On Monday, the Supreme Court struck down an overly burdensome Arizona voter registration law included in the state's controversial "give me your papers" legislation. Per U.S. News, the Supreme Court "determined that the federal registration form, which requires applicants to affirm they are U.S. citizens upon penalty of perjury, preempts the state provision. Groups that filed a lawsuit against the Arizona law said it was too great a burden and violated the 1993 National Voting Rights Act." Even Justice Antonin Scalia joined the majority in a 7-2 decision.
But Ted Cruz loves a voting burden and won't stand for this ruling.
"I'll file amendment to immigration bill that permits states to require ID before registering voters and close this hole in fed statutory law," Cruz tweeted soon after the ruling. Cruz then did exactly that, submitting an amendment two hours later.
Michele Bachmann announced Wednesday that she will retire from Congress at the end of her term. She claimed unconvincingly that her decision does not come from the threat of Democrat Jim Graves taking her seat next year, nor from the ethics inquiries into her presidential campaign.
"Unfortunately today I am even more concerned about our country's future than I've ever been in the past," she said in a long video posted online.
Personally, I'm a little less concerned about our country's future now that Bachmann will be out of Congress. But that doesn't mean there aren't seriously problematic crazies left there - and guess what? All the candidates to replace Bachmann as the craziest person in Congress are from Texas.
The answer is no. But if the Canada-born Cruz runs for president, as he appears likely to do, he'll be a big ol' hypocrite.
You see, Ted Cruz is a constitutional originalist - a person who thinks the Constitution was set in stone in 1787 and none of it is open to interpretation. On the question of eligibility to be president, the Constitution reads: "No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President."
Clearly, there are many ways to interpret "natural born". Temple University law professor and expert on nationality law recently explained: "It's a question of how our understandings have evolved over time...[recent examples] all pretty clearly establish that the American people are on board with somebody who was born outside of the United States, but who had citizenship at birth." Recent examples of popular interpretation, that is.
But Ted Cruz isn't a fan of constitutional interpretation.
Hard to believe that today marks the 100th day of SenatorTed Cruz. Maybe it feels longer than that because Ted Cruz has done such an astonishing amount of damage in his short time in the Senate.
To mark the grim occasion, Democratic State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer's OneTexas PAC released the excellent video below showing what Cruz has done in the past hundred days. Unfortunately and factually, it's all bad.
A full 54 percent of Ted Cruz's statements have been rated "false" or "pants on fire" by PolitiFact. Another 20 percent are only "half true." That's 74 percent of Cruz's statements failing the truth test.
We're used to politicians lying to us, of course. But the frequency of Cruz's lies is actually staggering. Compare Cruz's 74 percent lying rate with Rick Perry's 48 percent and John Cornyn's 56 percent. Cruz is in rarified company with Michele Bachmann as one of this country's biggest political liars. Whenever Ted Cruz opens his mouth, there's a 3/4 chance he's lying.
Ted Cruz, along with a handful of other Republican senators including Rand Paul, has vowed to filibuster any gun control measures to prevent them from getting a vote in the Senate.
Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid is trying to get a vote on universal background checks, which have support from 88 percent of Americans.
On Monday, Cruz rejected a Senate resolution commemorating International Women's Day because it noted that women in developing countries "are disproportionately affected by changes in climate because of their need to secure water, food and fuel for their livelihood."
A Cruz spokesman said: "A provision expressing the Senate's views on such a controversial topic as 'climate change' has no place in a supposedly noncontroversial resolution requiring consent of all 100 U.S. senators."
Climate change is a scientific fact and the greatest threat to humanity. The only people that consider it "controversial" in large numbers are Republicans.
Less than two weeks ago, Cruz blocked a resolution commemorating Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week because he didn't like the inclusion of the federally funded Multiple Sclerosis Coalition's purpose.
Also on Monday, alongside Sen. Cornyn, Lt. Gov Dewhurst and Gov. Perry at the Capitol, Cruz reiterated his opposition to expanding Medicaid for hundreds of thousands more Texans through the Affordable Care Act. Cruz said he was proud of Texas for not "giving in" to the Medicaid expansion as other Republican states have embraced it.
We learned this week Ted Cruz will speak at the South Carolina Republican Party's annual Silver Elephant Dinner on May 3rd. South Carolina is an early and important Republican primary state, and that connection has not been lost on the mainstream media.
The Senate (and House) pass hundreds of resolutions each year commemorating utterly positive things like "World Plumbing Day". Last week, Cruzobjectedto commemorating Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week because he doesn't like a provision about the purpose of the Multiple Sclerosis Coalition, according to a Hill staffer. These commemorations have no force of law. Cruz is so determined to stick out that he'll stoop so low as to take a principled stance against something so clearly positive and non-impactful. And he barely even bothered to give a reason:
"The Senator, like many of his colleagues, will not grant consent to call up and pass a resolution or bill at the last minute without time for review," spokesman Sean Rushton said in a statement. Rushton went on to claim that Cruz doesn't oppose the substance of the resolution. So, if he had time to read it, what was the problem exactly with the MS Coalition language? Not a single other senator had a problem with this innocuous resolution in a package of innocuous resolutions. Cruz doesn't stick out of the pack like a noble legislator, or even a sore thumb; he's a rotten thumb doing nothing but harm in Congress.
We can't expect a week to go by more of this from Cruz's office. Cruz will - and does - brag that he gets under the skin of progressives, and that's how you can tell he's doing his job well. What he doesn't realize is that almost no one in the country approves of his awful legislating, and imitating Michele Bachmann is not a winning political strategy.
First, a stark reality check: a new University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll out this week shows Cruz with 37% approval, 28% disapproval, and 16% without an opinion of him here in Texas. "He's still popular among the Republican base. He has high favorables among Republicans," pollster Jim Henson said. "And the people that like him are still willing to vote for him."
Those numbers aren't as disastrous as Ted Cruz's rollout in Washington has been. But they're definitely not good numbers for Cruz. Only 37% of voters approve of Ted Cruz, a candidate who was elected with 56.46% of the vote in November. These numbers indicate dipping support for this crazy, do-nothing-except-obstruct-and-embarrass senator, but they also show something else. If only 37% of voters approve of Cruz, and he was elected so recently with 56% of the vote...think of how different Texas elections would be if Texas Democrats turned out their voters. Next time around, they'll be in a much better position to do that, with Battleground Texas now building the winning coalition in our state.
The crazier Cruz acts, the less compelling his case for re-election in 2018 becomes. But that's five years away. We here in 2013 have come to accept that the next five years will be a constant slew of news about Ted Cruz's craziness. The flip side of that story is how much the "movement" conservatives who dictate the direction of the Republican Party love him.
Allow me to quote myself. While wrapping up Texas' 2012 Senate race a week after the election, I wrote:
I believe very strongly that Ted Cruz is about to get a national reputation for being a divisive, do-nothing, corporatist senator. Except Cruz will be more grating than most, since he's so damn smarmy. He's a bad candidate for a 2018 Texas much more friendly to Democrats.
Since the day of his inauguration, Ted Cruz has been gaining a foul national reputation for each of those qualities. He has voted against just about everything the Senate has voted for, leading him to his abysmal 1-13 voting record (including votes against confirmed John Kerry for Secretary of State and against the Violence Against Women Act). Cruz is fighting against the bipartisan immigration deal, brought a pistol grip to the floor of the Senate to make a ridiculous argument against gun control, and claimed that the gun show loophole doesn't exist.
News outlets around the country are runningstories about Cruz's obstinance. And that story is just getting revved up. On Tuesday of this week, Cruz took his reputation to its lowest point yet, drawing the criticism of his own party.
Hispanic Americans sent a strong message in November by voting overwhelmingly Democratic and thus finally making it clear to Republicans that they can't win with such dismally low support from this constituency. Only because their electoral livelihood is threatened, the Republicans have come to a deal with Democrats on relatively comprehensive immigration reform.
The deal creates a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, who would be able to stay in the country and start working legally after passing a background check and paying a fine. It overhauls the immigrations system itself, granting green cards to immigrants who obtain advanced degrees in math, science or technology from American universities. It creates an employment verification system, and it allows companies to hire non-U.S. citizens if they can prove they couldn't recruit a U.S. citizen.
Guess who's against it? Texas's first Hispanic senator, Ted Cruz. How pathetic. Look at this foul discharge:
...I have deep concerns with the proposed path to citizenship. To allow those who came here illegally to be placed on such a path is both inconsistent with rule of law and profoundly unfair to the millions of legal immigrants who waited years, if not decades, to come to America legally.
What complete junk. Apparently Ted Cruz doesn't understand that "the rule of law" depends on what the law says. The current law puts undocumented immigrants ahead of all documented immigrants. The proposed law creates a much more fair system that deals with undocumented immigrants humanely - that is, in an American way. If we don't change anything - or only strengthen the border and the legal immigration system, as Ted Cruz suggests, we have failed to deal with the over ten million aspiring Americans who could be benefitting our country greatly. As the Washington Post conservative Jennifer Rubin writes:
For starters it doesn't sound like Cruz or his staff read the proposal because the four-page plan goes to some lengths to spell out that illegal immigrants would not take priority over those waiting "in line" for green cards, let alone for citizenship. Moreover, Cruz is now a senator and needs to do better than a bumper-sticker slogan that reform is "inconsistent with the rule of law." Does the current system respect the rule of law? Why is it "inconsistent with the rule of law" if people pay a penalty, jump through hoops and don't cut the line? Maybe automatic citizenship with no conditions isn't fair, but no one has proposed that.
More than half of Americans support dealing with undocumented immigrants here over halting the flow of illegal immigration. That number has only increased in recent years, and will continue to do so - especially if this law passes and people see its benefits. Ted Cruz's opposition, in addition to being anathema to reasoned debate, is incredibly stupid. His opposition to this popular law - especially popular among Hispanics - is complete political idiocy. He's making himself even more vulnerable in 2018.
Less than a month into his term, Ted Cruz has consistently embarrassed Texas and done a terrible job representing us in Washington.