There are certain high-profile figures in American public life who, by virtue of their reputations, should avoid giving paradoxical advice. Kim Kardashian, for example, should not offer tips on maintaining a low public profile. Dick Cheney should not provide guidance on how to shape an effective foreign policy. Lance Armstrong should not discuss the importance of avoiding performance-enhancing drugs.
And Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) should not highlight the virtues of political compromise.
But here he is
, in a new Politico
op-ed, doing just that.
Undeterred, President Obama appears to be going forward. It is lawless. It is unconstitutional. He is defiant and angry at the American people. If he acts by executive diktat, President Obama will not be acting as a president, he will be acting as a monarch. Thankfully, the framers of our Constitution, wary of the dangers of monarchy, gave the Congress tools to rein in abuses of power. They believed if the president wants to change the law, he cannot act alone; he must work with Congress. He may not get everything he wants, but the Constitution requires compromise between the branches. A monarch, however, does not compromise....
You can almost hear irony itself, feeling overwhelmed, weeping quietly in a corner.
To be sure, there's ample room for spirited debate about the Republican Texan's substantive claims. Cruz is certain -- or at least he pretends to be for political purposes -- that executive actions on immigration policy are lawless, unconstitutional, and monarchical. There's ample evidence to the contrary, and even conservative lawyers seem to think
arguments like Cruz's are mistaken.
Indeed, how does the senator reconcile his condemnations with the fact that other modern presidents have taken steps extremely similar
to Obama's? Oddly enough, Cruz sidesteps the issue of precedent by pretending it doesn't exist.
But in a case like this, we can put these details aside and instead marvel at Cruz -- Ted Cruz! -- stressing the importance of "compromise."
Simon Maloy did a great job
taking a stroll down memory lane.
[Cruz] was elected to the Senate in 2012 by literally promising that he would never compromise with anyone ever. "If you're looking for an established moderate who will go to Washington and work across the aisle and compromise," Cruz told some local Republicans on the campaign trail, "I'm not the guy." He lashed out at David Dewhurst, his opponent for the nomination, as a likely compromiser on the Affordable Care Act and other issues. "Nobody looking at David Dewhurst's record in the Texas legislature can doubt for a moment that he would run, not walk, to the middle to those advocating compromise in the Senate," Cruz told reporters. When he actually got to the Senate, Cruz said that "compromise" was for jerks and a bad way to govern: "I don't think what Washington needs is more compromise, I think what Washington needs is more common sense and more principle."
As an actual lawmaker, Cruz has generally pushed his colleagues away, refusing to compromise with anyone on any issue. As we discussed in September, the Texas senator has even huddled repeatedly
with House Republicans, demanding that they ignore their own party leadership and -- you guessed it -- reject all attempts at compromise.
And yet, Cruz has suddenly discovered that "the Constitution requires compromise." It does? Can the radical senator explain when, exactly, he came to this sudden realization?
The truth, of course, is that while monarchs may not compromise, President Obama has spent the last six years, trying everything imaginable to get congressional Republicans to work with him on any issue. GOP lawmakers, including Cruz, have repeatedly slapped away Obama's outstretched hand, even rejecting their own ideas after the president has endorsed them.
Obama, in other words, understands the virtues of compromise all too well. If only his detractors could say the same, Washington dysfunction wouldn't be quite so ridiculous.