Ted Cruz: I've collected 76 different examples of lawless action by the White House

The Daily Caller has the full text of his report, which is mercifully readable at 16 pages. The novelty isn’t in the examples themselves, many of which will be familiar to you. The novelty is that he’s trying to build a comprehensive case, listing dubious Hopenchange action in various arenas of policy. O’s unilateral DREAM amnesty, his targeting of Anwar al-Awlaki without due process, various and sundry ObamaCare delays in defiance of the plain text of the statute — they’re all in there. In fact, even at 76 items, the list isn’t complete: For whatever reason, Cruz overlooks Obama’s decision to attack Libya without obtaining congressional authorization first under the War Powers Act. Could be that Cruz himself questions the constitutionality of the WPA so he decided to let O slide on it. Why do you s’pose a potential future president wouldn’t be too much of a stickler about Congress’s power over war?

But I digress. The real question is why Cruz is interested in building a comprehensive case at all. Sure, it’s good politics, signaling to conservative voters that he’s the constitutional candidate in 2016. (Sorry, Rand.) But maybe this is part of something bigger. It’s beginning to feel a little bit … impeach-y in here, isn’t it?

Ever since the aftermath of the Benghazi attacks, Republicans and conservatives have compared the Obama administration’s on-the-ground failure and intra-office spin job to Watergate. Politicos compare contemporary scandals to Watergate for one of two reasons: Laziness, or to gently raise the specter of impeachment…

That’s why Boehner’s endorsement of the select committee on Benghazi was so significant. “At one time,” former Rep. Pete Hoekstra told Newsmax, “Speaker Boehner said, if there’s any indication that that this leads to the White House, you know we’re going to go after this.” Boehner knew that Democrats would spend the next few months or years deriding a “witch hunt,” just as they mocked the Clinton impeachment.

And that’s also why the backup from Fox News matters, and why more conservatives will join the discussion. Next month the attorney and National Review columnist Andrew McCarthy will publish Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment. “There is a rich legal case,” writes McCarthy, “but impeachment is not about what the law allows. Impeachment is a matter of political will.”…

Most of the scandals cited by McCarthy faded under the klieg lights of big media, but he puts some of the blame for that on Republicans. He cites a 2013 event with Sen. Ted Cruz in which a constituent asked why Obama couldn’t be impeached and the senator called it a “good question.” Impeachment, writes McCarthy is “not a high mountain to climb,” because Republicans will keep control of the House at least through Obama’s presidency.

An impeachment push is potentially a no-lose situation for Cruz, not unlike the “defund” effort. The establishment already hates him; if he has a path to the nomination, it’s by consolidating conservatives, and being a loud voice on impeachment would help do that. Even if the effort fizzles in Congress, a la “defund,” he’ll have proved once again that he’s willing to fight the fights his constituents believe in, even if there’s little chance of winning. (Convicting Obama would require 67 votes in the Senate, which ain’t happening next year even under the rosiest of midterm scenarios.) Better yet, his rival for righty votes, Rand Paul, is more worried about shoring up his establishment credibility right now than impressing conservatives, so he probably wouldn’t endorse impeachment full-throatedly. That would allow Cruz to heighten the contrast with him in the primaries.

Then again, maybe Cruz doesn’t need to actually endorse impeachment to get the political benefits from doing so. Maybe he can go right up to the edge — that’s where today’s report comes in — by acting as a de facto lawyer for the prosecution but then, when asked point-blank what he thinks should happen to O, he could demur and humbly insist that it’s a question for the Speaker of the House. If Boehner refuses to consider impeachment, which is highly likely given what happened to Republicans the last time they went this route, Cruz can sigh wearily and say something vague about Congress needing bolder leadership. He’ll have the gratitude of conservatives for having made the case, at length, of Obama’s lawlessness, and he’ll have their sympathy for having been thwarted by the damned RINOs yet again. It’d be a clever play.

Here he is today before the Federalist Society indicting O’s executive overreach for nearly a full hour. There’s more red meat here than there is in a stockyard. Dive in at any point.

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