May 10, 2014

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

Wrote Montesquieu, quoted by Senator Ted Cruz in the introduction to — PDF — "THE LEGAL LIMIT: THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION’S ATTEMPTS TO EXPAND FEDERAL POWER," which is mostly a set of lists of (purported) abuses of power, with each item footnoted to a media source.

I found that via Dana Milbank's "Ted Cruz, the reckless accuser," which begins:
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.

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.
So, basically, Dana Milbank, you old bullshitter, it wasn't McCarthyesque at all, and you knew it wasn't McCarthyesque when you wrote that it was McCarthyesque, but you just wanted to say it was McCarthyesque.

And you're calling Cruz "the reckless accuser"?!  Oh, I didn't say he was exactly the same as Joe McCarthy. I said it was McCarthyesque. Don't you know the meaning of -esque?

Yeah, it means bullshit. Joe McCarthy talked about have a list of names of individual human beings, a list he never revealed, of names that were currently unknown to the public and that he was threatening to reveal. Cruz's list was a list not of people but of things the Obama Administration has done, and these were not secret things. They were known things that Cruz had collected on a list. What is the threat of revealing the already-known things in the form of a list? And the list was made public, so it wasn't even a secret list, a list to which one could refer as a scary threat — which wouldn't even be a scary threat anyway because it wasn't a list of names of human beings whose lives would be ruined.

(Milbank goes on to question the accuracy of a few items on Cruz's list and to characterize the whole list as really about Cruz's disagreement with the "politics and policy" of the Obama administration.)

55 comments:

Mark O said...

Last week's Prog talking points included "Raising money off Benghazi" and the name "McCarthy."

No journalists left.

Oso Negro said...

Et tu, Althouse? How many of the 76 items do YOU agree are lawless?

Terry said...

Milbank is a hack. He introduces no new ideas or arguments in his columns. If he were a conservative, he couldn't get published.
Evidence: Milbank's column on the subject of Eric Cantor's "sneer": http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/eric-cantors-slick-upper-lip/2011/07/12/gIQAYqURBI_story.html

Ann Althouse said...

"Et tu, Althouse? How many of the 76 items do YOU agree are lawless?"

I don't even know how many Cruz is saying are "lawless." Are some "abuses of power" but not legal violations?

And I can't answer your question without in depth research into the law and the facts of 76 different things. No one whose opinion is worth knowing could answer that question.

Anonymous said...

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

So we should vote Democratic Party for Wisconsin governor.

Bill Crawford said...

McCarthy used the word "list."

Cruz used the word "list."

Cruz = McCarthy

QED

Fritz said...

Thank you for reading Milbank so I don't have to.

Oso Negro said...

Very well. An informed answer would take a trained person a good while to formulate. We pissants are left to go with some edition of "me like Obama" or "Obama, him no good". In my ignorance, I am leaning toward the latter.

YoungHegelian said...

Milbank really is being a putz about this, since it really is a serious Constitutional issue, and he knows it.

Whatever may be the detail by detail truth of Cruz's list, Cruz & the rest of us have cause to be concerned by the Obama administration's increasing reliance of "expanded" executive powers, and for exactly the reason given by Montesquieu.

So what if Obama's pissed off by a "do-nothing" legislative branch? If the opposition wants to stop the programs of the Executive branch that's its prerogative. The answer: get down in the trenches & cut a compromise that works for both sides. That's how it's done.

The Democrats will learn the hard way that what Obama's doing now sets precedent for the future. Expect them to squeal like stuck pigs when a Republican president does the same thing to them.

Ann Althouse said...

Questions of presidential power are difficult and in real life need to be answered by the people, politically, and by Congress, checking and balancing. Occasionally the Court gives us something somewhat legal to put into the analysis.

Much of the fault here lies with Congress, but Cruz is a member of Congress, and I'm glad to see he's doing his job to the extent that one member of Congress can.

traditionalguy said...

An Emperor speaks Law by his order. it takes a rebellion by Commons to pass laws that restrict Lawful to restrain an Emperor. ask Charles I how a Congress House of Commons usually finds itself at war with a Lawless King.

it is him or us.

Bob Ellison said...

Montesquieu was a giant of political philosophy. We owe our dedication to the separation of judicial, executive, and legislative powers to him, as the founders of the United States said in the 1700s.

"Lawless" can have various meanings, chief among them: lack of laws, lack of legal authority, lack of legal legitimacy, lack of government strength, and lack of respect for the rule of law.

Obama scrapes away the rule of law (not of men) every day. He ignores the law, he changes it by fiat, he talks as though other things (like the minimum wage or no-ID voting) matter more.

This hurts the political culture. America will not survive if men like Obama can say they know best and they will make things right, in spite of the vote and the people.

Anonymous said...

Maybe this entry needs the "bullshit" tag?

Big Mike said...

And I can't answer your question without in depth research into the law and the facts of 76 different things. No one whose opinion is worth knowing could answer that question.

Are you past the end of the term? You might consider taking ten or a dozen or so of the 76 at random and asking whether or not there is legal justification for them as your final exam.

SteveR said...

The "abuse" of presidential power by this president cannot be determined by the people invested in his actions. The MSM, for instance largely supports his use of the pen and phone and that silences their concern for the process. The ends justify the means.

Anonymous said...

Have met with D. Millibank. He is short (about 5.2) and slightly obese. He overpronates when he walks and talks fast. He is always hanging around the coffee-shop across the White House, like Starbucks and new Peets. The man is a loser, but since I have predicted that HRC is a winner, he may come handy.

n.n said...

So, it's just an assembly of public actions with questionable merit or legality presented for public review.

Yeah, I can understand the conflict of interest that poses. The First Amendment binds congress as legislators, and liberates them as members of the press.

Perhaps this controversy is a matter of professional jealousy. How dare Cruz act as a journalist. Either that, or Milibank is less a member of the press, than an administrative assistant.

Michael said...

Milbank is a member of Skull and Bones. He knows the secret handshakes and even though its firm grip has softened "McCarthyesque" still is a sign of being in the club. Milbank was born in 1968 so he knows absolutely nothing other than the "have you no sense of decency" speech of Joe Welsh. Hale and Doar. The right sort.

Audacity17 said...

A President can do anything he wants, if the people or their representatives allow it.

jr565 said...

"The Texas Republican, in his latest McCar­thyesque flourish, said he had a list of "76 instances of lawlessness and other abuses of power."

So, providing specific instances of an abuse of power makes you Mcarthyesque?
No wonder then that dems keep using phrases like "war on women" or "war on minorities" or charlie Christ says he left the republican party because of racism. If you don't have to make fine points, but instead broadly smear, I guess that means you're not Mccarthy.
Only, wasn't the argument that Mccarthy was smearing and demagoging?
If you can actually bring forth specific points that address your argument then it's not really Mcarthyesque.
I think libs just like to use phrase all republican arguments as mcarthyesque because they are lazy demagogues.

sydney said...

Milbank isn't smart enough to know he made a bad analogy. He just knows that McCarthyism is bad. In his mind Cruz is bad because he is one of those "whacko birds" the Establishment complains about. Ergo Cruz=McCarthy.

Sigh. Let's face it. Our elites are the Doonesbury generation. Unfortunately for us, they all turned out to be Zonkers.

Jupiter said...

"Joe McCarthy talked about have a list of names of individual human beings, a list he never revealed, of names that were currently unknown to the public and that he was threatening to reveal."

If you actually want to know what Joe McCarthy did, as opposed to all the lies the Left has assiduously told about him, I suggest you read a book called Blacklisted By History. It is fairly long, and fairly hard to take, because it is a truthful, extremely well-documented account of one episode in the long history of left-wing treason in America, and the tragic destruction of one man who tried to oppose it. McCarthy was not a saint, but he was a better man than most of those who accuse him.

Anonymous said...

Milbank is a liberal hack.

richard mcenroe said...

I won't rest until I get accused of being a "racist McCarthyite" by a Democrat. Then I'll know my belief system is on the right track.

grackle said...

Much of the fault here lies with Congress, but Cruz is a member of Congress, and I'm glad to see he's doing his job to the extent that one member of Congress can.

Bingo! Give this player a brand new toaster.

Illuninati said...

The list looks like a mixed bag to me. There are some really bad things happening in the executive branch right now which need to be addressed. A shorter list of easily defensible violations would probably be more effective.

"Much of the fault here lies with Congress, but Cruz is a member of Congress, and I'm glad to see he's doing his job to the extent that one member of Congress can."

Cruz is a brave man. Too bad we don't have more like him.

virgil xenophon said...

"...to the extent that one member of Congress can."

IOW, AA admits that but for the term limit, Obama is now the functional equivalent of a King..

Brando said...

Did Milbank think Harry Reid was being "McCarthyesque" when he accused Romney of underpaying his taxes without any evidence or sources? Because that's far more on point than Cruz's example.

I'm not saying Milbank didn't make the comparison re: Reid, I'm just asking.

Henry said...

Love the juxtaposition of this post with the last one. The worker bees always protect the queen.

Michael K said...

"Much of the fault here lies with Congress"

No, the Congress is divided. The left controls the Senate and stops any attempt by the House to pass budgets and other routine matters that Congress is charged with doing. The passage of the Obamacare bill was an exercise in lawlessness that might, probably not, but might come back to bite the administration on the issue of revenues bills.

I kind of wonder if Roberts was playing a game by calling the ACA a tax and therefore laying the groundwork for the coming challenge.

I think he is too political for that and is determined to avoid the Roosevelt reaction by Obama when his goals are frustrated by the Court.

Ann Althouse said...

"Maybe this entry needs the "bullshit" tag?"

I don't have a "bullshit" tag.

I have a "civility bullshit" tag which is limited to bullshit about civility.

"Bullshit" is so general, and it's covered by a number of other tags, like: rhetoric, lameness, things not believed, etc.

Danno said...

Fritz, I read Dana Milbank for the first time in years, just to be informed for understanding this post and the comments. Totally a waste of newsprint for those not online!

The only redeeming thing was I saw George Will's opinion piece on the Wisconsin John Doe investigations, sine it showed as the #2 trending WaPo opinion piece today.

Curious George said...

"madisonfella said...
"There can be no liberty where the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person, or body of magistrates."

So we should vote Democratic Party for Wisconsin governor."

You can't name one example penguin. Not one.

Heyooyeh said...

If Althouse had a bullshit tag she would have to use it on every post in which she claims to follow a policy of cruel neutrality.

khesanh0802 said...

There are some obviously valid criticisms on Cruz's list. There are also some questionable one that might have been left out. Note that Milbank made no attempt to identify which was which, only rose to Obama's defense; but we knew he is a hack.

Until the Congress can retrieve "the power of the purse" it is difficult to control the the executive. If the Republicans gain control of the Senate, one of the first things Congress should do is pass a budget that zeroes out funds for questionable activities by the executive branch. That has been done before with success by both parties.

David said...

The White House is now guarded by a pack of snarling whores. Quite effectively, I must admit.

Titus said...

Heading out to Menton, by Barbara Lynch, tonight.

It's 80 today, the husband is on a plane to India, and I am ready to work.

She just won James Beard-best in the country, bitches.

tits

The Godfather said...

1) "McCar­thyesque"? That's so 1950's. You say McCarthy today, and people think Jenny McCarthy. Is Cruz against vaccines? Or is he angling for a seat on The View?

2) If Cruz is elected President, Milbank will have to start calling him Cruzhitler, which is a promotion, but Milbank will have to be careful how he pronounces it.

cubanbob said...

Cruz is a smart guy. He is preparing the stage for 2017. Imagine a Republican Congress and President in 2017 that uses Nestor to restrict all federally funded program entitlements to US citizens in full possesion of their civil rights.

Alex said...

Ann will continue to subscribe to the McCarthey = evil red-baiter idea because she needs to keep her street cred with the liberals.

Alex said...

There are some obviously valid criticisms on Cruz's list. There are also some questionable one that might have been left out.

The point is when you're a Republican, you're list better be 100% air-tight, or one wrong item destroys the entire thing.

J said...

Dana Milbank is full of shit like many Obama supporters and those who voted for him.

n.n said...

Illuninati:

We did, but they were outed as "witches", pro-life, pro-fitness, and other socially objectionable classifications, then dropped like a hot potato.

Anonymous said...

The guy who's got the secret list is Obama. It's his drone kill list. Now that's McCarthyesque, because the only way someone gets off the list is in a body bag..

rcocean said...

I wonder how many under 30s are scratching their heads and thinking "What does this have to do with Jenny McCarthy?"

cubanbob said...

Read the list. Read Millbank's screed. At least 60 items on the list are incontrovertibly true. The others are political and Cruz could have done better by skipping them. As noted above thread Millbank the house propaganda organ skips the incontrovitably true ones. Started to to read the comments on the WaPo site-the usual lector Singer cherry picking bullshit. If the Republicans actually win the Senate there will be two years of house and senate investigations and perhaps the appointment of special prosecutors in 2017. A lot of Democrats are going to be very embarrassed and later on a number of Democrats are going to be doing the perp walk. Good times indeed.

RecChief said...

Much of the fault here lies with Congress

Actually, a lot of the fault lies with Congress. There are few tools available to a divided Congress, but the most powerful is the power of the purse. We all saw how people reacted when Cruz pushed using the one available tool as a check on the Executive branch. This administration played "shutdown theater" very well, and in the end it nullified the one Constitutional tool that Congress had left. They've ceded legislative power to the Executive branch, as near as I can tell, by vesting so much regulatory power in the Secretary of HHS, for one example.

geokstr said...

A normally reliable lefty legal pundit named Jonathan Turley is often all over the MSM defending everything Obama says and does. However, in a random act of brutal honesty, he said this a couple months ago, in Congressional testimony, no less:

"The danger is quite severe. The problem with what the president is doing is that he's not simply posing a danger to the constitutional system. He's becoming the very danger the Constitution was designed to avoid. That is the concentration of power in every single branch."

Real Clear Politics

Then he went back to defending everything Obama says and does again.

grackle said...

… Turley is often all over the MSM defending everything Obama says and does. However, in a random act of brutal honesty, he said this a couple months ago, in Congressional testimony, no less: …

Turley knows well that he's only allowed off the plantation once in a blue moon. Rules of the game. Too often and the speaking fees goes down and his cable face-time disappears fast.

Carnifex said...

@althouse

A very reasoned answer to Oso/Negro's question. Very academic, and I would expect no less.

Now...insert Zerocare, and then realize how silly is that answer. There are too many laws/edicts etc from the governments we toil under to ever say one way or the other.

all laws should be no more than three sentences long, and each sentence should be less than 50 words.

Gary Rosen said...

"Milbank goes on to question the accuracy of a few items on Cruz's list and to characterize the whole list as really about Cruz's disagreement with the "politics and policy" of the Obama administration"

It is "McCarthyesque" to disagree with Obama. In fact it is racist.

MarkW said...

I hadn't known until recently how close Joe McCarthy was with all the Kennedys. Boy did *that* ever disappear down the collective memory hole:

http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/progjfk2.htm

Will said...

Obama's behavior is a real threat to the Country.

In the past, a President would not have dared, as he would be excoriated by the Press.

Congresses attempts to highlight Obama's abuses have been frustrated by a Press that just ignores the news. Not a single network ran the story of the Ben Rhodes memo. So we have an uninformed populace.

Ann is correct that Congress has not fought to protect is rights. Again, Reid/PelosiMake just want to "win" and damn the damage to precedent and the Law. They will go back to being Separation of Powers fans when there is a Republican in office.

Between the Press and Dem congress willing to let this President act Lawlessly, we are in real danger. There is a reason we survived 235 years and Obama is doing permanent damage here, folks.

Thank God for people like Cruz and Turley who recognize the rules matter and respect the role of these rules and precedent in making our Country great.

The Obama's and John Caliparis of the world, willing to abuse rules and cheat to win should be shunned and ridiculed. It is my sincere hope that much of Obama's legacy is invalidated in the same ways several Calipar seasons have been invalidated by his cheating.

True fans of politics, government, Law and fair play should hold both Obama and Calipari in contempt.

Unknown said...

----So we should vote Democratic Party for Wisconsin governor."

You can't name one example penguin. Not one.---

Oh. That was about Walker!?! It was so clueless I couldn't tell.

grackle said...

Much of the fault here lies with Congress. said our hostess.

A reply: No, the Congress is divided. The left controls the Senate and stops … the House …[etc.]

I'm not understanding how the reply does anything to repudiate what was said. Keep in mind she did not specify either house of Congress.

Cruz is a smart guy.

Yep.

We all saw how people reacted when Cruz pushed using the one available tool as a check on the Executive branch.

Just after the word, "people," I would add, "and much of the establishment of the GOP." The Old Guard doesn't like to ruffle feathers or take risks. They think you have to wait your turn until they give the go ahead. But Cruz does like to shake things up, especially when following through on important campaign promises and he is probably guaranteed re-election because of it.

Thank God for people like Cruz and Turley who recognize the rules matter and respect the role of these rules and precedent in making our Country great.

This otherwise valid(to me) statement is ruined by putting Turley on the same level as Cruz. It's like comparing a wart to John Holmes's penis. Otherwise I am definitely on the side of the comment.