those white guys.

    highpockets (3947ce)

  20. Ted Cruz on the immigration bill by the House Republicans.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  21. The new SQUIRREL for this topic is to count raw numbers of EO’s, as opposed to addressing the substantive issues with the nature of the EO’s.

    Yes, as if anyone is against EOs per se. Nobody objects to the president issuing orders to his employees; the objection is to what he’s ordering them to do. Orders telling them to obey the law are wonderful; orders telling them to break or ignore the law are not.

    We see the same ju jitsu when complaints about judicial activism, i.e. legislating from the bench, are countered by considering every struck-down law, no matter how blatantly unconstitutional, to be an example of such activism. That’s how Scalia and Thomas become “activists”.

    We actually fell for the same trick when we campaigned against porkbarrel spending, and the other side managed to turn it into a debate about earmarked expenditures, as if all such measures were by definition pork and undesirable. In other words, we were snookered into adopting the goo-goo position that all decisions on government expenditure should be made by career bureaucrats, “in the public interest”.

    Milhouse (b95258)

  22. 20. I’m past telling them how they could coerce my vote. I just want them dead.

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)

  23. Another example is the argument one often hears from the usual suspects that any money the federal government spends in a state a “return” on the federal taxes paid by residents of that state. I.e. that in principle the feds ought to spend money in each state exactly in proportion to how much of its income came from that state. Which is ridiculous even before you note that the vendors who sell things to the feds are not the same people who paid the taxes.

    Milhouse (b95258)

  24. Comment by Milhouse (b95258) — 1/30/2014 @ 9:30 pm

    … I.e. that in principle the feds ought to spend money in each state exactly in proportion to how much of its income came from that state. Which is ridiculous…

    It was Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan who came up with that idea.

    It’s even more ridiculous when you note that a part of the reason “New York” paid so much in taxes is that many corporate headquarters were here.

    Still, New Yor is or was kind of richer, and at one time at least, a lot of federal spending went either for projects in areas that were poorer, or poorer people who tended to constitute a higher percentage of the population in other states.

    Moynihan was tryin to argue that more federal money ought to be spent for “New York” causes, or that he was right in asking for it. Subsidizing mass transit, a new train station…

    Sammy Finkelman (8b8667)

  25. Good to see that Mr. Cruz had quite a few donors in his first term as a senator. This man is a leader of men. Let us give him a chance.

    mg (31009b)

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