I'm glad Dana Milbank is debunking the latest steaming bolus of disinformation from Ted Cruz, though I'm not sure how seriously we should take it:
Sen. Ted Cruz, in a speech to fellow conservatives at the Federalist Society this week, provided detailed evidence of what the right calls the "lawlessness" of the Obama administration.There's much more, some of it not just wrong but petty and ridiculous:
The Texas Republican, in his latest McCarthyesque flourish, said he had a list of "76 instances of lawlessness and other abuses of power."
To his credit, Cruz made his list public. But perhaps he shouldn't have. An examination of the accusations reveals less about the lawlessness of the accused than about the recklessness of the accuser.
Cruz was particularly agitated about President Obama's use of signing statements, executive orders, recess appointments and unconfirmed "czars" -- omitting the salient detail that this president has used four less than George W. Bush, for whom Cruz worked as a campaign adviser and administration official....
No item was too small to escape Cruz's notice. Obama "shut down an Amish farm for selling fresh unpasteurized milk across state lines," he alleges. Actually, the Food and Drug Administration was acting under the authority of a federal court order -- not exactly lawlessness.(Yes, and of course raw milk is far more likely to be the source of disease outbreaks than pasteurized milk, no matter what Alex Jones and Ron Paul think.)
It's easy to read what Senator Cruz is saying here and imagine that there's going to be an impeachment of President Obama in the next two years if Republicans regain the Senate, with a list of alleged high crimes and misdemeanors taken directly from Cruz. And maybe that is what's going to happen.
But it's interesting to see Cruz doing this (and, at the same time, obviously plotting a presidential run) while the Republican Party is doing this:
The Republican National Committee moved Friday to seize control of the presidential primary debates in 2016, another step in a coordinated effort by the party establishment to reshape the nominating process.So Ted Cruz is working the wingnutosphere while the Republican establishment is taking steps to ensure that a wingnutosphere-friendly candidate like Cruz can't possibly win the presidential nomination, or push the eventual winner too far to the right. This coincides with establishment efforts to regain control of the primary process in congressional races, which, to judge from recent races -- such as this week's South Carolina Senate primary -- is working.
Committee members overwhelmingly passed a measure that would penalize any presidential candidate who participated in a debate not sanctioned by the national party, by limiting their participation in subsequent committee-sanctioned forums.
... what party leaders are principally concerned about is reducing the number of debates to avoid a repeat of the 2012 campaign when a series of insurgent candidates used the forums -- 20 in all -- to draw attention to their candidacies. Some party leaders say they believe that the number of debates pushed Mitt Romney to the right in a way that contributed to his loss to President Obama.
Party leaders want to tighten their grip on a presidential primary season they believe has grown unruly and too long. This year, the party moved to set the nominating calendar by scheduling the first four contests -- Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada -- for February, allowing other states to begin voting in March and holding winner-take-all primaries starting March 15.
Party officials are also moving to find a city that can accommodate a convention in late June, earlier than usual....
Taken together, these procedural steps could thwart an underfunded insurgent who needs the free exposure of televised debates and would be hurt by a series of rapid-fire contests in March that could be tilted toward an establishment-backed contender....
How long can Republicans keep this up? How long can they benefit from the crazy-base energy generated by Ted Cruz and his ideological soul mates if those crazies are never again allowed to win a primary?
I think the party hopes that the crazies won't notice that they're being bottled up by the establishment in elections as long as Cruz types keep up the crazy talk. That may be true. And it certainly helps that establishment candidates tack rightward these days until they sound as much like Cruz as possible, on virtually every issue except defaulting on America's credit (which is really the only issue on which the crazy base upset the Chamber of Commerce types).
But one of these days, the crazy voters are going to notice that their favorite candidates never win, right? The GOP establishment just hopes that the day this dawns on the base can be postponed until after November 2016.