Josh Earnest: Ted Cruz renounced his Canadian citizenship just 18 months ago, you know

Not the first time Earnest has trolled Cruz about his foreign pedigree from the highest podium in the land. Two months ago, after the Toronto Blue Jays won their playoff series against the Rangers, he referred to them as “Ted Cruz’s other hometown team.” Cruz was born in Calgary, not Toronto, but whatever. Like I said last night: After years of Obama being badgered about his birth certificate, liberals are going to relish the Trump/Cruz war. Earnest makes no bones about it:

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said “it would be quite ironic” if, after years of questions surrounding Obama’s U.S. citizenship, Republican primary voters were to choose the Canadian-born Cruz as their nominee.

Earnest noted Cruz is “somebody who actually wasn’t born in the United States and only 18 months ago renounced his Canadian citizenship.”

Asked whether Obama is enjoying watching Cruz deal with questions about his birthplace, Earnest replied, “I don’t know if he does, but I sure do.”

This goes back to the left’s theory that Trump is some sort of populist poltergeist inadvertently conjured by Beltway Republicans from the hatred of Obama they used to pander to their base. Now Trumpenstein is going to punish them for their sins, with Cruz made to suffer for the sin of Birtherism. That’s one way to explain Trump’s political origins; here’s another way, via Jonathan Last, which lies closer to home for Earnest.

I suspect that when we look back on the Obama years honestly—not just through the filtered light of the ceremonies as they dedicate his monument on the Mall—we will see that he ushered in a new era in American politics where ideology gave way to identity and tribalism.

And that by marrying the politics of identity to expanded executive authority and hyper-partisanship, he fundamentally changed America’s political compact. Think about the list of Obama’s most important accomplishments: the passage of Obamacare; the Obergefell verdict; mass amnesty; the Iran nuclear deal; the climate change treaty; and now his dictum on firearms. Not one of these programs had a solid majority of public support. And consequently, none of them were accomplished by normal legislative means…

[P]erhaps what’s most telling about Donald Trump’s rise is that the reaction of his supporters has not been (so far) to search for a leader who will return the political order to the old equilibrium. Instead, they seem to assume that the post-Obama political world will continue along tribalistic lines. And they want their own strongman.

Right. The question is, would President Cruz or President Rubio be any more inclined to return the political order to what it was? This is why conservatives are (or should be) nervous about the precedents Obama has set in using executive authority to push his agenda. David Harsanyi’s not blowing smoke when he says that Obama-style government, in which the president is morally justified in acting if Congress can’t or won’t, essentially rests on the idea “that Congress has a responsibility to pass laws on the issues that the president desires or else they would be abdicating their responsibility.” That’s not how three “co-equal” branches are supposed to operate, but that model will be enormously seductive for any president, right or left, who follows Obama. If President Cruz wants a tax cut and his base is screaming for a tax cut, why shouldn’t he decree a tax cut by ordering the IRS not to collect revenue above a certain percentage from each taxpayer? What makes Trump ominous to people who don’t support him is that he seems eager to wield that sort of power whereas the rest of the field will do it “reluctantly” and circumstantially once in office. But I think it’s strongmen all the way down after O. He may think gun control or ObamaCare is his legacy, but as Harsanyi says, that’ll be his deeper legacy in the fullness of time.

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