Saturday, January 30, 2016

Isn't It Time For Ted Cruz To Drop Out And Go Back To The Senate And Apologize To His Colleagues?


Going through his stand-up routine in New Hampshire Friday, Herr Trumpf asserted that "Ted Cruz may not be a U.S. citizen... Ted Cruz is an anchor baby in Canada." Bromance is o-v-e-r. My favorite line this week was Herr Trumpf responding to Cruz's mano-a-mano debate challenge by agreeing to do it-- as soon as Cruz proves he's eligible to run for president. And it isn't just Herr jumping on the mortally wounded Cruz. The Des Moines Register front page told the story after Thursday's Trumpless debate; Cruz was the object of everyone else's hatred.

This morning Politico published a piece by Katie Glueck delineating Cruz's agony as he staggers into the final weekend of the Iowa campaign he had counted on, grappling not so much with Herr Trumpf for first place but with Rubio for second. "Cruz," she wrote, "enters the homestretch weakened by attacks from all sides, lagging poll numbers and a widely panned debate performance, putting enormous pressure on the onetime-Iowa poll leader to recapture momentum... [A]fter Thursday’s debate, several of Cruz’s prominent backers set about scaling back expectations for Cruz’s Feb. 1 performance. After months of touting their own ground game and organization-- something Cruz surrogates continue to do-- some also acknowledged that Trump, Cruz’s chief rival, could translate his massive crowds into a substantial turnout operation." Two of Cruz's fascist mainstays, Bob Vander Plaats and Tony Perkins, worried aloud that Trumpf had out-fascist-ed the glib Cruz.

Even if you discount Huckabee's attack (below) as just part of his job application process for a future Zod Administration, there's still the escalating feud between Cruz and Iowa Governor Terry Branstad. Branstad, in an interview for CSPAN's Newsmakers tomorrow, reviles Cruz for his lame debate performance Thursday and again warned Iowa Republicans to not vote for him. And the performance was plenty lame, especially for a star Ivy League debater. He couldn't even beat that little worm Rubio!

“Everybody’s for amnesty except for Ted Cruz,” Mr. Paul said, turning Mr. Cruz’s favorite shibboleth against him as he denounced the “falseness” that he said Mr. Cruz perpetrated. “That’s an authenticity problem.”

Mr. Rubio was even harsher as he tries to upset Mr. Cruz here and finish in second place, which could strengthen his position against Mr. Trump in the Feb. 9 New Hampshire primary.

“This is the lie that Ted’s campaign is built on,” Mr. Rubio said, seizing on a brutal compilation of video clips that the Fox News debate moderators had shown, highlighting Mr. Cruz’s apparent shifts on immigration.

Mr. Cruz struck back by getting nearly as personal with Mr. Rubio. “I like Marco,” he said, unconvincingly. “He’s very charming. He’s very smooth.” However, Mr. Cruz added, when Mr. Rubio came to the Senate, he backed off his hard-line stance on immigration and supported an overhaul favored by the Republican Party’s “major donors because he thought it was politically advantageous.”

...Cruz, who ascended in the Republican race in part thanks to his effective debate performances, found himself absorbing the fiercest attacks yet as he looked to regain lost ground in Iowa. While Mr. Trump had often been a punching bag at past debates as moderates and rivals challenged his policy ideas, Mr. Cruz became the main target this time around, facing skeptical questions from the moderators on immigration, ethanol subsidies and his personal style.

His rivals were even more severe, painting him as a holier-than-thou politician. “Ted, you worked for George W. Bush’s campaign; you helped design George W. Bush’s immigration policies,” Mr. Rubio said in a rhetorical torrent. “Then, when you got to the Senate, you did an interview with CBS News-- it wasn’t even part of the video-- where you said, on the issue of people that are here illegally, we can reach a compromise.”
Incredibly, the Republican Chicago Tribune ran an OpEd by columnist Steve Chapman warning Republicans that Cruz is too risky to vote for because he may be not be constitutionally eligible. Rubio or Herr (or maybe Miss McConnell) have people going to Cruz rallies dressed up as Royal Canadian Mounted Police and passing out copies of Cruz's Canadian birth certificate.
Cruz dismisses the issue. "It's settled law," he says. "As a legal matter it's quite straight-forward."

In fact, it's never been settled, it's not straight-forward and some experts don't agree with his reading.

The fact that it was Trump who raised the issue made it deeply suspect. But though it's unlikely that anything coming out of Trump's mouth is true, it's not impossible. And his claim that this is an unresolved question that could end up throwing the election into doubt happens to be correct.

When it comes to parsing the crucial phrase, Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe has noted, "No Supreme Court decision in the past two centuries has ever done so. In truth, the constitutional definition of a 'natural born citizen' is completely unsettled."

Tribe says that under an originalist interpretation of the Constitution-- the type Cruz champions-- he "wouldn't be eligible, because the legal principles that prevailed in the 1780s and '90s required that someone actually be born on U.S. soil to be a 'natural born citizen.'"

Cruz retorted that this is just what you'd expect from a "left-wing judicial activist." But Tribe, an eminent constitutional scholar, is not so predictable. He surprised gun-rights advocates years ago, before the landmark Supreme Court decisions on the Second Amendment, when he said it protects an individual's right to own firearms.

Even if he's a judicial activist, the Supreme Court might agree with him. Cruz should know as much, because he has denounced the court for its "lawlessness," "imperial tendencies" and, yes, "judicial activism."

Nor is Tribe alone among experts. University of Chicago law professor Eric Posner says, "The ordinary meaning of the language suggests to me that one must be born on U.S. territory."

Chapman University's Ronald Rotunda, co-author of a widely used constitutional law textbook, told me a couple of weeks ago he had no doubt that Cruz is eligible. But when he investigated the issue, he concluded that under the relevant Supreme Court precedents, "Cruz simply is not a natural born citizen."

Catholic University law professor Sarah Helene Duggin wrote in 2005, "Natural born citizenship is absolutely certain only for United States citizens born post-statehood in one of the 50 states, provided that they are not members of Native American tribes."

Steven Lubet, a Northwestern University law professor, spies another possible land mine. Cruz qualified for citizenship because his mother was an American citizen (unlike his father). But "under the law in effect in 1970, Cruz would only have acquired U.S. citizenship if his mother had been 'physically present' in the United States for 10 years prior to his birth, including five years after she reached the age of 14," Lubet wrote in Salon.

That raises two questions: Did she live in this country for the required amount of time? And can the Cruz family prove it?

Whether the justices would take the case is another question. Unless some state election official bars Cruz from the ballot on constitutional grounds or a rival candidate goes to court, it's unlikely a lawsuit would get a hearing. But if that happens, the courts may elect to resolve the matter-- and no one can be confident of the ultimate verdict.

Trump, believe it or not, is onto something. Cruz's candidacy suffers a potentially fatal defect. If he is nominated or elected, he could be disqualified. When Republican voters cast their ballots, they have to ask themselves: Is he worth the risk?

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At 10:13 AM, Blogger tony in san diego said...

these guys gotta remember, if Cruz isn't president, he is still going to be a Senator for the next quarter century.


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