Tags: Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz: Obama’s 20 Unanimous Supreme Court Losses Outpace Bush and Clinton


President Obama has seen 20 unanimous defeats before the Supreme Court during the five and a half years of his presidency, a pace that outstrips former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, according to a review of his record since 2009 by Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas).

“President Obama’s unanimous Supreme Court loss rate, for the five and half years of his presidency, is nearly double that of President Bush and is 25 percent greater than President Clinton,” Cruz notes in a survey of how Obama’s lawyers performed before the high court. Bush lost 15 cases unanimously, while Clinton lost 23 — but those defeats came over an eight-year period. When Cruz released his first report on the topic in April of 2013, he pointed out that Obama had lost nine cases unanimously since January of 2012. This latest installment takes account of the four most recent unanimous rulings against Obama, and the seven handed down by the court before 2012.

The defeats include cases such: as Judalang v. Holder, when the court faulted the Obama team for making an “arbitrary and capricious” attempt to rewrite the rules governing who is eligible for relief from deportation; Henderson ex rel. Henderson v. Shinseki​, in which Obama’s lawyers argued wrongly “that the Department of Veterans Affairs can wholly ignore a veteran’s appeal of a VA regional office’s benefits ruling when the appeal was not filed within the 120-day deadline”; and Bond v. United States, in which the “DOJ argued that an international treaty gave Congress the power to create federal criminal law for wholly local conduct.”

“This tally does not capture all of the Obama Administration’s losing arguments, as it does not include unanimous rejections for more governmental power made in the Obama Administration’s friend-of-the-court (amicus) briefs supporting non-federal parties, which would put the Obama Administration’s losses much higher,” Cruz wrote.

The Texas freshman detailed the significance of Obama’s more recent defeats in his April 2013 report.

“If the Department of Justice had won these cases, the federal government would be able to electronically track all of our movements, fine us without a fair hearing, dictate who churches choose as ministers, displace state laws based on the president’s whims, bring debilitating lawsuits against individuals based on events that occurred years ago, and destroy a person’s private property without just compensation,” Cruz explained.

“When President Obama’s own Supreme Court nominees join their colleagues in unanimously rejecting the administration’s call for broader federal power nine times in 18 months, the inescapable conclusion is that the Obama administration’s view of federal power knows virtually no bounds,” he concluded.

You can see the whole Cruz series here.

Tags: Ted Cruz , Barack Obama , Supreme Court

Ted Cruz: Eric Holder Should Appoint IRS Special Prosecutor or Be Impeached


Attorney General Eric Holder should be impeached if he refuses to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the targeting of tea-party groups by the IRS, according to Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas).

With the IRS claiming to have lost two years of former official Lois Lerner’s e-mails, Cruz is headed to the floor to introduce a resolution calling for the special prosecutor.

“He’s going to say, if Attorney General Holder does not appoint a special prosecutor, he should be impeached,” a Cruz aide told National Review Online. “Eric Holder has been at the center of every big scandal in this administration . . . If he doesn’t act on this issue, it’s perfectly appropriate for him to be impeached.”

Cruz believes that Holder’s failure to appoint a special prosecutor would rise to the level of “high crimes and misdemeanors,” the constitutional standard for impeachment.

Senate Democrats, of course, are very likely to block the resolution. House minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) articulated the party line last week when she was asked if she was suspicious of the hard-drive crash that the IRS says eradicated Lerner’s e-mails.

“What it convinces me [of] is that they need a new technology system at the IRS,” Pelosi told reporters. “They need to upgrade their technology, get it right, so that there’s no suspicion about what agenda anyone may have on that.”

Cruz suggested that Holder should be impeached in April, but the news that Lerner suggested that the IRS examine a speaking invitation for Senator Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) gave rise to the latest proposal.

Tags: Eric Holder , Ted Cruz , IRS Scandal

Ted Cruz Compares Republican Senator In Mississippi to Eric Cantor


House majority leader Eric Cantor’s defeat in the Virginia Republican primary inspired Senator Ted Cruz to tout the tea-party challenger to Senator Thad Cochran (R., Miss.), although Cruz still officially followed the unwritten rule about refusing to endorse challengers to incumbent senators of his own party.

“You look at the results of last night. Dave Brat was outspent 50 to 1, and yet the people woke up and said we’re tired of business as usual in Washington,” Cruz told Glenn Beck, who has been boosting state senator Chris McDaniel’s challenge to Cochran, during a Wednesday-morning radio interview. ”You look at the results in Mississippi, where the fourth longest-serving member of the Senate has suddenly found himself in a runoff because Chris McDaniel is running a strong grassroots campaign. How does Washington respond? By heaping lies and personal attacks, and trying to attack any candidate who takes on the Washington status quo.”

That wasn’t a slip of the tongue, either. ”You asked what we can do,” Cruz continued, in what Mississippi voters might regard as a not-so-subtle hint. “The biggest thing we can do is rise up and demand that our elected officials in both parties listen to the people, and that we hold every elected official accountable, and I think 2014 is going to be a very strong election year, but I think 2016 is going to be even stronger, because sometimes things have to get really bad to startle people out of their slumber, to wake them up and say it’s now or never. We either stand up now or we will lose the greatest country in the history of the world.”

Senator Mike Lee (R., Utah), an ally of Cruz’s in the Senate, advised McDaniel’s campaign down the stretch of the primary, although his staff said they would have given Cochran the same advice if he had asked for it. “The advice was always consistent that people are looking to vote for someone,” spokesman Brian Phillips told NRO. “In this primary, you’re not going to get over 50 percent by just slamming the other guy and getting people to vote against the other guy; that at some point there is going to be a significant number of independents and undecideds who are going to be looking to vote for someone. And that’s true, I think, in any primary. And we had given the advice that we think the agenda is the thing that people will vote for. And so, if you’re looking to move numbers of undecideds and independents, the agenda shows the way, and so that was the advice that we gave, and that’s the advice we would give to anybody.”

Tags: Ted Cruz , Mike Lee , Thad Cochran , Chris McDaniel , Eric Cantor

Ted Cruz: ‘Virginia Voters Made D.C. Listen’


Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas) hailed House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s startling defeat in the Virginia Republican primary as an example of voters making “D.C. listen loud and clear,” a reference to the theme of his 21-hour speech in favor of defunding Obamacare last October, before adding that he “look[s] forward to working with” nominee Dave Brat in Congress.

“Eric Cantor is a good man, but last night, voters in Virginia made D.C. listen loud and clear,” Cruz said of Cantor’s defeat. ”This election should be a reminder to all in Congress – Republicans and Democrats alike – that the conservative base is alive and well, and the American people will hold us all accountable. Each of us needs to do what we said we would do and tell the truth. Washington needs to listen to the people, stop spending money we don’t have, and stand up and defend the Constitution. I look forward to working with soon-to-be-elected Rep. Brat to help turn our nation around, to pull back from the fiscal and economic cliff we are facing, and to bring back jobs, growth, and freedom in America.”

Time’s Zeke Miller pointed out Tuesday evening that “Cruz and Cantor maintained a contentious relationship” following the shutdown fight. House Republicans, led by Cantor and Speaker John Boehner, only agreed to attempt to use the expiring continuing resolution to fund all of government except for Obamacare at the last minute, after weeks of pressure from Cruz and Senator Mike Lee (R., Utah).

Cruz’s comment about “doing what we said we would do” sounds like an allusion both to the idea that Cantor didn’t take a firm enough position on immigration, to the frustration of primary voters in the last week, and — more indirectly — a justification of his February decision to filibuster a debt limit increase rather than grant unanimous consent to let Democrats take up the bill, only to vote against it, as Republican Senate leaders wanted to do.

Tags: Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz Courts Conservative Journalists


Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas) held an off-the-record meeting with a group of conservative journalists at the Heritage Foundation Monday evening, as the tea-party favorite took yet another step in a process that could lay the groundwork for a 2016 presidential campaign.

“The senator had a gathering with some conservative thought leaders last night,”  spokeswoman Catherine Frazier confirmed to NRO, without getting into detail. “The senator is often meeting with people from various backgrounds to get acquainted and share his priorities and vision for helping turn our country around.”

Cruz’s popularity among tea-party voters spiked after the government shutdown in 2013, which came about as he attempted to force President Obama and Senate Democrats to agree to a spending measure that would fund all of government except for Obamacare, but his image took a hit among conservative journalists who opposed the maneuver. 

“In July, Cruz’s image was mixed among non-Tea Party Republicans (26 percent favorable, 16 percent unfavorable); most (58 percent) had no opinion of the Texas Republican,” the Pew Research Center reported at the time. “Unfavorable opinions of Cruz among non-Tea Party Republicans have risen 15 points since then, while favorable views are unchanged.”

Tags: Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz to Propose Bill Banning Gitmo Transfers Pending Bergdahl Probe


Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas) wants to ban President Obama from making any more transfers of Guantanamo Bay detainees pending a review of the decision to release five Taliban leaders in exchange for captive U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, as a legislative response to the possibility that the Obama team will release a detainee who traveled from Kuwait to Afghanistan to train as a terrorist in 2011.

“I intend next week to file legislation to halt any releases from Guantanamo until we get to the bottom of what happened in Bergdahl and provide some real congressional oversight here because it is really needed,” Cruz told Fox News’ Sean Hannity Wednesday evening“All of us celebrate whenever any soldier comes home, but this should not have been done in a negotiation with terrorists to release the Gitmo Five, five senior Taliban terrorists who the president has admitted this week there’s absolutely a real chance they’ll return to the battlefield and kill more Americans. That undermined our national security and it is very troubling. We need to get to the bottom of why this administration is releasing senior Taliban terrorists,” he had said moments earlier.

Cruz also took aim at National Security Advisor Susan Rice, who declared that Bergdahl ”served with honor and distinction,” a claim undermined by his fellow soldiers’ reports that he deserted his post and sought out the Taliban. “I’ve got to say it makes you wonder [at] — she did this after Benghazi – her willingness to just stand up and read talking pints that, very quickly thereafter, are proven to be nowhere near resembling the truth,” Cruz said.

NR editor Rich Lowry made a similar point in his Politico column Wednesday. “In the matter of Bergdahl, [Rice] appears to have again repeated whatever crude, poorly informed talking points were put in front of her. If it was Rhodes again, he outdid himself this time, getting Rice to say things she would have known were wrong if she merely skimmed the Michael Hastings piece in Rolling Stone a few years ago about Bergdahl’s disappearance,” Lowry suggested. “Bergdahl went from serving with ‘honor and distinction,’ per Susan Rice, to ‘​innocent until proven guilty,’​ per Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Martin Dempsey, in the space of about three days.”

Tags: Bowe Bergdahl , Susan Rice , Ted Cruz

Walker, Cruz Offer Short Video Messages to NRA Convention


Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker addressed this year’s NRA Convention in a short video message — unfortunately, the audio was a little muffled, and it began abruptly with him thanking veterans.

“I’m proud to say in Wisconsin, we’ve enacted legislation on concealed carry and the Castle Doctrine new incentives for hunting fishing trapping.” He mentioned the NRA’s help in his election and recall fight, and noted that he can expect another one. “Because I have a tough election, I’m back home in Wisconsin.”

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz also appeared by video, beginning by telling the assembled NRA members, “Thank you for working to keep your children, your family, and your communities safe. Thank you for your patriotism. Your country needs you.

“Earlier this week, a retired Supreme Court Justice [John Paul Stevens] proposed changing the Second Amendment. He said the right to bear arms should be limited to our militia. But the right to protection shouldn’t be limited to our military. The Second Amendment wasn’t designed to protect government; it was designed to protect individuals. The document means exactly what is says.”


Tags: Scott Walker , Ted Cruz , NRA Convention 2014

Cruz Walks Out on Castro Speech at Memorial Service for Mandela


Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas) walked out of the memorial service for Nelson Mandela when Cuban “president” Raúl Castro began speaking.

“Senator Cruz very much hopes that Castro learns the lessons of Nelson Mandela,” said Sean Rushton, Cruz’s communications director. “For decades, Castro has wrongly imprisoned and tortured countless innocents. Just as Mandela was released after 27 years in prison, Castro should finally release his political prisoners; he should hold free elections, and once and for all set the Cuban people free.”

Earlier in the day, President Obama shook hands with Castro.

Tags: Ted Cruz , Nelson Mandela

The ‘Patriotic Saviors’ Thought They Could Nudge Democrats. They Couldn’t.


Bob Costa:

The agreement would fund the government until January 15, extend the debt ceiling until February 7, and initiate a budget conference for fiscal negotiations later this year. The agreement would also keep sequestration intact.

Republicans could have gotten that deal before October 1, or at any point in the past two weeks.

Kirsten Soltis Anderson applies game theory to the current fight over Obamacare and funding the government, and describes four scenarios. In the second scenario, Democrats surrender and repeal or delay Obamacare; in scenario four, there’s a stalemate and the government is shut down and/or the debt ceiling is not raised.

The House did in fact pass a bill that defunded Obamacare while funding the rest of the government. They played that strategy. The bill went to the Senate and did not survive. We wound up in Scenario Four. Bill after bill, idea after idea, and we always wound up in the same place: Scenario Four.

And as Scenario Four has played out, it has become increasingly clear that it is not playing out as the Republican win that the Defund movement may have hoped for or predicted. I will give the Defund movement the benefit of the doubt, and assume that they honestly did believe that even initially winding up in Scenario Four would ultimately lead to Scenario Two.

I was one of those people and believed from the very beginning that Scenario Four would play out as badly for Republicans as is has. My firm was criticized by supporters of the Defund movement for alleging the very same thing prior to the shutdown.

Now, the game has been played out, we know the result, and we know who was right about the outcomes.

This is one of the reasons that it will be hard for many to follow Jonah’s advice, “Move on, everybody, it just doesn’t matter.” The GOP is going to face similar fights over Obamacare, the budget, spending, and debt in the months and years to come. The strategy the party uses in those fights to come does matter, a lot.

Some portion of Republicans did not support passing a continuing resolution to fund the government that included any funding for Obamacare. I referred to these folks on Twitter as “Defunders,” but I was assured that was pejorative, and urged to use the term “Patriotic Saviors.”

Fine. The “Patriotic Saviors” pursued a goal that absolutely required Democratic votes in the Senate and a presidential signature, or, alternatively, veto-proof majorities.

The “Patriotic Saviors” or anyone who wanted to enact a serious change to Obamacare, be it a delay in the individual mandate or repeal of the medical device tax,  needed five Democratic senators and a presidential signature, or 21 Democratic senators and 58 Democratic members of the House to join all Republicans in the House and Senate to overcome an Obama veto. You can scream and shout about the Washington Establishment, RINOs, “squishes”, or anything else, but in the end, you need a way to get those who are loudly, publicly, and adamantly opposed to your proposal to change their minds and do something they’ve sworn they will never do.

They tried their best. Senator Ted Cruz offered his quasi-filibuster that went on for hours and hours. They tried, and they tried, and they tried to build a wave of pressure from outside Washington to sway those Democratic senators and the president. 

They didn’t get them. It was always a long shot. As the shutdown began, it became clearer by the day that no Democratic senators could be dislodged from their pro-Obamacare positions, and the president wasn’t willing to give an inch on Obamacare, even as the exchange web sites face-planted on the first day and barely improved from that opening belly flop.

The past 15 days have been an exercise in self-inflicted polling wounds, as it was clear that the Republicans would always feel more pressure to A) reopen the government and B) avoid hitting the debt ceiling. The “Patriotic Saviors” insisted that this would end another way, that at some point Obama, Harry Reid, and congressional Democrats would flinch and put a better offer on the table.

They were wrong. I wish they had been right, but they were wrong.

Tags: Government Shutdown , Obamacare , Ted Cruz

What Was Cruz’s Ultimate Strategy in This Fight?


Today the Senate will begin debate on a House-passed stopgap spending bill that includes language to defund Obamacare. As USA Today reports:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is expected to strip that provision from the bill and return to the House later this week a clean stopgap measure to keep the government funded through Nov. 15.

At that point, John Boehner and House Republicans will face a choice: pass the “clean” stopgap bill that includes funding for Obamacare, and avoid a government shutdown, or attempt to win a messaging war with the White House during a government shutdown.

Odds are Obamacare will go into effect October 1.

Ted Cruz’s critics in both parties will argue that he failed, because his approach never overcame two obstacles other Republicans thought were insurmountable: a Senate controlled by Harry Reid and pro-Obamacare Democrats, and President Obama’s steadfast refusal to sign a bill defunding his primary legislative accomplishment. They’ll argue that all 21 hours of speaking were for naught.

But the past weeks have been filled with a loud, familiar argument: Democrats insist Obamacare is good, is working fine, and doesn’t need to be delayed or repealed (beyond the portions the administration decided to unilaterally delay). Republicans loathe Obamacare with a passion, foresee disaster, and did everything legally, politically, constitutionally, and humanly possible to prevent its passage and implementation.

One has to wonder whether Cruz really believed enough grassroots pressure would suddenly change the minds of Senate Democrats and President Obama, or whether his goal was this all along: cementing the public’s perception that Obamacare is entirely a Democrat-run production, and that fixing the problems it creates will require the election of the Republican opposition.

What sort of problems?

Consumers still find health insurance unaffordable, even with the federal subsidies, once you throw in the co-pays and deductibles.

The federally run marketplaces will not be able to electronically transfer Medicaid applications to states when U.S. residents begin signing up for health coverage on Oct. 1.

The House and Senate Disbursement Offices are encouraging members and staff to delay signing up for plans, because the Office of Personnel Management’s final regulations aren’t published yet.

Health care costs are projected to increase next year — both overall and in the rate of increase — even though the point of passing Obamacare was to control costs and “bend the cost curve down.” Out-of-pocket costs are increasing faster than overall spending.

Walgreens, IBM, and Time-Warner, among other companies, are pushing thousands of employees off their company-administered health-insurance plans, telling them to purchase plans on the private exchanges — violating the president’s “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan” pledge.

Millions of Americans are about to run headlong into a gauntlet of headaches . . . and they’ll know who fought tooth and nail to stop all of it:

Tags: Ted Cruz , Obamacare , Harry Reid

How the Media Makes Cruz the Issue Instead of Obamacare’s Implementation


On Morning Joe this morning, the opinion of Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski, the Huffingon Post’s Sam Stein, the New York Times’ Jeremy Peters, Bloomberg columnist Al Hunt and Cokie Roberts is uniform and vehement: everything about Ted Cruz’s semi-filibuster on the floor of the Senate is bad. They’ve called it preposterous, a publicity stunt, political theater, ridiculous, crazy, and said he’s “screaming”; guest Sen. Claire McCaskill said Cruz thinks he’s starring in a movie and using the floor of the Senate to promote himself. (Because senators otherwise never speak on the floor of the chamber to promote themselves.)

Much as the discussion of the NSA domestic surveillance program shifted to a binary choice about personality (“what do you think of Edward Snowden?”) the media is turning the discussion of Obamacare into a up-or-down choice on what you think of Ted Cruz.

But what one thinks of Ted Cruz is, in the grand scheme of things, a rather minor matter compared to the program’s impact on full-time employment, its malfunctioning software, the program’s failure to ensure coverage for 500,000 children, and the way lower-income families that have good insurance plans will be forced to pay much more for them

Of course, to discuss those subjects, you have to know something about how Obamacare is being implemented and the ensuing problems. To fume and scoff and sneer and mock Ted Cruz… you don’t really need to know that much.


Tags: Ted Cruz , Joe Scarborough , Obamacare

Ted Cruz: He’s Going the Distance, He’s Going for Speed


Today’s Morning Jolt features a lot of thoughts inspired by yesterday’s “Future of Conservatism” panel discussion put on by the Future 500 at the National Press Club, but the even bigger joys of the morning are Ted Cruz’s endurance and Bill Clinton’s boredom:

We Feel That Way Too, President Clinton.

Do you think Bill Clinton was bored listening to President Obama talk about Obamacare yesterday at the Clinton Global Initiative?

Ted Cruz Is Still Talking!

Go, Ted, go! Love him, hate him, doubt his strategy, embrace his strategy, you have to admire how he’s going the distance for what he believes in:

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has officially pulled an all-nighter in the U.S. Senate as he advocated for the defunding of Obamacare into the wee hours of Wednesday morning.

Wearing black tennis shoes for comfort, the Texas senator started speaking at 2:41 p.m. on Tuesday and has continued for over 16 hours as of 6:45 a.m. Wednesday.

“I will say standing here after 14 hours, standing on your feet, there’s sometimes some pain, sometimes some fatigue that is involved,” Cruz said on the Senate floor.  “But you know what?  There’s far more pain involved in rolling over…far more pain in hiding in the shadows, far more pain in not standing for principle, not standing for the good, not standing for integrity.”

Senate rules require Cruz to stand throughout his speech but allow him to yield to questions from other senators.  Several Republican senators, including Mike Lee, R-Utah, Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., helped Cruz with his speech at various points throughout the night.  Even Democratic Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Tim Kaine, D-Va., chimed in with questions for the Texas senator.

Around 3:33 a.m. Wednesday, Cruz beat the record for the longest speech this year, a record previously held by Paul, who filibustered the nomination of John Brennan as CIA director for 12 hours and 52 minutes last March.  

Tags: Ted Cruz , Bill Clinton , Obamacare , Barack Obama

Cruz: Consistent on Using Military Force in Syria


The Hill charges that Sensators Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida are “singing a different tune from just months ago, when both seemed to advocate a more muscular U.S. response to Syrian President Bashar Assad.”

The Hill bases the charge on Cruz’s June 20 statement:

We need to be developing right now a clear, practical plan to go in, locate the weapons, secure or destroy them, and then get out. The United States should be firmly in the lead to make sure the job is done right.

Cruz declared yesterday he would vote against the Senate’s resolution authorizing military force.

Cruz’s staff says The Hill ignored the facts that the office provided them regarding the senator’s stance on Syria. They argue that Cruz has always been open to military action to secure chemical weapons, but he’s deeply wary about action that is designed to punish an “international norm” or arming the Syrian rebels.

They point to three statements in recent weeks.

First, an interview with Sean Hannity, August 26:

CRUZ: Number two, our concern should be those chemical weapons, preventing them from falling into the hands of Hezbollah, preventing them from falling into the hands of Al Qaida, that should be guiding our actions, not expressing some moral outrage from a university facility lounge. . . . If Assad is toppled and replaced by a radical Islamist regime, what would be truly dangerous for the United States, for our allies like Israel and Jordan, is for a radical Islamic government to seize control of those chemical weapons and to deploy them against us or our allies. That should be the focus of the President, and as we’ve seen throughout the Middle East that has not been the focus of the President.

Then a released statement from August 31:

Assad’s murderous actions have claimed the lives of more than a hundred thousand of his own people, which is a humanitarian tragedy. But our chief strategic concern should not be international norms; it should be preventing the chemical weapons from falling into the hands of al Qaeda or other terrorists who might use them against us and our allies.

Finally, an op-ed in yesterday’s Washington Post:

It is not the job of U.S. troops to police international norms or to send messages. Our men and women in uniform have signed up to defend America . . . 

Today, the threat is active in Syria, where jihadists have infiltrated the rebel groups while Hezbollah is supporting Assad, making the presence of chemical weapons in Syria ever more perilous. And it is active in Iran, a state sponsor of terrorism that seeks a nuclear bomb to wipe the United States and Israel off the map.

If the president’s proposed military strike against Assad succeeds, al-Qaeda could be strengthened and terrorists could seize control of Syria’s vast cache of chemical weapons.

U.S. military force should always advance our national security. Should we in the future have intelligence that al-Qaeda or Hezbollah is on the verge of acquiring chemical weapons or that Iran is nearing a nuclear breakout, I would support aggressive military action to prevent them from acquiring those weapons because the alternative is unacceptable: allowing Islamic extremists to acquire chemical or nuclear weapons that could be used to slaughter millions in New York or Los Angeles or London or Tel Aviv.

On Rubio, The Hill summarizes:

Last week, he voted against the Syria strike resolution approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

But in April, when Assad was first accused of using chemical weapons, Rubio said, “the time for passive engagement in this conflict must come to an end.”

If a lawmaker doesn’t like “passive engagement,” but then is presented with a military-force authorization that is equally problematic or worse, is he obligated to support it?

Tags: Ted Cruz , Marco Rubio , Syria

Looking Up the Law Is Such a Pain for Birthers


Over on the homepage, Bob Costa breaks the news that Ted Cruz is thinking about running for president in 2016. A few weeks back, Elaina Johnson shined a spotlight on the Cruz “birthers.

Some Birthers sound like they’ve never really read the law that they’re allegedly citing.

The whole reason anyone would care about the location of Obama’s birth is because his parents’ citizenship status did not automatically qualify him for U.S. citizenship:

When one parent was a US citizen and the other a foreign national, the US citizen parent must have resided in the US for a total of 10 years prior to the birth of the child, with five of the years after the age of 14.  An exception for people serving in the military was created by considering time spent outside the US on military duty as time spent in the US.

Barack Obama Sr. was a Kenyan citizen. The president’s mother, Ann Dunham, was a U.S. citizen but not yet a citizen  for the purposes of determining U.S. citizenship of offspring born overseas.

For a child to become a U.S. citizen, one parent must have resided in the United States for five years after the age of 14. Dunham was 18 when she gave birth to the president. Had Barack Obama Jr. been born in Kenya, he would not be a citizen; because he was born in Hawaii, he automatically became a U.S. citizen. This is what the whole current “birthright citizenship” debate is about – under current law and the law in effect in 1961, if you’re born here, you’re a citizen, no questions asked.

(I know, I know, the Honolulu Advertiser birth notice was an elaborate cover, and the birth certificate is faked, and there’s a vast conspiracy out there…)

These rules were in effect for those born between December 23, 1952 and November 13, 1986 – covering both Barack Obama and Ted Cruz.

Cruz’s mother, Eleanor Darragh, was in her mid-thirties when she gave birth to the senator, so she had spent well more than five years residing in the United States.

Tags: Ted Cruz , Barack Obama

John McCain vs. the ‘Wacko Birds’


Today’s graphic du jour, spotlighted in the Morning Jolt, stems from reports that Senator John McCain isn’t all that enamored with some of his younger Republican colleagues:

When I asked him if “these guys” — having just mentioned Amash, Cruz and Paul by name — are a “positive force” in the GOP, McCain paused for a full six seconds.

“They were elected, nobody believes that there was a corrupt election, anything else,” McCain said. “But I also think that when, you know, it’s always the wacko birds on right and left that get the media megaphone.”

Plus, those “wacko birds” keep smashing down the little structures he built for the eggs:

McCain has a point; they go way too far on defense cuts, particularly their recommendation to replace our nuclear arsenal with a giant slingshot.

Thanks to Jeff Dobbs, over at The Voice in My Head, for the visual to start the week!

Tags: John McCain , Justin Amash , Rand Paul , Ted Cruz

Rand Paul’s ‘Epic’ Filibuster


The Thursday edition of the Morning Jolt features a contrast in government tours, helpful words from a critical reader, and then the big news of the day . . .

Rand Paul Goes to Washington

Rand Paul added a lot of big fans Wednesday.

A day that was supposed to be just another Washington snow day brought us something we haven’t seen in a long time: an honest-to-goodness, in-keeping-with-the-Constitution, old-fashioned filibuster, all over a basic, fundamental concept central to our founding: the power of the central government is limited, and the government’s authority to exercise lethal force must be particularly and specifically limited.

Actual headline in USA Today: “Rand Paul ends epic filibuster over Brennan”

He started speaking around 11:45 a.m. Wednesday morning. He finally ceded the floor at about 12:40 a.m. local time on Thursday.

Andrew Johnson & Nathaniel Botwinick give you the highlights of Rand Paul’s crusade:

Senator Rand Paul (R., Ky.) took to the Senate floor today to filibuster President Obama’s nominee for CIA director, John Brennan, as well as to challenge the administration’s policy on drones. Paul began speaking at approximately 11:47 a.m. . . .

Paul said he would be happy to end it if he had reassurance from the Obama administration that drone-strikes would not be used on noncombatants. After Reid left the floor, senators Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and John Cornyn of Texas joined in the effort.

Senator Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) took to the floor of the Senate this afternoon in support of Senator Paul. He thanked the senator for “defending the institution” of the Senate and its “constitutional obligation to ask relevant questions of public policy and get answers” through his filibuster.

The filibuster became a bipartisan effort when Oregon’s Democratic senator Ron Wyden joined Paul on the floor in its fourth hour. Wyden called for reining in the executive branch’s “serious, far-reaching” drone-strike program, saying that the targeted killings “should not be allowed . . . without any scrutiny.”

Three hours into Paul’s filibuster, fellow Republican senator Ted Cruz of Texas joined the Kentucky senator on the floor. Cruz praised Paul for his leadership on the issue of drones and the rights of American citizens, calling him a “modern Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” who is “surely making Jimmy Stewart smile.” Along with Cruz, senators Mike Lee of Utah and Jerry Moran of Kansas joined Paul on the floor at roughly the same time.

John Podhoretz: “Attention everybody in Washington: This is how you make yourself a star.”

Writing at Breitbart, the Ace of Spades declared it genuinely exciting:

I have the same feeling of receding cynicism I did when the Tea Party first exploded on to the scene and began doing things that just weren’t done in America anymore — taking politics seriously, taking the Founders’ legacy to us seriously, showing up at Town Halls to ask their once and future representatives some real questions, engaging, questioning, insisting, demanding.

There was a time 200 years ago when this was commonplace. Americans had just won their liberty and were enthused about it. They treated their civic duty not as a mere duty but as the highest aspiration of political man.

This filibuster excites me for the same reasons — a return to the Old Ways, the ways that actually work, the way American politics is actually supposed to be conducted, with Senators offering thoughtful defenses of their positions and, above all, insisting that this nation is We the People not We the Ministers & Lesser Bureaucratic Warlords of Whatever Current Government the Public Has Had the Folly to Install in Office.

Jon Henke: “Kinda shocking that it takes a filibuster to get back the right not to be killed by our own government without a trial.”

Dana Loesch: “The left just exposed their hypocrisy on waterboarding by supporting drone killing without due process.”

Meanwhile, Ted Cruz generated his own fireworks, getting Eric Holder to appear to concur that the drone policy, as currently stated, runs afoul of the Constitution.

On Tuesday, the Department of Justice sent shockwaves through the nation when Attorney General Eric Holder informed Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) in writing that the White House would be within its legal authority to execute an American citizen via drone on U.S. soil if that person was determined to pose a threat to national security. On Wednesday, testifying before a Senate panel, Holder was prodded repeatedly about this assertion by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). Holder eventually admitted that it would not be constitutional to execute an American citizen without due process.

“In your legal judgment, does the Constitution allow a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil to be killed by a drone?” Cruz asked Holder pointedly.

“For sitting in a café and having a cup of coffee?” Holder replied. Cruz clarified that his hypothetical individual subject to a drone strike did not pose an “imminent and immediate threat of death and bodily harm,” but that person is suspected to be a terrorist.

“I would not think that that would be an appropriate use of any kind of lethal force,” Holder replied.

“With all respect, Gen. Holder, my question wasn’t about appropriateness or prosecutorial discretion. It was a simple legal question,” Cruz clarified.

“This is a hypothetical, but I would not think, that in that situation, the use of a drone or lethal force would not be appropriate,” Holder replied.

“I have to tell you I find it remarkable that in that hypothetical, which is deliberately very simple, you are not able to give a simple, one-word answer: no,” Cruz added. He said he think that his scenario would constitute a “deprivation of life without due process.”

. . . When Cruz was about to abandon his line of questioning after a number of equivocations from Holder, the attorney general clarified that he was saying “no” such actions would not be constitutional.

Our Charlie Cooke: “I’m very disappointed. Rand Paul has been speaking about foundational American values for hours but he hasn’t yet mentioned contraception.”

Tags: Barack Obama , Drones , Marco Rubio , Rand Paul , Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz, Well-Known and Well-Liked Early


The latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll finds that Senator Ted Cruz, who’s been on the job for two months, is slightly better known and slightly more popular than Senator John Cornyn, who has been on the job since 2002. Both men are Republicans.

The results for Cruz:

Please tell us whether you have a very favorable, somewhat favorable, neither favorable nor unfavorable, somewhat unfavorable, or very unfavorable opinion of Ted Cruz.

1. Very favorable 25%

2. Somewhat favorable 14%

3. Neither favorable nor unfavorable 16%

4. Somewhat unfavorable 7%

5. Very unfavorable 21%

6. Don’t know/No Opinion 17%

The numbers for Cornyn:

Please tell us whether you have a very favorable, somewhat favorable, neither favorable nor unfavorable, somewhat unfavorable, or very unfavorable opinion of John Cornyn.

1. Very favorable 12%

2. Somewhat favorable 20%

3. Neither favorable nor unfavorable 18%

4. Somewhat unfavorable 11%

5. Very unfavorable 17%

6. Don’t know/No Opinion 21%

Tags: John Cornyn , Ted Cruz

Conflict-Hungry President Picks His Next Big Fight


From the first Morning Jolt of the first full week of 2013…

The Hagel Hullabaloo: Conflict-Hungry President Picks His Next Fight

It’s official: “President Obama plans to nominate former senator Chuck Hagel, a Nebraska Republican and Vietnam veteran, to be secretary of defense on Monday, according to a person close to the process and a senior administration official. The White House informed the Hagel camp over the weekend that Obama intends to announce the nomination at the White House on Monday.”

So, how does that confirmation fight look?

Sen. Ted Cruz, a Republican freshman from Texas elected with strong backing from the tea party, said on “Fox News Sunday” that it was “very difficult to imagine a circumstance in which I could support (Hagel’s) confirmation.”

“It’s interesting, the president seems bound and determined to proceed down this path despite the fact that Hagel’s record is very, very troubling on the nation of Israel,” Cruz said. “He has not been a friend to Israel. And in my view the United States should stand unshakably with Israel.”

Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, was softer in his tone toward Hagel, saying the former senator from Nebraska would receive a “thorough vetting” just like any other presidential nominee.

Robert Reich: “Wonder why the President is willing to spend his precious political capital getting Chuck Hagel confirmed as Defense Secretary.”

Because ever since he won reelection, he’s eager to pick fights to prove he can win them? Peggy Noonan summarized it this weekend:

I doubt now he has any intention of working with them on big reforms, of battling out a compromise at a conference table, of having long walks and long talks and making offers that are serious, that won’t be changed overnight to something else. The president intends to consistently beat his opponents and leave them looking bad, or, failing that, to lose to them sometimes and then make them look bad. That’s how he does politics.


Here’s my conjecture: In part it’s because he seems to like the tension. He likes cliffs, which is why it’s always a cliff with him and never a deal. He likes the high-stakes, tottering air of crisis. Maybe it makes him feel his mastery and reminds him how cool he is, unrattled while he rattles others. He can take it. Can they?

 Lindsey Graham seems to concur with that theory:

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Sunday expressed dismay at reports President Obama would tap former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) for Secretary of Defense, calling it an “in your face” selection.

“I like Chuck Hagel. He served with distinction in Vietnam as an enlisted man — two Purple Hearts. But quite frankly Chuck Hagel is out of the mainstream of thinking on most issues regarding foreign policy,” said Graham in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“He has long severed his ties with the Republican party. This is an in your face nomination of the president to all of us who are supportive of Israel,” he added. “I don’t know what his management experience is in regards to the Pentagon or global if anyway, so I think it’s an extremely controversial choice.”

Say, John Aravosis, how will gays welcome Hagel’s nomination? “Hagel’s public record on gay rights is abominable… I’m willing to believe that the man has changed in the past two years (though it seems awfully opportune). but I’d like some proof, or at the very least, a convincing explanation. We’re received neither.”

(sigh) …Here we go again.

Tags: Barack Obama , Chuck Hagel , Lindsey Graham , Ted Cruz

A Fast, Furious Campaign Web Video from Ted Cruz


The Senate campaign of Ted Cruz in Texas has teamed up with RedState’s Ben Howe to put together a quick two-minute video explaining the Fast & Furious scandal, how it ties to Attorney General Eric Holder, and how “this is an administration that thinks it is above the law.”

The Department of Justice’s inspector general has been conducting an internal investigation . . . for 416 days now.

Tags: Barack Obama , Eric Holder , Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz Takes to the Airwaves!


Texas Senate candidate and NR cover subject Ted Cruz is up on the air with his first ad:

The most recent poll, from the University of Texas in February, has Lieutenant Gov. David Dewhurst ahead with 38 percent and Cruz in second place at 27 percent. Former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert is at 7 percent.

Tags: David Dewhurst , Ted Cruz , Tom Leppert


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