Adventus

"The central doctrine of Christianity, then, is not that God is a bastard. It is, in the words of the late Dominican theologian Herbert McCabe, that if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you."--Terry Eagleton

"It is impossible for me to say in my book one word about all that music has meant in my life. How then can I hope to be understood?--Ludwig Wittgenstein

“The opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice."--Bryan Stevenson

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Ted Cruz Does His Impression of Bill Clinton Doing An Impression of Donald Trump


If you are old enough, you remember Bill Clinton (in a deposition, if memory serves) arguing about what the definition of "is" is.  Watch carefully as Ted Cruz, renowned debater who is supposed to be the scourge of his opponents in argument, steps all over his...tie...yeah, his tie, in trying to sound outraged and injured while also trying to say nothing at all while also trying to argue about...well, what the meaning of "is" is:
I'll pause here to say I've read excerpts of that article, including a footnote some seem to think is now hypocritical, and I don't find anything in that excerpt that proves anything against Cruz, or anything about the question of a presidential self-pardon.  He's not wrong, in other words; that law review article really doesn't apply here.  But that's a lawyer talking, so whaddo I know?
This all started because Cruz did his best impression of a landed fish in the halls of the Senate:
 24 hours later, Cruz digs in with a non-pithy response that really doesn't say anything except "reasonable people can disagree" on the legal question because it has never been presented before, and it really does turn on what the meaning of "pardon" is, or "President," or even "crime."

Still not sure where the "knee jerk partisanship" and "dishonest journalism" comes from.  You can go back to the tape for the latter; what's "knee jerk" about being appalled at a President who says he can pardon himself?  Yes, it is a case of first impression (as the lawyers say), and there is a reason it has never been presented before ("L'etat, c'est moi!" being a primary explanation), but Cruz dare not say that and disturb his Trump supporting GOP Texas base.  OTOH, he dare not say the President has the powers of the Sun King.  So he waffles, in 17 tweets that manage to make no argument at all, including a rebuttal of the fact that he did wait 18 (or was it 20?) seconds before answering the question put to him.  Although he does manage to say it's a "close" question and imply he's not sure whether he'd impeach Trump for using it on himself, or not; which is a revealing answer in itself.  It's revealing, but it's not at all bold and forthright.  Besides, this guy is the Debate King!  He was the Solicitor-General of Texas, his primary job was getting interrupted with questions in oral arguments before appellate courts.  And he can't handle a reporter asking a question in a Senate hallway?

I think Beto O'Rourke should debate Cruz, and press him on what powers the President has.  Cruz, after all, as a Senator, has to decide whether Trump's exercise of those powers would exceed his Constitutional authority, should it come to an impeachment trial.  And Senators, as I've pointed out before, are not jurists; they are free to have opinions about the case long before it is presented in an impeachment trial.  I think we know where Sen. Cruz stands; it would be a legitimate issue to press him on that stance, especially since it sure seems he prefers a Sun King in the White House, over a President.

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