Today Ted Cruz delivered what he wants us to regard as a major foreign policy speech. Among other things, he discussed turnover at the Defense Department:
Touching on the morning's news that former Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter would replace Chuck Hagel in the top job at the Pentagon, Cruz implied that the string of Defense secretaries -- soon to be four in six years -- stems from the Obama administration's "unwillingness" to defend the country's national security.So wait -- that's an either-or choice? The defense secretary can either "focus on defending the national security interests of this country" or carry out the policies of the president, but not both? Both is impossible? Or are both impossible only if we have "a political White House"? So when have we not had "a political White House," Senator?
"What a failure of leadership at a time when the world is on fire, when the national security threats are manifest, and it seems what the administration is looking for is a Defense secretary who will follow the orders of a political White House rather than focus on defending the national security interests of this country," he said.
But I'm puzzled by Cruz's apparent problems with having a defense secretary "who will follow the orders" of the president. Doesn't Senator Cruz revere the Constitution? Doesn't he say he doesat every possible opportunity?
In that case, does his copy of the Constitution somehow not contain Article II, Section II, which says that the president is the commander in chief of the armed forces? Therefore, isn't the secretary of defense supposed to follow the president's orders? Does Cruz have a problem with that? And if so, shouldn't he take it up with the Framers?
Well, this is the same Ted Cruz who argued in September that conducting any business in the Senate in this year's lame-duck session would be an "abuse of power" on the Democrats' part. Does the Constitution automatically end congressional terms on Election Day? No, it doesn't. If you were sworn in as a senator in January 2009, after the 2008 elections, you're a senator until the swearing-in of the next Senate, which isn't until January of next year. But Ted's reverence for the Constitution doesn't extend to the parts he doesn't like.